Class Differences

This is how class differences are constituted today:

As more screens appear in the lives of the poor, screens are disappearing from the lives of the rich. The richer you are, the more you spend to be offscreen.

The result will be an unbridgeable chasm in cognitive capacities and psychological health.

A landmark study on brain development of more than 11,000 children that the National Institutes of Health is supporting… is finding that the brains of children who spend a lot of time on screens are different. For some kids, there is premature thinning of their cerebral cortex.

This is from an article in the NYTimes that the app doesn’t let me link but you can easily find it.

And hey, who here was telling me that free governmental preschool won’t mean kids staring at a screen all day to make Microsoft rich?

In small towns around Wichita, Kan., in a state where school budgets have been so tight that the State Supreme Court ruled them inadequate, classes have been replaced by software, much of the academic day now spent in silence on a laptop. In Utah, thousands of children do a brief, state-provided preschool program at home via laptop.

The only reason why anybody is bringing up free daycare is to enrich tech companies. I’ll keep saying it like I kept saying that Mueller wouldn’t find anything, and I will be just as right.

I know everybody sincerely wants to be for something good but supporting the “free daycare” plan will contribute to the creation of a congnitively impaired underclass.


Don’t Pretend to Care

I just heard on TV that “Millennials are a generation that never experienced prosperity.”

When I hear this kind of thing, I lose all hope that anybody would do anything on climate. If it’s acceptable to say something like this about people who have known nothing but – God, forget prosperity – obscene opulence, then it’s hopeless.

If even this kind of completely out-of-control consumerist existence is perceived as hardship and privation, if they honestly believe they don’t have enough shopping, enough consuming, enough devouring the planet, then they need a whole galaxy of planets like this one to satisfy their hunger.

And yeah, yeah, it’s relative prosperity, Boomers or Genexers or whomever supposedly had even more gewgaws, I’ve heard all that chaloimes* many times. It’s really helping the climate to nitpick about all that.

I can understand the approach of “I get that the level of consumption in the US is ridiculous and if other regions of the world try to achieve it (and why shouldn’t they?), the planet can’t sustain it. But I don’t care because I just can’t be bothered.” I’m not discussing the morality of this position, but I get it. It’s deeply cynical but at least it’s honest.

But this whole “I care deeply about the planet but what we’ve got in terms of prosperity is insufficient” is so insanely hypocritical that I don’t have words for it.

And it’s also the smug shamelessness that kills me. Go tell people from Eritrea that you never experienced prosperity. Go to Cuba, to El Salvador, go to fucking Magadan and tell people who shit in outdoor toilets at -50 degrees how you are generationally deprived of prosperity. This is colonialist mentality on steroids. And it’s precisely the mentality that despoils the planet to feed a relatively small group of spoiled brats who feel hard done by if not every whim is satisfied immediately.

And I mean, just go be who you are, whatever. But don’t pretend to care when you clearly don’t.

* It’s what we call empty blabber in Yiddish.

Parenting Goal

Is your parenting aimed at producing the first place kid or the third place one in this picture?

I want to produce number 3 but, in all honesty, it doesn’t look like I’m going to achieve that. Neither N nor I are that person, so how can we teach what we ourselves aren’t?

Lock Her Up

Did you, folks, know that the Steele dossier was paid for by Hillary?

So we’ve sat here for two years waiting for Mueller to investigate something invented to help Hillary contest the election? And everybody knows about it? And we are still wondering why people yell “lock her up” at rallies?

The Power of Cooking

I taught Klara a gender stereotype. We were reading a book about Nelly Gnu where Daddy makes dinner.

“The story is not saying the truth!” Klara exclaimed indignantly. “Daddies don’t cook. Mommies do!”

My explanation that some daddies – like uncle Etki, for instance – do cook had zero effect. She believes in observable reality, which is that Daddy never cooks.

I don’t mind because there is no greater power than the power of cooking. It’s the power over the life and well-being of the whole family. If I feed you deep-fried, greasy and sugary stuff for several decades, you’ll die 20 years before your time. But if I do fresh, seasonal and green all the time, I’m giving you life. N, by the way, got off statins and brought his cholesterol to a super healthy range only thanks to my cooking. When he was single and cooked for himself (out of deep freezers and cans), he was 40 lbs heavier and had no energy to work out. Plus, I have a kid who literally tears broccoli out of my mouth because she likes it so much.

Also, cooking is a great way to promote psychological hygiene. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

Nice Experiences

A really nice experience is to be able to respond to “I’ve been reading your book” with “which one?”

Another nice experience is to be able to say to graduate students, “You don’t need to find a job at an R1 institution to do a lot of research.” Their advisers keep telling them that unless they get employed by an Ivy, they are doomed to doing no research. So my mantra of “don’t let the job define you because it’s you who needs to define the job” is a revelation. I support the mantra with personal example, so it’s convincing.

P.S. I’m on a break between sessions, in case anyone suspects that I rudely blog during talks.

Ideology vs Research

Graduate students from fancy schools are very often taught to do one-dimensional boring ideology instead of research. The difference between their scholarship and a Slate article is imperceptible.

White men are evil! They oppress marginalized groups! One would expect that after repeating this inanity a thousand times people would get tired and would finally move on. But no, they keep denouncing white heterosexual men and the evil nuclear family only to go straight to their white hetero boyfriends they hope will finally propose.

The fancier the school, the worse it is. And then somebody from Northern Arkansas or something of the kind comes and gives a talk that’s actual, interesting scholarship. It’s never without the obligatory bow to the dogma but at least there’s something beyond that.