Re: Grit

1

Now I want shrimp and grits. Or maybe just cheese grits.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 8:50 AM
horizontal rule
2

I love cheese grits so much. Maybe that's what I'll make myself as a motivational snack to go get some work done.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
3

That vox article sure looks like some warmed-over shit!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 8:52 AM
horizontal rule
4

I have all sorts of inchoate beliefs about this kind of thing, largely angry, and lots of them related to that line from Pygmalion: "The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 8:57 AM
horizontal rule
5

You can't make me read what Vox thinks about grit and I'm not sure I can make myself read Salon (though thanks for the golden links, as ever, Clancy!) but I do think there's something to the grit thing. Nia has more good attitude and work ethic than probably any kid I've ever known, just for a lot of her life she had to apply most of it to getting through daily life rather than anything fancier. I think there's a part of this that's related to all the stuff poor people have to juggle as a backdrop to getting the rest done, and grit could overlap with that somewhat. But that doesn't mean the way school reformers are using it is right or fair. And I skimmed my way through Salon, so I win!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
6

I have zero idea whether poor kids have grit. But I've seen a few wealthy kids in my baby siblings' cohort (about age 20 now) who have shockingly little resilience, and zero willingness to go through unpleasantness for a later reward.

When I brought it up to my little sister, she didn't recognize that doing hard things now for benefit later (and by hard things, I meant an early morning class or riding her bike with traffic instead of on the sidewalk, or even studying abroad) was a virtue. She asked me why she would want to do something [that didn't pay off from the start].

I was shocked at the extent of it. But maybe there's enough good stuff out there that The Kids can find something with instant, constant gratification. If they can't, maybe they're happy doing only the internet.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
7

California has a weird definition of "hard things".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:11 AM
horizontal rule
8

Hmm. I think I have plenty of grit and I'm smart relative to the mean, but we can probably QED a "that's not enough" right here. I think the procrastination research is a lot more interesting and illuminating about why people have trouble with "work."

And if anyone reaches for "grit" or "procrastination" as a first explanation for why poor kids have trouble in school, they can go fuck themselves, right before we put them against the wall.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:12 AM
horizontal rule
9

I think this general dilemma is going to show up with any attempt to encourage positive traits in kids, short of directly addressing the real social problems involved (largely 'a lot of the people have to little of the money'). On the one hand grit really is a virtue and having it makes people's lives better and, like anything, it's something that can be increased through practice. I mean, people start out with varying amounts of it already set into their personalities, and certain natural inclinations towards or against getting more. But it would be insane to say that the actual level of grit in someone isn't responsive to a lot of their experiences, and especially when it comes to childhood ones. So it really is good to make a concerted effort to increase this in children.

On the other hand this trait, or the lack of it, is basically unrelated to what makes poor people poor (the actual cause is 'not having a lot of money'). So actually treating it as a solution to that general problem usually ends up really appealing to people who desperately want to blame people for whatever problems they have in life, no matter how structural they are. And often even bringing it up as something that could help gets a bunch of awful people chiming in with enthusiastic versions of 'virtue is for the lower classes' stuff. And grit seems particularly bad because it's obviously just a rephrasing of the villain-in-a-Dickens-novel's appeal to the value of encouraging industry in the working classes.

If there were a direct way to get school reformer grifters and people who want to use it as an excuse to not feel like the world isn't always perfectly fair to just butt out then it would be fine to talk about it in the way that Vox/etc. does. Otherwise I'm not sure how to do this in a way that doesn't end badly, though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
10

It depends on the context, but sometimes I'm Megan's sister - suffering qua suffering isn't a virtue.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:13 AM
horizontal rule
11

If I were grittier, I'd be working right now.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:14 AM
horizontal rule
12

But it's also problematic, because grit is supposed to be "I don't like it but I'm doing it anyway", and the grittiest kids may just actually like schoolwork, and they may be not-so-gritty when it comes to, say, picking out elaborate outfits or fixing their car.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
13

I really think studying abroad and riding in traffic fall pretty firmly into the category of things you should only do if you enjoy them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
14

Of course having said that I immediately feel like I'm siding with the perfect against the good, which isn't really that great either.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
15

MHPH, I say this in a spirit of bonhomie: no one reads comments that long.

She asked me why she would want to do something [that didn't pay off from the start].

The one bit from Tiger mom that I liked (other than calling her kids "garbage") was "things aren't fun until you're good at them, and becoming good at them takes practice."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
16

8.last: Should I even ask how you feel about my hobbyhorse that one big portion is the impact of early childhood trauma?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
17

Poor kids have grit. Rich kids have polenta.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
18

Oh my god, on procrastination: my dear friend's tenure portfolio is due next Wednesday. (Real tenure, with research expectations, not Heebie U tenure.)

She has not yet started, at least as of Wednesday. It's giving me hives. I just don't understand. And she has a split custody arrangement, and this is her weekend with the kids, so as of Wednesday, the only available time to work on it would be yesterday and Monday. I hyperventilate just thinking about it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
19

The kids can help, if they have grit.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:21 AM
horizontal rule
20

What's the long term benefit of riding a bike in the road instead of on the sidewalk? Not getting arrested?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
21

they can go fuck themselves, right before we put them against the wall.

