Jonathan has this new productivity method where he writes down what he did every day. I’m not sure how it works but I’ll give it a try. Today I:

– edited a contributor’s excruciating article

– wrote 1,200 words of my Boston talk, which is insane, and I never do that but the words were pouring out of me and I couldn’t stop

– made fish soup

– watched Citizen Kane

– watched Dr Phil

– watched The Profit

[It sounds like a lot of watching but I always watch TV shows while I work or cook]

– graded two student presentations and wrote detailed comments

– added new association members to the system and emailed them

– read Karina Sainz Borgo’s new novel on Venezuela.

Then I picked up my kid and played with her for a few hours.

OK, this is having an effect because I though I’d been useless all day but I actually got some stuff done.

Interesting method.

Weeks Ago

The President of the Population Research Institute is saying on TV right now that it’s possible that the coronavirus was spread when people took home infected animals from a lab. Which is what I said weeks ago.

I always trust people on the ground more than anybody an ocean away. This is what was being said in China back in January.

Movie Notes: Citizen Kane

I took a single class in film theory in college, and the professor droned on endlessly about Citizen Kane. One thing he kept repeating was that at the end of the movie it’s never revealed what the word “rosebud’ means. To the professor, this was the best thing about the film because “it opened it up to multiple interpretations.”

I’m a very primitive reader and movie watcher. I read for the plot. And I watch even more for the plot. I have no interest in a movie that doesn’t tell an interesting story. Everything else the professor (and the textbook) said made me hate the movie even more: fragmented, disjointed, never comes into a coherent story (which the professor loved). I avoided the movie for 20 years after that class.

Now that I have finally seen Citizen Kane, I’m thinking the professor was dotty. Both Rosebud and the snowglobe are explained very clearly. Yes, the movie brings together different strands but that doesn’t make it disjointed. Human life tends to be complicated like that.

I never thought I could hate that film theory class even more than I already did but now I truly detest it. It’s a great movie, and only a primitive mind can’t grasp the powerful idea it transmits.

Should I now try Gilda? This is another movie I detest without ever seeing it because of that class.

Caldwell’s Article

Folks, for those who don’t have time to read Caldwell’s book, here’s an article of his that brilliantly summarizes his argument.

I suggest not getting defensive on the first two sentences and instead reading as if you assumed from the start that he might have something valuable to say. Being open-minded is all about opening your mind to something different from what you already think.

Caldwell has written a very important book and closing oneself off from the argument just because it departs from the orthodoxy is a mistake.

Same Thing

The difference between the alt-right believers in racial inferiority and the woke preachers of “white privilege” and “problematic whiteness” is very superficial. Talking about “white privilege” is a polite, socially acceptable way to publicly degrade non-white people. “I’m superior” and “I’m superior but I feel very guilty about it” don’t differ that much.