Saturday, April 17, 2021

Gelfand's "Rule Makers, Rule Breakers" (2018) will matter for the pandemic


Rules matter when you fly 

Just a quick preview of Michele Gelfand’s “Rule Makes, Rule Breakers: Tight and Loose Cultures and the Secret Signals that Direct our Lives”, 2018, Scribner, paperback.

Right at the beginning, she credits humans for developing social norms because they are so necessaru, relative to other animals.

And there are tight and loose cultures, often related to the degree of external threats the cultures have faced in recent years.

Singapore is one of the tightest. She gives the narrative of Michael Fay, who got a caning in 1994.

But it seems that there is a big difference between social norms about waiting in line, to privacy invasion norms about forbidding homosexual acts, to even educating people into how they must find (opposite sex) partners, as was common there in the 1980s.

The social norms of religious cultures like Islam are often very strict because of the troubled tribal history of the past.

Prospectively, the message in this book will certainly matter for the COVID pandemic.

Monday, April 12, 2021

How to make "low-content books" that sell online (without writing); it's about "commercial viability" folks!


Central Virginia, day trip, near intentional communities

Kat Theo has a video, 20 minutes, “Make thousands a month selling books online, no writing required” (March 2021). 

The emphasis is on “low-content books”.

Examples:  puzzles, cookbooks, coloring books, notebooks.  (John Fish’s growth book is an example, see his YouTube channel).

She presents “Bookbolt” as having the toolkit to manufacture the books, for sale on Amazon. 

This sounds like a “commercial viability” concept, like how to build a money-making video channel without filming your own videos (main blog, April 9).

I wanted to mention, I got an email promoting a small publishing activity for trans and non-binary people, called Gendercool.  Promoting that culturally is not my own cup of tea, but I wanted to pass the news along.  The idea of this material for age 5 seems a bit challenging.

  I don’t write children’s myself, but I get a lot of questions about it, as it seems like a cash cow for many booksellers.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

“Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals”: Karlyn Borysenko reminds us of one of its most shocking ideas in describing the "investigation" of a non-woke professor

LWTech Allied Health Building 2


I need to mention another older book on this blog, Saul D. Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals”, as analyzed here on infed by Mike Seal.    The book, 196 pages, was originally published in 1971 by Random House.

One of its most shocking quotes: “He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of ‘personal salvation’; he doesn’t care enough for people to ‘be corrupted’ for them.”   That is, “the end justifies the means”.  If I had to give in to this, I would prefer not to exist at all.

Another one “He who sacrifices the mass good for his personal conscience has a peculiar conception of ‘personal salvation’; he doesn’t care enough for people to ‘be corrupted’ for them.”/

Or, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it (Alinsky 1972: 130). This is perhaps Saul Alinsky’s most controversial rule and is the counter to the common idea that we should not make things personal.

The book comes up at the start of Karlyn Borysenko’s video on the trials of Elisa Parrett, a newly tenured professor of English at the Washington Institute of Technology, who was investigated for 8 months after objecting to segregated sessions teaching white fragility and critical theory at the workplace (although she visited the Trump rally Jan 6 but did not go into the Capitol).  Reason magazine describes the whole situation in an essay April 5 by Jesse Sengal. 

 Update: April 11  I want to supplement this review by referring people to Graeme Wood's Atlantic essay "The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse".  He talks about Peter Turchin (professor and sci-fi writerm "War and Peace and War" (2006), and the idea that we are producing too many elites who can't do their own manual labor. Too many people in the ruling class.  Too many equivalents of Saudi princes. A bit neo-Marxist. 

Embed of Wikipedia picture, click for attribution. 

Monday, April 05, 2021

Don Lemon previews “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism”


New Orleans, French Quarter, early 2006

Don Lemon, CNN night anchor at 10 PM, gives an interview to Time Magazine (March 29, p. 104), Jannell Ross, about his new book from Little Brown, 224 pages, “This Is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism”, link.

An interesting part of the interview is how Lemon distinguishes “point of view” from “opinion”.  Indeed, in my own life, a succession of episodes, one leading to the next and always with irony, establishes a “point of view”, where I am unwilling to go along with a superficial idea of group-centered tribal justice.

The interviewer challenges Lemon on his earlier comments five years ago to black youths, “pull up your pants”.  He says there is no real contradiction among his statements of position.

There is mention in the online (not print) review of the Online German Coast Slave Uprising on the Mississippu River in 1811.   

Friday, April 02, 2021

"Reimagine Safety: A project of the Editorial Board in consultation with outside voices" by the Washington Post

BLM Plaza, DC, June 2020

The Washington Post has a six-part booklet style (with illustrations and murals) opinion, “Reimagine Safety: A project of the Editorial Boardin consultation with outside voices.”

Part 1 is “Police reform is not enough.  We need to rethink public safety”.

Part 2 is “Whom can we call for help? Police should not always be the only option.”

Part 3 is, we should change the physical environment of neighborhood schools to make them safer

Part 4 is, we must focus our resources on those with the highest risk to prevent violence

Part 5 is, we need to empower community leaders with resources

Part 6 is, we must deal with police unions.

But we also have to deal with how much stability we expect when there is so much inequity.  That seems to be what “Antifa” screams at us.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Shanna Swan's "Count Down", a book about pollution and declining sperm counts


Ocean City MD, 2014

There are sporadic reports online about shrinking male fertility and even “primary organ” size, as a result of chemical pollution.  TRTWorld proffers the article “What’s behind the epidemic of shrinking genitals and low male fertility?”  It warns that boys are poisoned in the womb, and are growing up with low drive, obesity, diabetes, and lack of masculinity.   

But the article leads to a discussion of a book in GQ, review by Andrew Zalewski, book by Shanna Swan, “Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race”, from Scribner, Feb. 2021, 304 pages hardcover.   Zalewski interviews Swan, who warns we face a dystopian world like “The Handmaid’s Tale” (or maybe the 2006 film "Children of Men").

  Some of her findings are based on an Oxford Update  ("Human Reproduction Update" from 2017), to which she contributed. 

It’s ironic that, with all the talk of non-binary status, gay men desire masculinity and potency from partners strictly out of upward affiliation rather than procreation. Swan may be hinting at what George Gilder had called “Sexual Suicide’ in a 1973 Quadrangle book.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Bret Weinstein effectively reviews new book by Ibram X. Kendi, "Be Anti-racist"


BLM Plaza, Washington DC, June 2020

DarkHorse Podcast Clips with Bret Weinstein offers what amounts to a book review of Ibram X. Kendi’s  Be Antiracist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection and Action”, from One World, Oct. 2020.

The philosophy of the book forces everyone into a binary state.  There is no in between (not racist and not actively and publicly anti-racist as a public ally).  The video explores the logical contradictions that come from such a position, resulting that eliminating the possibilities that are inconvenient happen only out of seizing power, not out of moral rightness in itself.  Weinstein points out some internal logical contradictions in the idea of equity as compared to equality. Jordan Peterson has done the same in the past. 

I don’t see that this was covered in John Fish’s survey reviewed here June 6, 2020 (even in the comments).

Kendi has many other related books, including children’s, at this Amazon link.

Kendi’s work seems to have taken over the controversial “diversity training” lesson plans from Robin DiAngelo.