Like at that club in Shortbus.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
22

18 is stark madness. I mean, I defer to nobody in my ability to procrastinate, but is she on drugs, or what?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
23

20. It's legal here, excepting in a few business districts. It isn't enforced any where


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
24

A couple of years ago the investor in my startup was trying to put together a slide deck to take around to VCs. It never happened, because he wasn't competent to prepare it, but he spent a lot of time trying to work out what was the "differentiator" for our team. Finally he came up with a slide claiming that he, and I, and my partner were above all distinguished by our

TENACITY: BALLS OF STEEL


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:26 AM
horizontal rule
25

Anyhow, on the grit thing, obviously taking a relatively nuanced psychological thingie and turning it into something you write about at Vox and Salon is going to break it conceptually, but it's worth remembering that the initial point behind looking at grit is that "intelligence" as a metric turned out to be about as problematic as you please. We could go back to "mental whateverness", but that lacks causal power.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
26

Mitigating factors - they do turn in extensive biannual reviews, so a lot of it will be updating those existing documents. Also she is absolutely convinced that she will not get it, whereas I think there's an 80-90% chance she will. She is very much a perfectionist-procrastinator: it needs to be PERFECT and so I will procrastinate until I can attribute my failings to the fact that I crammed it into one overnighter.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
27

24: If that didn't work, I don't understand business.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
28

Sadly No had at this not so long ago: http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/39962

I find the following note in my pinboard links file:

"Grit." Are you sure you weren't observing...guts? Or possibly balls? Might stickability be a potential confounding factor? What statistical test did you use to rule out spunk?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
29

Arguably I was pwned by 9 but I read 15.1 first so I don't really know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:29 AM
horizontal rule
30

It occurs to me it might be useful to have the original paper on grit to refer to (tear apart).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
31

15.3 would have been helpful if I had thought of it. But sometimes things are ever exactly fun (like when I did labor intensive fieldwork) but they are intense and get way better in retrospect.

20: not pissing off pedestrians. Not popping out into traffic at intersections. Gaining confidence to claim the riding space that bikes and cars share.

To some extent, I think their brains were shaped by the internet. If it take too long to load, give up, click away. But here's always something else interesting.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:31 AM
horizontal rule
32

Also I should amend 25 to say that, with some very very limited exceptions, you aren't going to get me to defend any work in personality psychology. It could easily all be bullshit, but it's at least more nuanced bullshit than what is in the OP links I didn't read. Way to add value, Sifu.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
33

The thing about 'grit', though, as a predictor of academic success, is that (as one of the linked pieces notes) it doesn't cross domains. Lots of kids who don't look 'gritty' in the classroom are suddenly 'gritty' as all hell playing sports, or music, or whatever. At which point it starts looking to me as if 'grit' is going to be a fundamentally misleading name for it.

I find myself thinking in terms of faith. I think a huge difference between a kid who's going to grind it out in the classroom and one who isn't is their belief that there's any point to it -- if your parents are doctors, you have a well-supported belief that excellent grades turn reliably into the capacity to buy sports cars, which is a huge motivating factor. If your parents aren't doctors or similar, you're probably not going to have this belief, and you're not going to work as hard academically. But given our society, there's a good chance your lack of faith was justified, and you were right that hard work wouldn't pay off for you as it would for the doctor's kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:34 AM
horizontal rule
34

I think a huge difference between a kid who's going to grind it out in the classroom and one who isn't is their belief that there's any point to it

But also, whether or not they enjoy it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
35

Oh, sure. I have remarkably little grit, and got through what academic success I managed by finding a lot of schoolwork mildly entertaining and otherwise resentfully doing a shoddy bare minimum. But there's a limit to how far that'll take you -- for most people, to get anything useful done, they have to work hard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
36

(And once they have to work hard, then the "Starting from where I'm starting from, what are the odds I actually get anywhere by doing this" calculus starts.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
37

I think MHPH pretty much captures my feelings on grit.

It's an interesting concept; it certainly seems potentially more useful than "intelligence"; Duckworth seems smart and thoughtful. And I do think there is an actual phenomenon of people needing to experience "stick with it while it feels challenging" many times in order to internalize the value of that.

BUT, exactly as LB is saying, I am deeply leery of people who define grit as something that crosses domains. I have worked with many people who had no patience or endurance for Thing X, and yet would spend hours or months focused on Thing Z.

In conclusion: I had education-reform grifters. And yesterday I had to hear someone praising two of them to the skies. Ugh.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
38

I can't recommend highly enough backing into things by virtue of having picked the right hobby.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
39

I hate education-reform grifters. Emphasis intentional.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:42 AM
horizontal rule
40

One of my cohort has what I see as an amusingly wrong-headed internalization of the role of grit; their plan is basically to be willing to do experiments that nobody else would do because it's much too much hassle, and build a career that way. Which is fine as far as it goes, but you have to come up with experiments (that nobody would do because they're too much hassle) which are also good ideas. That part doesn't seem to have sunk in.

"Nobody else would ever bother to do something this annoying! I'm in!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
41

39: I was going to say, you'll need more than antibiotics to get rid of those.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:46 AM
horizontal rule
42

Yeah, I have no interest in this as an explanation for poverty or a recommendation for getting out of it, but it's a perfectly cromulent entry to add to my own personal catalog of failings.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
43

40, in my field that happens with procedures that take like 36 straight hours to do. Or, checking the mice every 8 hours for two weeks to see how they're doing. Shows true dedication.

