The shtetl abides – an open thread.

The crazy work schedule has passed – and I’m actually even less available. Huh! Spring break, friends and family stuff, readying the house for Passover, etc and so on.

Having said that, how could I forget you, my Horde? Have at it! And If you get stuck in moderation because I’m hardly even at my desk right now, I’ll fish you out as soon as ever I can.

Standard FYI clause: My rule of thumb is that I wait for 2 hours after Ta-Nehisi would usually open a thread (roughly noon, EST), and if none is forthcoming, I put one up here.

240 Comments

  1. Shtetl = Dude?

    ANyway, I’m off to assist with a voter registration drive up the road this evening. Hope we get 1000 people signed up to vote for Obama.

    • chingona

       /  March 29, 2012

      Yes. I’m also curious about the thread title. It’s evocative in its way.

    • Why not for Newt? I mean, the man could really use 1000 votes. Or a retirement party.

    • Best of luck with this most important endeavor!

    • neighbors73

       /  March 29, 2012

      I think that’s what Craig has been taking to calling it when we’re in Emily’s house instead “The DEE-LUXE apartment” that is over at TNC’s place.

      Bonus: no elves int he Shtetl.

      • Captain Button

         /  March 29, 2012

        We will see what the Elvish Liberation Front has to say about that!

      • Instead we get WordPress elves.

      • I think TNC’s was actually “the big city.”

        I’M BIG IN EUROPE, DAMMIT.

        • Better than being Big In Japan.

          • Or than being a Big Country singing about a Big Country in a Big Country.

            • But In a Big Country dreams stay with you! Like a lovers voice! On a mountain side! Stay alive!

              (I wrote that from memory. The fact that my brain cells are filled with useless crap like this is why I will never win a nobel peace prize.)

              • wearyvoter

                 /  March 29, 2012

                But you most likely kick butt at Trivial Pursuit.

        • stephen matlock

           /  March 29, 2012

          “I’M BIG IN EUROPE, DAMMIT.”

          Liechtenstein, maybe.

          • I actually – not making this up even a tiny, itty bit – wrote a text book entry about Liechtenstein once.

            And yes, that is where I’m big.

            • stephen matlock

               /  March 29, 2012

              OK. I am impress.

              And suitably reproved and dutifully moved.

      • efgoldman

         /  March 29, 2012

        Bonus: no elves int he Shtetl
        No edit button, either a;so too.

  2. koolaide

     /  March 29, 2012

    Ever the women’s basketball fan, I’m watching the free feed of a Euroleague game right now. CRA-ZY. Two Turkish teams are playing and the crowd has thrown multiple actual factual firecrackers in the stands and onto the court.

    Also, a great game being played by the players. fibatv if you’re interested.

  3. I’ve been reading a new translation of the Wisdom Books (Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs). Pretty interesting so far and it’s given me both a newfound appreciation for just how difficult translation can be and an even greater disregard for people who insist on literal interpretations of the Bible when it’s been translated.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Wisdom-Books-Ecclesiastes-Translation/dp/0393340538/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1333048142&sr=1-1-spell

    • neighbors73

       /  March 29, 2012

      I’ve finally found a great iTunesU course to listen to…it;s all about the lecturer! I didn’t think I’d care, what with the being an atheist and all, but it’s the one on the New Testament at Yale. Guy’s name is Dale Martin.

      • Captain Button

         /  March 29, 2012

        I think I have listened to that one. Is it the one viewing the NT as something to be analysed as to who wrote what when, as opposed to viewing it religiously?

        • neighbors73

           /  March 29, 2012

          So far, yes. It’s really in the context of the early Christians.

          • Bookwoman

             /  March 29, 2012

            Tell us more as you go along. I’m a Bible geek.🙂

            • We may have already gone through this over at Ta-Nehisi’s place, but I also really liked Bart Ehrman’s “Lost Christianities”, which is about the diversity of beliefs that existed before a singular orthodoxy was established near the end of the Roman Empire. There’s also an accompanying book called “Lost Scriptures” that has translations of the texts that a lot of the first book draws information from.

              • Bookwoman

                 /  March 29, 2012

                Yeah, and I think I mentioned his “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture”, which shows how that orthodoxy gave us the Bible we have. He wrote that in the ’90s, back when he was still a believer.

        • You might also be interested in the “Historical Jesus” lecture series from Bart Ehrman. He tries to work through how historians try to determine what kind of a person Jesus most likely was, by analyzing the available literature. Probably going to have to find it from your local library, because it’s from the Teaching Company and would otherwise cost a bunch of money.

          • chingona

             /  March 29, 2012

            My husband took a course on the Historical Jesus in college. Coming from a fundamentalist, evangelical background and already deep in his doubts, he found it transformational. (Not in a way his family appreciated.)

          • This is all really fascinating to me. I just found a link to The Historical Jesus lectures online: http://archive.org/details/HistoricalJesus

            Can anyone recommend a similar TV show/video series on the history of OT/NT/Christianity/Jesus? I’m a member of a group that would probably be interested in watching something like that.

      • Yup. That’s a great lecture series. There’s also an Old Testament course from Yale by Christine Hayes, but you have to get that from the OpenU website rather than iTunesU.

        http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145

        • neighbors73

           /  March 29, 2012

          Hm. Do you think I should listen to the Old Testament one first? I could backtrack, I guess. I’ve only listened to the first 2 of the NT course.

          • If you’re not already familiar with the OT, it’d probably be a good idea. Very early Christianity is called the Jesus Movement, to distinguish it, because it was more a variant of Judaism than the universalist entity that it later became. There were admittedly some strains of early Christianity that wanted to discount Jewish scripture, sometimes even going so far as to think of the Old Testament god as a separate entity from the Christian god. But they were eventually declared heretics and Jewish scripture has been integral to Christianity for a number of reasons.

          • Bookwoman

             /  March 29, 2012

            I’m with Jordan. It’ll give you a much better picture of the NT if you understand the bascis of the Hebrew scriptures first. I’m always shocked at how little Christians know about it. You know, like the fact that when he said “love your neighbor as yourself”, Jesus was quoting Leviticus.

