We’ve done the easy exercises of this challenge, but now a really difficult assignment is coming up. Prepare yourselves, my friends! This will be brutal. This week’s challenge is:


Every day of this week you must do an activity while being naked. It doesn’t matter what activity it is but it should be something you normally don’t do naked. For instance, if you brush your teeth in your underwear, do it naked. But if you do that while naked already, then do something else.

By the way, sexologists often give this exercise to people who suffer from anorgasmy: the patients are asked to spend an hour each day completely naked. And the results are miraculous.

I’m not asking for an entire hour, just a single activity. And, of course, I’m not asking anybody to do it publicly.

Just try it, OK? It’s scary at first but then the revealing becomes revelational.

American Journalist and a Polish Diplomat

Fareed Zakaria was talking to a Polish diplomat.

“Will Ukraine ever manage to become an independent country?” he asked.

The diplomatic Pole tried not to look as appalled as he obviously felt.

“Erm. Ukraine IS an independent country,” he said. “And has been one since 1991.”

“Yeah, but I mean, you know, many people in Russia believe that Ukraine is a part of Russia. I mean, Putin must definitely think that, right?”

The Pole looked desperate and tried to explain about the Budapest accords, but the journalist was obviously bored with all these unexciting facts and wanted to return to his fantasies about the thought processes of Putin.

The “It’s Just Like” Mentality

I keep complaining that students and fellow bloggers keep trying to reduce the world’s complexity to their very limited experience and knowledge. But this is what’s offered everywhere in lieu of analysis, so how are they to know any better?

At the gym today I saw a discussion of Ukraine on CNN, and it was just sad. First of all, the closest thing to a Ukrainian that CNN could find in this enormous country was Kristoff whose father stood next to some Ukrainians back in the 1940s. There was also a woman who wrote a book about the Arab Spring because that’s “just like” what is happening in Ukraine. This woman informed the audience that “if you take the most chauvinistic Texan you can imagine and add 5,000 years you’ll get an Iranian.” I think this is insulting to both Iranians and Texans, but this is what passes for insight on the CNN.

Then there was some fellow called Remnick or Resnick who said that “Putin came to power 2 years ago when there were hundreds of thousands if people protesting in defense of gay rights. Or human rights. Of which, of course, gay rights are a huge part.”

This is absolutely ridiculous because the 2011-12 protests in Russia were decidedly not in favor of gay rights. There was a tiny group of people who raised the rainbow flag but they were immediately vilified by the protesters and blamed for sabotaging the protests. Anybody who thinks that those protests in Russia were defending gay rights or revolved around the concept of human rights is just ridiculously unaware of what’s going on.

The journalist who directed the discussion repeated, “But isn’t this just like. . .” so many times that it was scary.

People, why is it so hard to accept that one’s experience is not completely exhaustive and that things might conceivably happen somewhere in the world that are not “just like” something you have already seen or heard about?

Does the Job Market Care About Grades?

People who know nothing about education or the job market keep trying to come up with ways to improve both:

Colleges could take things further. Why not allow students to use their scores on these or similar tests in job applications? A national college testing system would level the playing field in the job market and could help students at lesser-known schools prove themselves based on what they know rather than where they went to school.

Employers don’t care about grades. I can’t imagine anybody making anything but the worst possible impression by saying during a job interview, “And by the way, I got an A on a test.” I always tell my students that the moment they march across the stage to get their diplomas, grades should disappear from their radar forever. Even if they have been accepted to grad school, nothing ever again will be about grades.

Recruiters will correct me if I’m wrong, but I can think of no better way to make oneself look unprofessional and childish than by mentioning grades and tests during job interviews.

If an employer wants to know how well my school, for instance, teaches students to speak Spanish, the most logical way to find out is to speak the language to them, not ask about some idiotic test score that means absolutely nothing.

We need to stop infantilizing Millenials, folks, or we all will pay through the nose for this mistake.

P.S. By the way, I was desperate enough to interview with Kalamazoo when I was on the job market. And if you need to ask why I use the word desperate, then you probably have never been in the sad, ravaged area where it is located. There are states that are dying and states that have a long life ahead of them. Michigan is definitely moribund.