36 Comments
Apr 23, 2023·edited Apr 23, 2023

Freddie is the only guy whose songs of the week range from Electric Wizard to Melissa Etheridge. I think we need some Type O Negative soon! Or even some Skinny Puppy (currently on their final tour -- I'm seeing them in Beantown tonight).

Expand full comment

This post's title is "ust Break Up with the Clintons Already" -- but I don't see anything else about the Clintons. What am I missing?

Expand full comment
author

The digest post titles never have anything to do with the posts.

Expand full comment

But its the thought that counts...............

Expand full comment
Apr 23, 2023·edited Apr 23, 2023

I never could grasp the scenario being described in "Come to My Window." The refrain lyrics: "Come to my Window/Come inside, wait by the light of the moon/Come to my window/I'll be home soon." As far as I can gather, the speaker is asking the person to come to their home, at night, when they're not at home, break in, and then wait in the dark for them to return. I understand that this was before cellphones and all, but I think that they probably could have coordinated better w/r/t time. The break-in aspect seems a bit risky, and waiting by the light of the moon just seems like an unnecessary inconvenience. In all, I just don't think that the relationship being described had any real future.

Expand full comment
author

The video version depicts the speaker of the song as locked up in a psychiatric hospital, which fits the overall mood of the song but not the specifics of the lyrics

Expand full comment

I had to go back and watch the video wondering if I'd ever seen it. Seeing Juliette Lewis jogged my memory. I also seem to remember there being some dumb controversy surrounding the video, but I could be imagining that.

Expand full comment

The lyrics and visuals spoke to an intensity of longing the womyn in my community at the time felt in every cell of our bodies. It was visceral, not literal.

“What do they know about this love a-ny-wayyyy….”

Indeed.

Expand full comment

The only logical followup for song of the week is “Fuck the Pain Away.” I will not be looking at replies to this.

Expand full comment

Alright, I looked and was very sad that no one replied.

Expand full comment

Only innocent types around here.

Expand full comment

😂 you’re not wrong

Expand full comment

"Mandarin and other Chinese languages and dialects have been considered serious, practical majors for some time because of the potential professional value of speaking in China. But why would the ability to speak in Francophone Africa be less valuable, unless you think Africa will never produce economic muscle to match its population?"

Because people in that situation aren't thinking about "never," they are looking at the last twenty years and projecting the next twenty or thirty years. And Francophone Africa's recent history is, shall we say, a bit different from China's.

But I suppose it is always easier to just call someone racist.

Expand full comment

Off topic, but does anyone here have recommendations on lifts focused on forearms?

Expand full comment
author

I never bothered because the act of picking up heavy plates and dumbells etc always worked my forearms sufficiently.

Expand full comment

I'm a bit jealous. I think with my frame, doing compound exercises isn't enough to build up my forearms the way I'd prefer.

Expand full comment

Also, I love the still from Inherent Vice. Such a great movie.

Expand full comment

I hear hand gripes work well. And you can do them anywhere.

Expand full comment

Seconding hand grips, and basically anything rock climbers use. My forearms exploded in size since I’ve started climbing.

Expand full comment

"Of Boys and Men"... no "affirmative action" is required. Just adopt MAGA principles:

- No CRT

- Follow the Constitution as intended

- Free speech

- Kids belong to parents

- Election integrity

- Limited government

- Law and order

- Family values

- Secure the border

- Strong defense

- Freedom and liberty

But most importantly a rejection of the globalist corporatist take-over of the economy and a return to the small American producer and business... where copious career paths exist for boys and men to work and build their lives.

This is the piece missing. Boys in general always fidgeted in the classroom. The 150 year old lecture model was always more suited to females. Boys would eventually exit the education system and get work and build a life from work. That is what we need to bring back.

Expand full comment

Seems to me like the "practical major" may be a myth, but the "very impractical major" is not. There are several majors that have consistently, over a matter of decades, had very low utility for students who don't intend to pursue an academic career in the relevant area. Classics is probably the best example. If you major in classics and you don't intend to become a classicist, you are a little bit to blame if you can't find a job.

Expand full comment

Even for classics it depends where you study. They are very over represented in fields like investment banking and private equity. Of course they all went to ivys though.

Expand full comment

We do have to be careful about selection effects. Lots of classics majors start out really smart in the first place.

Expand full comment
author

Yes, but of course, that's a core part of the anti-practical major point! Selection effects swamp "practicality." I would much, much rather be an 120 IQ cultural studies major than a 100 IQ computer science major.

Expand full comment

The conversation about crime post followed closely by Friday's one hit home as I recently had a similar A/B discussion with an educator who thought that we shouldn't have any such thing as a curriculum in school, kids should learn what's interesting and relevant to them, and be able to opt out of material that triggers them.

