I’ve noticed lately that I’ve begun to feel increasingly alienated from my internet friends. Not quite as alienated as I feel from my real-life friends, but getting there. This is not a good sign.
January 31, 2007
Yglesias has another excellent post on all the allegations of anti-semitism that have been flying around lately. I particularly like the end:
The idea, basically, is to scare the goyim who figure that while liberal Jews can take the heat, they probably can’t, and had best just avoid talking about the whole thing. And based on my observations of the blogosphere, it works pretty well as a tactic.
This is essentially what I was saying here, but put much more elegantly and with more attention to the underlying political dynamic. The Jewish intellectuals whom these attacks target aren’t going to be seriously affected by them personally; they’re comfortable enough with their positions on Israel that they don’t care if some random person accuses them of anti-semitism. The real danger is of a chilling effect on public discourse in this country, where gentiles (who are, of course, the overwhelming majority) look at all the ugliness and decline to get involved. That’s a rational attitude on their parts, but it leads to a situation where Israel policy is dominated by a few influential players with very extreme views who aren’t afraid to slime anyone who disagrees with them. And, as Matt points out, it’s working like a charm.
None of this would be that big a deal if the Middle East didn’t play such an enormous role in U.S. foreign policy right now, but them’s the breaks.
January 27, 2007
Parallel dating is a concept with which I was totally unfamiliar until relatively recently, but it seems there are social circles in which casually dating multiple people at the same time is acceptable and, indeed, universal. (It is, of course, not so in all circles.) Now, assuming traditional gender roles at least in the early stages of dating, this seems a lot more intuitive for women than for men: if you are generally in the position of being asked, declining just because you’ve been asked by someone else seems unnecessarily restrictive and, indeed, a practice that denies you of agency even more than the traditional gender roles do already. If you are generally in the position of asking, however, the situation seems significantly more complicated. If a man has gone on a couple dates with a woman but they haven’t yet figured out if they want to become more serious, and then he meets another woman, is it acceptable for him to ask the second woman out? In circles that frown on parallel dating the answer would presumably be “no” until he knows what he’s doing with the first woman, but how does this work if parallel dating is the norm?
January 25, 2007
It seems Megan’s been blogging for a year. Looking over her impressions of the medium, I’m struck by how similar they are to my own; while I haven’t had much trouble with any of the disadvantages she lists, the advantages and revelations are almost exactly what I would say if I were to write a post like that. The interesting thing about this is that Megan’s actually very different from me in a lot of ways: she’s an extroverted athletic engineer from California, while I am none of those things and generally find the mindset of people who are mysterious. I believe she’s also an ENFP, which would make us polar opposites in that way as well. And yet, despite all that, she writes things that nail my own thoughts and feelings with amazing precision often enough to richly deserve her hover text. Congratulations on your first year, Megan. I look forward to many more.
January 21, 2007
It seems my school’s career office provides free access (courtesy of UBS) to Vault, an amazingly useful (and expensive) resource for information on industries, companies and occupations. Thanks, Career Services and UBS!
So Richardson’s in. He’s been a good governor and I think he’d make a good president, but I still don’t see him getting the nomination. He’s popular in New Mexico but not very well-known nationally, and his reputation suffered a lot from his disastrous stint at Energy (even though he was mainly just the fall guy for a lot of problems that had been brewing there for years). He might appeal to Hispanic voters, but since he’s decided not to emphasize his ethnicity I’m not sure how that’ll work. On the other hand, he does have foreign policy experience well beyond anyone else on the Democratic side, which will be important in 2008, and he sounds pretty upfront about pulling out of Iraq (although the rest of his Iraq policy doesn’t sound very realistic). I still can’t see him getting the nomination, but he seems like a plausible VP pick if the nominee is someone lacking foreign policy credentials.
January 20, 2007
Has anyone else noticed that online discussions of education policy are particularly unlikely to be productive, even compared to other online political discussions? I think it’s because education is an issue about which everyone has personal experience that, for most people, tends to overwhelm any other considerations. It’s also a complicated issue involving lots of problems and few clear solutions, which makes generalizing from personal experience, as many people (myself included) are inclined to do, not necessarily very helpful. Perhaps there is a way to avoid all this and have useful, productive debates about education, but I’m not holding out much hope.
Yes, that Angola. Note the role played by the Catholic Church.
January 19, 2007
So if, as people keep telling me, close friendships can provide all the emotional support a person needs, how does a friends-with-benefits situation differ from a relationship?
January 18, 2007
I hate never having any money. I hate that my only expenses are food and transportation, and I can only afford one. I hate that I’ve overdrawn two bank accounts in the past month. I hate that I went to the bank today to deposit a check so my account would have money in it, only to discover that I didn’t have the check with me. I hate that when I bought my books today I had to charge them to my parents for the first time since I’ve been here. I hate my job. I hate that I hate my job, because if I didn’t I would work more and make enough money to live on. Argh. Not a good day.