Or, these things are easy to do with the novel technique of having two workers instead of one.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
44

The calculus in 36 somehow didn't occur to me until maybe halfway through my first postdoc. Then I got kinda worried.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:49 AM
horizontal rule
45

You could spin a delightfully tendentious argument about the inherent unfairness of "grit" as a metric from the wool of the endless descriptions of undersized, undertalented white athletes as "gritty".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
46

40: Oh, man, that's funny. Sort of the Colonel Flagg* of academia?

* From M*A*S*H? Remember the spy who was always hurting himself terribly as a deliberate part of his cover?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
47

There is also an interesting contrast to be made with the way that hackers typically talk about an approach that is most aptly described as "applied laziness"; doing something repetitive and unrewarding is lame, so I shall spend a ton of time trying to come up with a slightly more efficient way to do it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
48

I do remember. He was great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:52 AM
horizontal rule
49

I think the vox article would've been better if instead of the hives-inducing term "grit" they'd used the folksier "sticktoitiveness".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:53 AM
horizontal rule
50

Now I've seen the word 'grit' enough times to become estranged from it as a metaphor. A sound character is like... sandpaper? Eating unrinsed lettuce?

The OED thinks it comes from the "clear grit" preferred in masonry, as in this Canadian progressive party. All sand and no dirt! Abolition of copyright!


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:54 AM
horizontal rule
51

The word "grit" just makes everybody think of John Wayne shooting people while a little girl asks him questions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 9:56 AM
horizontal rule
52

Ngram - interesting. Looks like "true grit" and "clear grit" spent some time as synonyms, with "clear" maybe coming first, then both died down, and then "true grit" made a comeback around the name of the book and movie.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
53

I was shocked at the extent of it. But maybe there's enough good stuff out there that The Kids can find something with instant, constant gratification. If they can't, maybe they're happy doing only the internet.

The degree to which I would describe myself as having "grit" changed going from both HS to college and college to work, and in both cases the difference was feeling a greater ownership of my work.

I was always a motivated and intellectually conscientious student, a procrastinator, sure, but not a slacker, precisely. But in primary and secondary school I always ended up waffling between, (1) if I just try to do the minimum required by this assignment it has no intellectual value and (2) When I would try to stretch myself and take on an intellectually challenging project it inevitably ended up being too ambitious and poorly defined and therefore frustrating and unsatisfying.

College was better because the gap between (1) and (2) got smaller. I still ended up feeling paralyzed, a fair amount, by the feeling that I knew so little and was so generally incompetent compared to what the field demanded. But I was able to take my own work seriously enough of the time that I could just do it (or procrastinate on it as the case might be) without fretting about the pointlessness of it.

Work was an enormous step forward from that because all of a sudden I had a clear external standard that I could use to measure my results -- was I able to solve a real world problem or wasn't I. At that point I became much more willing to suffer through unpleasant work because I could actually take ownership of whether I was going to deliver a working product or not and, darn it, I was going to figure out how to make it work.

Do I have a point? I guess I'd say that 15.3 is correct and worth learning, but I also think that individual personality is going to shape the question of what kinds of rewards are sufficiently gratifying that they're worth putting up with the effort it takes to improve, and that to some extent you can't fake that.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:04 AM
horizontal rule
54

Speaking of ngrams, this looks like a casual relationship.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
55

I can't recommend highly enough backing into things by virtue of having picked the right hobby.

Sure worked for me.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
56

The degree to which I would describe myself as having "grit" changed going from both HS to college and college to work, and in both cases the difference was feeling a greater ownership of my work.

This is me exactly. Not to blame my mom, but: to blame my mom, she nagged me relentlessly in high school about my work, and I was totally oppositional about it (yes, yes, immature, but age-appropriate, so.) In college, with no one nagging me, it was this huge relief to finally feel free to start assignments on a timely basis.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:08 AM
horizontal rule
57

56: Heh. Both of my kids are eerily conscientious and hardworking by my standards, and I do try to keep very hands-off for fear of screwing it up in exactly the way you mention.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:10 AM
horizontal rule
58

54: Indeed, one term seems to have replaced the other in the past decade and a half.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:11 AM
horizontal rule
59

If it's coming from the usual crowd then it's Libertarian anti-poor bullshit, but I agree with Megan in 6.

My ex was the least grittiest person I've ever interacted with in any sort of meaningful way. He was the youngest son in a wealthy Australian family, and had literally had such an easy life that the every time he had to deal with the general sort of annoying bullshit that involves being an adult, he would have a giant tantrum and sulk for days. Things like applying for a marriage visa/greencard, getting health insurance, doing American taxes/applying for entry-level jobs in the industry of his choice, living in a grad student apartment etc. were far too much for him to deal with, and I spent most of our brief married time trying to insulate him/pacify him from the harsh realities of middle class life. In reality, it meant I had to do all this for him, with no appreciation or understanding from him that actually it is a lot of fucking work for me to single-handedly navigate the US immigration system or deal with insurance companies or do our taxes, since he was so used to other people just doing all those things for him. He was also terrible with money in that he was stingy and tried to nickel and dime me when it came to general household expenses, but would lavishly spend on himself or insist we buy something out of budget because he couldn't possibly buy the generic version of product X.

There are many reasons my ex was a jerk that have nothing to do with money, but being totally pampered and indulged in every way and then abruptly cut off did not improve his personality.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:12 AM
horizontal rule
60

I've never known anyone whose tenure decision changed based on the spiffiness (or lack thereof) of the file. Which is to say, if the work inside the file is good, and the intangibles are whatever, your friend is probably golden, heebs, even if the file itself is compiled at the very last moment. Also -- and here I feel like I'm maybe being just a tiny bit too glib -- ninety-something percent of tenure decisions get made by the relevant parties long before the candidate puts together the file.