But of course, there should be a list of important topics that we have to teach absolutely everyone like queer rights and black rights and anti-colonialism, and of course a white kid opting out of learning about slavery because they don't see how it's relevant to them or claim it's triggering shouldn't be allowed.

Expand full comment

Unfortunately Freddie, I don’t share your optimism about Africa’s economic future. Its rapidly growing population is not a plus but given the ever increasing adverse impacts of climate change (for which Africa is in no way responsible) on agriculture, grossly overpopulated Africa will suffer ongoing famine. In addition its colonial provided infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating because of government incompetence and corruption. South Africa once the most advanced country in Sub-Saharan Africa can no longer provide reliable electrical power or transportation services. Crime is out of control and the white technical class who have maintained its infrastructure is abandoning the country. Follow k9_reaper on Twitter to get a taste of what is happening that you will never see in the main stream press. The future for the continent is grim.

Expand full comment

"The basic point, that it’s now men who require (in effect if not in name) affirmative action, is convincing and important"

In some ways, de facto affirmative action for males is already in place, and has been for quite some time.

True story: I had a friend whose child was applying to college. There was a meeting for parents of prospective students, hosted by the dean of admissions (a woman, by the way). My friend asked what sort of SAT scores should applicants have in order to be competitive, and the dean provided a range of scores. Then she stopped and said, "Well, it depends on whether the student is male or female, For male students, they can be at the lower end of the range, but females need to be at the upper end of the range." And that's a very practical attitude, because if the gender imbalance at a school becomes too pronounced, both males and females will shun it. So, in order to achieve some sort of "equity", standards have to be lowered in order to get enough males. The only remarkable thing about this was the dean's willingness to be so open about the policy.

This story is absolutely true, and it happened around 2008. So this has been going on for at least 15 years.

Expand full comment

It was probably a liberal arts school, where it has been done for close to 20 years. Not public universities. Harsh truth is liberal arts schools aren't terribly attractive to boys.

Expand full comment

The All-In podcast guys think the tech firms that venture capitalists fund are soon going to be 2 or 3 person affairs with AI assistance taking up the rest of the coding duties. So software developing is about to become incredibly lean.

Expand full comment

Ahhh, Melissa ♥️

Never felt more alive than when I came out in P-Town. Sang Come To My Window at the top of my lungs until my throat bled.

Expand full comment

Oh, Freddie. I'm disappointed you speak well of that hack. The past two years have produced such utter garbage of advocacy pretending to be research--most notoriously, Emily Hanford--but Richard Reeves is even better at selling stories than Hanford is.

I'm not going to write a lot on this, because I should write my own review, but in short:

1. Boys are doing fine on test scores. They aren't doing fine on grades. Reeves talks about how emphasis on grades were changed because girls were doing poorly on tests, and boys just couldn't adjust to the new world that was tailored for girls who couldn't adjust. I mean, my god, you don't see the problem there?

2. The gap is overwhelmingly caused by black and Hispanic boys. We're going to hold back all boys because black and Hispanic boys do badly? Wait til the white and Asian parents hear about this. And Reeves' dishonesty in barely mentioning the race issue is dishonest, but lord knows the reviewers failing to mention it are just as bad.

3. Everyone should laugh at any moron who argues that valedictorians or law school review or any status based on grades is mostly girls. Does anyone remember the Boston Globe story of a couple years ago in which they profiled all the valedictorians and how they did, which was really badly? Boston being Boston, most of the valedictorians were black girls, except for the Hispanic girls who were in ELL only schools, and the few wealthy schools where the valedictorian was probably Asian (and probably not a girl).

This is such a fucking stupid argument, and the only reason it does well is because no one wants to point out this simple flaw: Who's doing better in life, valedictorian girls of any race but probably black or Hispanic with 4.2 GPAs from AP classes whose tests they didn't take or failed and 600 SAT scores, or boys of any race, color, or creed with a 3.2 GPA, four AP tests passed with a 4 or 5 and a 1300 SAT?

4. To the extent that girls and boys of equal achievement in test scores are choosing to or not to go to college, part of this is explained by the fact that most pink collar jobs go through college, and most blue collar jobs do not. Secretaries have largely worthless business admin BAs. Manicurists have cosmetology AAs. Boys become plumbers or join the military.

So the handclasping about girls with college degrees not having marriageable men is--again, excepting blacks--bullshit. Secretaries are marrying staff sergeants. Manicurists are marrying plumbers.

The book is a farce and a lie and the reason no one in the respectable press points this out is because no one wants to talk about points 1 and 2. Emphasizing grades over test scores might have started to be about girls, but it became about race. The entire industry of college admissions was inverted and perverted because of these two points.

