The New York Times (2018): Neil Gaiman, Dan Simmons, and other writers describe their choice for the scariest book.
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Saturday, October 30, 2021
Friday, October 29, 2021
As I write this in the summer of 2020, Alison Roman, a food writer for The New York Times, is on suspension. You might wonder just what a food writer could do to end up temporarily dismissed by her employer. Roman's sin: In an interview, she passingly criticized two people for commercialism, model and food writer Chrissy Teigen and lifestyle coach Marie Kondo. Roman was Twitter-mobbed for having the nerve, as a white woman, to criticize two women of color.
- From Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America by John McWhorter
Thursday, October 28, 2021
One September afternoon in 1960 I was having a drink with an old newspaper friend, Ken Johnstone, when unexpectedly he told me he had a message to pass on from Ronnie Jacques, the well-known New York photographer. Jacques had been in Sun Valley taking some pictures of Hemingway, and they had got to talking about me. After awhile, Hemingway, really opening up, had become warm and jovial. In the old days in Paris, he used to box with me, he said. It had all been rather wonderful and amusing, Hemingway assured Ronnie, and there had been one ridiculous occasion when Scott Fitzgerald had acted as timekeeper, and everybody had been full of wine. Anyway, Hemingway sent his warmest regards. But what had really happened? Ken Johnstone wanted to know.
- From That Summer in Paris: Memories of Tangled Friendships with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Some Others by Morley Callaghan
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
I doubt seriously whether a man can think with full wisdom and wuth deep convictions regarding certain of the basic international issues today who has not at least reviewed in his mind the period of the Peloponnesian War and the Fall of Athens.
- Secretary of State George C. Marshall in 1947
Commentary magazine: Wilfred Reilly on "The Whiteness of Wokeness."
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
- Jonathan Turley on the disappearing elephant in Washington.
- Hub Kapp and The Wheels: "Work Work."
- New York Post: Loons on campus pledge money to the Taliban.
- The trailer for "Dangerous."
- FutureLawyer has an RV driver confession.
- It's always time to watch "Wolf Hall."
- Erika Sanzi: The story behind the National School Boards Association letter.
- The trailer for "King Richard."
- Cultural Offering: Elon Musk's Model Pi.
- Richard Jolly talks to HR people about managing complexity.
They do not want to be transparent. They do not want an open discussion of their policies. They will scrub posts, cloak practices, fiddle the numbers, and use misleading language. They will declare their accessibility on the very sites that are designed to foil investigations. Their advocates will claim that day is night and night is day.
None of that, however, will keep them from believing that they are noble.
And if any evidence arises which cannot be dismissed, they'll say, "Everybody does it."
Unfortunately, too many do.
Monday, October 25, 2021
Saturday, October 23, 2021
The stories about the California math teacher who was suspended for doing a bizarre dance imitating American Indians often downplay or omit another question: If her performance had no reference to any racial or ethnic group, would it be regarded as an acceptable teaching method?
I have heard that Warren Buffett does not schedule meetings far in advance. If you want a meeting with him, you contact his office the day before you'd like to meet and then it will be determined whether he'll meet with you.
When I heard of this, my first reaction was one of intense envy. My second, more measured, reaction was that if you are Warren Buffett, you can get away with such rules.
Nonetheless, a good question when setting a meeting way off yonder in the oh-so-distant future is: "As the meeting date approaches, will I feel happiness or dread?"
[Photo by Debbie Hudson at Unsplash]
Friday, October 22, 2021
When I appeared on Megyn Kelly's podcast, she shared an anecdote (at 46:00 minute mark) about a friend of hers who worked as an editor at a major publishing house. The editor had received a manuscript of a historical novel, based on a true story, of a woman who had to pose as a man in order to receive a medical education and become a surgeon in the 1920's1. The editor admired the novel and circulated it for feedback from some junior editors.
The rest of Wesley Yang's essay is here.
Opponents can't just hold a different opinion. They must be:
- Too sensitive.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
"We Americans might be excused for believing that the outcome of the Civil War would have set to rest all doubt concerning the date of this nation's founding and the principles on the basis of which it was founded. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney's depreciation of the Declaration of Independence in his opinion for the Supreme Court in the infamous case of Dred Scott v. Sandford was answered not only on the battlefield of Gettysburg but, a few months later, by Abraham Lincoln's address on the site of that battle. Lincoln insisted there, in November 1863, as he had in many other places and on many other occasions, that the nation was born at Philadelphia in 1776, four score and seven years earlier. Taney, and the South in general, had denied this, or had come to deny it - the time came when John C. Calhoun and Alexander H. Stephens said the assertion that all men are created equal is a self-evident lie and went so far as to denounce Thomas Jefferson for making it. But what the South, that old South, lost in battle it seems now to be winning back in the groves of academe and the pages of contemporary journalism."