Of course, my tenure was decided using the metric "How gritty is he?" so maybe my perspective is skewed.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:16 AM
horizontal rule
61

I've always suspected my tenure decision was basically made (in the negative) before I was even offered the job. ("You want to hire that guy?" "Whatevs, he'll only be here for a few years." "Okay, fine. Let's go spend an hour shouting at some assistants over something trivial!" "Wheeee!")


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
62

I think 60 will be entirely right. People really love working with her, she's in a very hot area where it's hard to find specialists, and generally everyone seems to be rooting for her.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:20 AM
horizontal rule
63

I thought that was basically standard (that is, nobody junior gets tenure) at your school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
64

"How gritty is he?"

"The man's a human emery board!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
65

56: This was true for me as well. (Or at least until I started taking consistently more classes than I really should have.)

There's also the problem that work can expand to fill all space given. For a lot of homework there was the trade-off between working twice as long and doing some negligible percentage better, and if I started my work early I'd invariable end up finishing the same time as if I started it later. Better to start late, take the negligible hit, and do something else.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
66

63 to 61.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:21 AM
horizontal rule
67

61: "what the... you said 'assistant professor'? I thought you said 'quieter coffee machine'!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
68

Oh, and by totally pamper, my ex's mom used to brag about how she did his homework for him when he was in elementary school. His parents also bought him a car, paid for insurance, and his mom would fill it with gas so he never had to. She would also wash and iron his clothes. All the housework/cooking was done by her or the house keeper or gardener. When I lived with them for over a year while he did a masters in OZ, he would do things like come home from school or work and plop down in front of the TV without saying hello or anything. His mother would ask if he needed anything, and he would grunt noncommittally, and then she would arrange a plate of potato chips and pour him a beer in a glass and bring it to him. He would accept it without even making eye contact or saying thanks, and she would return to preparing dinner. (What we ate for dinner was determined by my ex's father, since apparently Australia exists in some twilight zone episode where feminism never happened).


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
69

Also -- and here I feel like I'm maybe being just a tiny bit too glib -- ninety-something percent of tenure decisions get made by the relevant parties long before the candidate puts together the file.

I think this is very much not the case at a teaching school, though. People's research doesn't matter that much, and it's easy not to really know which of your colleagues are excellent teachers and which of them are having ongoing problems. People have educated guesses, but I definitely don't get the sense that the people on rank and tenure have clear ideas before looking at the files.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
70

Also because it's campus-wide, so it takes some work to develop an opinion of someone's teaching from across the campus.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
71

my ex's mom used to brag about how she did his homework for him when he was in elementary school.

To be fair, I could finish Hawaii's homework in like two seconds.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
72

I used to wonder wonder why my colleagues rubbed their calloused feet against me.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
73

28: "Teamwork, insight, brutality, male enhancement, handshakefulness, and play-hard."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:30 AM
horizontal rule
74

Buttercup, I want to hear more about your ex. How did he survive? How has he survived? Convincing everyone around him to continue pampering him?


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
75

69: so people come up for tenure all the time without knowing if they're going to get it? And the committees frequently go into the process having no clue what they'll decide? I have an almost impossible time believing that's the case. Surely there are annual reviews and whatnot, no? I mean, how often do tenure committees at heebie u make decisions that catch people completely flat-footed? (I ask this question not by way of disparaging heebie u, but because I'm assuming that the overwhelming majority of people there get tenure, as has been the case everywhere I've taught.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
76

Conversely, my mother decided she was done with parenting when I hit about 14, and pretty much checked out of all parental duties for my entire high school period. She told me that my future was my life and if I ended up homeless it was my problem and not hers, and that was a pretty effective motivator to do well in school. I'm not sure what would happen if we had actually not been straight A students, but since she would go on days-long business trips without informing us and didn't seem to know or care if we actually went to school, did homework, or ate dinner, the bluff was pretty convincing at the time. I dealt with the fact my mother mostly AWOL by being a ridiculously driven perfectionist with a million after school activities.

Also, this seems kind of crazy in retrospect, but my parents didn't save all that much for our college educations because they figured if we couldn't get into fancy private schools with good financial aid or get decent merit scholarships at a state school, then we didn't really deserve to go to college or college debt would be our problem, not theirs. It miraculously all worked out for their children, but at 18 I really didn't understand the full repercussions of my parents' choice. It's probably good, because I would have been even more neurotic than I already was.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
77

She is very much a perfectionist-procrastinator: it needs to be PERFECT and so I will procrastinate until I can attribute my failings to the fact that I crammed it into one overnighter.

Oh man, am I this.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
78

75: No, not entirely. I wasn't nervous whatsoever ahead of time. I'd say the denials of tenure in particular have caught people entirely offguard. When I wrote the comment, I was thinking about people who got denied, or those whose contracts weren't renewed after their fourth year review.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
79

75: The nasty surprises I've seen have all been cases where a cowardly department decided to kick the problem upstairs by recommending someone while knowing full well that they would be shot down at the campus level. It's unheard of in the departments I've been in, but there are other departments at the same schools that are notorious for doing this.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:47 AM
horizontal rule
80

174

Pretty much. After we decided to call it quits, my ex got his parents to pay for him to do this volunteer teaching program in the Outback so he could have some time to "find himself" and "figure out what he wanted to do with himself." Last I heard they were paying for him to do a language program in Shanghai, and he was maybe going to look for jobs in HK? His father is a B-school professor who does a lot of consulting in Asia and also owns a vineyard, so my ex was at some point hoping to use his father's contacts to get a wine importing job in China or HK. I don't know if he's doing any of that, because even with contacts & nepotism breaking into sales requires possessing "grit."


