I got a free ticket to the UCLA-Arizona St. football game at the Rose Bowl last Saturday. Both of L.A.’s college football stadiums, the Rose Bowl (UCLA) and the Coliseum (USC), are enormous 1920s piles with lots of cheap bench seats in the end zones. Nobody would build these kind of non-luxurious stadiums these days, so there are often a lot of tickets left over for charity and group-type events.
It was an entertaining game, with UCLA winning 44-37, although the lengthy TV commercial timeouts after each of the multitudinous scores and for sundry other reasons, robbed much of the momentum for spectators.
Today is the annual USC-UCLA game, which is mostly of interest as the first (and perhaps last) matchup between perhaps the two top SoCal high school quarterbacks of recent years, Josh Rosen of Manhattan Beach and Sam Darnold of San Clemente.
Both are strong NFL prospects. Which one is better? I got denounced in the NYT by Malcolm Gladwell as a bad person a number of years ago for furnishing data to Steven Pinker calling into question Gladwell’s claim that it was impossible to predict which college quarterbacks would thrive in the NFL, but I don’t doubt it is hard.
Rosen certainly looked like a fine college quarterback last week. I didn’t get there until the second quarter, after a bad first quarter following sitting out a game due to a concussion. While I was there, he was close to unstoppable, throwing for over 350 yards in the last three quarters. He has fine technique.
On the other hand, Rosen seemed a little skinny for an NFL quarterback. An excellent technician, he had a superb season as a true freshman in 2015 and was being talked up as the best Jewish quarterback since Sid Luckman of the 1941 Chicago Bears (he’s half-Jewish but looks quite Jewish). But in the two years since, he has been slowed somewhat by injuries.
He’s definitely tough: in the 4th quarter he ran for the goal line on 3rd down but got hammered on two yard...
Robby Soave: The third part of your series [in The Atlantic: The Question of Rape in Campus Sexual Assault] focuses on the fact that we don’t know what the exact numbers are, but it certainly seems like there’s a disproportionate number of students of color and immigrant men who are being accused of these issues.
Emily Yoffe: No one’s talking about race, but in the cases where the name comes out, you type in the name and it’s a black guy, it’s a black guy, it’s a black guy. The way you get hard numbers is the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights demands that institutions of higher education report the race of students being punished, the way they do in the K–12 realm. But they don’t. I think they don’t want to know.
Let me put one little caveat on that. There’s a danger. When you say we’re going to collect information that could change behavior, it’s not a neutral thing. So are schools going to say, “We’ve got to make sure we’re accusing more white guys, because we could get in trouble otherwise”? That’s not the outcome you’re looking for.
But I talk about Colgate University, which was one of the few places you could actually get numbers because there was a race discrimination complaint brought. Colgate has about 4 percent black student enrollment, which means 2 percent black male. That year, 50 percent of the accused were black. And I had another example where the numbers were almost precisely the same at a large state school—about 2 percent black male enrollment, and the semester I was looking at, at least 50 percent of the accused were black.
Commenter Buffalo Joe explains:
The left is not coming to the defense of their own and now Kirsten Gillibrand says Clinton should have resigned. All will fall on their swords so that they can push the claim that Trump should now resign because of allegations of sexual harassment against him. Am I in need of a foil hat?
This is the plan to turn Weinstein Lemons into Trump Impeachment Lemonade.
But can progressive women get themselves organized enough to drop Phase One — the accusations against leading liberal figures — and, as Democrats used to say, Move On to Phase Two — Get Trump!
Or will Phase One just stretch out into an interminable Airing of Grievances against leading liberal men as woman after woman elbows her way into the Spotlight of Attention?
Commenter anon observes:
hotuh permanently traumatizing.”
Bingo and Yup.
I mean it’s a Pussing Contest.
It’s like killing two birds with one stone.
On the one hand, they get to brag how HOT they are/were and men just couldn’t resist them. They turned the head of every man.
On the other hand, they get to lament about their vicitmhood at the hands of these misogynist men (whose crime seems to be they liked women too much). Rape!
What a combo.
From the male perspective, there used to be the madonna/whore complex.
Now, from the modern female perspective, there is the vixen/victim(or vixtim) complex, aka hussy/hissy complex.