- From Taking the Constitution Seriously by Walter Berns
Our unique place in the world is recognized elsewhere, sometimes grudgingly or inadvertently. In 1987, the bicentenary of our Constitution, I was in Brazil, where the people had recently overthrown a military dictatorship and had begun the process of writing a democratic constitution. I had been invited to lecture on constitutionalism. At one place, a university in Recife, after I had finished my prepared remarks, someone got up and denounced, not me, but the local official who had sponsored my appearance. "Why," he shouted, "did you invite an American? What can they tell us about constitutions? They've only had one. Why didn't you invite a Bolivian? They've had a hundred!"
- From Making Patriots by Walter Berns
[Photo by Max Sulik at Unsplash]
Perhaps some here imagine that the Supreme Court is the first place where minority opinions get written down and recorded for posterity. But the Talmud is a 2,000-year-old record of just that — a conversation between sages born hundreds of years apart and speaking across time on a single page. The Talmud is not a document of the majority opinion, the opinion that ended up winning the day. It’s a document, also, of the minority. Of the critics. Of the gadflies.
From Bari Weiss's acceptance speech for the Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism.
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Without hesitation, he responded, “Polish priest.” And his wife immediately added, “I would prefer a Polish nun.”
Read all of Bridget Phetasy's essay in Tablet.
[HT: A Large Regular]
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
“DOL and OSHA, as well as other federal agencies, are working diligently to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations,” the health agency says on its official website. “OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts. As a result, OSHA will not enforce 29 CFR 1904’s recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination at least through May 2022. We will reevaluate the agency’s position at that time to determine the best course of action moving forward.”
Read the rest here.
Today I have several medium-sized tasks which, if completed, will reduce stress and increase a sense of control. These tasks have been the object of much procrastination.
They have lurked in the back of my mind.
They have been sooo easy to put off.
But today they will be done.
To prevent repeating the ridiculous excuses which thwarted their earlier completion, I am designating at least one day a month for the next 12 months as "Nothing Else Will Be Done Until Day."
If my loathing of inactivity is pitted against continued procrastination, the latter will lose.
[Update: ALL were completed! There is dancing in the streets.]
In April 2013, SeaWorld, Inc., was riding high. The American theme park company had completed an initial public offering that exceeded expectations, raising more than $700 million in capital and valuing the company at $2.5 billion. "To many Americans, SeaWorld offers family fun amid penguins and killer whales," gushed the New York Times. The story ran with a picture of two adorable penguins waddling around the New York Stock Exchange as part of a promotional tour.
- From Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity by Condoleeza Rice and Amy B. Zegart
He / him / his / himself
She / her / her / herself
They (singular) / them / their / themselves
Ey / em / eir / eirself
Sie / sie / hir / hirself
Tey / ter / tem / terself
Ve / ver / vis /verself
Zie / zir / zirs / zirself
Monday, October 18, 2021
. . . [R]adical multiculturalism leads to disturbing distortions in scholarship and public discourse. Because they reject objectivity as a norm, the radicals are content to rely on personal stories as a basis for formulating views of social problems. These stories are often atypical or distorted by self-interest, yet any criticism of the stories is inevitably seen as a personal attack on the storyteller. More generally, because radical multiculturalists refuse to separate the speaker from the message, they can become sidetracked from discussing the merits of the message itself into bitter disputes about the speaker's authenticity and her right to speak on behalf of an oppressed group. Criticisms of radical multculturalists are seen as pandering to the power structure if they come from women or minorities, or as sexist and racist if they come from white men. This makes dialogue difficult at best.
- From Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law by Daniel R. Farber and Suzanna Sherry (1997)
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Friday, October 15, 2021
Beauty can be consoling, disturbing, sacred, profane; it can be exhilarating, appealing, inspiring, chilling. It can affect us in an unlimited variety of ways. Yet it is never viewed with indifference: beauty demands to be noticed; it speaks to us directly like the voice of an intimate friend. If there are people who are indifferent to beauty, then it is surely because they do not perceive it.
- From Beauty: A Very Short Introduction by Roger Scruton
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Jonathan Turley looks at commingled funds, the man known as Cedric, and The Artist Known as Hunter Biden.
If you think that the Far Left in this country lacks the willingness to suppress speech, consider this example from Yale Law School.
And check out the audio.
Some opinions on this fiasco by:
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Globalization, Americans are belatedly discovering, meant not that the citizens of the world would become Westerners but rather that the world would superficially look at times American. Such a world would more likely absorb Americans into something antithetical to their own foundations and freedoms - something akin to westernizing abroad while at home de-westernizing.
What arrogantly began as an Americanization of the globe has ended up as a globalization of America.
- Victor Davis Hanson in The Dying Citizen: How Progressive Elites, Tribalism, and Globalization Are Destroying the Idea of America
Over the years, I have learned that one of the best time management questions is "What would a lazy person do?"
