by Tyler Cowen
on February 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm
1. Noahpinion on the politics of Django Unchained.
2. Indian cities, ranked by sanitation quality.
3. New Thomas Pynchon due out this fall. I haven’t liked one of his for a long time. And Roko’s Basilisk.
4. Too PC, but still a good smash of Oscar night.
5. How Andrew Sullivan’s metered paywall is going.
6. 1974 was a bad year (or was it 1973?). And why so many jobs in the UK?
7. The background story behind WEIRD.
1. Added TK489 & TK490 to CtrlSQL Material Tracking: MT_Units table
2. Added TK489 & TK490 to CtrlSQL Material Tracking: MT_TankInventory_UDALookup table
3. Added TK489 & TK490 to CtrlSQL GmiInMQIS: Unit_Master table
4. Added CIPs 25-28 to CtrlSQL DLCBatch: RefWashLine table
5. Updated DLCBatch: RefUnitGroup table
Some counter comments:
“Anyone who grew up in the American South, as I did, knows how equivocal the region still feels toward its past. My history teachers went to great pains to emphasize that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery”
I grew up in the South also. And my history teacher emphasized that the Civil War was about slavery. And that was 25 years ago. Certainly there were other issue’s, but I’ve never heard a broad argument that slavery wasn’t the critically important underlying issue. It’s certainly part of the “core” curriculum for Tennessee for the over three decades.
“The “positive” impacts of slavery were mentioned – slaves were well-cared-for, many slavers had close relationships with their slaves, and yada yada. The fact that slavery was “more acceptable” in the world of the 1800s is always mentioned.””
What? Really? What was this teacher’s name? When and where did he teach? Certainly he would have been promptly fired from my High School in 1985.
“Racial homogeneity (ignoring those pesky Southern blacks, of course) is one of the South’s selling points.”
What complete bigoted malarky. No one I know talks that way. And hey Noah welcome to the 21st century. The South has a large hispanic population. The south is far more racially diverse than the Mid-West or most of New England. I grew up with hispanic and black friends. Does he really believe that the majority of southerns are still racially segregated? I’m sorry the 1950’s called and they want their stereotypes back.
Yeah, the idea that racial homogeneity is a “selling point” of the south made me wonder…I don’t believe that has ever been touted as a virtue of the place.
If Noah Smith wanted to see racial homogenity, he should have ventured east one of those years he went to U of M. the Detroit metro area is one of the most segregated in the nation.
As usual, by the way, Noah Smith is devoid of facts:
I didn’t say the South IS homogeneous, but that homogeneity is a selling point. I.e., people think it’s homogeneous. Also, what I’m talking about was more during the 70s and 80s than now…when Southernization seems to have taken hold. As of right now, it’s being reversed…
First, don’t call me Ted-ster.
Second, where is your proof? Or is this just some of your Noahpinion? You should re-name the blog “Noahfacts.”
NS Weasel words noted. Truth is, I have southern roots and it was and is a backward, racist place (the state used to hand out “You are White” cards). But part of that is poverty–the most poor a place is, the more traditional it is. Hence Tibet should be racist, as the poorest parts of Africa, as Guatemala should be, and they are. Quick quiz: TVA, with free hydro and nuclear power helped develop the TN,KY areas? False. Their power was actually higher than coal fired places (anecdotal)
Thanks for making it clear that we are departing from the realm of fact and moving into the realm of making-things-up.
I went to school in the 70’s and 80’s in middle Tennessee. I’ve lived in Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina (where I attended a historically black University) & Kentucky. My experience doesn’t remotely resemble what you’ve described.
Also, as for Django Unchained as proof of a revolt against the South, I seem to remember a TV program in the ’70s called “Roots” that did fairly well.
“I didn’t say the South IS homogenous”
… yes, you did. You wrote “Racial homogeneity (ignoring those pesky Southern blacks, of course) is one of the South’s selling points.” Stop digging
Now, when you meant something that didn’t exist, you wrote immediately after that “The other is its fabled military prowess.”