It’s so irresistible — a formula that fuses opposites into unity is hard to come by — that it could be the basis for a female religion. The genius of Christianity was, after all, the fusion of defeat with victory. Poor victim Jesus… turned out to be Son of God, indeed God.
But will any Vixtim have the vision to bake a religion out of this?
It may be good to be the king but it’s just divine to be a vixtim.
A survivor of the Hancock Park Golfocaust, Matthew Weiner, creator of the Mad Men soap opera, remains in the news on charges of being an “emotional terrorist.” I had never heard of “emotional terrorism” before, but it seems like a popular title among authors of self-help books.
Technically, emotional terrorism isn’t actually a crime, yet, but, hey … It’s the time for the Airing of Grievances. From the Hollywood Reporter:
NOVEMBER 17, 2017 10:41am PT by Bryn Elise Sandberg
Marti Noxon is speaking up about Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and the sexual harassment allegation surrounding him.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the television writer-producer — who formerly worked on the AMC drama as a senior consultant — described Weiner as an “emotional terrorist, who will badger, seduce and even tantrum in an attempt to get his needs met.” She added that “everyone at Mad Men, regardless of gender or position, was affected by this atmosphere.”
I’m shocked, shocked to learn that a guy who is talented at creating emotional situations that million of women will find worth watching tends to have strong emotions and is adept at manipulating others’ emotions in service to his emotions.
I mean, I can’t recall anybody calling me an “emotional terrorist,” but then I’m not really fascinated enough with emotions to even watch more than six hours of Mad Men, much less create it and be its showrunner.
Noxon’s tweets come a week after former Mad Men assistant-turned-writer Kater Gordon came out and accused Weiner of sexual harassment. Gordon told The Information that while writing late on the series one night, Weiner said to her that she owed it to him to see her naked. …
[Noxon says,] “Responding to her statement, Matt claimed he would never make that kind of...
For years, I’ve been mentioning the striking amount of space taken up in the brains of influential people by family memories of great-grandpa not being able to join the Los Angeles Country Club (so he had to join Jewish-only Hillcrest CC instead).
The Los Angeles Country Club takes up something like 0.9 miles of both sides of Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles’s main drag, right next to Beverly Hills.
Behind its huge hedges, it’s the most conspicuously hidden away private golf club in America. While the largely elderly membership long attempted to maintain a low profile, psychologically, it acts as a giant turf marker, like a dog peeing on a tree, that says: “We were here first.”
I was there in September for the Walker Cup (George Walker Bush gave the US team of amateurs a pep talk to go beat the Brits in his his great-grand-daddy’s tournament), standing next to the 13th tee behind the dying Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion. Of course, there was a giant hedge and the ex-Lutheran Hugh could never, ever get in to LACC, because he was show biz.
It really is a phenomenally great golf course. The old WASP real estate developers who built Los Angeles from 1887 onward (and in Los Angeles, virtually nobody can claim their ancestors “settled” the place — most newcomers arrived on the train and subdivided rather than settled) had an eye for land and they picked out the single best piece of golf land for themselves.
Of course, as I’ve been occasionally reminded, not that many people really care about golf course quality. But a surprising number of people care about minor variants in the social standing of their ancestors, such as whether great-grandpa could get into LACC or not.
As you’ll recall, in September 2015, Angela Merkel’s sudden whim of inviting a million marching men into the heart of Europe was widely proclaimed an audacious masterstroke that would no doubt envibrantize Germany’s economy with all those Syrian engineers. But, the cooler heads cautioned, there might be some short-term adjustment issues unless the other nations of Europe, such as Poland, were forced to take their fair share of Merkel’s Muslims.
Polish voters reacted to the EU’s demands by giving the populist conservative Law & Justice party the first majority in parliament in modern free Poland’s history.
It was almost as if the Poles, having looked around Western Europe, don’t want Muslim immigrants to establish a beachhead in their own country. As Will Rogers might have said, if you find yourself standing on nice level ground, don’t start digging.
