As I start to pack for a trip that starts tomorrow at 9, it occurs to me that maybe I’m not ready for the real world.
how is this man a public intellectual
like really though, he’s like one of the closest things we have to a public intellectual we live in a broken world
Chinese Restaurant? What kind of basic biological imperative is region-specific? Chinese checkers? Chinese New Year? What nonsense!
This seems like the only appropriate response.
(Source: anthropologeist, via adornoble)
Professor: “This paper would be a lot stronger if you had more case studies from different countries.”
Me: “Yeah, it probably would be, but oh well.”
By way of lareviewofbooks:
Rebecca Liao reads Niall Ferguson’s gay-baiting career:
During a Q&A session last Friday at the Altegris Conference in Carlsbad, California, noted economic historian Niall Ferguson asserted that John Maynard Keynes did not think long-term because he was homosexual, childless and effete, preferring to read “poetry” to his wife rather than procreate. Outrage came swiftly, and Ferguson responded Saturday morning with an unreserved apology for his “stupid and tactless” remarks.
As far as public apologies go, many have noted the skillful completeness of Ferguson’s. Oliver Burkeman at The Guardian went so far as to say that it was too good to be true. He turned out to be right: Ferguson lambasted those who were unsatisfied with his first apology as “insidious enemies of academic freedom” in an open letter to the Harvard community (Link).
Trouble is, Ferguson has made the same sort of bigoted, non sequitur argument before about Keynes. In his 1999 book The Pity of War, he had this to say of the economist’s (wrong) prediction in late 1915 that Britain’s economy would collapse if WWI did not end soon:Though his work in the [British] Treasury gratified his sense of self-importance, the war itself made Keynes deeply unhappy. Even his sex life went into a decline, perhaps because the boys he liked to pick up in London all joined up.
The suggestion is that Keynes had a particular hankering for the war to be over so that his pool of homosexual partners could be replenished.
Still, Ferguson should not be further punished for apologizing only after a public storm. Apology accepted. But no amount of contrition can close the door he had just opened to what were once merely disconnected and silent musings about the exaggerated masculinity of his work.
When a heterosexual man uses “gay” as a criticism, especially when leveled against a dead man, he is putting down another’s manliness as a means of beating his own chest. It does not help that the word “effete” would not make any sense in this context except to underscore how unmasculine gay people are. Ferguson therefore eliminated any chance to claim that he had meant for “gay” and “childless” to be redundant.
An unapologetic display of machismo has always been integral to Ferguson’s ideas. His gleeful provocation of leftists (i.e. the insufficiently strong and individualistic) began while a student at Oxford in the 80s with a Thatcherite hatred of “wet” Tories. He then strong-armed his way into intellectual legitimacy with a pro-imperialist economic history of the British Empire. His most recent book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, reaffirmed his paternalistic belief that British colonialism had a largely beneficial effect on the colonized countries, not least because it civilized them through economic development and brought them under the wing of British humanitarianism. As author Pankaj Mishra and many before him have pointed out, Ferguson has made these points while rationalizing the great loss of life, culture, and national resources in former colonies. Not to mention that the inherently debilitating effects of subjugation barely register in his assessment. His faith in the inherent benevolence of robust, muscular intervention in less developed countries has attracted many accusations of white-male solipsism.
He more or less carries on that mantle in his current preoccupation with the decline of the West. The geopolitical threat of the Middle East had him lamenting the West’s “pusillanimity,” though he denies that he is a hawkish neoconservative. On the other hand, despite expressing concerns with the stability of its authoritarian regime, he has looked on China with admiration, especially when it comes to the country’s economic success. Never mind the threat that also poses to Western supremacy.
It is not surprising that Ferguson would favor China since he confesses in Civilization that he left Britain for America because that is where “the money and power actually were.” Among his many talents is a knack for finding an amenable home for an aggressive instinct. He stated in an interview in 2011 that he took his current position at Harvard because the American intellectual culture glorified his brand of “excessive vehemence” whereas the British would not tolerate it. He made the right bet with America, and his broad-sweeping ideas and unshakeable confidence have made him a star on the Davos-TED-Aspen circuit.
It remains to be seen whether last week’s remarks will dull the popularity of his intellectual output among that glamorous circle. Of all possible hints Ferguson has offered over the years of a source for his many ideological loyalties, there has never been one so visceral, and therefore with the same ring of truth. To finally blurt such strong evidence of a powerful urge to assert his masculinity in his ideas is the crack of vulnerability he’d been trying to avoid all along. Without that crutch of authority, one wonders if, from now on, he will be searching for a new hint of indifference from his audiences.
— Rebecca Liao, May 11, 2013
Rebecca Liao [bio here] is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Review of Books; her pieces on China’s 2012 yearbook is here; her piece on fashion here.
Glenn Greenwald wrote an article about the Islamophobia of New Atheists and afterwards remarked that he had rarely received such narrow-minded and dogmatic feedback.
Yeah, that sounds about right for New Atheists.
Being sick sucks.
Stop emailing me and asking why you’re failing the class. I can’t discuss grades over emails and furthermore, if you don’t even know my name, that might be part of the reason.
Foucault’s Will to Know was delayed until June 4. I had planned on reading that on a trip in a few weeks. :-(
On November 17, 2011, Rovell sent a tweet to his followers on Twitter, asking them to come forward with stories about how their businesses were losing money during the 2011 NBA lockout. A high school senior named “Tim,” annoyed with Rovell’s behavior at the time, created a fake name and email account, telling Rovell online that he owned an escort service in New York frequented by NBA players, which was losing 30% of its business. Rovell failed to verify the authenticity, and ran the story in a CNBC column. “Tim” came forward with the story months later to the website Deadspin, because, he said, “he’s just such a [expletive] on twitter all the time [I] just got fed up.” Deadspin made Rovell aware of his mistake. On the same day, Rovell released an apology on CNBC saying, “there will always be people out there who want their 15 minutes of fame and not really care how they get there.”
No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach I.Q. parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-I.Q. children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against. From the perspective of Americans alive today, the low average I.Q. of Hispanics is effectively permanent. —
Jason Richwine, who joined the Heritage Foundation in 2012 as a senior policy analyst after receiving his doctorate in public policy from Harvard University in 2009, focused his dissertation, “I.Q. and Immigration Policy,” on his view that the lower intelligence of immigrants should be considered when drafting immigration policy. (via le-kif-kif)
…Latina in a top tier PhD program would like a word with ur racist ass
Honestly I can’t get over the fact that faculty at Harvard for real let someone write a dissertation on this subject and I’m getting kinda pissed just thinking about it. A fairly shallow, cursory foray into current research in intelligence testing, identity, and demography would tell anyone with half a brain there is A LOT irrevocably wrong with the basic premise of I.Q. as an accurate and unbiased measure of intelligence, as well as the basic premise of discussing “Hispanic” people as a monolith (considering that “Hispanic” usually encompasses all Spanish speakers, which is an extraordinarily geographically, ethnically, and culturally diverse group). How Harvard fails to see that allowing a student to base a whole fucking dissertation on a tenuous and racist connection between two shaky-ass concepts makes them appear racist, backwards, and out-of-touch is beyond me.
I’m as angry as everyone else but I guess I’m not surprised since Harvard is home of the economics department whose major intervention in contemporary economics was literally wrong because of a spreadsheet error so it’s not like they’re batting a thousand lately
but this is absolutely infuriating and disgusting
(Source: The New York Times, via adornoble)