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:50 AM
horizontal rule
81

78: and people in those cases -- not necessarily the candidates themselves, because they're often willfully ignorant of their own impending doom, but the people around them -- were really surprised? Like, there was no advance warning for the bystanders? That seems like a systemic failure* to me. Again, I'm not being judgmental; I'm just surprised.

* And a recipe for lawsuits, which everyone** loves!

** Except the trial lawyers, those fuckers.***

*** I kid!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
82

I've heard of 79 at fancy/asshole schools but I didn't know it happened elsewhere.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
83

My ultra gritty wife wonders how she ended up with daydreaming procrastinators for kids.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:53 AM
horizontal rule
84

79 I've heard of. But again, people aren't surprised in those cases. The departments and deans in question have reputations for being viper pits or vipers, and the candidates are all so freaked out they're ready for anything.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:54 AM
horizontal rule
85

fancy/asshole

I've heard of vajazzling, but surely this goes too far.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
86

81: Hmmm. I'm not necessarily tuned into the right frequency of gossip to know whether those around the candidate were surprised.

Where I was coming from is that I was carpooling with an incredibly scrupulous member of the rank and tenure committee, who did not ever violate any confidence of the committee but would sometimes vent about how grueling the sessions had been. One year in particular, he just was decimated by being on the committee, and I got the sense that they were poring over the packet and not coasting on their gut. That was also a particularly brutal year for people getting denied.

(That was the year I was up for tenure, actually, and the only time he ever slipped one iota from professional demeanor was when he said "We looked at your packet today. All I can say is...it was a relief.")


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
87

Well, I have to go give a talk I was told, when I was invited here, I wasn't going to have to give, but that I learned, last night after midnight, they're expecting. Now that was surprising! Regardless, I relish such tests of my grit.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 10:59 AM
horizontal rule
88

One key feature is that there is a single, campus-wide rank and tenure committee - no department-wide vetting process. I mean, you should be getting honest feedback from your chair and your various major reviews, but the people on the committee may be from across campus.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
89

86: rogue committees are bad news. Just stick with the program, Little Eichmanns, and all will be well.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
90

My department recently-ish denied tenure to one professor and terminated another at her 3rd year continuing review, so the other junior faculty have really been looking pretty nervous. The next one up did get tenure, but since she'd just won a MacArthur Genius award it didn't put anyone else much at ease. We're known as a very cutthroat department, but not one that systematically denies tenure to junior faculty, so not getting it is kind of a kiss of death professionally. Another two people have got tenure since then, but they were both definitely was sending their students a bunch of "by the time you receive this, I will not have tenure" type emails beforehand, and neither one of them felt like a definitely shoe-in.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
91

Cognitive behavioral therapy (don't submit to your bad thought processes) is more important than grit. A lot of people ruin their lives with a momentary bad decision. Grit won't prevent that, but CBT can.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:03 AM
horizontal rule
92

81** -- I was in a few of those, defending the denial. Insufficient publication seemed a much more defensible position than insufficient grit.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
93

There's a Taco Bell on campus and not one person told me. I hate everyone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
94

88: that was the case at my old job. The department made a recommendation to the dean, who made a recommendation to the campus-wide committee, which made a recommendation (worded as a ruling, but no) to the provost, who decided. At my current gig, that campus-wide committee doesn't exist; it's just department to dean to provost.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
95

Some states offer CBT for remedial driving courses, for instance. Or so I'm told.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
96

Gumption.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
97

93: If you need more grit, Taco Bell is a good place to find some.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
98

Who knew there was something important in the basement of the student union?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
99

Since my grit is not overcoming my insomnia, I'll keep commenting. One way in which I do agree with 'grit' is that learning often isn't fun or easy, but slogging through boring and tedious activities is often necessary for mastery of something. I do think we go overboard in trying to make learning "fun" when some things, like memorizing verb conjugations or times tables or practicing scales are never not going to be tedious, and getting to a level where you can do fun stuff can require years of less fun studying. Also, sometimes you just have to do boring tedious stuff because life(!), but I think this is a lesson UMC kids need more than poor kids, since much of being poor involves dealing with annoying and tedious problems easily solved by money.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
100

I can't help but think of the rural "national" newspaper Grit which recruited me heavily to be a salesperson via ads in the comic books of my youth.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
101

IMX eventually one starts to run out of grit. I'm thinking there's not an inexhaustible supply, you only get so much and that's it. Or maybe my bag has a hole in it somewhere. I dunno.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
102

This thread has given me the idea for a pep talk, if I ever somehow find myself in the position to give someone one: "Of course it's not fun. Nothing's fun until you're good at it." Or something like that. I dunno. I'm not very gritty either.

I don't have too strong an opinion of Vox, but this seems like it's way outside their bailiwick. To the extent that "grit" is a meaningful concept at all, it's obviously not something that can be taught in schools.