But from the New York Times op-ed page, we learn that Polish resistance to the German chancellor’s demand for Muslim immigration into Poland isn’t really about Muslim immigration, because Poles are too stupid to know anything about Muslims, it’s really all about how those hateful Poles are bad for the Jews:
… Until very recently Poles had never given much thought to Islam beyond occasionally expressing a sense of historical pride that a Polish king, Jan Sobieski, defeated the Turks in a 17th-century battle near Vienna, thus saving Christian Europe from the infidels. This fits a recurrent theme in Polish national mythology: Poland as a rampart of Christianity, the Christ of Nations. Poland, according to this trope, has repeatedly, and heroically, suffered for the sake of others, especially the rest of Christian Europe.
Those nativist Polish bigots should have let the diverse Mongols loot and burn Krakow for a third time in the 13th Century instead of just twice. The Mongols had...
I am pretty bad with these puns. But this one might just be SSC-worthy.
One of my goals for the rest of Anti-Bolshevik Month is to write a comprehensive alternate history in which the Russian Republic survives WW1.
Randall Parker’s question on Twitter: “Imagine a time traveler goes back to 1913 and kill Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Gavrilo Princip and a few others. How does 20th century play out?”
Gave me a convenient opportunity to sketch out the basics: “If you study the details, success of both October Revolution & Nazi ascent were almost freak occurrences. Moreover, latter depended on the former. Very unlikely to repeat. There might not have been a WW1, and not just Pinkerian reasons, but Realpolitik ones. Russian power was rapidly converging to German, making two front war increasingly untenable; hence, German General Staff urged war sooner, before 1916 at the latest. USA and Russia would dominate mid to late 20th century, and more equally; a China on S. Korea’s development trajectory would be surpassing both ~2000 (instead of Russia in 1990 and the US around ~2030 in our TL). Tech in general might be about a decade further advanced, though rocketry might lag slightly. But global warming also worse, since Communism wouldn’t have retarded many countries’ development.”
Anyone read it? Is it any good?
* Top 500 supercomputer list for November 2017 is out.
Although China first overtook the United States in June 2016 by the smallest of margins, for the first time the gap has become truly significant: China – 202; United States – 143.
As per usual,...
Though presented as an anti-corruption campaign, there’s no real doubt that it is politically motivated (at any rate MbS sure enjoys the sweet life himself).
I agree with Alexander Mercouris (read his excellent article) that the intent is to transform Saudi Arabia from the nepotistic monarchy it is today to a modernizing autocracy centered around MbS.
CNN: Saudi oil dependence.
Saudi Arabia faces very big problems in coming decades. It is highly reliant on oil – it pumps out five times as much per capita as that “gas station of a country,” Russia. But the technological revolution in this industry of the past decade has dashed any hopes such oil exporters might had had off living off the resource rent indefinitely. Meanwhile, the population is growing by more than 2% per annum, and the rentier class of Saudi princes – who now number around 15,000 – is growing even faster (“elite overproduction,” as Peter Turchin would say).
This political transformation, if successful, will help Saudi Arabia avoid collapse as oil revenues per capita dry up in the coming decades. But will it be successful?
1. The anti-corruption “raid” has netted a lot of money in the most direct sense. Eric Margolis in today’s featured column on this webzine mentions $800 billion. That sounds off by an order of magnitude, but very useful nonetheless.
A much more important effect is that this constitutes a signal that there there could be limits on the amount of resources that the royal family will be allowed to hoard. This offers a way out from the Saudi elite overproduction trap.
3. MbS has shown a healthy apetite for economic reform. In the National Transformation Programme announced in 2016, there are plans to partially privatize oil giant Aramco, diversify from oil (easier said than done), and cut subsidies and welfare.
Famous Twitter satirist menaquinone4 jokes that Saudi Arabia has been taken over by a TED Talk....
Just came back from a workshop on “Intelligence and Culture as Factors of National Competitiveness” organized by the Institute of Psychology RAS.
The most interesting presentation was by Konstantin Sugonyev, which may be published in a forthcoming paper. It concerned the following test:
This is a test on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website, where potential contract soldiers are offered to take an IQ test (30 questions, testing verbal, numerical, logical), and a couple of personality tests, to assess their suitability for military service (unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to give you your score, only a pass or a fail).
Over the years 2012-2017, almost 250,000 Russians have done this test, possibly making this the largest source of regional psychometric data on Russia apart from the Unified State Exams (regional data about them is carefully secreted away).
While people born between 1973 and 1987 performed at a stable 19.5-20/30, the post-1988 period saw a steady improvement towards an average score of 21/30.
S.D. is around 6 points.