            • chingona

               /  March 29, 2012

              Apparently there is now, for the first time ever, a scholarly commentary on the NT from a Jewish perspective. I read something brief about it – can’t remember where – a few months back. Have you heard anything about that?

              • Bookwoman

                 /  March 29, 2012

                I have the book – in fact, it was given to me as a gift by my Episcopal priest. I’ve only dipped into a little bit, though, so I don’t have much to say about it.

            • stephen matlock

               /  March 29, 2012

              The Liberty Bell itself has its motto from Leviticus 25:10.

          • LizR

             /  March 29, 2012

            Definitely listen to the OT one first. Jordan is totally right that many early Christians thought of themselves as Jewish, and even the ones who wanted to see the Christian God as something new were in conversation with Jewish traditions and rejecting something that they had basic knowledge about. There’s also Jewish history that happens in between the events of the Old Testament and the advent of Christianity that I think is important to understanding early christianity. That stuff might not be covered in either podcast, or might get brought into the new testament one as background.

    • Bookwoman

       /  March 29, 2012

      Have you read any of Everett Fox’s translations? He tries to render the Hebrew as literally as possible, complete with all the poetic structure, puns, etc. It’s a very different reading experience. I like his translation of Genesis 1:1 as “At the beginning of God’s creating of the heavens and the earth….”

      http://www.amazon.com/The-Five-Books-Moses-Deuteronomy/dp/0805211195/.

      • I’ll have to give that one a peek. I’m finally getting to a place where reading the Bible doesn’t bother me as much as it did, say a decade or so ago, and given how little of it I used to understand, I feel like I should go back and get a bit more depth. I really like ancient history and it’s one of the older major works of literature that we have available.

        • chingona

           /  March 29, 2012

          Can you say what you mean about it bothering you before? What’s your background/upbringing in relation to the way you read it now?

          • I was raised Presbyterian. While there were a lot of good things about it, religion eventually stopped making sense to me (while I was on a mission trip!). I kept going to church occasionally for about four years after that, because I enjoyed running their sound system, but eventually amidst everything else going on in my life near the end of high school, a lot of the preaching started to really rub me the wrong way. That was about a decade ago and I’ve evolved from a pretty staunch atheist to a more moderate agnostic who is willing to doubt both the existence of god and that it can ever be ‘proven’ that god doesn’t exist.

            Some of my renewed interest in learning about religion is the building knowledge about how important religion has been to human history. I do my best to understand history and if I don’t understand what people believe/d, it’s pretty much impossible to understand why history went the way that it did.

            • neighbors73

               /  March 29, 2012

              Thanks for all your advice, and everyone above. I am definitely going to check out the OT first.

              I actually said up there that I’m an atheist, but that’s not quite right—there’s a word someone said once that basically sums up as “I don’t know if there is a God or not, but it would make no difference in the way I live my life, so that question is irrelevant to me personally.” And I thougth that was awesome. Of course, not awesome enough to remember the actual work.

              • neighbors73

                 /  March 29, 2012

                actual WORD. duh. I miss the edit function.

              • David L

                 /  March 29, 2012

                I believe the word you’re looking for is “apatheist.”

                • R_Bargis

                   /  March 29, 2012

                  I describe myself as a non-theist these days as it sounds less antagonistic than atheist and leaves plenty of room for deism, agnosticism, not caring, praying because it’s the most familiar way for me to meditate, and enjoying going to church for the community, sermon, and music. (I know atheists who think about God more than Rick Santorum thinks about porn, gay sex, and premarital sex)

                  • neighbors73

                     /  March 29, 2012

                    i might adopt that phrase. like.

                    • R_Bargis

                       /  March 29, 2012

                      Believing God doesn’t exist is very important to some people, and others not so much. Being the latter, non-theist feels comfortable.

    • What are you talking about? “If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!”

    • dmf

       /  March 29, 2012
  4. JHarper2

     /  March 29, 2012

    Earl Scruggs, bluegrass legend, banjo innovator, performer, has died. One by one all the musicians I followed and loved in my youth are going. Thank heaven for recordings, and for the life of great artists.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/arts/music/earl-scruggs-bluegrass-banjo-player-dies-at-88.html?pagewanted=2&hp

    • RIP Earl. Now would someone PLEASE get the Beverly Hillbillies theme out of my head?

      • wearyvoter

         /  March 29, 2012

        The only thing that rinses out the Beverly Hillbillies theme is Foggy Mountain Breakdown.

  5. Adrienne Rich died Tuesday, but I didn’t learn about it until today. I met her a few times, but I wouldn’t say we were acquaintances; she would not have remembered my name. Still, knowing she’s dead has rocked me back hard and I’m not sure why. Because she was always just there, maybe. Because she could describe the smell of an old house in western Massachusetts in winter in a way you knew you had lived there once. Because she turned her back on the privileged place she was born to and could have kept. Because she never quit believing that stuff mattered and was never absurd about it. The first time I met her she was the age I am now. I find that both terrifying and reassuring.

    • dmf

       /  March 29, 2012

      XVI
      Across a city from you, I’m with you,
      just as an August night
      moony, inlet-warm, seabathed, I watched you sleep,
      the scrubbed, sheenless wood of the dressing-table
      cluttered with our brushes, books, vials in the moonlight —
      or a salt-mist orchard, lying at your side
      watching red sunset through the screendoor of the cabin,
      G minor Mozart on the tape-recorder,
      falling asleep to the music of the sea.
      This island of Manhattan is wide enough
      for both of us, and narrow:
      I can hear your breath tonight, I know how your face
      lies upturned, the halflight tracing
      your generous, delicate mouth
      where grief and laughter sleep together.
      RIP

  6. Captain Button

     /  March 29, 2012

    Speaking of abiding, Sully had a bit on that today. I’d never thought that dude might be related to dud.

    Separately, the early cozy catastrophe* science fiction novel Earth Abides where a disease kill all but 1 millionth of the population. Mostly about the community that forms in the SF Bay area.

    Basically The Stand without the religion.

    Clueless that I was, I missed the whole multiracial subtext bit.

    * If I am using that phrase right.

