Saturday assorted links

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Just in case anyone might not realize, #2 is a joke: https://twitter.com/_AlvinChristian/status/1220090981451735040

The term is fake news. At least it used to be.

It may have been a joke for the author but once you fall for it the term is hoax.

Once you fall for it, the term for you is "gullible.". It's still just a joke.

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Looks like the dating app study was a satire - the first reply on the Twitter link says so at least?

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#2 Fake. Now do one on how apps affect female validation-seeking.

#4 Required reading?

#5 Now that's creative. Would definitely love a version from Felix's.

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Given the real research on how women act on dating apps, I'm surprised so many people bought #2

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4. These are mostly high school English assignments.

Also, I'm not sure I agree with Tyler. Apples to apples, the most loved wins its bracket. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird > A Separate Peace.

Yep. Tyler is dead wrong. Godfather, Monte Cristo and 1984 are all excellent; Scarlett Letter, Pearl, and Moby Dick are all complete garbage.

OTOH, Gone with the Wind has no value, and there's nothing wrong with Heart of Darkness.

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Seems like an opportune time to link to Scott Alexander's gloriously savage take-down of On the Road.

I do not think Mr. Alexander is a reliable source.

Thank you fot pointing that. I tjink jis mask has fallen off and people has finally caught up and wised up.

Well, you can always count on John Miller to be literate, and just the guy you want to hear from on literary matters!

>"Thank you fot pointing that. I tjink jis mask has fallen off and people has finally caught up and wised up."

The keys on my virtual keyboard are pretty small. I do not think it was designed for Westerners' hands.

And I am not talking about Literature. I am talking about moral character. Mr. Alexander is widely considered to be a blackguard.

Huh?

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Mr. Alexander does not approve of Dean Moriarty. He isn't commenting extensively on the book as such. I rather agree with him. Dean Moriarty is perhaps not someone whom it would be appropriate for young people to strive to emulate. (On the other hand, maybe that's the point.....or maybe there isn't a point.) Having recently reread The Dharma Bums, I'm less impressed with Jack Kerouac than when I first read him (when "I was younger than than now." But I can still almost remember enough of those days to understand why JK would have appealed to people of a certain age, at certain period in history.)

But I can still almost remember enough of those days to understand why JK would have appealed to people of a certain age, at certain period in history

Well, yes, and so can Alexander. He writes:

It is a paean to a life made without compromise, a life of enjoying the hidden beauty of the world, spent in pursuit of holiness and the exotic. Despite how I probably sound, I really respect the Beat aesthetic of searching for transcendence and finding it everywhere. There’s something to be said for living your life to maximize that kind of thing, especially if everyone else is some kind of boring dispirited factory worker or something.

Yes. But you can choose to spend a life without compromises, enjoying the hidden beauty of the world, seeking out the exotic, and so on without being complete a**holes int the process. Without abusing people's trust and goodwill and then carelessly discarding them when they're no longer interesting or useful. Is there really such a thing as a holy, ecstatic sociopath?

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Note how Tyler considers the list with more men on it to be "better." I'm sure he'll mansplain why.

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#4 - yes, and Melville's Moby Dick is a harder read, hence more hated, than Dicken's Christmas novels.

Bonus trivia: finished Jane Smiley's "Charles Dickens" biography, and it was good, albeit a bit more emphasis on lit criticism and interpretation than I was looking for (she interpreted his works) and no mention of how Dickens was a keen strong copyright advocate. Dickens, like all successful writers (Dickens became wealthy writing novels in the 19th century), catered to his audience, and was the first to describe modern capitalism (sweatshops, working poor) which resonated with his audience. He wrote an equal number of light and dark works. I've not read a single one of his novels.

Even more bonus trivia: Charles Dickens was a strong advocate of copyright protection, and in fact there is a room devoted to the subject at the Charles Dickens Museum. Dickens was a victim of U.S. intellectual piracy since U.S. law at the time did not accord copyright protection to foreign literature.

https://www.trademarkandcopyrightlawblog.com/2017/01/charles-dickens-and-copyright-law-five-things-you-should-know/

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I think that some writers write for the reader. Their books are interesting and you can’t put the book down. Some writers write for themselves. Their story goes where they want and unfolds the way they want. Typically you can put their books down and maybe not even pick them up again (Heart of Darkness). Other writers write to impress, maybe intentionally or unintentionally (To Kill a Mockingbird) and those who read it build it up or ‘brag’ about having read it so that they too can impress. Those are the books that get assigned reading and ‘you’, the student, are required to be impressed and ‘brag’ too.

