October 29, 2006

"The Two Introvert Problem"

I almost never read advice columns, but I felt this one from Salon too good a title not to read.

Someone writes in:
I prefer spending time alone to light dating -- it's less tiring. That said, I enjoy being in serious or steady relationships. Right now, I'm single, but am very interested in a friend of a friend. He's very intelligent, thoughtful, funny and unique in all the right ways. He likes me too -- he has made it obvious to our friends and, in his way, to me, too.

The problem is that we have pretty similar levels of introversion. We're both more comfortable talking about highly complex theoretical issues (he's a Ph.D. student, and I'm a theory nerd) than we are doing the verbal waltz promoting typical flirtation. As a result, we are painfully awkward around each other. We've both tried to have get-to-know-you conversations, but the interactions end up being painfully stilted -- even when we're both inebriated... Is there a solution? Like a library date where we both read books and occasionally throw each other shy glances? Do I just need to swallow my fear, step out and express myself even though it's about as comfortable as walking naked through glass wool insulation? Or is it really true that an introvert needs to date an extrovert, a serious person needs to date a lighthearted one, etc.? Am I whispering up the wrong tree?
I'm really digging this idea of a library date, but the advice columnist replies:
Apparently what we have here is an area of human interaction -- courtship -- so completely colonized by extroverts that even an intelligent and thoughtful person such as yourself is only dimly aware that there might be alternatives.

And yet there must be alternatives. Otherwise, introverts would never reproduce. And I refuse to countenance the notion that these alternatives just take the form of painfully awkward reenactments of extroverted styles... Now, it's true that introversion is not the same thing as silence at all. It's not that introverts don't like to talk. What I'm suggesting, though, is that introverts must find ways to insulate themselves from the effects of a crowded, draining world, and one of those ways is to consciously resist the felt pressure to chatter. I would encourage you to explore the boundaries of what is permitted to two people who simply like each other and want to be together. Why should you have to pretend to be extroverted?
The column goes on to make a (possibly ironic?) comparison between the way dating rituals are entirely dominated by extroverts to the way society has been constructed under gender and racial norms of male whiteness, but I think the point is interesting—why should introverts feel they need to, when dating each other, conform to a pattern or mode of behavior which both find discomfiting and dull?

I don't know, honestly, but this all reminds me of a joke I once heard: how can you tell if an engineer is an extrovert?
If he looks at your shoes.

October 27, 2006

Congressional Hopeful Gillibrand '88 on Awk Randos

The Washington Post has a piece summing up negative ads, mostly by Republicans, leading up to the midterm elections. Some of them are hilarious, if you can abstract these statements from the fact that they are being made by members of the legislature and are an indication that political discourse has hit rock fucking bottom.

The Democrats, the Post points out, are guilty as well. One example is this ad by Dartmouth Alum Kirsten Gillibrand '88, who is running as a Democratic in NY's 22nd (? I'm too lazy to check).

And House candidate Kirsten Gillibrand has an ad online ridiculing Rep. John E. Sweeney (R-N.Y.) for attending a late-night fraternity party. "What's a 50-year-old man doing at a frat party anyway?" one young woman asks, as a faux Sweeney boogies behind her to the Beastie Boys. "Totally creeping me out!" another responds.

Other gems include accusations of child molestation, relation to serial killers, phone-sex addiction, support for illegal alien child molesters, support for illegal alien child molesting flag burners, black-baby abortion advocacy ("If you make a little mistake with one of your hos, you'll want to dispose of that problem tout de suite, no questions asked"), school-children abortion advocacy, and of course, loving America too much.

October 23, 2006

The Wire

I'm trying to watch the first season of The Wire, HBO's crime series set in Baltimore. Some critics have been outright calling it the best series in the history of television, but I can't get into it.

I realize it's only the first season, so maybe it lights up in season two (anybody out there know?), but I've never really liked any HBO series that I've seen, so I'm not sure it's just a matter of development.


October 22, 2006

Stop the Presses!

Dartmouth Football Team WINS!