    • Dex

       /  March 29, 2012

      I stuck with Sully through thick and thin these past years, but his doubling down on 21st century eugenicist Charles Murray in the last several days, combined with what I perceive to be an unusually heightened smattering of defensiveness regarding his misogyny and questionable views on Da Jooz, led me to bite the bullet and delete the guy from my shortcuts. I have felt so much lighter since.

      I don’t want anyone to take this as judgment on those who read him. At a certain point, I started to feel like an abuse victim that keeps going back to their abuser (but in an infinitely less consequential way, of course).

      • chingona

         /  March 29, 2012

        I can’t say it’s “the final straw” because I read him mostly as an aggregator of stuff from around the web and probably will continue to do so when my regular blogs are slow, but in terms of his own writing/thinking, his bit recently on “why do I have so few women readers – no, it cannot possibly have anything to do with me” was just astoundingly myopic.

        • SWNC

           /  March 29, 2012

          Yeah, that post cracked me up.

        • LizR

           /  March 29, 2012

          Oh god, I just watched his ask me anything video on that topic, where he opined and then retracted and then opined again that women just aren’t as interested in “hard” politics as men but that they should be interested in the more cultural posts. As if the fact that he thinks that very thing might not lead some women to go read political writers who do believe that women are just as interested in “hard” politics as men….

          • Aaaaaand now I know why I’ve been ignoring all of those videos…

            We all have blind spots, but when you’re shooting from the hip 75% of the time with that kind of volume, they’re a whole lot more visible.

          • chingona

             /  March 30, 2012

            On a fundamental level, he doesn’t see people in “other” groups as fully human.

            • helensprogeny

               /  March 30, 2012

              I would tend to agree. For him, discussions about “other” are always at bottom theoretical, an intellectual exercise rather than anything that touches real people. I don’t think I understood this until the Bell Curve debacle with TNC. It was as though AS genuinely didn’t get what TNC was saying. There was a dimension of his thinking (AS’s) that was missing, a fatal gap, and that gap was being able to see that the Bell Curve was talking not about an abstract idea but about actual, living people.

      • ralphdibny

         /  March 29, 2012

        I stopped reading him when all the Murray stuff resurfaced, but I occasionally wander over there like a relapsing addict. I wandered over there today and all the posts struck me as obnoxious (it used to be that only a handful bothered me, and those were easy enough to scroll past). I wonder if he’s gotten worse, or my tastes have changed. I suspect some of both.

    • aaron singer

       /  March 29, 2012

      A few years ago I went through all the post-apocalytpic movies I could find on Netflix. One of them sounds similar to that book; it centers around an eco-topia, if you will, of survivors who have gathered in what I think is Marin County. Very low-budget, not very good, and definitely not multiracial, however.

      I’ve never heard of that book–sounds interest. I’ll have to add to my list of books to read (to think of Netflix, my queue, if you will).

  7. JHarper2

     /  March 29, 2012

    From today’s Toronto Globe and Mail in an article examining attitudes in Alberta, widely believed to be Canada’s most conservative province.

    In a recent cross-country survey, the company asked whether taxes are good, because they pay for services such as roads and hospitals, or bad, because they take money out of people’s pockets. Overall, 70 per cent of Canadians say taxes are a good thing. In Alberta, it was 80 per cent.

    After Ms. Redford was chosen to lead the provincial Tories, Mr. Nenshi (mayor of Calgary) told the CBC: “We have – if you really like tokenism – a female premier, an Indo-Canadian leader of the opposition, a woman leading the third party. The mayor of the second-largest city is Jewish and the mayor of the largest city is Muslim. You know what? That’s Alberta.”

    • Oy. Down here, we used to dreaaaaaaaaaaam of such conservativism.

      Indeed, we kind of still do.

    • aaron singer

       /  March 29, 2012

      Is Edmonton more liberal than Calgary? I have relatives in Edmonton, retired now, but used to work for the university. I found that city surprisingly cosmopolitan and green and pretty, thanks to the large parks centered around the river valley.

      • Dex

         /  March 29, 2012

        Yeah, it’s way more liberal. People still refer to Calgary as cowtown. I lived in Edmonton for three years during and after my MBA and absolutely loved it. The river valley is a much-overlooked national treasure. Miles and miles and miles of immaculately-maintained trails, thousands of acres of parkland. For my money, there’s no better place on earth in the summer.

  8. koolaide

     /  March 29, 2012

    The NC fight against amendment one (the anti-gay marriage state constitutional amendment) continues. This week several Republicans have publicly stated they’re against it. And the main sponsor (and GOP state house leader) said “it’ll be overturned in a decade” but folks should vote for it anyway.

    And a new poll shows that folks in NC *still* don’t know what the amendment says but would vote for it anyway. sigh.

    http://pamshouseblend.firedoglake.com/2012/03/29/new-ppp-poll-north-carolinians-dont-know-what-amendment-one-does/

    • SWNC

       /  March 29, 2012

      What kills me is the Republican leaders who have admitted that this basically a ploy to increase conservative turnout at the ballot box. They personally *don’t actually care* about gay marriage, at least not to the point of amending the state constitution. But they’re perfectly happy to throw gay citizens and their children, as well as unmarried heterosexual domestic partners, under the bus; weaken domestic violence laws; threaten the power of municipalities to offer domestic partnerships; and make the state less attractive to the tech and financial industries it’s spent decades courting–to gain some political points. Craven, despicable weasels.

  9. I am currently scanning invoices older than Idol contestants.

    Speaking of which, go read my Idol recap from last night–Elise was AMAZING. (There’s video.)
    Also, HBO gave up and is now just posting spoiler clips. Watch at your own risk.

    Plus there’s other stuff but my boss is standing over my desk. Gotta go!

    • I used to work in billing at an academic journal. With the amount of invoices they left uncollected (and which it became my job to hunt down, because I was the only one who’d do it assiduously) it was astonishing that they managed to keep the heat on.