@Emu - Vhat? You didn't like the Heart of Darkness? Hmm. You say it's racist? Hmm. It's a great novel. Maybe you liked the movie better, "Apocalypse Now"? Which, if true, would speak volumes...

Bonus trivia: Joseph Conrad tried to commit suicide when he was a teen over an argument with his father (he shot himself in the chest), lived, and died at a ripe old age, in the days before therapy. That speaks volumes.

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Definitely satire -- it had me questioning some assumptions, though. I always figured dating apps lowered men's standards for physical attractiveness and raised women's (due to th
e algorithms that filter users up or down based on superficial likes and un-likes combined with the user base being male-dominated, creating an imbalance), which leads women to date men who consider themselves of a higher league and thus are less likely to invest in the relationship and respect their partner.

Yes, apps cater to women. Online dating profiles require height, but not weight. Men send most messages.

Women's pickiness gets amplified by illusion of abundance. Dating apps look like a catalog, where women can choose the best men. But the best men only message the best women, while the worst men message everybody. Women hate the deluge of messages from undesirable men. So Twitter requires mutual match, and Bumble requires women to send the first message, which is usually just "hi". Apps lower the cost of approaching, and encourage a low-investment spamming approach. Then women ghost and flake, in a viscous cycle. It's a bad equilibrium.

In sum, apps raise women's expectations, and experience brings them back to reality.

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Yes, if you look at the interactions that happen in these apps, women only respond to men significantly more attractive than the lowest level they would in real life.

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#4 Shocked to learn that The Scarlet Letter is the most hated classic novel. For me, it was a page-turner. I couldn't put it down once I started it (okay, well, the first chapter was dry).

I'm also shocked to see Heart of Darkness on the list. Among classic novels, I've probably read this one more than any other. Mostly because it's a short, vivid read that doesn't require much effort.

I think the list of most hated is rather odd. Many well-regarded challenging novels don't appear on it. I suspect this is because most people don't attempt to read really hard books these days. I'm thinking of Ulysses, The Sound and the Fury, Nostromo, Lolita, and Malone Dies.

#4 - They made us read it!

Youth is wasted on the youth.

Agree on Heart of Darkness. Over many years, I read almost everything Conrad wrote.

As a adult I've reread Heart numerous times. Each page has something entertaining, darkly comical, or of value. Like the bit in the European company offices where the doc wanted to measure Marlow's cranium, before and after. Of course, it's wasted on readers that never did anything such as HS kids, girls, and humorless intellectuals.

Aside from Hemingway, Joyce and a handful, very little worth reading was produced after 1900.

You wanna cry? Are you triggered?

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Love Conrad.

Although my favorite was always Lord Jim.

Lord Jim is phenomenal. I agree, probably his best.

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Agreed, The Scarlet Letter was fantastic, and reading it in high school is the event that caused my love for classic literature in the first place.

And Moby Dick is the single greatest novel in the human history. The fact that people hate that book is depressing for what it implies about people's ability to appreciate greatness.

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4. If I could select a criterion for love/hate it seems the closer a book is to a ripping yarn the better it scores. The “good for you“ 1950s books have 4 hated but only one loved.

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3. Instead, by cutting taxes for the white middle class, Reagan effectively kicked the can down the road, allowing his voters the option of recreating a simulacrum of the old order — via private schools and flight to the suburbs — through private, often debt-financed means. The bitter, zero-sum character of recent political conflict stems, in Caldwell’s telling, from a recognition that the Reagan settlement is no longer tenable, and that the country can no longer afford — literally, given Caldwell’s heavy emphasis on debt — to finance the existence of two irreconcilable constitutional and social orders. It must choose between them." Is this meant as farce? Reagan raised middle class (payroll) taxes while cutting upper class (income) taxes. Now, this fellow thinks we can reduce polarization by once again raising taxes on the middle class?

Sundowning quite early today.

I am a heartless SOB. Yet, I greatly pity the nursing home staff that will have to deal with this curmudgeon.