IMO, "grit" is mostly a helpful delusion - it leads you to beliefs or predictions that are technically wrong, but are more likely to lead to good outcomes than strict realism would have been. Sort of like how pessimists are right more often but optimists have more fun.

76: Wow. Most of the facts there don't seem too bad, but the details take the cake. (Your parents not saving much for college: understandable in many cases. Your parents doing so because they believe that you don't deserve it if you can't pay your own way: yikes.) Also, sorry to psychoanalyze you, but the contrast between that and your ex is interesting. It reminds me of a friend of mine whose last two relationships were with guys who were completely emotionally unavailable, one of whom she just stopped calling to see if he'd ever call her rather than waiting to be called and he never did even though they had been together more than a year. Her current one is with an incredibly clingy guy I don't particularly approve of for a lot of reasons (Republican, prone to jealousy about exes), but I can't blame her for overcompensating a bit after the previous two.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
103

I would see those ads to sell Grit!, and wonder why I'd never seen a copy of it, and don't think I have to this day.

Boys Life had weird ads too: Lots of guns and other rural things. And a huge section every month for military schools. Loved the one that touted their fireproof buildings.

Remember the--literal--cornucopia of military surplus items, like jeeps and tents and parachutes?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
104

101: Might it just be in a pocket you haven't checked yet?

As a parent, I do a lot of the "practice" talk that I don't think of as being anything like Tiger Mothering. Any time Nia or Mara says something is easy, I remind them of when it wasn't and that they kept trying until it was. And after what I said about Nia's grit, I should probably point out that Mara has OCD/perfectionist tendencies that often leave her in screaming hysterics when she can't get her abacus to do what she wants as fast as she wants or whatever, so for her interventions are mostly about calming the fuck down and then doing the work, for Nia reminders of how much she's learning and how hard she works at it.

They're on fall break and thus at daycare all day and I got a call after lunch that Nia was "having a hard time," which in the past would have meant a disaster and this time meant that either she or the teacher decided to have her call me rather than escalate and in about two sentences I'd helped her remember a self-soothing technique she could use and how she could fix the problem, which she was doing by the time I got off the phone with the teacher. She has come so far in the last year and our life with her is so completely different, and her progress and tenacity just amaze me. I mean, Mara is also amazing and perfect and wonderful, but you're not going to impress me too much by being smart and weird and prickly and intense. But to be hard-working and stubborn in good ways and always always always happy just blows my fucking mind. And we're now officially less than two months out from adoption and she's thrilled.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
105

104: Glad to hear things are going so well. I know they haven't always been.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
106

There is something about this idea of "grit" and of being able to fish it out of school kids that turns me into Abe Simpson.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
107

106: Trust me on this, you'll get there eventually.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:13 PM
horizontal rule
108

Grit?

|?

Current reading

Lila Abu-Lughod, Dramas of Nationhood, Politics of Television in Egypt, 2005. Highly recommended as a study of cultural interaction through television among
elite female writers/producers, urban service women, illiterate village peasants

Not only are contemporary viewers bound to be disappointed as government policies about social welfare shift because of structural adjustment policies but, as I want to show, they now resist the very structure of the developmentalist discourse, especially in its feminist inflection, which tends to be middle-class in values. This resistance comes both from the demeaning ways middle-class feminists position poor or rural women and from the availability of alternative discourses that offer different constructions of selfhood and community belonging. In Egypt today,the most powerful alternative discourses are religious

The secular intellectual thus speaks, at least in this short story, for the subaltern in a voice that is ultimately middle class and wedded to a modernist set of values that include education, science, and knowledge. Nuna is redeemed by her brightness, curiosity, and desire for education. She desires enlightenment. Were she uninterested in this, desiring instead, for example, to go back to the village to marry and have a family, to help a husband work the land to feed those children, to live among her loved ones, family, and neighbors in "the filth and the fleas," or to restrict her knowledge to local knowledges, including popular Islam, she would not have been a heroine.

and

Yoshiharu Tezuka, Japanese Cinema Goes Global, 2011

To put it succinctly, Legitimizing Identity is produced by the dominant institutions of society to legitimize and extend their power, whereas Resistance Identity is produced by marginalized groups to resist domination and make their life bearable. Project Identity can be developed out of either Legitimizing or Resistance Identity as a third way -- it produces new, often hybrid, categories of identity and attempts to transform social relations.

Castells suggests that these different types of identity building processes lead to different outcomes in constituting society. Legitimizing Identity "generates a civil society; that is, a set of organizations and institutions, as well as a series of structured and organized social actors, which reproduce, albeit sometimes in a conflictive manner, the identity that rationalizes the sources of structural domination" (2004: 8; italics in original). Most commonly, it is nation-states that function as the framework of this legitimization.

Obviously coincidence...nah, trendy or SoA social science discourse

ganbatte kudasa!! y'all. We must all try to overcome the Halford-deficit! I know I will!

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
109

||

Smearcase, I was reading some of Shaw's music criticism the other night. I'd gotten the idea from somewhere it'd be all images and impressionism, that he had no technical knowledge at all. Not so, obviously.

|>


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
110

108: In the absence of Halfordísmo, I'm looking forward to mcmanusnomics.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:20 PM
horizontal rule
111

I've been discussing this with my mother, who is very long on grit but not quite as long as her father was. (The original topic was physical therapy, which I'm in about every other year and she's never tried at all, despite a lengthy catalog of damage -- she ran over her own foot with a tractor two years ago and just limped around in Ace bandages for a while and now it goes back into most of her shoes. But her father walked around with machete wounds in his eighties. 'Just rinse the blood out of the boot before it gets sticky.')