      • Dex

         /  March 29, 2012

        Gah, journals. I approved the final proofs of an article at a high profile journal last week. In signing off on the copyright release forms, they ask if authors would like their article to be available free to the general public (i.e., to those who do not have a subscription). I didn’t read carefully, clicked yes. I mean, DUH, who wouldn’t want that? The next screen asked for my credit card information. The cost to make a single, 7,000 word article available to others? THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

        And publishers wonder why the general is not sympathetic to their plight.

        • Captain Button

           /  March 29, 2012

          Now i am having flashback to my days of clerical work for what I think was basically the academic version of a vanity press.

          Gave me an understanding of the term “emotional labor”.

        • mythopoeia

           /  March 29, 2012

          I work in academic publishing, but in books, and *I* don’t get the economics of journals. I’d imagine it’s similar to the economics the book side has–high costs because there are few units sold of each product, with the sales format slowly lurching into increased e–but with everything skewed more heavily, both the incentive to go e-only and the costs of doing the print copies.

          But yeah, three thousand…I can’t even.

        • koolaide

           /  March 29, 2012

          There’s a group of scholars and librarians boycotting Elsevier, one of the worst of the journal publishers in terms of access, etc.

          http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/library-babel-fish/why-are-we-boycotting-elsevier

          • Dex

             /  March 29, 2012

            So funny you should say that. It was an Elsevier journal.

            • koolaide

               /  March 29, 2012

              Someone connected w/ Elsevier complained to twitter about copyright violations b/c there is a @FakeElsevier acct.

      • I have moved onto Board minutes from the 1989-1995 period. It’s watching the evolution of the typewriter through the word processor into the computer all over again.
        1994 is when it stops being the weird feed paper with the torn off side holes and turns into fancy laser jet.

        • JHarper2

           /  March 29, 2012

          1994 is when it stops being the weird feed paper with the torn off side holes and turns into fancy laser jet.

          Early adopters then?

      • LizR

         /  March 29, 2012

        That is so interesting! Was it typically libraries or individuals who weren’t paying?

    • caoil

       /  March 29, 2012

      Liked the peeps post! It’s amazing what people come up with.

      • But not the etcha sketch post?

        • caoil

           /  March 29, 2012

          What? oh oh, I missed something. BRB!

        • caoil

           /  March 29, 2012

          Aha – I went to your blog this a.m. before that one was up. That’s why. That one’s funny too!

  10. Ian

     /  March 29, 2012

    If Baiskeli should turn up, thanks for the strava.com recommendation. I used it last night for the first time. It’s very well designed and easy to use. Not the intended purpose, but my wife is going to start using it for tracking her mushing activities.

  11. neighbors73

     /  March 29, 2012

    today, I rearranged my bookshelves.

    I have MANY, MANY, MANY

    • How many? My parents have 60+ in a one story house. Beat it.

      • neighbors73

         /  March 29, 2012

        No way. I actually got cut off. See below. I culled ruthlessly when we moved here, but now they are piling back up again. What I really want are real wood bookcases, not crappy Ikea ones. Dream the Dream.

        • Theirs are all wood. Some of them are custom builds to fit in weird wall slots where there was only so much space available.

          • This is what I want, almost more than I want a non-postage-stamped sized kitchen.

            • Having a non-postage stamp sized kitchen is my favorite thing about my house, outside of the backyard.

              • stephen matlock

                 /  March 29, 2012

                How could you be outside of your backyard? Wouldn’t that then be inside your house?

                • No–the backyard is my favorite thing about owning a house. Outside of that, my next favorite thing is a kitchen big enough for three people to hang out and cook in.

    • Captain Button

       /  March 29, 2012

      But do you have enough for your books? And vice versa?

    • neighbors73

       /  March 29, 2012

      damn elves.

      Many, many, many unread books. To be fair, of the 32 unread novels, I only paid full price for 4. The rest were mostly given to me by friends or bought steeply discounted from Borders as they were going out of business.

      Probably at least another 10 non-fiction books I haven’t read. I need to stop buying books!

      • Bookwoman

         /  March 29, 2012

        No you don’t. Some of us have to keep the dead-tree publishing industry alive.

      • I have a couple hundred unread books.

        Yeah.

        • LizR

           /  March 29, 2012

          I get to check library books out for up to a year, so I have probably 20-30 unread library books sitting in my room waiting for me to read them. And this is after I returned a bunch last fall when I moved.

      • dave in texas

         /  March 29, 2012

        Oh my gosh, unread books. I have about, oh, let’s see…right, a metric fnckton of unread books. Many of which are scattered all over the place mixed among the ones I’ve read, because I too have been culling and rearranging. Lots of the unread ones are political tomes from 20-30 years ago that now have all the relevance of a buggy whip catalog.

        I had taken them all out of the shelves so I could stain and varnish them (to peremptorily discourage the wiseasses, the bookshelves, not the books), and then put the books in some kind of comprehensible order, but once I got the refinishing done, I just kinda lost momentum on the project, thus, books everywhere.

        Anybody that wants to can come by my house and pick out some books to take home. Bring your own box(es).

        • stephen matlock

           /  March 29, 2012

          why did you stain and varnish your b —

          Oh wait. I see you’ve cut me off already.

  12. The other night Colbert had The Bell Curve guy on, Charles Murray. I didn’t recognize his name at first (although the fact that his new book is about “the collapse of white America” should have tipped me off.) Then Colbert brought up The Bell Curve, and Murray said it was ridiculous for people to make a fuss about the fact that a small amount of the research he cited was done by white supremacists. I don’t think he actually said the words “white supremacists.” He called them “expert psychometricians” instead. It was pretty creepy.
    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/411212/march-27-2012/charles-murray?xrs=share_copy

    • Yeah… no. I think that’s pretty well worth making a fuss about.

      • I can’t help but think that it must be possible to write a book without any citations from white supremacists in it.

    • dmf

       /  March 29, 2012

      not a fan of Murray but he acknowledged that the people he cited received funding from some evil people so there are some dots to be connected, or not, there as to how those sources did there research.
      his new book actually sounds interesting as it is a call from the far right that acknowledges a gap between the 1% and the rest of us that threatens our democracy, not sure that will get him on faux news but i’ll give it a look.