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Have not heard of Caldwell before, but he would be the ultimate in embarrassing Thanksgiving dinner uncles to have.

Neither had I.

The article cites him with: Court- or legislatively-mandated integration, for instance, curtailed freedom of association, in the same way that legal prohibitions on discrimination in hiring or renting out a room curtailed the property rights of a business or hotel owner.

But the bye-gone era had done the same, in the South formally and legally! Only the surmised beneficiaries were different.

The discovery of and harping on new rights after 1965 did not come out of thin air. There has always been a populist faction in American politics, just the populace to which a political party catered changed.

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https://www.backcountryskiingcanada.com/Summit%20Mountain%20Guides%20AST1%20Course%20Review

I ran into this the other day. It describes a change of thinking when it comes to training people to assess avalanche risk. I know many people who back country ski, the coffee shops all have avalanche risk assessments printed up on the wall. The courses have focused on the technical aspects of avalanches; the snow conditions, the layers and how strong they are bound together.

What is interesting is the realization that technical data is useful for some things, but more data doesn't automatically translate to better decisions. So the courses are now focused on the decision making process; these decisions are being made after a three hour slog up a mountain on skins, tired, hungry, anxious for a payback for the effort. So the simpler the process, using checklists and go no-go thought processes seems to lead to better decisions.

This is similar to https://www.econtalk.org/gerd-gigerenzer-on-gut-feelings/ Russ Roberts interview.

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4. Frank enpixelates a dopey article. Goodreads has only been around since 2007 so any statistics gathered from them are strictly contemporary.

Popular classics started being written on a consistent basis in the beginning of the 19th century, reflecting the increase in both literacy and leisure time available.... He doesn't know how much leisure time was available to literates in the early 19th century. Although it's assumed that the present day western populations have more leisure time than their predecessors, there's also a general complaint of a "time crunch" that justifies all manner of sacrifices, such as not having "time" to read anything that doesn't appear on a little screen.

This reflects the cultural reach of Britain during its empire and the accession of American cultural hegemony. There's never been any kind of American literary cultural hegemony, then or now.

Odd that William Golding's pro-state propaganda novel Lord of the Flies didn't make any of the lists, though it was ubiquitous in US high schools ever since its publication in 1954.

Yeah, there's something horribly wrong with the whole thing, as the worksheet backing it up has some peculiar entries, which appear to be driven by some recent, decidedly non-booky things; Starship Troopers, Do Androids Dream?

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Atlas Yawned is a classic?

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3. That was interesting, and in many ways a fair critique of the 1960s a-woke-ening. But as the author says, it's somewhat weak to say "so, just undo civil rights." It's hard to see that as anything other than a return to a less compassionate age.

I'm team globalization, but with a stronger commitment to fellow citizens. Free trade, but not zero tariff.

Free trade should mean an equal deal for all imports, at a flat tariff, and without special deals by a "ruler."

Maybe I didn't complete the arc of that comment. You have the tariffs so that you can have protections (minimum wage and/or tax credit) for American workers.

The Vietnamese can't get all the jobs just because they are (currently) the cheapest outsourcing destination. That's the harsh version of globalization which created populist blowback. Even if they stupidly think it's all China.

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With respect to #3, I agree with Caldwell that the Civil Rights movement provided the blueprint for the same sex marriage movement...but I support the Supreme Court in the Civil Rights movement but I believe the Supreme Court overstepped with same sex marriage even though I support same sex marriage.

So the reason the Court needed to get involved in civil rights was because Jim Crow undermined the political and economic power of the oppressed minority. So if black people can’t participate in politics how can they use politics to effectuate change? And Jim Crow also undermined their ability to participate in the free market and so they had limited economic means to effectuate change. Contrast that with LGBT community in the 2000s who were simply a minority and had access to the political branches of government and quite a few openly homosexual Americans were very economically powerful by the 2000s. So I don’t think the courts needed to step in to the same sex marriage discourse when the LGBT community was integrated into both the political process and the economy at large and both processes seemed to be operating properly.

