Saturday, May 07, 2016


I don't usually just put stuff out there without comment, as many of you run across much of the same material.  But I don't have much to add to these essays and I think they are valuable.

Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim have an article about how to reduce racial tensions on college campuses that is based on research.  Imagine that. I think they miss a major point, but in the short run it doesn't matter.  Giving people common goals rather than incentives to divide by race seems fairly obvious. BTW, I have heard the accusation that fraternities and sororities encourage less interaction with minorities but had thought it exaggerated because it's not overt and it might be a product of selection.  Haidt and Jussim claim there is some hard evidence, and give a plausible explanation how it might happen without anyone necessarily meaning it to.

I have read and liked something else by Laura Miller over at Slate before, but don't rememebr what.  This is stand-alone good enough however, Save The Allegory. There is not only an attempt to rescue the word from its misuse as a mere synonym for metaphor, but the best explanation of how to understand and appreciate medieval allegory and subsequent modern expressions that I have read. What Ho! I may have another go at The Faerie Queen, which I have felt obligated to like but been unable to these many years. She mentions CS Lewis's literary criticism, which is a reliable way to my good side.

Over at Market Urbanism, The Need For Low-Quality Housing, and a companion piece that some aspects of trailer parks are better than the other low-cost alternatives.  


james said...

We've been pretty wealthy in the US for quite some time--wealthy enough that we make the assumption that you leave home and live on your own right away. (Althouse is on the same topic) That doesn't seem sustainable. Or necessarily wise.

We're looking into "joint independence" for some of the children. There's no clear construct for this, which seems weird to me.

FWIW, if you want to read Fairie Queene, don't use the free kindle version. It scrambles text and translation and footnotes in a most confusing fashion. I finished book 1, but never mustered the enthusiasm to finish the rest.

Korora said...

r.e. Haidt and Jussim's article: Not only does microagression awareness give moral authority to the vindictive, but it also ensures that those differently abled in the area of social skills be extra-vulnerable to entrapment by SJW's.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Yes, Korora, the usual example is of Asperger-y boys being easily victimised in such ways, but I'm guessing that socially clumsy girls in dorm life have the same problem. They have always had to endure whatever social punishments attend that, but now some sort of school disciplinary charge can be added to it.

Children are also receiving a lot of instruction about turning in bullies or standing up to them. These two values are going to increasingly conflict.

jaed said...

As far as I know, standing up to bullies is verbal only. Physically standing up to a bully will get you punished, even if you were acting in clear self-defense (or defense of someone else) against an unprovoked physical attack. The unwillingness to make moral distinctions... come to think of it, is also seen in the microaggression phenomenon, where simple curiosity is sometimes put on the same level as willful, malignant discrimination. Hmm.

James's comment:
wealthy enough that we make the assumption that you leave home and live on your own right away
made me think that this is also affecting marriage patterns. Leaving your parents' house used to often be done when you got married (and thus moved into adult life). Now you move into adult life first, as a single person, and then get married down the road. Marriage is no longer the adulthood rite of passage, largely because we can and do live independently prior to marriage.

Texan99 said...

I think you can have confidence in the Project Gutenberg version, though I find only Book I listed:

Retriever said...

I think the points in the Haidt and Jussim article about the Army's success in combatting racism are crucial. Equal standards, common goals, and people working together are what unite us. I may sound cliched, but by contrast my workplace forces us to go to diversity workshops And yet discriminating (in some hiring and lay off practices) against African Americans. For some reason, they are less discriminatory against Hispanics, and my theory is that they have worked out some legal angle that lets them claim anyone with brown skin as a generic "minority". i tried to persuade a group of African American friends to bring a civil rights suit when some of them were laid off as a group (spurious reason, replaced by new people tho their jobs had supposedly been eliminated ) after years of service. But it wasn't me who would be looking for another job, so they didn't. Whistleblowers rarely if ever work again.

On the low cost housing I think trailers are often great You could have privacy and even a bit of a garden to grow flowers and tomatoes. way better than a rooming house and smelling your roommate's digestion after the land lady's cabbage! I also think budget tiny houses, perhaps like Ikea's one or smaller cd be good. One might reexamine those shipping containers as homes again. The crucial issues there are ventilation to avoid baking to death in summer and condensation in winter , also the toxic chemicals with which they saturAte the floors of the containers to deter bugs (not healthy for people). But shipping containers can be arranged in stacks in odd urban spots convenient for work, then got rid of when no longer needed, and really cheap. You could have a common bathroom to avoid heavy plumbing expenses, tho give everyone a kitchen sink?

I do agree with the comment about the vulnerability of those with Asperger's or the shy to bullying, or quite simply to terminal loneliness. Ironically, a FRIENDLY boarding house might be a boon for them. But easier to find in theory than practice.

In our family we have provided free housing at home w us initially to kids after college. One of ours paid offALL school loans in a year by this method (and by not getting a car and walking/bicycling/taking the train). However we saw that tho we all got along, and kids seemed to appreciate support after a tough day at office, (mom's good dinner, sympathy) they definitely became more grownup and confident and happier away from us. Nobody likes having parents in their business all the time. kids need privacy to talk to friends or a loved one, but it's nice if they live close enough to come over for TLC or free dinner or to borrow something from time to time. I just think it's better for them to live in ratty apartments independently and feel grownup than be showered w treats and abundance in the parental home and feel like children.
One problem w micro apartments and SROs is how to cook and store food safely and hygienically. It used to be men who didn't cook but bought meals out in SROs. This is an expensive way to eat. Also, the best way to save money on food is to grow what u can, buy in bulk, cook from scratch in bulk and use leftovers, etc. This all takes up a certain amount of space. A yard helps. What good does it do to have cheap rent if you blow a fortune on meals out?? I feel strongly about this, having lived on 9 dollars a week for food during grad school and in early years of work. I could only do it because my grungy apartments had real kitchen facilities, balconies and back yards so I could make big pots of soup, bake bread, make yogurt, sprout seeds, grow herbs and cherry tomatoes, etc. The Birkenstock Hippy Cook...