Category Archives: Culture

July 22, 2017

Memorials promote ‘white heterosexual male supremacy,’ profs claim

Public museums and memorials serve our nation’s “foundational commitments to white heterosexual male supremacy,” according to two Texas A&M University professors. The two Women’s Studies professors argue in a recent article that most commemorative sites are problematic because they “support, not challenge, mainstream democratic values and figures.”

Public museums and memorials serve our nation’s “foundational commitments to white heterosexual male supremacy,” according to two Texas A&M University professors.

Tasha N. Dubriwny and Kristan Poirot, both of whom teach Women’s Studies at TAMU, advanced the claim in a July 12 article in the Southern Communications Journal, further alleging that U.S commemorative practices serve an inherently conservative agenda.

“Scholars consistently argue that U.S. commemorative practices and traditions promote historical narratives that are inherently conservative in nature,” they write. “This is particularly true of ‘official’ sites of public memory like memorials and museums.”

Museums and memorials, they explain, “are likely to support, not challenge, mainstream democratic values and figures,” reinforcing “key aspects of American mythology, including a national dedication to equality, liberty, work, sacrifice, ingenuity, and heroism.”

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July 19, 2017

Are we becoming more STUPID? IQ scores are decreasing – and some experts argue it’s because humans have reached their intellectual peak

IQs have largely increased since the 1930s thanks to better living conditions and education – a trend known as the Flynn effect. But IQ test results suggest people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have become less intelligent in the past decade.

Technology may be getting smarter, but humans are getting dumber, scientists have warned.

Evidence suggests that the IQs of people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have declined in the last decade.

Opinion is divided as to whether the trend is long-term, but some researchers believe that humans have already reached intellectual peak.

An IQ test used to determine whether Danish men are fit to serve in the military has revealed scores have fallen by 1.5 points since 1998.

And standard tests issued in the UK and Australia echo the results, according to journalist Bob Holmes, writing in New Scientist.

The most pessimistic explanation as to why humans seem to be becoming less intelligent is that we have effectively reached our intellectual peak.

Between the 1930s and 1980s, the average IQ score in the US rose by three points and in post-war Japan and Denmark, test scores also increased significantly – a trend known as the ‘Flynn effect’.

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July 7, 2017

Leftist ‘Intellectuals’: It’s Racist for Trump to Defend the West

Left-wing pundits reacted angrily to President Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, accusing him of racism for defending the “West.”

Peter Beinart, writing in The Atlantic, asserted: “The West is a racial and religious term.” He added: “To be considered Western, a country must be largely Christian (preferably Protestant or Catholic) and largely white.”

Therefore, he said, Trump’s speech was racist, because some Europeans are Muslim, and some nations that have embraced democracy or modernity are outside the West’s geographic boundaries. “India is the world’s largest democracy. Japan is among its most economically advanced nations. No one considers them part of the West,” he noted.

In addition, Beinart also claimed that Trump’s statement that “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” a climax of the speech, “only makes sense as a statement of racial and religious paranoia.”

Beinart’s commentary drew some ridicule on Twitter, with historian Niall Ferguson calling it “a masterclass in willful misreading of a speech,” and conservative Charles C. W. Cooke adding: “Trump finally makes a full-throated defense of NATO—is that code for “white people” too?—and this is the response? We’ve lost our minds.”

Noted. One can’t talk about—or praise—“the West” anymore without being a racist. https://t.co/D8Gno4UN6M

— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) July 7, 2017

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June 28, 2017

Anthony Kennedy, Culture Warrior

Judicial decrees on difficult moral questions have made our politics bitter.

So Anthony Kennedy is apparently sticking around.

For a while Democrats who have lost the House, lost the Senate and lost the White House were having conniptions over the thought they might soon lose what Justice Antonin Scalia once described as their “super-legislative” power: the Supreme Court. At the Washington Post Ruth Marcus called the prospect of Justice Kennedy’s retirement “terrifying and terrible.” Because notwithstanding his many sound opinions—this is the same justice who gave us Citizens United, upholding First Amendment speech rights—on the court he nevertheless plays an indispensable role for American progressives: culture warrior.

On issues best fitted for federalist solutions, such as abortion and marriage, Justice Kennedy has proved himself a reliable voice for the animating impulse of modern American progressivism. This is the idea that the American people cannot be trusted to decide certain issues and so must yield, as he once put it, to the “enhanced understanding” of unelected justices such as himself.

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June 27, 2017

How Disney teaches contempt for dads

This behavior, especially on Disney shows, has become the norm to such a degree that parents regularly tell me they don’t allow their children to watch the channel.

“Every 3.24 minutes, a dad acts like a buffoon.”

That’s the conclusion of a small study done by a student at Brigham Young University after watching eight hours of the two most popular Disney “tween” shows featuring families. The results of the research — “Daddies or Dummies?” — are not particularly surprising.