Who actually believes the south is homogenous, and what have they been smoking? The south has always had the largest african american population, and being located closer to latin america it received much of America’s hispanic immigration (of course in some parts, Mexicans were already there before the states joined the U.S). I suppose it might be below average in terms of the proportion of asians, but I don’t imagine that’s what you’re getting at. Finally, within the white population they do admittedly tend to be descendants of of “settlers” rather than the later immigrants. “The south: not so many Italians!”, is that the “selling point”?
Yep, I grew up in NC and homogeneous would be the last way you would describe my city. My high school was 60% white, 30% black and 10% (Hispanic, Indian(both south asian and american) Laosian, Japanese, Jewish). This was in a town of about 60k. I compare this to my wife’s school in Michigan where diversity was having both Catholics and Lutherans.
That claim pretty much made me tune out the whole thing.
It’s not Noah who is ignorant, it’s other people–he’s just reporting their ignorance. OK.
Noah also doesn’t seem to realize that Waltz is playing the same character he played in Inglorious Basterds. And I mean the same character.
“Noahfacts” wouldn’t make a clever pun. See, the “ah” in my name is not silent.
NoahMoa — With a picture of a large Moa and it’s head hidden in a hole.
That’s probably not fair, but on the other hand Mr. Opinion is calling other people names. So apparently it’s grade school rules.
Actually “NoahMoa” is pretty cute. My Chinese students have taken to calling me “NoNo”. My college buddies went with “Noah Constrictor”.
Let’s assume you’re speaking cartoon-character Italian English. You still resort to childishness rather than addressing any of the legitimate critiques of your essay.
Noah Constrictor is pretty good. 😉
you keep blogging, slippery guy!
At least when Dierdre McCloskey responded in the comments, she was gracious and humble.
Where exactly do you get off, Mr Assistant Professor who trolls childishly? You sound like a collection of all the worst cliches of an academic.
Unlike Tyler and Alex, I add, forcefully.
Most US cities are segregated. Or they’re homogeneous.
The selling point for the south is neither its segregation nor the homogeneity essential to the parts of segregated communities, which one can find in any city in America..
Insofar as racism is a “selling point” it probably has to do with how race is treated, not how it’s distributed. But then one would expect that. Hasn’t the South always been as, if not more, diverse than the North, with respect to strictly white/non-white population composition? Sort of the reasoning behind the 3/5 compromise, yes? I don’t know how much the ‘great migration’ changed that. (I’d think intra-white diversity has been greater in the north; see, for example, this recent article: http://www.salon.com/2013/02/05/the_white_souths_last_defeat/).
Here’s a map of white male density in 1960:
The site which generated it is quite cool, and I had not seen it before:
Wow, lumping in slavery apologists with low taxes, country music, and folksy charm. What an asshole. Do southerners have to become urban northern liberals to atone for the sins of their great great grandfathers?
And I’m also laughing at the South’s “racial homogeneity”. Spend a week in Atlanta, followed by a week in Portland.
Yeah, a recent survey found Atlanta was a very cosmopolitan town, akin to NYC. Your point? Southern man… as Diamond sang.
Oh, you people.
We get it. White southerners are racist because they are white southerners. If only those bigots would stop being white and southern. Voting for Democrats gets you 20% credit.
The whitest towns in America are deep-blue places full of vegans riding bicycles. And if you want to see the demographic equivalent of a Klan rally, go to an environmental protest.
This is true except when it isn’t, e.g. in Appalachia, Utah or Idaho.
what you have to understand is that noahkopf is just expressing his vibrant ethnic distaste for those “wrong kinds of whites”. once you get that’s the SOP for him and, it’s fair to say, many like him, you won’t be surprised by his bigotry or evasive oily sophistry covering his ass when called out on it. for laughs, remind him of the 2% black neighborhood he lives in. the self-righteous *love it* when their hypocrisy is placed front and center and mercilessly mocked.