The only other thing I will add with #3 is that inherent in multiculturalism is that culture is important. So the way liberal Americans view multiculturalism is that all cultures are important except white American culture. So progressives celebrate a Muslim woman getting elected to Congress and celebrate the woman fighting for Palestine even while Palestine prohibits same sex marriage and outlaws abortion even in cases of rape!?! So if Palestine was an American state with mostly white Christian people running it progressives would boycott the state. So with respect to multiculturalism promoted by progressives white American culture can be viewed as an inferior culture unworthy of being promoted in a multicultural society. I personally believe in the melting pot because my ethnicity tried to make alcohol illegal in part because they didn’t approve of the cultures of the immigrants that came here during the Second Great Wave of immigrants to America.

"So the way liberal Americans view multiculturalism is that all cultures are important except white American culture."

I have a hard time wrapping my head around these claims. I mean I just went and bought more power tools for the garage. How stereotypically male and American is that? Most things I do most days are like that, and I never see a protest.

So you shouldn’t have a problem with Trump supporters that oppose more immigration based on the fear it is changing American culture?? And whether that change is negative or positive is irrelevant because to value one’s culture is a positive attribute in multiculturalism.

You just shifted your argument. Now *you* are picking cultures as bad.

After I bought tools we had Thai food. Ymmv

Ipso facto, you can’t defend multiculturalism as promoted by progressives.

I'm neither right not left on this. I believe in neither cultural appropriation nor cultural protection. I live my life, choosing my culture, and you are free to choose yours.

We can do that and at the same time keep to the American foundation that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That and whatever music you prefer.

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But was it culturally appropriated Thai food?

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But how many people that favor more immigration, more refugees do so because they consider the incoming culture superior as opposed to those who want to let others join "our" culture/economy, particularly since at today's levels of immigration they raise the real income of most current residents?

First off, members of the Squad are on record as being proud of their respective cultures AND promoting multiculturalism. If one supports progressive economic policies then the logical position is to oppose more immigration at least until the progressive economic policies are implemented. So Cesar Chavez actually opposed illegal immigrants because he believed they undermined the workers of his union. Chomsky’s daughter worked for Chavez when he opposed illegal immigrants. Furthermore Bernie Sanders up until recently opposed illegal immigration.

Secondly Obama started making it more difficult for asylum seekers to get legal status when he characterized Cuban refugees as “economic” refugees. So Obama believed economic refugees were attempting to take advantage of our asylum system to the detriment of the American citizens that he spent his entire life fighting for.

Lastly Tlaib has stated her parents’ homeland was destroyed by unfettered immigration and so we know she understands the dangers of refugees overrunning a border.

So in light of all of those facts promoting progressive economic policies while promoting unfettered immigration is an incoherent ideology.

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Why not look at why the US isn't competitive and change it?

There was a story about a decade ago about Intel. They were looking at the costs of building a fab plant in the US vs somewhere else. Not operating, building. Iirc it was something like $6 billion vs $5 billion.

How about a political commitment to decreasing the cost of employing US workers?

Every workers knows they are in competition with someone in Vietnam. And every worker knows that year on year government imposes more costs upon them and their employer, making the Vietnamese worker more attractive.

A quick perusal of the Democrat policy proposals is that the before wages costs would double if one of them were elected.

"How about a political commitment to decreasing the cost of employing US workers?"

Maybe America does not want to be Vietnam.

"A quick perusal of the Democrat policy proposals is that the before wages costs would double if one of them were elected."

I also heard fire and brimstone will rain down on America if workers get paid decent wages. Healthcare like every other rich country? Perish the thought!!

Fine. Are you speaking for Asian chamber of commerce by any chance?

No, quite the opposite. I am speaking for the American worker, who should not be crucified upon a cross of gold.

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The US is not just competitive, it dominates in many fields. Apple makes the money on iPhone, etc. If there is a better CPU than from Intel, it's from AMD.

This is a different conversation, about what you do in commodity and non-differentiated manufacturing.

True. How much of the manufacturing they do is in the US?

What I hear from Democrats is that the cost structures of government and employment will be set to what Apple can afford. Tim Cook and the highly skilled people who work for him will be fine. He can shuffle production and profits around so he doesn't face the costs and taxes.

I have no idea what you are talking about, and I doubt you do. Apple is now enjoying special treatment ("U.S. Grants Apple 10 Exemptions from Tariffs on Chinese Imports") but I've never heard a Democrat support it. If anything, Democrat plans are more regular and with less special favors.

Lol.