I just want to say, I was with you all along, Karl Furstenberg. Sack the football team.

October 20, 2006

Dartmouth-Holy Cross Football Altercation?

I hadn't heard about this—does anyone know anything more about it?

Buzzflood-type Post

But this one's actually interesting.

From Slate:
One of the deep questions in economics is why some countries are rich and others are poor. It is widely believed that institutions such as clear and enforceable property rights are important to economic growth. Still, debates rage: Do culture, history, government, education, temperature, natural resources, cosmic rays make the difference? The reason it's hard to resolve this question is that we have no controlled experiments comparing otherwise similar places with different sets of legal and economic institutions. In new research, James Feyrer and Bruce Sacerdote, both of Dartmouth College, consider the effect of a particular aspect of history—the length of European colonization—on the current standard of living of a group of 80 tiny, isolated islands that have not previously been used in cross-country comparisons. Their question: Are the islands that experienced European colonization for a longer period of time richer today?
The short answer's yes.

I'd like to hear Jared Diamond's take on it, but it sounds like an interesting study. I haven't read it, but if I have some time, maybe I will.

More: I've learned that Little Green Blogger Ariel Stern was the head research assistant on this paper. Congrats, Ariel!

October 19, 2006

Conservatives Use Amos n Andy Act to Win Minority Votes

Read about it here.

The shorter version is this:

Man #1: "If you make a little mistake with one of your ‘hos,' you'll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked."

Man #2: "That's too cold. I don't snuff my own seed."

Man #1: "Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican."

A Nit to Pick

Just received a blitz from Palaeop advertising an open house. Very nice, no doubt, but then the blitz listed the 2006-2007 delegation in the following order:

The 2006-2007 Delegation
Timothy A. Andreadis, Jacob Crumbine, Kevin M. Garland, Adam L. Shpeen, Kevin C. Hudak, Michael J. Amico, Rehman A. Sheikh, Samuel L. Routhier, Shane K. Foster, William F. Stork, Wilson B. Handler, Alexandra V. Garrison, Elisa M. Donnelly, Kirsten N. Murray, Lorraine E. Buhannic, Marissa L. Spang, Michelle A. Davis, Soralee Ayvar, Yuki Kondo-Shah

Just one question:

Why are all the women listed last?

October 17, 2006

COS Task Force Open Forum Tonight

I'd like to encourage you all to go--6-7 pm Collis 101.

But I'd also like to say something about Michael Herman's op-ed today about the Task Force's recommendations.

My concerns and objections to the content of some of the measures introduced by the Task Force and to a lot of the general feeling about COS I have noted before, but I want to say something particularly addressing the way in which a few of the arguments are couched and about the origin of this Task Force in general.

The Task Force was initiated because of the results of a poll of students who expressed their discontent with COS. It was not convened because evidence was brought forth proving that students were being unfairly convicted or even on evidence that too many students were getting away with plagiarism or sexual abuse or anything else.

In other words, while the Task Force stands firmly behind the idea that proper lines of inquiry and proper standards of evidence are crucial to finding out the truth, the committee's origin is divorced from any kind of real evidence. The Task Force itself is a product of opinion and not fact—the opinion that COS needs to be reformed. I do not think we should be basing recommendations that, if accepted by the College, will change lives on opinion, no matter how widespread, or even the inductive reasoning that if our process does not somewhat mirror the American justice system, then it is unjust and incapable of establishing the truth in all cases.

At the risk of being misunderstood, my point is not that we should not be looking into changing COS, but that we need some more public information about it first, and that an SA poll stating that COS is unfair should not be the sole basis for the creation of a taskforce designed specifically to make recommendations about changing it. The Task Force's document has really nothing to say about the evidentiary truth or falsity of the idea that COS adjudicates unfairly—this is its starting point, a presupposition. I know that they talked to people on both sides of various COS cases and while I realize that revealing too much of those cases could be devastating to the parties involved, I feel that some actual evidence made available, and not just a structural analysis, is necessary before we decide whether or how COS is unfair.