Sorry about the weird header. Sometimes I forget I’m using a Paste Buffer.
#3 – Welcome news to us Pynchonites. From my own perspective (having read all Pynchon’s oeuvre), Gravity’s Rainbow remain unsurpassed in terms of excellence. I rank Mason & Dixon a distant second. It will be interesting to read his take on more contemporary history.
Where do you rank V?
‘V’ is somewhat of a failure (only compared to other Pynchon) and not as good as ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ The weakest of all his books is ‘Vineland’ and I though ‘Against the Day’ was a little too bloated but rather humorous.
Lot 49 and Gravity’s Rainbow are both brilliant, for different reasons. Lot 49 is a very tight, well executed short novel, and GR is a sprawling, indulgent mess of a novel that still has obsessive self-aware tics, recursive humor and just plain great word-play. M&D, well, I found it OK, but frustrating.
I’m looking forward to the new novel, but with a bit of dread, both because this is my field, and he hasn’t really been great lately.
I feel a bit the same way about Paul Auster.
My opinion is that “V.” is pretty good for the first long novel effort, “Gravity’s Rainbow” is deserving of all the hype, “Vineland” has its moments but is overall weak, “Mason and Dixon” is nearly as good as GR, “Inherent Vice” is maybe the most fun of them all (excepting “The Crying of Lot 49”, with which it shares some style and tone).
And “Against the Day”? IMHO, the most frustrating of his novels: parts of it, such as the showdown with Deuce Kindred and the Ludlow mining massacre, are among the most starkly beautiful and moving passages he’s ever written. Other parts of it, such as the scenes between Lake Traverse, Deuce, and Sloat Fresno, are ugly and cruel for no apparent reason other than to shock. In between, we find much to like, much to dislike, and overall just…too much. But any novel that features a war between the supporters of quaternions and vectors can’t be all bad…
OK there is my review, 30 seconds per article
@#1 – Author’s projections about Good Germans vs Evil Southern Whites based on a Tarrantino movie. LOL.
@#2 – Indian cities ranked by cleanliness? Why? Mysore (sic) is #2, a misnomer
@3# – Never read this guy. Is he the “crying of lot 49′ guy? Yep. “Mr. Pynchon, whose novel “Gravity’s Rainbow” won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1974, often combines history and popular culture in complex, darkly comic narratives. – sounds interesting, I’ll add him to my “MUST READ” list
@#4 – “Watching the Oscars last night meant sitting through a series of crudely sexist antics led by a scrubby, self-satisfied Seth MacFarlane” – a cartoon creator. If I want to read adult cartoons, I’ll go with Milo Manara. I killed by TV well over 10 years ago.
@#5 – this link is good: http://www.znakit.com/files/pdf/pilot_results_white_paper_nov_12.pdf – some sites cannot support subscriptions, better is ‘pay per read’
@#6 – on the middle income trap. Does not really explain why. I say it’s random and/or countries too small to succeed. Good a guess as any others.
@#7 – on an anthropologist who visits Amazonian indians and finds they do not retaliate in a Ultimatum/Prisoner’s Dilemma game like Westerners do. Simple reason why (that escapes the reviewer): he was offering too much money. If you offer two days wage that’s too much. The weaker side, say offered ‘crumbs’ will be happy because these ‘crumbs’ are substantial money.
#1. Noah Smith doesn’t like Southern whites.
#4. Amy Davidson doesn’t like Seth MacFarlane.
#7. Anthropology is a morass of competing bullshit just-so stories.
Slow news day?
4. Not too PC. I am so relieved that my daughter was at her dad’s Sunday otherwise we would have watched the beginning of the show together. I have no clue how I would explained the “boob” song. Seven seems a little young to give the, “well honey, some men are just …” speech. I watched it last night (by myself) and just thought it was dumb…certainly not much of a tribute to the women (and men) being honored that night. The humor itself is not without its place, but not an awards show with such a wide audience. Sad.