My brother and I are not so long on grit, and have a, mm, Unfoggedish tendency to procrastination and underperformance. But it's pretty likely that this is partly because we were raised to not be self-loathing WASPs ashamed of relaxation, so, not neurotically driven; but the remaining secular Calvinism didn't provide a lot of other zest*, and was full of self-damping. I know someone raised by ex-Catholics who intentionally set her up with less-hard-than-they-seemed challenges so she'd develop faith in the payoff to her efforts, which seems really ... intellectually dishonest to me, but it also seems to have worked.

*I quite like the KIPP description of character, and think it could be useful even if it can't be quantified or regression-tested.

Buttercup, seconding my amazement at your parent's tactics and my total crogglement at your ex.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
112

110: Actually, I'm thinking that now that Halford has liberated himself from the Unfogged Timesuck, he'll be to focus his full energies into establishing Halfordismo, and we can all look forward to a carefree and blissful existence under his benign dictatorship in short order.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:31 PM
horizontal rule
113

112: This comment is so important I have to repost it with my correction.

Actually, I'm thinking that now that Halford has liberated himself from the Unfogged Timesuck, he'll be able to focus his full energies into establishing Halfordismo, and we can all look forward to a carefree and blissful existence under his benign dictatorship in short order.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
114

113: Unless of course you are a member of one of the groups targeted for extermination, in which case I suggest you prepare an escape plan, and bone up on your wilderness survival skills.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:37 PM
horizontal rule
115

114: Don't! The wilderness is where the paleo-police is strongest. They'll hunt you down by exhaustion. No, flee to a nation with a weak copyright regime, and enjoy your freedom while it lasts. It won't be long now.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
116

But it's pretty likely that this is partly because we were raised to not be self-loathing WASPs ashamed of relaxation, so, not neurotically driven; but the remaining secular Calvinism didn't provide a lot of other zest

This expectation educated Protestants have about their own background always amazes me. It's as if some notion of Max Weber's was bound to be truer than your own experience. My parents were quite sensual in their own way, and certainly knew how to enjoy themselves. I never knew my grandfather or his ancestors but stories suggest it was not a new thing, at least in our family.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
117

Anybody who invented a whole new type of backyard grill obviously understands Protestants better than they understand themselves.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
118

Bit assholish of you to use observation of your family as evidence and assume I'm not doing the same, idp. Also incorrect.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 1:58 PM
horizontal rule
119

||

Oddly, one of the things my boss relies on me for is rephrasing her reviews of people so that they mean the same thing she wanted to say but sound complimentary. I've never really thought of that as one of my skills, but it's definitely turned into a thing.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 2:24 PM
horizontal rule
120

108.1: That was a fantastic read, Bob, and I'm glad you're enjoying it. I think she's brilliant and her work is a lot of fun.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
121

119: Your boss wrote that on your review except she said, "Full of cheerful bullshit."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
122

Exactly! "I rely on Lizard for smooth-sounding doubletalk."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 2:45 PM
horizontal rule
123

LB's words are powerful, and can used to help nurture and grow the organization.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 2:58 PM
horizontal rule
124

I'm sure that somewhere on the internet there's a graphic of what 123 is riffing on, but I can't find it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 3:02 PM
horizontal rule
125

A little while ago I was asked what my biggest concerns would be about the possibility of moving to Pittsburgh. "That would just make Unfogged even more weirdly Pittsburgh-centric" was the second one that came to mind.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 3:03 PM
horizontal rule
126

I, for one, will be reading and rerereading LB's posts and comments to discern what she really means.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 3:08 PM
horizontal rule
127

If the first one was about the lack of Taco Bells, I have good news.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 3:09 PM
horizontal rule
128

Apparently Pittsburgh also has anti-semitic food now, too! (Not indefinitely, but I don't know about the time frame.)


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 3:19 PM
horizontal rule
129

There was a kosher stand in that same place a few years ago.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 3:22 PM
horizontal rule
130

125: My son wants to build a spaceship powered by a black hole. I'm going to have him write you a letter.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 4:12 PM
horizontal rule
131

I love the implication that 128 would allay essear's biggest fear.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 4:15 PM
horizontal rule
132

He wanted to use atomic bombs until I told him someone thought of that before.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
133

This tenure talk is terrifying me.

Oddly enough, I used to have a ton of grit, and a decent ability to resist procrastination. It all seemed to evaporate in grad school, and I suspect that it was due to the cumulative effects of stress/emotional trauma from both adolescence and the ridiculous family situations that became significantly worse around 8 years ago.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10-10-14 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
134

133

My grit is being worn down each year of grad school as well. I'm now living with no structure or accountability and completely separated from all my close family/friends/colleagues, and it is not a great environment for anxiety/depression/procrastination/perfectionism. I'm lucky Chinese people are by and large imposing busybodies who force me to do at least some level of research.