Whether this is due to a Flynn effect or ageing isn’t clear.
Only the top/bottom 5 regions were displayed, but they were exactly as expected. The difference between the best performers and worst performers was almost 1 S.D.
So nice when new investigations continue building on stereotypes, especially n=250,000 investigations.
Note that I have long thought Yaroslavl might have a high IQ.
It had the highest literacy rate of any non-capital Russian region in 1897:
Incidentally, I am not surprised to see Yaroslavl being the top non-Baltic/non-capital Russian region by literacy rate in 1897. It struck me as by far the cleanest and most civilized provincial Russian town on the Golden Ring when...
Communist Russophilia in all its glory.
I have some important work non-blog related tasks to do up until Nov 16 so there’ll be a temporary halt to my posts deconstructing the Red ideology, but rest assured that this important mission will be resumed.
Speaking of that. Recently met up with a couple of elderly relatives, the centenary of the Revolution came up. One is a Soviet nostalgic and pro-Leninist/Stalinist, as are most people of that generation, the other – a person in his 60s, blue-collar engineer background, even has the engineer’s trademark disdain for humanities education – started opining about the Brusilov offensive, that Russia should have won WW1, that Lenin was a traitorous scumbag, etc. This was shocking to the latter, though pleasantly surprising for myself. I should also stress that there was absolutely no prompting on my part (personally I try to avoid discussing the USSR with old people in Russia and the West alike), though as the debate got going, I did back him up .
What is the point of this anecdote? First, that there are people with all strongly anti-Bolshevik opinions in Russia, including in demographic groups you’d hardly expect it from. Second, that there are some people in my comments threads who are full of shit.
Whining from certain quarters regardless, you really have to work pretty hard to get banned from my blog.
There have been a total of about a dozen such cases. Here’s a representative sample:
Anyhow, I am taking the possibly misguided decision of a total amnesty, and have temporarily scoured the entire list.
This doesn’t mean its going to be a free for all. I reserve the right to hide stupid/spammy comments...
Inflation is now at 2.7% as of October 2017, down from double-digit rates three years ago and overshooting the Central Bank of Russia’s 4% target for this year.
This constitutes an all-time post-Soviet low.
This is in large part thanks to the hawkish monetary policy of CBR head Elvira Nabiullina, and indirectly of Putin, who gave her and the economic liberal bloc political cover in the face of populist opposition demanding lower interest rates and greater state invervention in the economy.
Once Soviet-era capacities, at least in those sectors where they were market-competitive, were restored by the mid-2000s, Russia’s high growth rate petered out (though irrational exuberance sustained it for a couple more years until the 2008 crash). The major problem, besides an atrocious business climate, was that high inflationary expectations had become embedded. High inflation discourages savings, which you need for investment. Consequently, banks were only prepared to lend to small and medium sized businesses at rapacious rates of interest.
But it now looks like Russia’s version of the Volcker shock since 2014 has finally succeeded in taming inflation for good.
This is especially significant since it comes on the back of three other major achievements that are of long-term relevance to growth.
1. A rise from ~120th (i.e. Nigeria) to 35th (i.e. Japan) position on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business since the start of Putin’s third term. Russia is still far from the best place to do business in, but it is vastly better than it was a decade ago.
2. A near halving in the numbers of Russian “pocket banks,” to the benefit of established and more transparent lenders (a consolidation that Nabiullina has spearheaded).
3. The beginning of semi-serious efforts to resurrect Russia’s moribund R&D capacities. (More on this later).
Finally, Russia has managed to do all this without the big budget deficits, yawning debt increases,...
Pavel Ryzhenko (2008): Umbrella.
In his latest article, published at Vzglyad, Kholmogorov demolishes twelve myths about the Bolshevik revolution, using a recent article by the Russian novelist Zakhar Prilepin as a foil. Why Prilepin? Who is he, anyway? You won’t find many mentions of him in the Western media, like you would of Vladimir Sorokin, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, or Dzerzhinsky admirer turned maniac Russophobe Svetlana Alexievich – writers that take a “handshakeworthy” anti-Russian stance. However, Zakhar Prilepin enjoys far more popular acclaim within Russia itself than any of those third rate entities – the only modern Russian literary authors comparable to him in eminence are Boris Akunin (historical mystery), Viktor Pelevin (satire), and Sergey Lukyanenko (sci-fi).