Do you let her watch CSI? How does the semen talk go or the explanation of the hand sticking out of the hamburger grinder (that was the opening scene of the sum total of 10 seconds any of the CSI rehashes I’ve ever watched). That seems like a separate issue from the assertions of sexism, which I don’t understand. How does singing a goofy song about woman who choose to undress for R-rated movies (maybe awards show for R-rated movies should be after bed time) degrade other women as individuals? And why isn’t she mad at those women who break ranks?
I am not sure it degrades as much as it demoralizes. Did you catch some of the films mentioned? Many were serious films, not about the boob shots at all. I am concerned about the signals that young women receive on their place in competitive fields. Here’s an (a bit off topic) article from today on that general point: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-02/byu-ggd022513.php Our words make an impression whether they are a joke or not.
There are certainly funny points to be made about sex, and even women and sex. MacFarlane is not the kind of person able to make them.
Also, don’t forget the bit with the CGI bear begging to be Jewish so he could be rich and get invited to Hollywood orgies. The guy depends on hoary cliches to make his dough. In his view, a world where “jews are rich and powerful” and “women are primarily there for sex” aren’t knee-jerk punchlines, is a world where the guy has no audience. There’s nothing PC about calling him an unfunny simpleton that plays to parts of our culture that we should probably be trying to curb.
That CGI bear got a lot of people upset. Jews, mostly.
But we saw their boobs, right? I’m being serious. What is wrong with singing a silly song making fun of it?
And at least some of the women thought it was funny because they helped pre-record ‘shocked’ expressions.
And the article was wildly PC and most of the things they complained about I laughed at.
One of the things about comedy is that your audience is usually selective to your message. The ‘part of society’ I wish I could curb is other people thinking they know how other peoples’ brains work.
Andrew: I think you’re reading right past Claudia’s points about audience. That’s pretty key from my perspective. If you want to limit your kids’ exposure to violence and crime, you know to steer them away from shows like CSI. If you think raunchy humor will be a bad influence you can try keeping your kids away from comedy central. The Oscars are branded as a family broadcast, so it’s somewhat cringe-inducing to have the show start with a number about topless actresses. It isn’t hard to see how a seven year old, exposed to that kind of message frequently, would start to think showing off your boobs is a good thing. If the same thing had aired on Family Guy, there wouldn’t be any outrage.
Jon: I’ll. Bite. How would they think it’s. A good thing? They’re being played for laughs by their presumed embarrassment.
They are famous actresses, and they are getting attention in front of a very large TV audience for going topless. Whether that attention is positive or negative is not totally clear to a 7-year old, and may not matter much anyway. How bad could taking off your top be if all the A-list actresses are doing it and it’s being set up as a passing joke in the Oscar opening minutes? And of course, in some contexts, there’s no problem at all with going topless, but that’s part of the problem — that context is totally absent, and a young child will be completely ignorant of the subtleties of sexual politics. It’s easy to understand why parents would be annoyed by the act.
“signals that young women receive on their place in competitive fields.”
They shouldn’t be looking for such signals in award shows in the first place!
I can only think you had no idea who Seth MacFarlane was prior to the broadcast.
The Onion handled this issue (not this specific event, but this issue) with what I see as a rather masterful bit of biting, painful satire. It captures the motivating spirit of the boob song.
Outrageous, right? These days you can’t even bare your boobs on screen without some dude pointing out that he saw your bare boobs on screen, as if you bared your boobs on screen for the audience to see. Oh well, at least responsible parents like your good self will explain to their children in due course that these things happen because men hate women, so not all is lost.
I never tell my children that anyone hates them. I correct them when they use the word in reference to someone (not just when it’s directed at me, sigh). I hate some actions, but not people. Nowhere did I say this video was outrageous and I certainly don’t think men hate women. I said it was sad (as in disappointing) in its context and with its audience. BTW did you see Brokeback Mountain or Monster’s Ball, I doubt even male viewers remember those movies for the boob shots.