I am not saying that COS is perfect; I am not disputing the possibility that students do get 'Hursted unfairly. I am certainly not asserting that COS catches all the plagiarists and sexual abusers on this campus. I am stating that I would like for the Task Force not to have jumped to recommendations, but to have used its power first to present some clear and convincing evidence to the Dartmouth community that the apparently widespread belief that students are being unfairly disciplined is objectively true.

My other point is that there is an excess of concern in this op-ed with Dartmouth's image—the closing line is "By providing its students with the fairest possible disciplinary system, Dartmouth would take a crucial step toward cementing its place as a leader in higher education."

Let me be blunt and say that, in this case, I don't give a damn whether Dartmouth is a leader in higher education. I want to make sure it's safe. If that means we're a leader, great. If that means we're a most unoriginal follower, fantastic. Being a leader in higher education isn't an argument. It's rhetoric. And I know that Michael Herman shares my overriding concern with safety here, and I do not mean to construe his words in a way that suggests differently. I'm just saying, let's drop this line of argument. It's unnecessary, irrelevant, and immaterial.

Similarly, I find the arguments comparing Dartmouth's system to other systems to be inherently self-selective and to overlook inevitably Dartmouth's differences from the environments of those systems. But they are also based on this concern with Dartmouth's image—the rhetoric says that the important thing is not whether COS works (an evaluation which would depend on evidence) but how well it compares with other systems.

It really doesn't matter if Stanford allows cross-examination; that is not the question. The question is whether it would work well for us. That's a conversation we can have internally, without resorting to comparisons to the American judicial system or to Stanford or Harvard or "our peers," but in communication with the experts on campus and with each other.

October 16, 2006

Dartmouth Free Press Issue 7.3: Alumni Constitution, Homecoming, and History

Unfortunately, the DFP website is not able to be updated at this time, so here [pdf] is the latest issue.

I urge you all to read our position on the Alumni Constitution and the developments that I believe could follow from this debacle.

Also please check out the Dartmouth Documents article on page 9, where you will find a letter from TJ Rodgers vehemently opposing coeducation in 1968 and a letter from Peter Robinson arguing against the Equal Rights Amendment in 1976. Nice guys, both of them.

Edit: The D has drawn my attention to a possible lack of clarity regarding our layout in the article Alumni Perspectives. We do not mean to imply that all proponents are tied to or support the Dartmouth Alumni for Common Sense (or all opponents tied to AlumniConstitution.org). The DFP is particularly sensitive to this type of thing as we have continuously been used without our permission or consent in advertising material opposing the constitution.

October 15, 2006

Orhan Pamuk and the Moral History of the Nobel Prize

I've started reading this year's Nobel Prize Winner Orhan Pamuk's Snow. It is a highly engrossing, enormously provocative novel of real beauty. The set-up is audacious: a moderately well-known Turkish poet returns from a self-imposed exile in Germany to a desolate corner of Turkey, where he hopes both to marry his college crush and to investigate a rash of suicides of young women, many of whom have ties to political Islam. He is marooned there by a huge snowstorm, and then it sort of turns into a collaborative project between Bahman Ghobadi and David Lynch. It's fantastic.

I also ran across a really interesting article in Salon about the moral histories of some of the past recipients of the Nobel Prize for literature. While we all now know about Gunter Grass and the Waffen-SS, I was surprised to find out that so many other winners had very checkered pasts, including, I was shocked to find out, Pablo Neruda.
The most shameful (and least known) episode, however, concerns Neruda, a lifelong, unrepentant Stalinist. During his stint at the Chilean Embassy in Paris dealing with asylum applications from Spanish Civil War refugees, Neruda is said to have heavily favored those who shared his hard-line beliefs when it came to issuing visas. One wonders how many of the rejected perished in concentration camps or wound up as slave laborers under Nazi and Vichy rule. There's also the little matter of Neruda's aiding and abetting under diplomatic cover an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Trotsky in Mexico in 1940, an action he defended his entire life.
Knut Hamsun gave his Nobel medal to Goebbels, Luigi Pirandello joined the Fascists early on, Wole Soyinka refused to stage a play of Animal Farm as it was anti-Stalinist, Jacinto Benevente and novelist Camilo José Cela collaborated with Franco, and Mikhail Sholokov was a plagiarist and a Stalinist shill.