- A lazy person would say no to more projects.
- A lazy person would use Zoom instead of driving an hour for a 20 minute meeting.
- A lazy person would not feel compelled to finish bad books.
- A lazy person would encourage brief reports that get to the point.
- A lazy person would not use three words where one would do.
- A lazy person would take naps.
- A lazy person would not over-pack.
- A lazy person would not have time for regrets.
- A lazy person would talk to dogs.
- A lazy person would hire a professional rather than squandering a chunks of time producing an amateurish result.
- A lazy person would not think that hard work is better than smart work.
- A lazy person would not feel guilty when away from the job.
- A lazy person would not miss medical appointments or the kid's ball game.
- A lazy person would listen for meaning.
- A lazy person would have time for birthdays.
- A lazy person would be in the moment.
- A lazy person would never gulp a cup of fine coffee.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Cathy Young on Bright Sheng, Othello, and the cancel culture.
I have spoken with a cross-section of people over the past several months. It's interesting to see how often they raise the subject of cancel culture and the universities.
The wave of disapproval will have multiple effects.
It is easier to tell when there is too little than to determine when there is too much.
"Too little" can produce immediate adverse effects but the problems fostered by "too much" may not be noticed for years. [In many cases, they won't be noticed at all.]
We live with the assumption that it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. That clever line assumes that there are no serious drawbacks to having it. If we look closely, however, negatives may be lurking.
A child who grows up in a family in which everything is quickly provided by others may, in fact, be deprived when compared to a child in a family where pennies must be watched, self-discipline is demanded, and chores are mandatory.
A large team with a huge budget may lack the creativity, flexibility, and hustle of a smaller underdog.
Less can provide an advantage but it is hidden beneath the more.
[Photo by Content Pixie at Unsplash]
Monday, October 11, 2021
An old Soviet joke poses the question: What was the most important world-historical event of the year 1875? Answer: Lenin was five years old.
- From "Leninthink" by Gary Saul Morson in The New Criterion (2019).
[Photo by Steve Harvey at Unsplash]
Read the rest of Ryan Bourne at The Dispatch.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Saturday, October 09, 2021
"It is important that we monitor our words carefully in the political environment in which we find ourselves."
Unfortunately, he is correct and yet we need to push back, lest we become Eastern Europe in the bad old days.
I have long recommended a Rooftop Rule to my clients: If you can't shout a policy or practice from the rooftops, you shouldn't be doing it. Don't have wink-wink, nudge-nudge, policies or practices that cloak the truth.
That said, over the past several months I have been studying practices related to equal opportunity in large organizations and have found many examples of cloaking. These are not inadvertent. They are designed to be deceptive. I'm conducting this review for an organization and cannot cite the examples now, but I recommend looking beneath the surface at the various policies in your own organization - equity policies are especially prone to this - and ask, "What does this really mean? What types of actions does this produce? Is this in accordance with the law?"
And, of course, "Would we feel comfortable shouting a description of our findings from the rooftops?"
[Photo by Tommy at Unsplash]
- Robert Pondiscio: Performative teaching is undermining trust in schools.
- Sally Satel: How authoritarianism on the Left was somehow overlooked.
- 2018: Fukuyama postpones the end of history.
- Kevin Scott speaks up in defense of Bright Sheng.
- Andrew Sullivan on Dave Chappelle's "The Closer."
Friday, October 08, 2021
[Photo by Q.U.I. at Unsplash]
Thursday, October 07, 2021
Emotionally unstable people can do inspired work on their own, but if you're assembling people for a joint project, your ideal is not a Vincent van Gogh or a Sylvia Plath.
- John Tierney and Roy F. Baumeister in The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It
Wednesday, October 06, 2021
Then you need logistics - for want of a better word. What resources are required? I'm always reminded of the old story that whenever Napoleon's brilliant marshals came out with great plans of moving against Prussia, or Spain, or what have you, Napoleon would listen silently and then ask, "How many horses does it require?" Usually they hadn't thought it through and their plan outran the available horses. That's very typical.
- From Managing the Nonprofit Organization: Principles and Practices by Peter F. Drucker
Distraction is the enemy, so I begin by removing the clutter.
What I need for the project is on my desk. Related material is on a table in another room.
When the project is finished, I will repeat the process for another project.
Simplicity itself reduces distraction.
[Photo by Danielle MacInnes at Unsplash]
Tuesday, October 05, 2021
- Steven Malnga: "The New Secession Movement."
- The Study: "Why are Cuban Cigars So Expensive?"
- Ryan Long: "Trust the Experts."
- Matt Taibbi on America's new religion.
- Eclecticity Light: Where does he find this stuff?
- Reuters: FBI finds scant evidence the January 6 attack was coordinated.
- Political Calculations: COVID and Americans' spending.