Part of the reason is Prilepin’s background. He has nothing to do with the Moscow intellentsia; he is the quintessential Russian redneck. Worked as a laborer, a security guard, and with the OMON riot police. Chechnya vet. Went into journalism in the 2000s, but found his true calling in artistic literature: Writing socially critical novels, typically about life in the Russian podunks (he himself hails from the rustbelt city of Nizhny Novgorod). Worst of all, he is a vatnik, a Communist (a National Bolshevik, to be precise), and a Donbass supporter. Most definitely not handshakeworthy – especially since he doesn’t exactly keep his politics on a backburner. Prilepin is also Chief Editor of Svobodnaya Pressa, an intelligent online journal and media success story that enjoys 15 million monthly visits (they even once translated one of my articles). He also pals around with DNR bigwigs and has even gathered a batallion for the War in the Donbass, though its more PR spectable than anything else.
As one of Russia’s leading “patriotic”/vatnik...
Westerners have semi-legitimate reasons to like Lenin. Hard-headed proponents of Realpolitik and plain old vanilla Russophobes might appreciate his role in crippling Russia relative to what it could have been in the 20th century (i.e. a full-spectrum challenger to the American order, instead of Upper Volta with missiles). The increasing popular strains of SJW leftism would logically subscribe to the belief that Lenin’s program of national deconstruction (decolonization), struggle against Great Russian chauvinism (white supremacy), and bourgeois parasitism (white privilege) were actually good things in and of themselves.
This shouldn’t be a problem in Russia. The first category of self-haters does exist – somebody like Garry Kasparov comes to mind – but it is electorally negligible. The second category is hardly any more relevant, at least for now. Marginal Trotskyist figures, such as Sergey Biets of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party, and various anarchist collectives, such as Pussy Riot, come to mind. There is an incipient SJW trend emerging amongst the students of the elite Moscow and SPB universities, but based on the American experience, it will be a couple of decades before it leaps into the general population. The KPRF is stronger on immigration than the ruling United Russia pattern, and the Russian Left has been no less firm in its support of the Donbass than mainstream nationalists.
And yet, Russians remain considerably more positive towards Lenin than most Westerners. An April 2017 Levada poll showed 56% positive towards Lenin, versus 22% negative. He incites positive emotions in 44% of Russians, and negative emotions in only 9% of them. Only 14% of Russians support removing Lenin statues, versus 79% opposed – even though 99% of those statues, being mass produced, have no inherent artistic or historical value. Most of the “powerful takes” against my (negative) article on Lenin came from Russians.
There is a general consensus that Stalin was a sadistic tyrant. But the ghost of his predecessor remains “handshakeworthy” on the left hand side of the political spectrum. The SWPLy bobos of Seattle, who would not have been long for the Communist world, erected a statue to him in the city center. The New York Times “celebrated” the centenary of the Russian Revolution with odes to the Bolsheviks’ progressivism on the environment, sex, and race (not that Terell J. Starr with his strange ideas of how the USSR “centered the Russian slav” would appreciate it).
Westerners, at least, have a good excuse for subscribing to the self-serving Trotskyite belief that Stalin “betrayed” Lenin’s revolution – after all, the bacillus that Germany unleashed upon Russia during its moment of weakness and disarray did more than anyone else to derail De Tocqueville’s prophesy and ensure that the 20th century would be an exclusively American one.
And yet, as of the centenary of Red October, 56% of Russians – up from 40% in 2006 – maintained a positive view of the grandfather of this dismal experiment. To this day, Lenin’s pyramid-like tomb occupies the center of Moscow, the heart of Russia, as if he was a Pharaoh of old – though perhaps that is ironically appropriate, in light of his zealous drive to drag Russia into the Communist future instead depositing it in a world with the ethical norms of the 3rd millennium BC.
There is thus no better and no more urgent time to consign the “Communist fable of a Lenin supposedly gentler than Stalin” (as Stephen Kotkin put it) to its well-deserved place in the dustbin of history.
Who was Lenin?
The brother of a terrorist. In the totalitarian state that he built, which operated by blood guilt, this would have been as good as a death sentence. Fortunately for Lenin, he lived in the Russian Empire, not the USSR.