      • Is it possible you watched a different interview with Murray? I’m not seeing any of that in the Colbert clip.

        • dmf

           /  March 29, 2012

          yes i see I over stated it he didn’t deny the funding source but rather defended the professional standing of the sources, as I said that’s not a strong link to the researchers orientations themselves, to call someone a white supremacist should take some clear evidence no? they may be scum be that’s yet to be shown.

          • dmf

             /  March 29, 2012

            pardon my poor ability to type and think, the second time I wrote “sources” I was referring to the researchers and not the funders, I’m not a fan of psychometrics but I think we have at least one person on the kibbutz who earns a living measuring peoples’ psyches and it’s a well established professional field.

    • Dex

       /  March 29, 2012

      Now you gone and done it. I’ve been fixing to post about this assclown in the coming weeks, but I’ll start it here.

      The extent to which people have overlooked the absolutely terrifying world view of this guy is nothing short of astonishing to me. I actually can’t think of a single other academic currently alive that harbors more odious views about humanity. He takes fuck you, I got mine and basically shoots it with some comic book radioactive shit to turn it into: fuck you, I got mine, and furthermore, everyone who has nothing is poor by choice AND by genetic destiny (not sure how that’s possible but it’s a pretty good failsafe for why we shouldn’t give a fuck about the poor or the unemployed), people of color are genetically inferior from a wide variety of measures, but more certainly from an intelligence standpoint, and we should create a society where we pre-sort people at their time of birth such that their genes alone dictate their place in society, and oopsie for those fucking black folk, because the best place for them is in jail, and don’t even think of interbreeding because fucks with the whole system.

      All of those things flow from the Bell Curve, but he adds his masterpiece, drip by fucking drop, with every piece of work that he churns out.

      First of all, the final chapter of Bell Curve would be nicely at home as an afterword to Mein Kampf. It’s sort of a more politically correct version, but the themes are the same. If you can read that last chapter without your skin crawling, I’m going to come out and say it: there is something wrong with you.

      Two recent works I’ll point to would be a post that he called, I believe “Keep Locking ‘Em Up.” Now, the Bell Curve is, beyond being a racist treatise, pretty much a monument to a guy who doesn’t know the difference between mean and standard deviation, and certainly doesn’t understand either causality, or allow for the existence of unexplained variation. In short, the guy is statistically illiterate and morally bankrupt.. But the Keep Locking ‘Em Up post demonstrates his inability to even understand a basic graphic. As the thesis for the post, he puts up a graph that superimposes incarceration rates with crime rates. For two roughly equal periods of time, crime continues to go up with the incarceration rate, and then crime comes down as the incarceration rate increase. And magically, with a wave of his fetid hand, he ignores the fact that crime actually went up for quite some time, completely destroying his thesis. Note also the invocation of ’em. Note that he links high incarceration rates with a betterment of society and his repeated allusion that them colored folk are the ones causing most all the crime. When we combine this article with the last chapter of the Bell Curve, we MUST take from this that the proper place in society for black men is to be behind bars, for that is where we find their true dignity.

      And, finally, his most recent article that chapped my hide was, without any subtlety whatsoever, that the solution to unemployment was to… wait for it… wait for it… to do more shaming of people who choose not to work. I don’t even want to go into this article, as I’m starting to feel nauseous. Basically, it can be summarized as: without exception, every single person who is unemployed is unemployed by choice. There is no such thing as bad luck. The way to fix all of this is to shame those lazy, pathetic losers. I am unsure how this can be reconciled with the fact that his prior life works have been dedicated to establishing that all human successes and failures are genetically predetermined. I can only assume that the righteousness of shame, and shame alone, is magically able to overcome genetic determinism.

      • Now don’t hold back . . . tell us how you really feel.

        I just rewatched the Colbert interview, pursuant to my exchange with dmf above, and it was still creepy and I don’t think he ever figured out that Colbert was playing him. I never read The Bell Curve and don’t really know anything else about Murray. But your comments do not surprise me.

      • dmf

         /  March 29, 2012

        not saying he’s not a schmuck but never over look the power of a wedge to apply to cracks in foundations of your enemies base

        • Dex

           /  March 29, 2012

          I mean, sure. The problem is that critique is 17+ years old at this point, and it’s superficial. The problems are far deeper than that, and the fact that the guy is still being taken seriously and given national stages is really remarkable. We are not talking about some idiotic shock jock. We are talking about a person who writes and publishes pseudo-academic stuff that is the modern day version of eugenics.

          • dmf

             /  March 29, 2012

            the only people who take him seriously are his fellow AEI cultists and like minded loons, no one is going to read that book, and if they have to acknowledge the wealth gap as dangerous to our democracy (and their beloved imaginary White culture) than I say we use that crowbar.

      • taylor16

         /  March 29, 2012

        You … you are my hero. Seriously. Can you feel me high-fiving you?

      • neighbors73

         /  March 29, 2012

        I would like your forthcoming child to be a girl. Then, we’ll marry her off to my very handsome boy. Then, they will create genetically superior mixed-race grandchildren who will be so fucking smart they will take over the world. Then, we’ll find this asshole and all his grandkids and challenge them to a game of kickball. We’ll kick their asses all over the place, of course, But then, afterwards, we’ll drink some beers with them to show them we’re all good guys—but the whole time we’ll be plotting for Sara to be putting holes in all their tires.

        It’s going to be fucking epic. Everyone’s invited.

  13. dmf

     /  March 29, 2012

    • aaron singer

       /  March 29, 2012

      One of the first concerts I ever went to, sans parents, was (pre-Fergie) Black Eyed Peas, Common, & Macy Gray. It was awesome, although we got there after the time on the ticket, and somehow it actually started on time, so only saw two songs from BEP.

      • dmf

         /  March 29, 2012

        nice, i’m not fan of the BEP but have enjoyed the Roots live an hope to see MG someday but not for her sorry new cover album so no rush there

        • aaron singer

           /  March 29, 2012

          BEP’s first two albums were pretty good. A little on the corny said with their samples and covers of some classic hip-hop songs/lines, but still fun, nonetheless.