You were right to kvetch about Trumpian tariffs. Then you immediately turn around and demand autarky level tariffs. Let’s impoverish the world while causing a local depression.

The new left: Trump, but even worse. They’re literally trying to make Trump seem reasonable.

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What on earth could "America" not being competitive mean? I get that there are things that hold back economic growth -- deficits, immigration restrictions, trade restrictions, NYMBYism opposition to denser urban residential and commercial development, high cost infrastructure, mis-priced water, mis-priced and flood and fire insurance in high risk areas, wage taxes instead of consumption taxes to finance SS and Medicare, etc. But would that make "America" more competitive?

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Here's an example of a tariff: Yara’s father moved them to a new condominium in that was a vegetal complex in the Tag neighborhood of Somerset; they lived in a cross-laminated timber unit with an Acacia tree and wood sorrel shrubs on the balcony. A constant influx of squirrels twisting aside, blue jays and cardinals stopping and going, flying higher and higher. Two blocks away, underground park called Panorama Park was once a subway station. It had light tubes that redistributed solar energy, and the park had a remarkable non-native collection as well as a butterfly farm.

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3: Very interesting. Finally some effort to try to figure out what happened in 2016.

There has been one constant in the ethos of the US for a long time, that of moving. People move to the US to improve their lives, the original settlers moving to the continent. The move westward. The real estate itch cycle of people moving somewhere else. People moving to school districts with good schools. African americans moving from the south to the northern industrial centers with jobs and opportunity, turning Chicago into a center for jazz excellence, of all places.

Mostly positive, for positive reasons. Immigrants had less positive motivations, fleeing oppression or danger, but a positive future to look forward to. Opportunity, new horizons. But in the 60's moving changed. It was getting out of crime ridden cities to the suburbs. If you had the resources it was moving into a walled city where it was safe.

It has turned into something even worse. The regulatory burdens on business encouraged them to move overseas. Both parties tied themselves to the notion that the very structure of the citizenry was in process of moving to something else; Democrats openly described their goal to replace the old unreliable and awful citizens with new ones.

I think the monument to this ethos taken to extreme is Detroit.

I think that Trump's election was a good portion of the citizenry saying no. Remember that point in the nomination battle between Cruz and Trump when the National Review published a column by Kevin Williamson essentially stating that the problem with the US economy was people were refusing to move. Trump won the nomination shortly afterwards.

It is fine to move somewhere else, but at one point there isn't anywhere to move to. This forces people to face up to the corruption, incompetent institutional structures, profoundly broken political economies, and the massive accumulation of dead weight loss. The politics of any attempt to sort some of these things out is going to look very similar to Wisconsin or the current fights in Washington.

One thing I can guarantee is that the way out of this isn't going to come from academia or any institution. They have become a good part of the dead weight loss that needs to be thrown off. They will fight tooth and nail against anything that diminishes their status and privilege.

I'd look for something like the people hauling a guillotine around in Puerto Rico.

That part about the constant in the ethos of moving west is interesting. I've often conjectured whether part of the problem with this country might be the lasting influence of the weak sisters who couldn't handle the vicissitudes of moving west, and who dropped out in what we now call flyover country. Those of our ancestors who gave up or turned back, and ended up doing dentistry or selling auto parts or voting for grifters in Indiana, Missouri, Kansas. Just a thought.

I really enjoy Moby-Dick and read into it every now and then. The best parts are where he talks on and on about whales, the history and biology of whales, hunting whales and processing dead whales. But that may be because I am just a Chinook salmon biologist and not particularly literate.

Robinson Crusoe was another very interesting book, full of details on how to hunt goats and cure the flu with massive doses of tobacco and rum-- wait, I got that confused with Gulliver. The Gulliver book had a lot of nuts and bolts in it, too, if you ever find yourself too big or too small, or living among libertarians.

I'm afraid we have to leave Kerouac to himself. He was way too free-spirited as a young man to appeal to anyone frequenting this site.

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#1...Couldn't agree more. The lead actor, Jakob Cedergren, is superb. He is also very good in the entertaining Sandhamn Murders.

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Hmm. I have not read any of the "most loved." I have read 5 of the 10 most hated and quite enjoyed "Things Fall Apart" and "Heart of Darkness." I don't remember hating any of the others.