As for his solutions: holding back students should obviously be done by achievement, not gender. In fact, holding students back by gender would *instantly* be thrown out by the courts. So why are you, Freddie, and everyone else talking about the idea's merit?

Why not point out that an easier way to do this is to just hold kids back based on their readiness? Answer: because holding kids back on readiness would result in *looking* like kids were being held back by race. They *wouldn't* be, of course. It would be a legitimate mechanism that would catch any white or Asian kids who weren't ready. But it would result in a huge chunk of black and Hispanic kids being held back.

So here's the insanity: respectable people are saying with apparently seriousness that forcing boys to start a year earlier is a good idea, while never mentioning that we could use test scores and only hold back the kids who need it, because the first proposal involves a total fiction that boys aren't doing well and allows people to pretend it's a gender issue. The second proposal involves reality, which everyone wants to ignore and hopes it goes away.

Expand full comment
author

... 600 SAT scores? Do you know what percentile that is?

Expand full comment

Hey, I didn't know you saw this! Sorry for not getting back sooner. Thanks for calling it out in the next post--I've been flat out the last two weeks and didn't see it.

I should have said 800, not 600. I was grouchy. 1 in 5 blacks get 800 combined SAT. Nearly 70% of blacks get under 1000. For Hispanics the number is 1 in 6 and 2 in 5.

Keep in mind that the states requiring the SAT are heavy in whites, blacks, and Hispanics and light in Asians, while the states that don't require it are heavy with Asians. So I don't get too doom and gloom about the disparities. And the current SAT is a horrible thing: easy to prep for if you have advanced math, impossible to prep for if you don't.

https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/sat-percentile-ranks-gender-race-ethnicity.pdf

Expand full comment

Can you elaborate on your beef with Emily Hanford?

Expand full comment

Emily Hanford has been a "journalist" looking for a cause to shill for a decade or so and stumbled on phonics.

I'm not against phonics, but they aren't the reason kids are reading badly. The opposing theory, the content knowledge folks, are closer to correct in that giving kids content knowledge and vocabulary will help them read books with that content knowledge and vocabularly. It steadfastly ignores the fact that retaining knowledge and acquiring vocabulary are linked pretty strongly to cognitive ability. So you see them complaining, for example, like https://nataliewexler.substack.com/p/putting-a-new-study-on-building-knowledge

"One likely reason for that variation is that the passages on standardized reading tests are on random topics that students haven’t learned about in school. The theory is that the tests are assessing abstract reading comprehension ability, not content knowledge. But if students lack knowledge of the topic, or of enough of the vocabulary used in a passage, they may not be able to understand the passage well enough to demonstrate their “skills.”

So this supposedly scientific approach to measuring progress in reading comprehension—which is used not only by teachers and government authorities but also by many researchers—is due for a serious re-examination. It would be far more reliable, and fair, to test students’ ability to make inferences or find the main idea of passages on topics they’ve actually learned about."

In other words, Wexler wants to teach kids content and vocabulary, then test them on that content and vocabulary.

Sorry, Nat, that's what history and science tests are for.

Reading comprehension tests are for situations where you don't have the background knowledge. It's the whole point of inference questions and vocabulary questions. And what Wexler is saying is that these tests are unfair.

They aren't unfair. And I agree that for low cognitive kids, teaching specific knowledge and vocabulary is important.

And we do that! The kids just don't remember it. Because our standards are based on an absorption rate that a large chunk of kids can't handle.

Expand full comment

I read Reeves' book. I agree that he had one point to make and beat the drum on that throughout the book. As Freddie said, it was the brevity of the book made it tolerable. I respectfully disagree with Education Realist. High school grades matter, particularly as colleges increasingly abandon standardized tests. Acceptance into and graduation from elite colleges remain significant tools for sorting access to elite occupations. Girls get their academic act together earlier than boys in high school and are therefore doing much better at getting admitted to and finishing college. As a retired white man, I will be the first to admit that men had a huge advantage when I went to college. The Ivy League was about 2/3 male then. I think we should be able to consider multiple ideas at once - sixty something men had a major leg up while today's twenty something men are behind. As a society we need to keep highly educated women in the workforce (through better daycare access, more flexible hours, etc.) while working with boys to help them get their act together earlier. Women have made enormous progress in education over the last 40 years. If they remain in the workforce, in the future they will naturally occupy many of the elite spaces Freddie mentioned that are currently dominated by men. Women deserve the rewards of their effort, but society would be better off it women can build the careers they want and if men can do better than they presently are doing. This is not a zero sum game if better male educational and career outcomes help grow the economic pie.

Expand full comment