          The Roots are amazing, tied with The Band as my favorite music group ever. And live they’re even better, a rarity in the hip-hop world.

          As for Macy Gray, I haven’t listened to her in years.

    • Hilariously, my strongest memory of her work is almost diametrically opposed to the one you posted, that track she did with Mos Def, where her voice managed to sound crazed and terrifying:

  14. David L

     /  March 29, 2012

    Anyone else managed to get sucked in by the ridiculously huge Mega Millions lotto jackpot? I put a buck into an office pool. (Well, actually, a co-worker put a buck in on my behalf, and I owe her.) I may spend another couple for myself.

    I have three semesters in college probability and statistics, people. I know that the probability of having a winning combination approaches zero. And yet…

    • One of the owners of my dad’s store bought 400 tickets and says that if any of them hit he’s going to share the winnings equally among all the employees.

      • neighbors73

         /  March 29, 2012

        But then who will work for him?

        • After taxes it works out to about $160,000/employee, or so I’m told. So, probably everyone who already works for him =P

          • aaron singer

             /  March 29, 2012

            The store has about 1,000 employees? Or is my math off?

            • I have no idea, but as it’s a major supermarket franchise with a full office staff, staff for every department, full-time and part-time and night crew, it’s possible.

    • chingona

       /  March 29, 2012

      And yet, you can’t win if you don’t play.

    • My bf was talking about it. AFAIK he hasn’t actually bought a ticket. I’m so clueless about the lottery that I didn’t even know there was a national one. I thought it was all done by the states.

      • aaron singer

         /  March 29, 2012

        There is no national lottery, per se, but a conglomeration of state lotteries together. There used to be two separate conglomerations, Mega Millions and Powerball, but I think the two kind of merged a few years ago (you can buy tickets for either game in more states). 44 states take part; Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii abstain. California, however, is still Mega Millions-only, while Florida is Powerball-only. I believe this jackpot is Mega Millions.

        • Thanks, that’s very informative. I think the last time I paid attention to the lottery it was some kind of three-state arrangement.

    • I always buy exactly one ticket for Mega Millions & PowerBall. Wierder things have happened, but I’m actually looking towards the lower tier prizes. Someone won a quarter million in my neighborhood Friday, and my supervisor won $150 Tuesday.

    • I’m weird and would actually rather win a small lottery jackpot than a big one. If it was more than, say, half a million dollars after taxes, I’d have to figure out how to give almost all of it away, and quickly. I have a feeling that having that much money would really mess up my life.

      • Dex

         /  March 29, 2012

        If it didn’t mess up your life, you would be a rarity. There’s all kinds of research about the problems associated with playing and winning lotteries. The whole gaming industry is basically this giant machine designed to create, sustain, and make profit from myriad social problems.

        • Can you say more about this? I am intrigued.

          • A lot of it got covered in the This American Life piece about a guy who used to buy annuities from lottery winners for lump sums:

            http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/329/nice-work-if-you-can-get-it?act=2

          • Dex

             /  March 29, 2012

            Yeah, I had a gigantic post written about this but decided against it. I already feel bad for posting what I did. I think maybe I should talk about it another time and in a different context so that I don’t spoil people’s excitement about the big jackpot.

          • cofax

             /  March 29, 2012

            People who win lotteries get hit up endlessly by everyone who knows them, tend to spend recklessly, and don’t invest well. The social/familiar dynamic gets totally screwy and a lot of them end up miserable–either they give in to the demands and that ruins the relationship because they feel they’re being taken advantage of, or they hold onto the money and all their friends/family resents them for not sharing their good luck.

            There’s some equivalent research about pro sports players, explaining why so many top draft picks end up broke even before they retire.

            • Exactly. I’m already kind of paranoid about my social relationships, so it’d just be a disaster if I had to start worrying about whether people were friendly because they liked me or because they liked my money. As a stable but far from rich grad student, that’s not much of a concern.

      • watson42

         /  March 29, 2012

        But…but….think of all the books and booze you could buy! You could start your own distillery. 🙂

        • Heh. Even on my grad student stipend, I can already buy more booze and books than I can consume in a reasonable amount of time.

          And if I was independently wealthy I’d probably start an independent bottling company. Traveling to distilleries around the world selecting particularly interesting casks to bottle or age in creative ways would be a whole lot of fun.

          • watson42

             /  March 29, 2012

            If you need someone to lend a hand with tasting and selection, I’m looking for a job… 🙂

      • David L

         /  March 29, 2012

        Really, I’ve always thought it was kind of pointless once you get beyond the point where you could live a life of luxury even if you keep everything in 20s under your mattress. My “What would I do if I won the lottery?” fantasies have pretty much always included a lot of charity.

        I think that what I’d find ideal is enough that, after buying a nice but not ostentatious house, I had enough left over to serve as my retirement nest egg even if I skim off some of the interest/investment income for some extra spending money. That’s only really a couple million, depending on how much the house is.

        • helensprogeny

           /  March 29, 2012

          This is exactly how I feel about it. I’d probably bank $5 million and live off the interest, after buying a small house (maybe 2 – a winter house and a summer house; I love Tucson but not in the summer!). I’d split the win with family members so that we’d be on an equal financial footing and then put the rest in an irrevocable trust administered by lawyers or some such. I’d make the trust income available to friends and charities.

          Honestly, I’d really just like to have enough money to not have to work anymore, to do some traveling and to make sure my nephew gets a really good start in life. Beyond that, I’d likely give it all away.

      • neighbors73

         /  March 29, 2012

        Totally agreed. I’d be completely stoked to win like 10 grand and refinance my house and set up a college fund for the kid.

        • Bookwoman

           /  March 29, 2012

          At the rate tuitions are going, you’d be better off winning 100 grand.

          • aaron singer

             /  March 29, 2012

            Even that would likely only pay for 2 years nowadays.

            • It’s just crazy. I thought my alma mater was expensive when I went there, but tuition and other costs have increased by ~30% since I started. I don’t know how students are going to keep shouldering that kind of financial burden.

    • Adam Baldwin tweeted today that if any Firefly/Serenity fans win, they’re going to hit said fan up for sequel money.