Of course, the committee does keep some people from receiving the prize for certain reasons—Celine and Pound's anti-Semitism was far too well-known to honor them, and Bertolt Brecht cuckolded one of the prize committee members, so you don't see any of their names on the list.

October 14, 2006

Lakoff vs. Pinker

Steven Pinker recently reviewed George Lakoff's new book, What Freedom? a sort of follow-up to Don't Think of an Elephant. He torched it.

I'm not a big fan of Lakoff. I think he's often sloppy and slapdash. He's condescending and is closed to any ideas that he does not believe are both new and his own. Here is an example, from Pinker's review:
[Lakoff] claim[s] that conservatives think in terms of direct rather than systemic causation. Lakoff seems unaware that conservatives have been making exactly this accusation against progressives for centuries.

Laissez-faire economics, from Adam Smith to contemporary libertarians, is explicitly motivated by the systemic benefits of the market (remember the metaphor of "the hidden hand"?). Lakoff strikingly misunderstands his enemies here, repeatedly attributing to them the belief that capitalism is a system of moral reckoning, designed to reward the industrious with prosperity and to punish the indolent with poverty. In fact the theory behind free markets is that prices are a form of information about supply and demand that can be rapidly propagated through a huge decentralized network of buyers and sellers, giving rise to a distributed intelligence that allocates resources more efficiently than any central planner could hope to do. Whatever distribution of wealth results is an unplanned by-product, and in some conceptions, not appropriate for moralization one way or another. It is emphatically not, as Lakoff supposes (in a direct-causation mindset) a moral system for doling out just deserts.

Likewise, cultural conservatives, from Edward Burke to David Brooks, play up the systemic benefits of cultural traditions in bestowing unspoken standards of stability and decency on our social life. The "broken windows" theory of crime reduction is an obvious contemporary example. And both kinds of conservatives gleefully point to the direct remedies for social problems favored by progressives ("war on poverty" programs, strict emission limits to fix pollution, busing to negate educational inequality), and call attention to their unanticipated systemic consequences, such as perverse incentives and self-perpetuating bureaucratic fiefdoms.

None of this means that the conservative positions are unassailable. But it takes considerable ignorance, indeed chutzpa, for Lakoff to boast that only a progressive such as him can even understand the difference between systemic and direct causation.
Lakoff's line of thought here is, I have to admit, very similar to an article I wrote for the DFP on why conservatives self-select away from academia—they prefer the direct influence of management to the indirect influence of ideation. I probably should have done more thinking on that one, although my argument was more about personal preference than psychological or mental limitations on the Right. Anyway, I guess Lakoff is a good example of how not to write/think.

October 13, 2006

COS Task Force Debate -- Reboot

I want to make a few things much more clear about the arguments being presented in favor of the COS Task Force-'girls should have the balls to be grilled by the men they accuse' recommendations.

First of all, the argument that criminal trial-level standards of evidence and due process is unsound for the following, very simple reason:

COS hearings are not criminal trials and do not mete out criminal penalties.

The United States itself recognizes the need for different standards of evidence in the distinction between criminal and civil trials—if you can remember, OJ was acquitted in his criminal trial but was found guilty in the civil trial because the standard for proof was lower. COS hearings aren't equivalent to criminal trials; they aren't even equivalent to civil trials. They are part of the administration of a private institution, and both the standards for evidence and the available forms of discipline reflect that vast difference.

