Linky Friday: All in Due Time


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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29 Responses

  1. Ti16: This is more or less what Boethius wrote fifteen hundred years ago.Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Ti1: My community up in WA is considered ‘flippable’, and our Facebook groups have been starting to see more ‘members’ posting very political posts. Not just links, but personal posts.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Ti14: I have a lot of complicated and possibly contradictory thoughts on why Americans are so bad with history and civics knowledge. Myth #1 has centered around something I long thought though. There is a semi-secret debate in America about the nature and purpose of education. Possibly in the world. I.e. What is the purpose of education? Is it to develop well-informed citizens with a thirst for knowledge who can participate actively in public life and be informed about public affairs? Or is it to produce people with the skills that allow them to turn a nation into an economic powerhouse? Both? Neither?

    I think a lot of people including a lot of politicians will go for choice 2 and an education which is basically vocational/economically driven at all levels and this causes the arts and humanities to be seen as wastes of time and money. The problem is that most politicians are too smart to say this openly. When they do, they usually backtrack quickly. See Obama’s crack against Art History majors and Rubio’s crack against Philosophy.

    A few summers ago I was on a trip to Russia. Most of the people on the trip did better than me in school at least when it came to paper grades. They also largely ostensibly went to more exclusive undergrads and grad schools than I did. They made more money. But a lot of them were impressed by my knowledge of history, art, literature, etc. This kind of awe-struck me and made me wonder what they were doing in classes.

    Or maybe I’m just a nerd who does it wrong but I suspect that a lot of people in university, including hard to get into ones, are just there for the piece of paper and so they can get the good jobs/careers.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I remain unconvinced that Americans are more historically unaware than the citizens of other countries or even whether it’s a bad thing overall if we are. Most non-historians approach history as something like national mythology. Countries with allegedly history aware citizenry tend to know a list of deeds and grievances rather than real history like what passsed as historical awareness in the Balkans or Eastern Europe. That leads to know where good politically.

      Citizens of certain developed nations seem more historically aware in the way that liberal historians like because liberal/leftist intellectuals have more media power. Therefore, the BBC can depict the horrors of the British past in a way that is difficult to do in the United States. In contrast, rightist intellectuals are more culturally empowered in Japan so what Japanese people know has a right-leaning tinge. Sort of how they tend to forget what side they were on in World War II. In America, few intellectuals are that empowered to impose a view and Americans are uninterested, so we appear as a nation of dolts.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Here is one anecdotal example but it contains evidence to the contrary.

        There is a Japanese reality TV show on Netflix called Terrace House. Terrace House is Japan’s version of the Real World, more or less. It features a bunch of young and attractive Japanese people thrown together in a house. The show also features commentary and jokes from a panel watching the show.

        On one episode one of the commentators makes a fart joke and another commentator says “What are you? An Edo-era comedian?”

        On the one hand:

        1. A fart joke is a fart joke but;

        2. The commentator on a popular TV show made a reference to specific style of comedy that is hundreds of years old. Even if it is a fart joke, it is the equivalent of an American commentator making a reference to Falstaff from Henry IV if someone made a joke about Big Brother.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      @saul-degraw This isn’t new, though. I mean, there were complaints about people like that being too large a population (or even a majority) going back about as far as universities do.

      Abelard and Heloise’s letters contain complaints about this.

      So maybe it’d be easier to just accept that such people will always be with us and that in some sense their aims fund ours?Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The most likely reason is retention. People don’t retain knowledge from education they don’t use. Some develop an interest in history that lasts a lifetime.Report

    • Avatar atomickristin in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Great comment. That debate goes back a long way, at least to the days of Dewey and James.

      I feel children are often very ill served by this debate. As each side lobbies for their viewpoint (“the arts!” “No, the basics!” “no, job training!”) kids are supposed to learn more and more and more and there aren’t enough hours in the day for anyone to know everything about everything. Just isn’t possible to have anyone who is THAT well rounded by the time they’re 18. And because of the dilettante approach kids end up not really learning anything as well as they could have or should have if only there was more of a laser focus in the schools…on SOMETHING.