  15. koolaide

     /  March 29, 2012

    I still need to do my taxes. And my stupid student loan company didn’t mail me the form I need b/c they were mad I paid off early. So I’ve got to go print it off their weirdly designed site.

    Ok, so their stated reason was I paid less than $400 in interest in 2011 so they weren’t *obligated* to mail the form. :rolls eyes:

    • koolaide

       /  March 29, 2012

      dang. good for him. I would not handle things so well.

    • That’s really cool.

    • JHarper2

       /  March 29, 2012

      I’m impressed by his principles. He will not harass anyone for just exercising first amendment rights by protesting outside the clinic itself. Only if they call homes and other businesses will he ask his network to call them. Leave his home and children and school alone, and he will leave you alone.

      Principled man.
      and Clever

    • Electronic_Neko

       /  March 29, 2012

      Good on him. What an excellent example of standing your ground without de-humanizing your opponent!

    • chingona

       /  March 29, 2012

      I was going to share that, too. I thought it was an awesome way to respond.

    • taylor16

       /  March 29, 2012

      That is fantastic. Good on him.

      And good on the writer, who actually notes that the way to reduce abortions at least somewhat is to provide contraception and financial help to parents.

      It’s sad that it’s so rare to see that kind of argument being made.

      • R_Bargis

         /  March 29, 2012

        And yet I wonder if people who feel so strongly about abortion being wrong that they’ll protest an abortion clinic’s landlord’s daughter’s school will ever support anything that even tacitly promotes women working outside the home, the idea that sex can be enjoyable and healthy*, or parenthood being a chosen joy instead of a consequence of sinful behavior, like comprehensive sex education, birth control, or maternity leave.

    • helensprogeny

       /  March 29, 2012

      I’m totally impressed with the way he handled this. I’m also apparently deeply naive about the depths to which the anti-choice faction stoops. Whatever these people are doing, it isn’t opposing abortion. This is some seriously deranged shit.

  16. watson42

     /  March 29, 2012

    As I’ve aged, I’ve developed a deep and abiding love for Bruce Springsteen, both as a musician and as a person. I’ve heard his music for most of my life, but it’s taken this long for me to love it/him.

    • dmf

       /  March 29, 2012

      you know i have come to love a lot of things that i once found bitter but the boss ain’t one of them (his music, don’t know him as a person), different strokes…

      • watson42

         /  March 29, 2012

        I admit to being a little wierded out by it. I like many different kinds of music, but for the longest time Bruce just produced a big “meh” from me. Then over the last couple of years, something changed.

      • Bookwoman

         /  March 29, 2012

        I can’t understand the lyrics. I don’t mind the songs, but I have no idea what he’s saying 80% of the time. (And for the record, I felt the same way about him when I was 25, before I became a middle-aged curmudgeon.)

        • dmf

           /  March 29, 2012

          see i struggle to find the tune in his songs (except the occasional cheesy radio hit) like listening to a live dead tape to my untutored ears

    • He’s in town Sunday. I’d like to go, but can’t justify the expense right now.

      I did see Bruce play on my 40th birthday weekend, in Baltimore, doing ‘Born to Run’ in its entirety. (It was Clemons’ next to last show.) I can only wish to have that much strength and energy when I’m 60. I can only wish to have it NOW. He was amazing.

    • koolaide

       /  March 29, 2012

      I don’t think I’m going to click that link today. I’ve hit my head on my desk too many times and I’m afraid of (more) brain trauma.

  17. Ok, so the shtetl sent JH2 into moderation. WHAT UP, SHTETL?

    On the other hand, he sent me an email alerting me to the issue with the subject head: “Help Help I’m being repressed.”

    So it’s kind of all good.

    • dmf

       /  March 29, 2012

      it must be the keffiyeh on his avatar…

      • HA! You make an excellent point! It’s really very keffiyeh-esque.

        It’s the Israeli government.

        O_O

    • caoil

       /  March 29, 2012

      Truly, now we see the power inherent in the system (of WordPress?)…or something.

    • Bookwoman

       /  March 29, 2012

      Now we see the violence inherent in the WordPress system!

      • JHarper2

         /  March 29, 2012

        That’s what I said!

        • Bookwoman

           /  March 29, 2012

          I highly approve of your allusions.

        • I genuinely cannot understand how it is that we haven’t shown the 12 year old this movie yet.

          Who are that boy’s parents?!

          • watson42

             /  March 29, 2012

            True story: My dad is the one who insisted all his kids watch this movie. And insisted we get educated enough to understand all the allusions. (My sister at 10: “But Dad, I don’t get why that’s funny.”) As somewhat of a religious scholar, my dad to this day can’t watch the holy hand grenade bit without dissolving into helpless laughter.

            • chingona

               /  March 29, 2012

              I watched this movie literally dozens of times growing up. When I was maybe 11, during the Castle Anthrax scene, I turned to my dad and asked “What’s oral sex?” His response was: “If you don’t know, I’m not about to tell you.” So I turned to our recently purchased set of World Book Encyclopedias and read the entire entry on sex, which covered everything from mitosis to plant sexual reproduction to human childbirth, but did not tell me what oral sex meant.

              • baiskeli

                 /  March 29, 2012

                Santorum is still flipping through the pages of “World Book Encyclopedias” looking for “safe sex”

            • aaron singer

               /  March 29, 2012

              I was active in my synagogue’s youth group growing up. One day saturday night we just hung out in the synagogue’s multi-purpose room and watched Life of Brian.😉

            • efgoldman

               /  March 29, 2012

              As somewhat of a religious scholar, my dad to this day can’t watch the holy hand grenade bit without dissolving into helpless laughter.
              I’, not religious, and definitely not a scholar, but I keep the plush ‘Oley ‘And Grenade on my desk at work. And yes, it still cracks me up.

          • caoil

             /  March 29, 2012

            You get on that, or I’ll show up at your house wearing my Impasse shirt, and with my copy of the DVD!

            • Well, now you’re just encouraging me to leave him un-educated.

              Threats – UR DOIN IT RONG.