Are “Good Luck Charlie” and “Girl Meets World” any different from previous sitcoms like “Roseanne” or “Home Improvement”? A 2001 study by Erica Scharrer in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media found that the number of times a mother told a joke at the father’s expense increased from 1.80 times per episode in the 1950s to 4.29 times per episode in 1990.

But what’s interesting about the new research is that the author, Savannah Keenan, also looked at the reaction of the children on screen to their fathers’ displays of cluelessness. At least half the time, children reacted “negatively” to these displays — by rolling their eyes, making fun of Dad, criticizing him, walking away while he’s talking or otherwise expressing their annoyance.

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June 19, 2017

Are Liberals Dying Out?

Over the long run, conservatives could end up winning the ideological contest with fertility rather than arguments.

By now there is a huge body of literature in behavioral genetics, which shows that pretty much every psychological characteristic we can measure is to some degree heritable. This raises a question that has received little discussion beyond academia – what about political views? Are they heritable? And if so, what does this mean for the political landscape of future generations?

The evidence for the heritability of psychological traits is immense. The authors of a recent meta-analysis published in Nature Genetics looked at 2,748 publications surveying 17,804 traits. They found that “estimates of heritability cluster strongly within functional domains, and across all traits the reported heritability is 49%.”

These results shouldn’t be surprising. If offspring didn’t resemble parents to some degree, evolution as we understand it could not occur. Indeed, according to the Darwinian paradigm, evolution takes place through variation and selection.

Imagine, for example, that you wanted to domesticate a wild animal. Foxes are cute, so let’s talk about them. One thing we know about foxes is that some of them are naturally aggressive, while others are more docile. Suppose you decide to mate the most gentle males with the most gentle females. Do the same thing for a number of generations, and eventually you’ll have an animal that more closely resembles a modern dog than a fox.

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June 15, 2017

Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation – Romance and Reality (Part 3) – Video

Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark—is a television documentary series outlining the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages. The series was produced by the BBC and aired in 1969 on BBC2.

June 11, 2017

Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation – The Skin of our Teeth (Part 1) – Documentary

Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark—is a television documentary series outlining the history of Western art, architecture and philosophy since the Dark Ages. The series was produced by the BBC and aired in 1969 on BBC2.

June 2, 2017

Cross-fertilisation or theft? – Canada’s war over “cultural appropriation”

Writers on the wrong side of a debate lose their jobs.

Anyone, anywhere “should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, other cultures, other identities”, wrote Hal Niedzviecki in the spring issue of Write, an obscure Canadian literary magazine. For that apparently innocuous observation, he lost his job as the publication’s editor. Mr Niedzviecki was defending “cultural appropriation”, the use by artists and writers of motifs and ideas from other cultures. He suggested an “appropriation prize” for creators who carry out such cross-cultural raids. In a special issue of the magazine dedicated to indigenous writers, that was offensive, his critics said.

Mr Niedzviecki’s supporters were also made to suffer. A journalist at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was demoted after he offered on Twitter to help finance the prize. The editor of Walrus, a better-known magazine, decried “political correctness, tokenism and hypersensitivity” in cultural and academic bodies. After a social-media backlash he, too, resigned. In April a gallery shut an exhibit of the work of Amanda PL, a painter inspired by the style of Norval Morriseau, an indigenous artist.

Mr Niedzviecki has reopened an old debate. Cross-fertilisation is fundamental to the creative process. This article, for example, is written in Roman letters and uses Arabic numerals. However, many indigenous Canadian intellectuals demand extra sensitivity. Some particularly object to white people borrowing (or “stealing”) elements of their culture.

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May 31, 2017

Rural America Is the New ‘Inner City’

A Wall Street Journal analysis shows that since the 1990s, sparsely populated counties have replaced large cities as America’s most troubled areas by key measures of socioeconomic well-being—a decline that’s accelerating

At the corner where East North Street meets North Cherry Street in the small Ohio town of Kenton, the Immaculate Conception Church keeps a handwritten record of major ceremonies. Over the last decade, according to these sacramental registries, the church has held twice as many funerals as baptisms.

In tiny communities like Kenton, an unprecedented shift is under way. Federal and other data show that in 2013, in the majority of sparsely populated U.S. counties, more people died than were born—the first time that’s happened since the dawn of universal birth registration in the 1930s.

For more than a century, rural towns sustained themselves, and often thrived, through a mix of agriculture and light manufacturing. Until recently, programs funded by counties and townships, combined with the charitable efforts of churches and community groups, provided a viable social safety net in lean times.

Starting in the 1980s, the nation’s basket cases were its urban areas—where a toxic stew of crime, drugs and suburban flight conspired to make large cities the slowest-growing and most troubled places.

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