Saturday, June 23, 2018

links for the weekend-a new study on alcoholism and the brain, Americans moving less, Harvard admissions, John McWhorter on atonement as activism (HT Cal), and TNR on how freedom in dating raises the stakes of mistakes

there's new research involving mice and alcoholism analyzing brain dynamics that may be applicable to understanding alcoholism for people.

Americans are moving less than ever. Given how expensive the more famous urban centers are to live in it's no surprise if people are moving less than before.

and another variation on "it can happen here" where an American Hitler could emerge

For those keeping some tabs on the academic world, there's the Harvard Admissions personality test situation ...

with a hat tip to reader Cal, here's a piece by John McWhorter on woke politics as a kind of atonement for the original sin of white guilt that a certain strand of self-identifying progressive whites are embracing.


Coates is a symptom of a larger mood. Over the past several years, for instance, whites across the country have been taught that it isn’t enough to understand that racism exists. Rather, the good white person views themselves as the bearer of an unearned “privilege” because of their color. Not long ago, I attended an event where a black man spoke of him and his black colleagues dressing in suits at work even on Casual Fridays, out of a sense that whites would look down on black men dressed down. The mostly white audience laughed and applauded warmly—at a story accusing people precisely like them of being racists.

This brand of self-flagellation has become the new form of enlightenment on race issues. It qualifies as a kind of worship; the parallels with Christianity are almost uncannily rich. White privilege is the secular white person’s Original Sin, present at birth and ultimately ineradicable. One does one’s penance by endlessly attesting to this privilege in hope of some kind of forgiveness. [emphasis added] After the black man I mentioned above spoke, the next speaker was a middle-aged white man who spoke of having a coach come to his office each week to talk to him about his white privilege. The audience, of course, applauded warmly at this man’s description of having what an anthropologist observer would recognize not as a “coach” but as a pastor.


I wonder, though, if there's a Manichean element to it or even a vaguely Mazdaist aspect.


Still, with the admission the conversation might feel dull for anyone whose partnership choices have always been considered transgressive, Hard to Do speaks mostly to Korducki’s cohort, and my own: unmarried, heterosexual millennial women living in cities with at least a modicum of “disposable income and expendable time.” The unprecedented freedom such women now have to make or break relationships has raised the stakes, she reflects, when it comes to selecting a partner: “With autonomy comes great responsibility to either choose exactly right or to undermine the very existence of our own freedom to follow our hearts.” If there are now more methods of pairing up than ever, and more time in which to do it, there are also more ways to get it wrong. Such mistakes carry more weight in an increasingly atomized society, in which romantic partners are expected to fulfill multiple social and emotional needs—consider the ubiquity of the phrase “I can’t wait to marry my best friend!” [emphasis added]

Of course, much of this freedom is illusory: While it’s become gauche to acknowledge explicitly the relationship between money and, well, relationships, the economy still exerts a powerful influence on our romantic lives. Dating apps like The League that cater exclusively to an “elite” clientele, but even the less exclusive ones tend to match people on the basis of shared tastes—in film, food, travel, or music—which tend to indicate class. And although women can now drink in bars unchaperoned and get a divorce, precarity continues to keep women in bad relationships. When unemployment rises, divorce rates drop proportionally. In an economic system that pays women less for their work than it pays men, sometimes leaving is just not financially viable.


There's a tradeoff in the autonomy department. Assortive pairing means that people are more likely to try to date and mate more strictly within their socio-economic bracket. 

Not surprisingly, one of my relatives told me about Richard Brody's take on Bird's new film and it sounds like it's as idiotic as I'd expect from Brody by now.  Not going to link to it though. Sometimes stupid does not deserve to be linked to.

No comments: