Monday, November 17, 2008

random roundup

1. I don't get the appeal of these books (now a pro-abstinence, pro-vampire movie!), and I really liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

2. Rehnquist's papers were mostly boring, occasionally illuminating.

3. Stupid essay about the pathos of LOLCats.

4. Accomplished, brilliant Michelle Obama celebrated for her Sir-Mix-a-Lot booty, decried for her momification (not quite convinced; I think M.O. relishes being both a strong, independent woman and her husband's closest adviser and a mother, there does not need to be a Hobson's choice), picked apart for her fashion sense, given useless advice for the same. Belle bangs her head against the table in despair.

5. Also, I hate Camille Paglia (see also) and Germaine Greer. Just goes to show you that feminism is not monolithic, as I completely hate everything they write! Belle punches her fist into the wall; marvels at the hole that is as hollow as the idea of gender essentialism.

5. Am I the only one who's not a fan of Malcolm Gladwell's specious metatheories that rely on real social science and the theories created by other actually smart people to make broad claims that are then accepted by the lay public as the gospel truth of his own invention? He's a lovely writer and arguably valuable popularizer, but dude, people, unless there's a salt shortage, take several grains with each thing you read and make sure you look up those references to see the original research. See also.

6. Speaking of not quite stable social science, the IAT may not be as predictive in its testing of bias. I believe that there is unconscious bia s, but I am not convinced that the IAT is a rigorous test for it--but then again I am a fan of all things Phil Tetlock.

7. Speaking of prejudice and the ill effects thereof, here's an article explaining how you can be a gay Mormon (answer: don't have sex). Here is an advice column asking what to do if you are a closeted gay Mormon in an unhappy marriage, and I apologize to Matt (the usual one) for succumbing to weakness--but look, timely! I have no excuse for reading this, though.

8. I feel so sick I want to die (hugs for Belle!), but later this week I am going to make this soup. Maybe much later, though. Sigh. Not even a bag of Twix bars (my favorite commercial candy) is making me feel better.

9. Do I wish I were this kid? Not really. The world has enough pretentious foodies, so clearly the only way to distinguish is by age, and youthful pretension has that ineffable quality of absolute conviction.

10. What happened to my New Yorkers? They just stopped coming, and I've only noticed now that it's the third week or so, and other blogs are referring to articles I haven't read. No "this is your last issue" notice to renew, and so I am mad at the lack of due process that has deprived me of 2-3 issues. Unfortunately finances are so tight that I have declared a moratorium on Christmas presents, and so I suppose I will have to be content with reading books and stuff.