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Meaningless Civil Rights

It’s really sad that the concept of civil rights has been so degraded and is now used to promote deeply ridiculous ideas:

A coalition of civil rights groups on Tuesday sent a letter to the University of California threatening to sue the university system if it continues to require either the SAT or the ACT for admissions. (The university uses both exams.)

“Research demonstrates that the SAT and ACT systematically prevent talented and qualified students with less accumulated advantage — including students with less wealth, students with disabilities, and underrepresented minority students — from accessing higher education at the University of California,” the letter said. The letter goes on to says that the tests produce “meaningless results.”

Of course, all tests that don’t reward absolutely everybody with an A+ are completely meaningless. As the Soviet education apparatchiks would say, “There is no such thing as an F student. There are only F teachers. If your students are failing, you should be fired.”

Movie Notes: Generation Wealth by Lauren Greenfield

I tried watching the documentary Generation Wealth on Prime because the subject is fascinating. But the filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is so aggressively untalented that the movie is impossible to watch. She skips around like a crazed monkey, constantly getting distracted from the topic of extreme wealth by the desire to discuss her excruciatingly boring life.

“So, extreme wealth, yeah, it’s extreme. And by the way, I went to Harvard. Some very nasty rich people went to Harvard, too. By the way, here’s a picture of the breast milk I pumped for my infant son when I traveled to China. And yes, there’s some extreme wealth in China but here’s my mom talking about my size and weight at birth. Oh, and talking about weight, I also made a movie about eating disorders once. And have I mentioned I went to Harvard? Here’s my ancient student ID. And here’s a totally inane conversation I had with my husband where all he said was, “Umm, what are you talking about?” And here are some of my cute family pictures. Oh, so extreme wealth, right? So extreme. By the way…”

I switched it off because the insane hopping around, coupled with the director’s deeply annoying voice that drips with self-pity and false wisdom, made the film impossible to watch. And then people ask why I think Michael Moore is a genius. He knows how to make documentaries that work. Everybody else I’ve seen recently is a bloody amateur.

More Frozen

For obvious reasons, I’m reading a lot of Frozen. Like in A LOT of Frozen. And since Frozen 2 is coming out soon, my future contains even more Frozen.

But it’s not a total waste of time. As I read the 164-page story for the fourth time, I reflect on all the ways in which today’s entertainment industry is indebted to the theater theory created by our great playwright Lope de Vega 400 years ago. For instance, the introduction of the goofy Olaf into the most dramatic, high-tension scenes. That’s Lope’s famous rule about mixing the tragic with the comic. We see it done all the time but we often forget who laid down this rule. The Greek theater, as we know, offered unrelieved tragedy, and the possibility of marrying the tragic and the comic (because that’s how things work in nature) only occurred to writers later.

Something Brilliant

I’m beat but here’s something brilliant from Jonathan:

Neoliberalism used be the enemy, twenty years or so again. Now it is neonationalism. And the progressives who used to be concerned about neoliberalism are now neoliberal themselves, since it turns out that neonationalism is worse. Even when it is neoliberalism, in part, that created the nationalist reaction.

It is like when we used to think that the enemy was a conservative view of the literary canon, when the true enemy are people who despise literature in the first place.

As a student said today in response to our tortured efforts to cobble together some sort of a half-decent course offering for next semester, “I just wish we could have a course where we read books and then come to class and discuss them. That would be nice.”

Vote to Re-vote the Vote

So the UK is going to vote on whether to re-vote the Brexit vote?

Cute. As if voting “yes” on Brexit a million times would produce any result whatsoever other than more squealing about raaaaaacism.

Of course, there’s going to be more squealing about raaaaaacism no matter what so whatever.

Psychological Hack

There are all sorts of ways to get around little psychological hangups that create hassles in our lives.

For example, I don’t like paying bills by mail because it’s boring. I always put it off and then there are late fees, which is embarrassing. And please don’t say online payment. Tons of small businesses and offices don’t accept online payments.

So here’s a hack I came up with. I bought two books of stamps, “Alabama Statehood” and “State Fairs” that make me feel good when I see them. Now I pounce on every bill because it’s an opportunity to get out my book stamps and get a good feeling from looking at them.

I’ve never been to Alabama, so I have no idea why it gives me a fuzzy feeling.