Secondly, while I believe an argument can be made (though I would not myself make it) that COS hearings do not provide enough rights and protection to the accused, that is not a sufficient condition, even if true, for the system to be replaced by state or local agents. The alcohol policy, intending as it does to at least limit underage drinking, is clearly magnitudes more ineffective than COS's handling of sexual assault cases, yet I don't hear anyone crying out that we should replace our alcohol abuse procedures with local or state intervention. While the Task Force did not make the recommendation to bring in state or local agents, some of the commenters in support of their recommendations did.

Thirdly, it is absurd and disgusting to me to talk only about how a sexual assault accusation affects only the life of the male student who is accused, as if sexual assault does not have the capacity to gravely and permanently damage the life of the actual victim. The panic any talk of sexual assault and especially the discipline thereof raises among many men on this campus and the inevitable wave of self-righteous tirades about their infringed rights tells a lot, I think.

A lot of these arguments proceed from the position that frivolous or malicious sexual assault accusations are a much more likely and much greater danger to the campus than the actual fact of sexual assault itself. That is incredible to me—these arguments ask us to believe that the number of cases of false accusations significantly outweighs the number of actual sexual assaults. Actually to be more precise, they ask us to believe that

(# of false accusations)*(damage of single false accusation) >> (# of actual sexual assaults)*(damage of single sexual assault)

I don't believe that, not even for a moment.

Edit: I realize that it may appear that the second and third points of this post refer to the actual recommendations of the Task Force. They do not. They refer to the whole discourse (on this blog and elsewhere) concerning the appropriateness of COS's policies regarding sexual assault. While the Task Force did not recommend the use of local or state law enforcement to investigate or discipline sexual abuse on campus, others have and I was responding to them. Additionally, my third point was not meant to refer to the Task Force's specific recommendations, but to the type of rhetoric that is often used (by others) to support changes in the way COS adjudicates sexual assault cases.

October 12, 2006

Dan Savage: Interview with Daily Pennsylvanian

On Green Party write-in candidate for Pennsylvania Senate Carl Romanelli:
"Romanelli may want to rim my ass like three times a week, that doesn't make him better for me and it doesn't make his presence on the ballot better for me than a Casey victory."

Great interview.

Via IvyGate Blog

Highly accurate frat guide

From Ivy Gate Blog

And to back up the characterization of Psi U—"extr[a]odinary douchebaggery. Psi U... embod[ies] every abhorrent stereotype you can conjure up about an Ivy League fraternity: elitist, WASPY, rich and preppy"—a poster purporting to be from Psi U complains about the guide:

"Well since every guy who's posted here is probably more dumb, lame, poor, and stupid to go to dartmouth and be in a respectable frat, and every girl who's posted here is a skanky dumb bitch, i'm going to say these evaluations AREN'T "right on" and tell you all to lick my balls."

October 11, 2006

"In the real world, if you don't have the balls to report [sexual assault], there's no case"

So said Rill Wollins, a member of Student Assembly's Committee on Standards Task Force, yesterday, according to The D.

Let me put that in language that is a little bit clearer:

"So you women, who were raped or otherwise physically violated, traumatized, maybe threatened or coerced into keeping silent, you just better get some big ass balls if you want to do anything about it. That's right. You should grow some men's balls before you can think about defending your delicate woman's right not to be groped or fucked or stuff without your consent."

Therefore, a provision like the one introduced yesterday by this COS Task Force, that defendants of a sexual assault charge can directly question—without an intermediary—the plaintiff, well, that's no problem. After all, accusing a man of rape or sexual assault should be a test of your testicular fortitude, and so if you don't have that manly courage, I'm sorry, you can't even have your case heard. As the alleged victim, you're really the one on trial, aren't you.

From what I've heard, leaders of SA task forces can hand-pick the task force's members. Anybody see a problem with that?

Excellent reporting by The D, btw.

October 10, 2006

Now I just need to find a nice atheist girl...

Study of divorce rates by religious affiliation turns out unexpectedly:

"Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significently higher than for other faith groups, and for Atheists and Agnostics."

Not only that, but "90% of divorces among born-again couples occur after they have been 'saved.'"