How did you have a child without ever meeting a male over the age of nine?
IndiaToday seems to have come up with a new survey ranking Indian cities. Chennai the best in India (err…..) Interesting stuff:
MacFarlane expresses a lot of truth in jest in pointing out that female sexuality and physical attractiveness are valued more by males than vice versa (“boobs”), issuing a reminder that women will go back to men who treat them poorly more often than polite society would like (Rihanna), and highlighting that older men with options will exercise them with younger women (Clooney).
Naturally, the PC crowd takes aim to fire at the messenger.
not to mention at an award show where more than three hours of pre-show coverage was devoted to (mostly) women comparing how other women looked in certain clothes.
True, but if a rich, older western woman goes into the 3rd World (thinking specifically of se asia) she can get a young stud as a bf, if that’s what she wants. Seen it myself.
I’d have to agree that a lot of men pay more attention to women’s boobs than their brains, but I don’t think MacFarlane’s bit was some kind of critique of that behavior. It seemed more like “Hey, let’s do a funny song about boobs, because who doesn’t like watching naked chicks?”
It was pretty bad.
In general when it comes to financial and/or economic data, anything other than equity prices can be susprisingly difficult to find (re: European GDP data).
You didn’t like “Against the Day”? I mean, that was a long time ago, but I can’t imagine you only mean one book by that….
Regarding #3, is there a connection between Thomas Pynchon and Roko’s basilisk or did you mess up on the formatting?
I was wondering the same thing.
The butthurt from the new yorker is hilarious.
That’s probably lame history (I’m no historian) and worse movie critique. The reason you use Christoph Waltz for 2/3rds of the movie is that YOU HAVE CHRISTOPH WALTZ!
“My history teachers went to great pains to emphasize that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, but because the North wanted to protect its economic interests (this is bullshit, by the way; of course it was about slavery, and everyone knows it).”
That’s a pretty asinine statement. Let’s go to that obscure enclave of extremist historical revisionism…wikipedia
“While not all Southerners saw themselves as fighting to preserve slavery, most of the officers and over a third of the rank and file in Lee’s army had close family ties to slavery. To Northerners, in contrast, the motivation was primarily to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery. Abraham Lincoln consistently made preserving the Union the central goal of the war, though he increasingly saw slavery as a crucial issue and made ending it an additional goal.”
Hmmm, that sounds an awful lot like The War on Terror- actual reasons followed by justification creep. They just didn’t call it Sherman’s Surge. Sherman, btw, “…was not an abolitionist before the war and, like others of his time and background, he did not believe in “Negro equality.””
It would barely even be right to say slavery catalyzed the war as noone marched prior to secession. Slavery could certainly be considered the flash point, but it is mighty curious why slavery became unacceptable when it did.
Well, of course the democratic south had more connections to slave labour, because they were dependent on it. The North moved away from slave labour with the increase of industrial production. This made it easier for Lincoln to free slaves. However, Lincoln really didn’t show much of his own views on slavery, which was definitive. Sometimes it seemed he was pro- and then contra-slavery. He is something you’d call a political opportunist (flip-flopper). Some people even believe that he wanted slaves set free, but not equal to white men. He prefered colonization, meaning letting them live in reservations apart from white men.
I think for most Union soldiers it was finally about two things:
– Preserving the Union
– Ending Slavery (especially in the final days)
Whether it was worth killing 600.000 people and whether there could not have been a peaceful resolution. Or perhaps society would have gradually accepted abolishing slavery. We will never know.
Even without explicit slavery, blacks were second-class citizens (as were women btw) for a long time (even in the middle of the 20th century).
So the reasons for the war and the causes of secession probably depend on which POV you pick. I doubt that most politicians really defended anti-slavery laws but rather wanted to win the war (just look at the way the votes for the Amendment swayed and how the first time they tried, it failed).
