Housekeeping II

More stuff salvaged from unposted posts, plus funny pictures.

Allen L.:

I always thought Mel Brooks was one of the funniest guys in the movie business. I never thought they would use one of his scripts to try to run a country.


I started my college career at sixteen by taking a statistics class for a guy getting a psychology degree. It’s the one that gives them the most trouble. Most of them hate math harder than figuring out their hourly rate.

Later I took classes under my own name and one day I was running late said, “F-it” and scatter shotted my references and quotes with no thought as to whether they supported anything like the passage or conclusion. They were real references just kind of thrown in.

Much like the Kobyashi Maru test I received a “commendation for original thinking”. My wife was always getting grief even though her citations and references were perfect. I was never called out.

I started getting cocky and turned in everything from Mein Kampf from a native American experience on the rez to A Modest Proposal. They loved everything I wrote. One day I wrote a paper for my wife and instead of the grief she usually got, the school encouraged her to submit it for publication. It was the dumbest thing imaginable.

I’m not sure if I was charmed or they had me flagged as some variety of ‘can’t criticize’.

It’s fashionable among the dissident right to diss William F. Buckley, but I’d rather spend an afternoon with him than any of his critics. Sarah Weinman:

What I came to learn, from working on my own projects, is that Buckley believed in friendship more than almost anything. Ideology mattered, but one didn’t need to let it get in the way of being friends with somebody. And having opposing ideology, in fact, was an advantage, if it led to genuine understanding and exchange of ideas—but that was less important than sharing a love of the arts, or sailing, or whatever interest was forefront on Buckley’s mind at any given time.

Gary Saul Morson:

Academics now cancel (or fire) American colleagues and ban speakers they find objectionable, so it is hardly surprising that they would extend the same courtesy to objectionable foreigners. According to Chicago City Wire, a group of University of Chicago students are “circulating a letter demanding the school force political science Professor John Mearsheimer to change his views on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.” Not just renounce his views but change them? Isn’t that the defining feature of totalitarianism—to compel not just obedience but actual private agreement? But this is what happens on campuses all the time, where professors and students are asked not just to observe rules with which they may not agree but to accept the ideology on which they are based.

If Russian history teaches anything, it is that such “moral clarity” has no limits. If all right is on one side, then anything—literally anything—one says or does is justified. Indeed, to stop short of the most extreme measures is to indulge evil, which means risking the charge of complicity. When Stalin sent local officials quotas of people to be arrested, they responded by demanding still higher quotas. It was the safest thing to do to prove one’s loyalty. No one ever secured his position by calling for less severity to enemies. When everything is black and white, sooner or later everyone is at risk.