Not stopping there, the "godless" Northeast is also the region of the country with the lowest divorce rate—19%, compared to the South and Midwest's 27% and the West's 26%.

So much for the "if Jesus loves you, your spouse will too" argument.

October 7, 2006

Rich Assholes Lose

A-Rod trying to poop on a player doesn't help anything.

More: ESPN's 10 Greatest Moments for Yankee-Haters

"The fact that you're here is important to God"

E-confession: MySecret.tv

Online absolution for the soul on the go.

I think I prefer PostSecret which pretty much skips the Christian Guilt stuff and features some pretty awesome (if occasionally pruriently interesting) art.

Edit: Actually, I've been reading some of these and, without irony or snark, they are quite moving and deeply saddening. The concept somewhat offended me at first, but I have to say, maybe this helps people. I don't know.

October 6, 2006

Nietzsche + Family Circus = Good Times

"We love life, not because we are used to living but because we are used to loving."

More here

October 5, 2006

Daily Snark

O my goodness. Zak Moore's op-ed today (Elitism, Not Intellectualism).

Mr. Moore, try this on for some ultraliberal elitism:

You really have no idea what you're talking about.

I mean, dude, you're not even working with stereotypes here. It goes beyond stereotypes; it's abstracted from reality in a way that even bad fiction can't muster.

I would say more, but my eyes are actually hurting from looking at your sentences.

Update: The divine Miss Hackney takes Mr. Moore to the woodshed more fully. And Mr. Moore's compatriot Jon Wisniewski outdoes his titanic efforts today. My favorite line from Wisniewski's piece: "And now we come full circle, to the copy of John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty" that just jumped off my bookshelf and exploded in my face." God, I wish I hadn't wasted my snark yesterday on Moore—this one is so much better!

More: Quite differently, and you have no idea how much it pains me to say this, Nick Desai's article on the Alumni Constitution is pretty good. Others, of course, I'm not so keen on: 1, 2, and especially 3.

Article Submission Call: The Dartmouth Beacon

Intercepted this important memo and, in the spirit of friendliness, thought I'd help The Dartmouth Beacon out with their recruiting. If you'd like to write any of these articles, blitz James Throckmorton.
Pre-Cooked Brainstorming for Articles:


Animal Rights Vegetarians: Animals rights activists at Dartmouth recently set up a booth in Novack from which to proselytize their Gaian religion. “I used to be a human rights activist until I realized how many more animals in the world are suffering and how much more severely they are suffering than humans” explained to me one of the girls manning the booth. More than anything, this activism demonstrates a loss of moral bearing. The Extreme Left is too far entrenched in moral relativism to have a clear justification for its moral verdicts. Indeed, people are fundamentally moral in that they need to believe in right and wrong, and if this necessity is suppressed in its most natural places, it will manifest itself in absurd—even destructive—ways. [e.g. veganism--very destructive]

Depression: The general incidence of unipolar depressive episodes in the US for those born in 1910 is approximately 1.5% of the population. For those born in 1970, the figure is roughly 60%. The general incidence of bipolar disorder, on the other hand, has not changed significantly. This and controls on the experiment suggest that the increase in unipolar depression is not due to over-reporting. And as bipolar is much more tightly linked to genetics than unipolar depression, the increase in depression incidence suggests some changing aspect of American society is to blame.
Is there a conservative position on depression? Can one be made? Does the incredible increase in depression rates stem from changes in technology or family structure or societal values or something else?
Considering the large number of Dartmouth students who have experienced depression, this subject would be of particular interest to the student body.

Dartmouth Hook-Ups: What is hooking-up? [Only The Beacon could seriously ask this question.] Is it healthy? [ditto] What do we really want from the other sex and does hooking-up give it? [ditto] Who wins in this game? Is using the word “slut” outdated or bigoted, as our friends at the DFP would argue? [Answer: Yes.]

