Monday, April 8, 2013

Plains Pops: Stuff From The Weekend You Might Have Missed But Can Catch Up On During Lunch

This Ross Douthat column from the New York Times:
. . . elite universities are about connecting more than learning, that the social world matters far more than the classroom to undergraduates, and that rather than an escalator elevating the best and brightest from every walk of life, the meritocracy as we know it mostly works to perpetuate the existing upper class.
Every elite seeks its own perpetuation, of course, but that project is uniquely difficult in a society that’s formally democratic and egalitarian and colorblind. And it’s even more difficult for an elite that prides itself on its progressive politics, its social conscience, its enlightened distance from hierarchies of blood and birth and breeding.
Also from the Times, this T. M. Luhrmann column:
Yet believers and nonbelievers are not so different from one another, news that is sometimes a surprise to both. When I arrived at one church I had come to study, I thought that I would stick out like a sore thumb. I did not. Instead, I saw my own doubts, anxieties and yearnings reflected in those around me. People were willing to utter sentences — like “I believe in God” — that I was not, but many of those I met spoke openly and comfortably about times of uncertainty, even doubt. Many of my skeptical friends think of themselves as secular, sometimes profoundly so. Yet these secular friends often hover on the edge of faith. They meditate. They keep journals. They go on retreats. They just don’t know what to do with their spiritual yearnings.
The Montana legislature goes nuts, commentary from Montana Cowgirl:

This Derek Thomposon post the economics of baseball--key word, bulk:
The sheer endlessness of baseball games and the baseball season has been offered as a reason for the sport's decline in the last decade. Its languid pace collides with information inflation, Internet attention disorder, tweeting Millennials, that whole shebang. But the economic paradox of baseball is that the breathtaking volume of the sport is also the foundational source of its value to networks.
By the way, The Minnesota Twins are 4-2.

Finally, this Eve Tushnet musing about the Amy Herzog play 4000 Miles:
Neither Leo nor his grandmother Vera are the world’s most lovable characters. Leo uses his dead friend to try to get laid, says that things are “more honest” when he really means “easier,” puts his feet on the couch, and expects his grandma to wait on him. (In fact both Leo and his girlfriend come across as really self-centered in that “spilling other people’s stuff and not cleaning it up” way.) Vera is irascible and prone to calling everybody “stupid.” She’s a (former?) Communist, and there are the usual “old people aren’t what they used to be” jokes, like when Leo tells her that the dress she’s planning to wear to a friend’s funeral is so sheer that you can see her bra: “Of course it is, that’s why I’m wearing this bra! It’s the bra that goes with this dress.” But it’s genuinely affecting to watch these two people with diminishing connections to others attempting to forge a bond with one another.
Don't settle for the cut and pastes, go read the the columns or posts.

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