      When I graduated I could sew an apron – badly, speak Spanish – badly, do algebra – badly, play volleyball – badly, type – badly, solve chemistry equations – badly, etc but I was pretty good at history and English and honestly would have very much preferred to study them all day long. And it all would have been ok I guess if I’d been in any way prepared to succeed at college or in the workplace by all that “exposure” but I wasn’t really. I sat through plenty of career classes and term paper writing units but that didn’t translate into any useful skills (other than footnotes, which I promptly forgot) Or even in life. I couldn’t figure percentages or even drive a car when I graduated. 90% of it all was simply a complete waste of time.

      So I ended up poorly served by the approach in pretty much every regard and I was a good student with parents that emphasized education. Can’t imagine what it’s like for someone who legit doesn’t wanna be there from a family that doesn’t care that much either.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to atomickristin says:

        It would be great if we could have students take survey courses (for exposure) and then allow them to focus, but it becomes a question of resources. A big, urban district can have focus programs and schools, but smaller districts…?

        I do wonder, however, how much online programs will enable focus learning.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Which makes me think on Hillary’s comment about civility with people like this.

      This was the conscious decision by a set of people, real human beings who made choices.
      It wasn’t an abstract policy, it wasn’t some grand force of nature.

      The people who did this, who decided to give the form to Helen, who coached her into scrawling her name, who upheld it- Why shouldn’t these individuals be publicly named, and confronted at restaurants, at their homes, at their workplace?

      This is where my inner conservative flares up. This should be a taboo, something profane which offends the decency of anyone in a civil society.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

        A lawyer for DHS in Seattle also faked a document to deny an alien applicable relief for nothing but malice. He got in trouble eventually because a lawyer figured it and the immigrant has a green card now but the DHS lawyer added years of stress for no reason but pain infliction. These are evil people. They aren’t going to stop until stripped of power. Even if we win in 2020, the forces of vileness will not go back easily.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Ti20: I have apparently reached an age, because none of the docs seem worried about my weight any more. It’s all about how active I am, and the kinds of activity. The time on the bicycle and fencing is well and good, but they’d all like me to be lifting weights. The new insurance coverage that starts the first of the month includes a SilverSneakers membership and there’s a half-dozen places within three miles where that will let me lift for free, so I suppose there’s no avoiding it.Report

  5. Avatar InMD says:

    KsE’s best days are long behind them but I can’t let that cover stand without linking to the original:

    Cue some headbanger more hardcore than me to blast my occasional metalcore sympathies. I swear to Satan I got my brains turned to milkshake last time Pig Destroyer was here.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to InMD says:

      I was originally going to run both the original and this cover but with a feature piece on covers coming tomorrow didnt want to overkill the reference. I’m partial to Howard era KsE, but Jesse has been fine since his return. One of these days I’ll work Adam D running the table and winning everything on The Price is Right into a post.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        I’m more into the Howard era as well, but Jesse did give them Last Serenade to end sets with, even in those days. If you ever write anything on KsE don’t forget the random Jesse appearance in Outside Providence.

        Not sure if you’re in West VA still but there’s a band called Byzantine from Charleston you should check out if you haven’t. I’d call them criminally underrated but criminally unheard of might be more accurate. I finally saw them in Baltimore in a hole in the wall last spring. Other than the beer all smelling like puke for some reason I dare not speculate about it was a hell of a time.Report

        • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to InMD says:

          Ha! Not sure how much love headbanging I have left in me. Actually have tickets gifted to me for FFDP here soon and debating if I can Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

            I know what you mean. The rare occasion I go to anything I’m well relegated to old guy standing in the back. It definitely gets harder with a wife, kid, and respectable office job. But every once in awhile…Report

            • Avatar Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

              Heh, the wife and I have tickets to see John Doe next month and though I have seen him solo and with X before, at our age a concert sponsored by the university is just my speed.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Aaron David says:

                I’m sure it will be good!

                I think it’s awesome your wife will go with you to something like that. Mine is many, many wonderful things but a rocker is not one of them. I’m typically sent off with a gentle reminder that a hangover will not relieve me from my duties as a father and husband.Report