Temporarily Authentic- “authentic” stems from “authenticable,” and originally suggested something was genuine only if it could be measured against some objective standard. However, the commonplace definition has changed, reflecting America’s changing values; something is authentic precisely when there is no measure of it. “Be Yourself,” one might say. Don’t conform to anything, especially not an objective standard. And so someone is trustworthy when he eschews morals, etiquette, and other standards (this idea comes from an issue of Mars Hill Audio and should be used as a springboard for an article—not plagiarized).
A more Dartmouth pertinent article could not be written. [Really? I personally feel an article revealing The Beacon's discovery of "hooking-up" would indeed be more Dartmouth pertinent.]

Jack Kerouac- Who was he and how has current thinking been shaped by his ideas? Have even conservatives unwittingly adopted some of his propositions as their own? [Kerouac didn't have ideas. He had sentences. Plain ones.]

Culture Qua Culture- derived from the same root for “agriculture,” “culture” originally implied an understanding of the good. A well-cultured man was one who had mastered all those subjects society considered most valuable. His thinking had been carefully cultivated. But culture has since evolved to mean the norms of a group. And because there is no good towards which one can aspire save an ambiguous assimilation [there isn't? Damn!], culture has been stripped of any power to benefit society. An extreme multiculturalism develops from this. [Obvi]

Live and Let Die- Moral relativism produces in its adherents a callousness to the interests of others. “He can do what he wants and I will do what I want,” but do I care if he ultimately suffers or thrives? Am I my brother’s keeper? [Everyone take an Ingmar Bergman Moment to look at the sky dolefully.]

Domestic Politics

School Vouchers- Efficacious? Constitutional? Moral? Long-term or Short-term? Currently, parents of the lowest classes have very little choice but to send their children to what are usually failing public schools. Pushing for vouchers highlights conservative empathy while embossing the limousine liberal. [Embossing?]

Sarbanes Oxley- can subject matter as arcane as this be made Dartmouth palatable? [Not if you're writing it.]

Marijuana Legalization- can it be justified under conservative principles?
This subject could earn kudos for open-mindedness. [Or "brownie points." LOL]

The Republican Party- is it conservative? If so, to what extent and in what way? -this article could easily be completed in under 700 words. [WOW. 700 words? You just blew my mind.]

Foreign Policy

United Nations- Seriously? [Better article: The Beacon- Seriously?]


The Fall of Bradley- the shower towers were built under the assumption that human tastes had changed, and man could be socialized to love post-modern architecture. After some 30 ugly years, the towers will be falling, leaving in their place new, neo-classical buildings. These buildings stand as a monument to the staying-power of human nature. Aesthetics, the least of all things bourn of human nature, will not change. Human nature is real. [Natch.]

II) B-B-Cue

We will be having a social BBQ sometime in the next week so that new members of the Beacon can grow acquainted with the entrenched. [entrenched in what is my question] James Throckmorton will be planning this.
All emphases are mine. All ideas are theirs. Seriously.


OMG the accents:

Blood Diamond film trailer

Seriously, it's too bad; I can't watch the whole thing.

October 4, 2006

An Excellent Point

"Credit D-GALA":
Timothy Dreisbach '71's recent letter asserts, without any factual basis, that the recent upward trend in donor participation is somehow related to the election of petition trustees ("Petition Candidates and Alumni Participation," Sept. 28). This is mere speculation (if not wishful thinking).

In fact, a significant increase in alumni participation can be directly attributed to the hard work of the college's affiliated groups. D-GALA (Dartmouth's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Alumni/ae Association), for instance, has increased its participation rate from 26.7 percent in 2002 to 43.7 percent in 2006 -- 17 full percentage points --- through greater communication with alumni, regional events, and fundraising initiatives. (This year alone, contributions from D-GALA members funded scholarships for four students.) Likewise, the other affiliated groups have also increased their participation rates over the past few years through similar outreach. Petition candidates and trustees do not deserve credit for these achievements.