              /makes up the guest bed

              • caoil

                 /  March 29, 2012

                HA! And your son will turn to you and say, who’s your weird friend and why is she on our doorstep?

                • Are you kidding? This is the kid who discussed theology with me and his best friend over lunch, who kinda-sorta wanted to bail on his big 7th grade field trip so he could see Hunger Games at midnight on opening night, and asked for a Dr. Hammer shirt for Hanukkah.

                  I think he’d welcome you in and get you a cup of tea.

          • Considering BJ had already shown it to hers multiple times….

          • socioprof

             /  March 29, 2012

            Don’t let him suffer my fate. I didn’t see this movie until last month. I am now a convert.

            • O_O

              Well, my God woman, I just don’t know what to think about that. I’m horrified, certainly, but that doesn’t quite cover it.

              Thank all that’s holy that you’ve rectified that circumstance!

        • caoil

           /  March 29, 2012

          Dennis is one of my favourite characters from that movie. And I use “there you go, bringing class into it again” all the time on my soci-degree partner.

  18. So.

    Did you see the huge mistake I’ve been making for years now? https://emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/huge-correction-re-ehud-olmert-the-arab-peace-initiative/

    Yeah, that’s always fun to find out.

  19. ennstar

     /  March 29, 2012

    i turned 27 today. i am–and feel–young as balls, but i think i just passed the line to where i have to say “in my late twenties” in reference to myself.

    in unrelated news, i am getting some new furniture this week. bookshelves, mainly, to house the extra hundred or two books that i somehow have accumulated in the past few years.

    • caoil

       /  March 29, 2012

      high-five, fellow end-of-March baby! 27’s a pretty good year. I hope there’s cake in your future?

    • Electronic_Neko

       /  March 29, 2012

      Happy birthday! I’ll be turning 28 at the end of next month, and I know that feel. The fact that I am nearly 30 freaks me out. I have learned not to mention this to my co-workers, because they laugh at me.

      Yaay, bookshelves!

    • SWNC

       /  March 29, 2012

      Happy birthday, young’un! (I am rapidly approaching the “mid-thirties” myself.)

    • mythopoeia

       /  March 29, 2012

      Dies felix tibi, dies felix tibi, dies felix enstari, dies felix tibi!

    • Happy Birthday!

      Can you get some shelves for me, too, please? Thx.

    • dave in texas

       /  March 29, 2012

      Hmmph. Lawn…well, you know the rest.

      Happy Birthday, young’un.

    • Bookwoman

       /  March 29, 2012

      Many happy returns of the day! And more bookshelves are good!

    • happy birthday buddy.

    • socioprof

       /  March 29, 2012

      Happy, happy!!!

    • helensprogeny

       /  March 29, 2012

      Happy Birthday! Congratulations on late 20s!

    • Darth Thulhu

       /  March 29, 2012

      ¡Feliz cumpleaños, Señor!

    • Ian

       /  March 29, 2012

      Congratulations on your birthday and especially your new shelves. Shelves are wondrous things.

    • wearyvoter

       /  March 29, 2012

      Happy Birthday.

  20. caoil

     /  March 29, 2012

    Speaking of shirts, I hope someone out there is buying this in advance of your voting day? I would absolutely wear that in a Canadian version…

  21. baiskeli

     /  March 29, 2012

    So, I’m having a good day.

    Former company got bought, they’re paying out on the iso’s I purchased when I left, I’m making a huge profit (like 400%)

    Then I just had my review, and I’m getting a really great bonus and a great pay raise to boot.

    So, just in case I’m on a lucky run, I bought 10 1$ tickets for Mass Mega Millions, first time I’ve ever played the lottery.

    • Bookwoman

       /  March 29, 2012

      And you’ll share the winnings with all of us, right?

      • baiskeli

         /  March 30, 2012

        Ye.. cough cough. Sorry, what did you say?
        🙂

    • Yay! That’s all very awesome! (And I’m tempted to buy a few tickets myself. After I said that I’d buy that Serenity model when I won the lottery, someone asked me if I play the lottery. I said “No, actually.” He said “So you’re not even taking the first step.” !)

      Also, OT in the OT, but were you the person who mentioned (somewhere, last week) the fact that African American parents are known to teach their kids to always get a receipt and bag when they buy something?

      • baiskeli

         /  March 29, 2012

        Get thee to a corner store and buy at least 1 ticket.

        Also, OT in the OT, but were you the person who mentioned (somewhere, last week) the fact that African American parents are known to teach their kids to always get a receipt and bag when they buy something?

        Actually, no, but I do remember seeing that comment, just don’t remember who made it. It’s something I always do.

        • It’s driving me nuts, because I want to thank that person!

          I talked about it with my son and his best friend today, as we went in and out of a couple of stores. Just: Here’s a thing that you’re parents never feel the need to mention to you – because no one ever decides you’re a thief before you’ve even stepped into the store.

          • Bookwoman

             /  March 29, 2012

            I think it might have been watson42. But you should know that menopause has rendered my brain a tad forgetful at times.

            • baiskeli

               /  March 29, 2012

              Yes, I think it may have been watson42

          • helensprogeny

             /  March 29, 2012

            I’m with Bookwoman, both in thinking that it was watson42 and in being so menopausal that my mind has taken leave of its senses and been reduced to a simmering vat of hormonal forgetfulness.

            • Bookwoman

               /  March 29, 2012

              And hot flashes. Let us not forget the hot flashes.

              *fans self vigorously*

              • helensprogeny

                 /  March 29, 2012

                Mercifully, I have so far been largely spared the hot flashes. Operative phrase being “so far”. This process has been an adventure in the fine art of feeling like shit, so we’ll see what happens.

                I have seen a lovely bumper sticker which might interest you though. It says: They’re not Hot Flashes, They’re Power Surges!

                • Bookwoman

                   /  March 30, 2012

                  Yeah – there’s an entire website called power-surge.com that deals with all the menopause issues. I’ve been very lucky in that my mood has been great through all of this. I just perspire a lot.🙂

    • stephen matlock

       /  March 29, 2012

      Don’t forget your friends here when you become rich.

    • socioprof

       /  March 29, 2012

      Whoo-hoo!!!