Still, I do sort of agree with the damage that can be caused by "having" to read a book you don't like. That happened to me in university Spanish when we had to read "Abel Sanchez" -- finger down the throat icky! Fortunately, eventually I discovered Vargas Llosa's "Pantaleon y las Visitadoras" and "La Tia Julia y el Escribidor," two of the funniest books you'll ever find.

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that list of classic novels was interesting but sad, but i am not in a sad mood tonight, i am in a good mood tonight, so I am gonna tell you - humbly, of course, trust me, I know there are people reading this who know much much better what I am talking about than I do - so I am gonna tell you what might seem to you to be a good list of what to read this summer if you want

just to spend a summer doing what very few people have been able to do

that is, to read the best of the best of the "writers" (cor ad cor loquitur)

among the people who were young when your grandparents were babies, or in years that followed that (picture all those years, all those sunsets, all those winters and springs over my beloved Pacific Coast) ....

first, the last hundred and fifty pages of Finnegans Wake (in his last three or four years of life Joyce finally understood that he did not want to be a "modern writer" engaged with the "modern philosophers" who were so praised in his day, he just wanted to write about the life he wanted to live) .... skip everything else Joyce wrote, that is what he would want you to do .....

second, the first hundred pages and the last hundred pages of the three novel sequence "Kristin Lavrandsatter", which cover the youth of someone who is a fortunate young woman (the first 100 pages) and, in the last hundred pages, what it means to look death in the eye and say "God created me to live and God created you to live even though you think otherwise" ---

third, read all you can about the Battle of the Somme, head to the shooting range and fire off a few hundred rounds from hundred year old weapons, which is easier to do than you think (hundred year old pistols are fairly cheap) and then read a few random chapters from the Fellowship of the Ring and the Two Towers ....

fourth, and this is important, find a few poets out of the thousands of poets whose names are easily available and find a few poems that speak to you about the wonderful things you have experienced in life .... and remember that there are no great poets in the last few generations, there are only poets who speak to you.

fifth ---- don't trust anyone, even me, to give you good advice.
Trust God, and only God, or those who you know God loves and who are your friends.

and trust me nobody reading my words does not have many many friends in this world.

and for the love of God do not ever read a book because you think you ought to, the authors would be devastated to know you did that, they were all good people once

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4. There are great novels on both lists. I think the most loved novels are on average easier reading and less controversial than the less loved. I read The Scarlet Letter a couple years ago when my daughter was reading it. It was a challenging read, somewhat archaic, and was kind of a downer with characters a modern reader won't identify with. But there are far worse novels. There was also a bad movie people may associate it with.
Atlas Shrugged is a great novel but any mystic or collectivist reader will absolutely hate it if they understand it. Makes sense that such a divisive novel would score low, averaging the love/hate 5s and 1s. Only a few KKK members would score Mockinbird extremely low, though I personally would give it a 3 or 4, few have reason to hate it.

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#5: CVS's are one of my least favorite places to go, at the ones that I've been to the line at the cash register is always annoyingly long and slow.

I don't wear scarves but if I did I'd be more likely to wear one with a Fred Meyer receipt (a Pacific Northwest chain similar to Target but better). The cashier lines there can be long too but they always have self-checkout too.

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4. Pity no one reads Solzhenitsyn.

I read Solzhenitsyn every once in a while, it is easier to think of him not as a guy who wrote 7 or 8 really long books totaling a few thousand pages overall but as a guy who wrote several thousand fairly short remembrances over the course of writing a few very long books , at a few pages per remembrance, of people who were persecuted in an inhuman way by people who should have known better.

Almost all of them are gone now, there are a few survivors left, not many, but a few.

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Some do: I have read and tried to digest One Day, The First Circle, Cancer Ward, August 1914, and the Gulag Archipelago. More should read the first, the last, and one in between.

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basically, a thousand years from now, the stories that Solzhenitsyn told will be, in their way, a memorial that reminds people of those Gothic cathedrals will all those statues of martyrs at the great front doors and everywhere else, but of course different.

Magna est veritas et praevalebit ----

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Judy Shelton, said to soon be Trump's nominee to the Federal Reserve Board and an advocate of the gold standard, claims to have learned Russian in order to read Solzenitsyn in that language. Her knowledge of the language enabled her to study the Soviet economy and predict its failure long before it occurred.