This is all so amateurish. Noah’s opinions on the “Southernization” of American pop culture are highly suspect, but the basic fact about the roots of the civil war non-debatable at this point. Slavery was the consuming political issue of the day. Secession happened because Lincoln had made his entire political career out of crafting a platform that had the central plank of stopping the expansion of slavery. The war happened because there came into existence a political force capable of threatening the peculiar institution. The hair-splitting over the matter is annoying self-puffery at best and peurile race baiting at worst.
I realize the folly of trying to expunge the internet of this stupidity, but this space is somewhere I’m willing to say something about it.
Its a shame that people find Family Guy / Seth MacFarlane to be funny. King of the Hill and Simpsons (pre-2000) still the gold standard.
#7 “Anthropology is the social science most interested in cultural differences, but the young scholar’s methods of using games and statistics to test and compare cultures with the West seemed heavy-handed and invasive to some. “Professors from the anthropology department suggested it was a bad thing that I was doing,” Henrich remembers. “The word ‘unethical’ came up.””
Hmmm, Unethical & invasive. To which group, the indigenous people or the anthropologist guild?
Boy, is Noah Smith a pesky hypocrite. If white americans 60 years ago knew what people like him would do and claim in the future, his descendeds would have been shot right at the port, as they deserved.
4. Which part was too PC?
# 7: What if we analyze radical animal rights supporters under “WEIRD” lenses?
“Compared to Yucatec Maya communities in Mexico, however, Western urban children appear to be developmentally delayed in this regard. Children who grow up constantly interacting with the natural world are much less likely to anthropomorphize other living things into late childhood.”
Guess who are the animals rights supporters and guess who live by the motto “if it runs, swims or flyes is just food”.
PS. the one posting is really Noah Smith or just a troll?
Noah Smith: did you grow up in the South with your head up your ass the entire time? That you see Tarantino’s film as being about white people may be accurate enough (I haven’t seen the film, have no immediate plans to). The rest of your considered opinions tell me you have your own narrow issues, which you’re perfectly entitled to, but you damned sure don’t speak for me or of me, nor for nor of most Southerners (euro, afro, hispanic, asian, aboriginal) I know or have grown up with. In point of fact, I have to ask exactly what South it is that you purport to have “grown up in” (I take this to mean that you were not born here and that your family has not resided here for two or three centuries).
I mean: what a public spectacle of idiocy you’ve made of yourself. NOT ONE MENTION of Southerners of Scottish or Welsh (or even Irish) ancestry. No mention of Huguenots. Not a word about aboriginal peoples, Native Americans, pick your nominative. And practically nothing about blacks, whom you give no evidence of ever having worked with or sweated with or bled with (I’ve done all of these things working on a local farm, never mind my schooling and social interactions). I think you swallowed Tarantino’s informed views rather whole and entire, and what came out shows every sign of remaining undigested. Tarantino can perhaps be excused for having no clear understanding of life here, you claim an exemption you seem unentitled to, however.
Trained economist, are you? I suggest you study the mechanization of agriculture in the 19th century a tad more: you may learn that slavery’s days were numbered as a consequence. (The War of Northern Aggression could NOT have been “about slavery” WITHOUT ALSO BEING “about Southern economics”: I am not compelling agreement with Fogel and Engerman, agree with Gutman if you prefer, but in any event, learn the strict connections of slavery to economic circumstances in the colonial and antebellum era.) Cotton harvesting was completely mechanized by 1920, from what little I’ve read (I am NOT a trained economist).
Whatever else you do, please stay in Michigan.
He’s in NY
Alas and alack: you have thwarted my attempt not to implicate the state my dear late mother was born and raised in. Nevertheless, as long as Professor Smith deigns to reside anywhere generally north of the Ohio and the Potomac or west of the Mississippi, I’m sure he and we will all be happy.
Working from memory alone (and probably without a day’s dose of coffee if I was typing before 9:00 a.m.), I was off by over twenty years: mechanized cotton pickers seem to’ve been introduced in the 1940s. (It was the boll weevil that arrived in the cotton belt in the 1920s.)
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