RBG Died

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today. She was an amazing lady and I’m sad she died. A long, amazing life but cancer is very cruel.

Learning Hubs

Chicago is starting to provide “learning hubs.” Those “hubs” used to be called schools but we have accepted that there shouldn’t be any, so this is what we are being given instead:

Instead of qualified teachers, children will be “hubbed” with adults who aren’t qualified to teach. Why this is a good alternative to having teachers teach since that’s what they are paid to do isn’t explained.

Congratulations, people! We have successfully pressured the state governments into depriving our kids if public schooling.

What Kind of Education?

There are people who are saying that if Trump can institute a federally mandated patriotic education – which, once again, is something that has existed for 200 years everywhere – then Biden, if elected, should be able to mandate the 1619 project to be taught everywhere.

This statement is so ignorant that I cringe in vicarious embarrassment.

What makes a nation possible is a sincere belief that one’s nation is the best one ever and that it has extraordinary achievements that give a sense of pride to every citizen. The comprehensive free education of a nation-state exists to teach this sense of pride and accomplishment. It exists to create a sense of “we,” a shared identity that fills “us” with pride. Without this, it’s back to a feudal-type system.

Does anybody claim that the 1619 project creates unity and imbues us all with a sense of pride? Obviously, not. Discussing it in the context of preserving the nation-state model is ludicrous.

This is the mother of false analogies and it’s sad that educated people roll it out as some sort of an argument that anybody should take seriously.

Patriotic Education

I don’t think anybody on this blog needs a reminder because I have talked about this for years but the only reason why comprehensive free state-provided secondary education came into existence was to make the nation-state possible.

“School” as we know it was invented to ensure that all citizens spoke the same language and shared the same understanding of national identity. “Patriotic education” is not a new idea. It’s the only idea that gave us free schooling for everybody and the near-100% literacy that results from it. You can like it or dislike it but this is a fact of objective reality that isn’t in dispute.

Acting like this is something shockingly new is extremely ignorant. The idea is 200 years old and has been successfully implemented everywhere.

The choice isn’t between offering “patriotic education” or not. The choice is whether there’s going to be comprehensive free schooling or not. For years, people scoffed when I said we were on the verge of losing comprehensive free schooling as the nation-state model of governance breaks apart. We are now seeing exactly what I predicted.

“Everybody is an individual and should make up their own mind” – the standard neoliberal blabber – leads, among many other serious consequences, to you paying for private schooling for your kids or quitting your job to homeschool. No matter how we feel about these options as individuals, this is a gigantic change on the level of society. This leads directly to an explosion of illiteracy.

You might be a parent who can pay for private schooling, teach yourself, organize “schooling pods,” whatever. But your children will live in the society filled with people whose parents couldn’t do that and had no capacity to socialize their children in the most basic ways.

The collapse of the free comprehensive state-provided schooling is an absolute disaster for all of us as a society even if as individuals we don’t use it if don’t care about it.

Preparing for a Recount

I play this game on my phone. It’s called house design. You get a list of assignments like “design the living room for an apartment of an ad executive in Lviv Ukraine” and then you have to choose the furniture and decor that you pay for with in-game cash and diamonds. People who want to make really beautiful designs can purchase more cash and diamonds than you are initially given through in-game purchases. If you don’t want to spend actual money (and I obviously don’t), you can get free diamonds by, among other things, answering surveys. I like surveys, so that’s what I do.

Most of the surveys I do are political and they have invariably been from the Biden campaign. I think I’ve now seen and commented on every ad the campaign has made. Recently, a new question appeared in these surveys. It’s this:

“If on election night, the results show that Trump won, are you prepared to accept the result on that day or the next day?”

I didn’t understand the question at first but now I get it. They think they are losing and are preparing for a protracted recount that will last as long as it takes to get the “right” result.

All of the Ways to Catch COVID

Everybody laughed when I said somebody refused my offer to teach an online course for us because he was afraid of catching COVID.

But it’s not funny. These poor bastards have been so brainwashed, they think they are at risk of immediately dropping dead if somebody who will never physically be around them socializes with other people.

Yes, you read this last sentence right. See the article at the link.

The worst ones are those who scream SCIENCE!!! FACTS!!!! in all caps. Any mention of actual facts prompts a psychotic break in them.

With the Herd

This is why I’ll always be lonely:

82% of Democrats and 16% of Republicans support single-payer healthcare when told that Obama supports it. When instead told that Trump supports it, Dem support drop to 46% and Rep support increase to 44%.

https://twitter.com/johanknorberg/status/1306577600786108422?s=19

These people, all of them, are aliens to me. This is not some minor, trivial issue! It’s really important. And they can’t be bothered to have an opinion of their own.

Change of Life Books

I used to despise the genre of the male “change of life.” (I don’t like the expression”midlife crisis” because it erases the physiological aspects of this process). Now I feel a lot more compassionate towards it because I understand it better.

Unfortunately, even though there is a rich “change of life” genre in women’s literature, it’s useless. Almost without exception, it’s about women who have reached the change of life stage* in a completely infantilized state and decide finally to grow up. (Think Kate Chopin’s The Awakening or Esther Tusquets’s The Same Sea as great examples.) And then they almost invariably fail and self-infantilize even further.

For women who grew up long before hitting 40, this is boring and irrelevant. What do I care about some coddled, spoiled woman who’s pouting at the world for not taking her seriously when she’s done nothing to deserve being taken seriously?

But I have never read any novels about adult, mature, non-infantilized women who reach this stage. Any recommendations, anybody?

When men write about the male change of life, they come up with Don Quixote. When women do, they come up with Mrs. Dalloway. It’s understandable why this was true in Cervantes’s time but what about today?

* Not to be confused with menopause. The stage I’m talking about happens in the decade before menopause. There are specific words for it in many languages but absolutely nothing in English because God forbid English-speakers are made to notice that physiology exists. No, you are supposed to be all about will-power, individual choices, and a disembodied spiritual existence.