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#4. hmmm idk, most beloved does have some real knock outs

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I have to say that I doubt that most people who claim to have read The Brothers Karamazov have actually read it, much less consider it beloved. They probably just read The Grand Inquisitor.

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1984

I remember being forced to read 1984 in junior high, with the teacher saying something like "Wouldn't it be great if all people were such as to be good communists?", and a fellow pupil objecting, but not doing a good job of it at all.

Anyway, time passes, and I re-read 1984 in, guess when, 1984! I remember that the book falls neatly into thirds, one of which is probably not taken too seriously, or has been forgotten or ignored. It is a mere description of England in 1948 - the watery beer. :-)

It is heartening to know that some western societies have been able to reform themselves, though one only after being pulverized, but all that must never be taken for granted.

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2. Yeah, really it's quite the opposite. The sex ratio on dating apps tends to skew heavily male, making it better for women and worse for men compared to meeting people in real life (from the perspective of trying to match with the best partner possible, women incur other costs from dating apps like harassment). Whenever I know a couple where the woman is significantly more attractive than the man, it's almost a sure bet that they met offline.

3. I am sympathetic to the libertarian argument against civil rights laws, but when someone tries to blame all our social problems on the civil rights laws and then combine the repeal of the civil rights laws with a conservative culture war ethic, it looks awfully like they just want to discriminate. We know that many Americans were unequivocally racist 50 years ago, and it is naive to think that they magically became un-racist after the Civil Rights Movement, as opposed to merely trying to couch their racist views in other language. Hopefully, in another few generations, the racists will truly be marginalized. Only once that happens would repealing the civil rights laws be possible and beneficial.

A good, less-emotionally-charged analogy for racial anti-discrimination laws are anti-discrimination antitrust laws like the Robinson-Patman Act. These laws usually only apply to discrimination if it has an anti-competitive effect; a small business can discriminate against whoever it wants because it won't affect the market, but a monopoly or combination of businesses cannot. Racial anti-discrimination laws exist because white racists in the 1960s South working in concert with one another had enough economic power such that their discrimination caused an actual negative effect on minorities' ability to compete in the marketplace. When I read articles like #3, it makes me feel that this is still the case. Only once it is clear that racists lack the power to affect the marketplace should anti-discrimination laws be repealed.

And I blame polarization on the people who want their culture to dominate all others--if they accepted the fact that we can live in a multicultural society where no culture dominates over any other and where individuals can in fact mix-and-match things they like from different cultures (a fact that cultural minorities have accepted, lived with, and even thrived under for hundreds of years), then there would be no polarization. Fortunately, I do see people moving in this direction.

"Only once it is clear that racists lack the power to affect the marketplace should anti-discrimination laws be repealed."

It's going to be much harder than that. Race correlates with a lot of things that affect market value. If you make sending your children to schools without major discipline problems a priority, you end up excluding urban black schools, just as any racist parent would. Feedback effects (people miseducated in unruly schools cannot earn enough to afford better for their kids) and correlations are all that is needed to sustain a racial caste system without any racists at all.

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"Whenever I know a couple where the woman is significantly more attractive than the man, it's almost a sure bet that they met ̶o̶f̶f̶l̶i̶n̶e̶ on a Sugar Baby site."

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Anti-discrimination laws ought to have a "de minimus"/"bigot" exception. Small firms should be able refuse service/not hire whomever they don't like provided they are transparent about it.

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Re: Caldwell: But like most things, much is due to framing. What about the person who is nostalgic for the "good old days" where immigration was less feared, trade restrictions were gradually being lowered, greater social and economic equality were widely shred goals, not divisive issues?

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4. Because of Frank's focus on novels, data on page counts would have been welcome and perhaps have offered added explanatory power. (I guess he would not have access to publishers' production unit costs, so page counts could supply at least approximate valuations.)

Oh: and the retail prices of respective titles.

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#1 Wow. Just when you think we're losing our capacity for empathy and hope for the future, Gustav Möller and Jakob Cedergren show us a way out of the darkness.

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#1
I was inspired and watched the movie last night. Brilliant. Thank you for the recommendation.
Wonder whether somebody will turn the script into a play in English, adapted to American circumstances.

Ditto, I just watched. Agree.

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