The affiliated groups are a valuable financial resource for the College, as these increased participation rates demonstrate. A "yes" vote on the proposed constitution will provide the affiliated groups with the representation they warrant and ensure that this upward trend continues into the future.
Having voting positions on the Alumni Council for affiliated groups is not 'being nice' or compensatory—they are a necessary part of a vigorously active alumni body. To take their votes away (they do have votes now under the current system, something most critics won't tell you) would be hamstringing the effort to increase alumni participation. That would simply be silly.

October 3, 2006

Ha Ha, Malchow Can Use a Racial Slur

But it's okay because he means the actual monkey (this is exactly how the post appears—with the link):
I never had an especially high opinion of Santorum, who in his countenance and his speech always appeared to me to be Central Casting’s interpretation of Republican Politician from Pennsylvania. And this direct mail, which in its argumentation reads as though it were composed by a macaca, piece has sundered my thougts to new lows. Just read David’s tit-for-tat on some of the letter’s most ridiculous points.
Actually, and totally seriously, it's not okay. It's not in the least okay. The point is that the word is being used with the acknowledgment that it is a slur, even if it is based on another thing.

Here's an equivalent:
[Name of a person] writes like a fag.
See! I linked to a picture of a cigarette! I'm being cute! The explicit semantic meaning of my sentence is that so-and-so writes like a cigarette! (Even if the implicit meaning is, "Joe Malchow likes to use racial slurs and pretend they are innocent.")

Nope. Sorry, that doesn't work. Joe should apologize immediately. This is disgusting.

More: I am reminded of this even more disgusting post by Malchow:
John Derbyshire is exactly correct. If you are from an English-speaking nation, you speak English. If you speak English, you pronounce foreign words as standard English pronunciation would dictate. Therefore, the correct pronunciation of ‘latino’ is LAT-in-oh, not La-TEEN-oh. This issue was particularly irritating for me when I was in high school, and I would listen to WNYC (NPR in New York) every morning. The regional news, anchored by good speaker Soterios Johnson (who is from Jersey), features New York beat reporter Cindy Rodriguez. This girl, who grew up in Texas, should not be on the radio. She signed off every report saying, “For WNYC, I’m Cindy Rrrrod-RRRRigeZZ.” I instinctively stopped short whenever I heard that sign-off; thinking that a rabid raccoon- possibly possessed- had somehow entered my truck’s otherwise mild mannered Bose sound system. But no. It is Cindy Rodriguez, Texan. An English-speaker. Doing a report in English. In New York. About New York.

Except for that last clink of unfettered idiotry. Stop it, Cindy Rodriguez, or you shall be forced to change your last name to Smith.

UPDATE: Another bad one is ‘croissant’. I have five years of French training under my belt and can affect a very good French accent. But in America, one orders a cro-SANT.
[My emphases.]

October 2, 2006

I should have thought of that

Michael Belinsky:
The Pope's own speech contains perhaps the greatest insight into comparative politics: the intolerable quote he cites comes from a dialogue between a Byzantine and a Persian. The Byzantine made his argument in a reasoned, reasonable and scholarly dialogue. The Persian listened and rebutted. Notice the lack of violence and the tolerance of speech: and this, in the 14th century! How can dialogue about Holy War take place 800 years ago, but mere mention of it in today's enlightened, liberalized society ushers forth death and destruction? The answer, perhaps, is globalization.
And the scales fall from my eyes.

By the way, from now on, the answer to everything will always be "globalization."

Google's stock price? Globalization.

Global warming? Globalization.

Why did Ashlee Simpson get her nose fixed? Globalization.

Why am I writing this? Globalization.

Poetry Monday

Ran across this while reading some Philip Larkin last night. It may or may not have reminded me of current Dartmouth politics. I do not mean for this to be an explicit commentary, and I surely dissent from at least one interpretation of the last stanza, but well, hear you go.

'Since the majority of me'

Since the majority of me
Rejects the majority of you,
Debating ends forthwith, and we
Divide. And sure of what to do

We disinfect new blocks of days
For our majorities to rent
With unshared friends and unwalked ways.
But silence too is eloquent:

A silence of minorities
That, unopposed at last, return
Each night with cancelled promises
They want renewed. They never learn.