It’s Stampede season here, friends, and we’re all excited about rodeo days and the world’s largest Independence Day rodeo, right here in Potterville! Heck’s’a’poppin’.
- First up, the hearings for Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court start today. Tenured Radical has a nice round-up of her own, with some quality links for your enjoyment. I liked this article by Deborah L. Rhode of Stanford University, “Why Elena Kagan’s Looks Matter.” (Answer, paraphrased by me: That ol’ devil, patriarchal equilibrium.) Don’t miss the part in the article where she describes how hateful, anonymous insults about her looks after publishing an op-ed illustrated the point of her new book rather perfectly. Rhode writes, “Yet pointing this out is likely to unleash the prejudices at issue. I got a recent taste after publishing an op-ed in The Washington Post. The editorial summarized themes from my just released book, The Beauty Bias, which documents the price of prejudice and proposes some legal and cultural strategies to address it. It was surprising to discover how many individuals were willing to take time from their busy day to send hate mail on the order of ‘I just bet that you yourself are one ugly c—.’ Some readers, annoyed that no author picture accompanied the article, felt strongly enough to do independent research. One explained: ‘knowing there had to be a reason why [you would write about bias] I looked you up in the Stanford Faculty Directory and then all the pieces fell together… I’m sure Stanford has to tie a bone around your neck to get even the campus dogs not to run away from you.’ Several hundred online posts following the article included more of the same. One reader proposed taking up a collection so I could ‘buy …a burqa: This would certainly improve the aesthetics around Stanford.'” Lovely. (Does the WaPo realize that comments like this reflect poorly on them? Once again, and with feeling: either moderate your comments or eliminate them! Same goes for you, Daily Beast. Why give these douchebags a forum when they can start their own damn blogs, for free?)
- Paul Krugman has some bad news for us all. (Well, those of us who aren’t fabulously rich enough to eschew employment and live off of interest income, anyway.) Sucks for us, friends!
- Randall Stephens has some interesting reflections on Glenn Beck’s use of history and style of historical argumentation. He writes, “Beck’s political grandstanding and maudlin theatrics are offensive enough. (I can think of no better ipecac for the typical humanities professor.) But it’s his ahistorical theories of the past that disturb me most. Beck, like many conservatives, Christian or not, is incapable of coming to terms with the notion of change over time. What was true for bewigged, knee-breeches-wearing, slave-owning nabobs in eighteenth century Virginia must be just as true for a minivan-driving NASCAR dad in 2010. (Still, few of those NASCAR dads would adopt some of Ben Franklin’s woolly polytheistic notions.) Did America’s public schools once allow Protestant-styled prayers in the classroom? Then they should do so still. Were women once the caretakers of hearth and home? Then maybe they should still be. Didn’t learned folks once believe that the Grand Canyon formed in a matter of days during the flood of the Old Testament? Or was it millions of years in the making, as modern geologists would have us believe? The flood story—biblical, less complicated, more interesting—makes more sense.” Go read the whole thing. Love his description of this theory of history as a costume party. I’ve always thought that Beck’s rhetoric was interesting (in a car-crashy, rubbernecky kind of way) because history is important to him. (But as Stephens points out, Beck makes a mash of 250 years of history without any theory of change over time.) Beck counts on the United States of Amnesia not to contradict his “facts” or to be aware of more subtle analyses than he presents to it. But, go read Stephens–he’s watched a lot more Beck and thought about it harder than I have.
- Here’s some more data for the global wage gap between men and women scientists. Grr. North America appears to have the biggest gap between women and men, probably because our scientists are paid much better! We’re number one! We’re number one!
- Finally, I knew it when I captioned the photo on my previous post that it just wasn’t the right image. “I’ll just do it myself” should of course be illustrated by our old friend, The Little Red Hen. (This is a story that always struck me as oddly Libertarian for a children’s tale, and I’m not sure that I approve of the underlying message. Shouldn’t the denouement involve more trans-species cooperation, rather than the hen enjoying her loaf of bread and going to bed all by herself?)