It's hard to capture nuances in a blog comment, and my parents are particularly difficult to describe in a simple or brief way, and it would be easy to construct so many conflicting narratives about them. It's not that my mother didn't contribute anything monetarily to my college education or provide significant support (e.g. filling out FAFSA forms so I could get the aid I needed), it's more that her attitude is just so far different from standard UMC parenting, and her contributions were much less than what people might expect. My mother's "bark" is worse than her "bite" when it comes to threats like this. Basically, my parents were very hard-core deontologists and staunch egalitarians, so while they certainly raised us with with the advantages that come with having well educated, middle class parents, they also tried to mitigate some of those advantages, or at least make us feel guilty for having them. Implying that if we weren't good enough to get a scholarship we didn't deserve to go to college was primarily motivated the idea that if we used anything but our own merit to get into college we were stealing places from more deserving poor people. They viewed SAT prep classes and even tutors as basically outright cheating. Growing up the message they tried to teach us is that while every human was inherently deserving of dignity and worth, we were no more special than any other person, and nothing inherent in ourselves made us entitled to anything more than everyone else. I appreciate the deep commitment equality and to trying to undo race and class privilege, but it wasn't always an easy way to grow up.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 3:38 AM
horizontal rule
135

102

Yeah, somehow I attract/am attracted to guys who turn out to be wealthy mama's boys, which isn't a trait I would say I find attractive. Ironically, my current boyfriend is Italian, and he seems to least fit the mold, though he is definitely somewhat of a mammone. I'd never connected it to my attitudes towards my own mother though, but there's probably something there.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 3:50 AM
horizontal rule
136

I could stand to read a little more about Australia-as-anti-feminist tidal pool. What about NZ? Are hobbits sexist? Do I want to know? Did anybody else not know that Toblerone has two or three other varieties in Europe? "Crunchy Almond"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 6:09 AM
horizontal rule
137

I heard of a decision where a super famous immunologist got turned down by the Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health after a unanimous vote in support of her. 12 hours later she had offers of full tenure from 4 or 5 top notch places.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 7:36 AM
horizontal rule
138

||

FDL has a post today about Saudi girls catching K-Pop on their phones. Korean Wave, Hallyu?

Dal Shabet Just Passing

15& Rain and Cry

Not something I know much about. I know more about movies, and although wrong to say, I generally characterize Taiwanese as warm and sad, Koreans as depressed and sentimental, and don't want to talk much about HK (hard and aggressive) and Japanese (fucking robots). I don't mean it. Really.

Why the fuck is K-Pop taking over the world?

Fucking Slavery gives them soul, and underneath the production and gloss and glitter, just like underneath Phil Spector and Berry Gordy...you can feel their pain. No, Beyonce and Kanye are not indentured at nine to work like dogs until twenty with all income going to the masters and then being cast aside at twenty for a younger fresher version. K-idols have earned their blues.

(Last checked, I think 62% of K-pop sales, and a large majority of K-drama viewership, is still in Japan.)

S Korea strikes me as one of the unhappiest places in the world. It's almost unbearable

And see 108.1 and Abu-Lughod about our newest Nobel Peace recipients. Malala Yousafzai's father owns a chain of charter schools. It's called "developmental capitalism" and "developmental feminism" and is a dream killed by neoliberalism. Without the socialism and authoritarianism of Nasser, Qaddafi and Saddam, jobs opportunities and welfare state, the educational aspirations are just a tool for capital to exploit rather than liberate women, and for elite women, the 1-10% who make it, to justify their privilege and power. It has a lot in common with the methods of K-Pop.

L A-L

"What effects do such distorted images of the rural and uneducated and such unrealistic messages about the values of education and national development have?

they must realize their own inadequacy as
people who have not achieved the protagonist's level of education, culture, and commitment to the nation. Serials like Dream of the Southerner might
thus encourage them to feel their inferiority because of this promotion of the modernist values of education. Because this whole process takes place in
a context of pleasure, since people genuinely enjoy watching television serials, it is difficult to be critical either of the didactic messages or the mis-
representations of themselves

The problem is that unless the basic structures of economic and political life that could sustain such values are put into place more universally in Egypt, the values themselves come only to symbolize a lack on the part of many rural villagers: their inability to measure up to the ideals. This, I have argued, has
consequences for their own self-images as well as for wider policies affecting them."

Nobel Peace Prize this year is just another horror story.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
139

||

Another one Baek Ye-rin

More on topic maybe, Also reading Brian McVeigh, Myth of Japanese Higher Education, which among other things, is about the commercialism of college taking student money without educating in a society that no longer has enough positions for graduates. McVeigh kinda hates Japan, and came back after 17 years in 2003. I wonder if he now realizes that a lot of the problems he saw in the daigoku are global.

McVeigh recommends "Shoko Yoneyama - The Japanese High School Silence and Resistance" Routledge, late 90s.

|>


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
140

136: For as similar as they are, NZ has always been more progressive and more egalitarian than Australia. (Something to do with being the middle of nowhere and everybody needing to contribute to have any chance, strong cultural sense of fairness, much more effort to accommodate native peoples, etc.) Their previous two PMs were women, and they weren't (as far as I can tell--Keir, please feel free to correct any of this babbling) subject to sexist attacks the way Gillard was. NZ is usually grouped with the Scandinavian countries on humanism-related issues, and the gender gap is no exception. (Hrm--actually looking at the data, despite NZ being ranked higher than Australia, they're pretty similar on almost everything except female political advancement.) Not to say that they don't have their own problems, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
141

I think there's enough truth to the self-myth of frankness is Australian society (which is boorish from another angle) that politically reactionary obnoxiousness can be more visible / audible than the underlying stats bear out.

Buttercups's ex-MIL sounds somewhat generational, also the whole family seems to be built around a big breadwinner/homemaker distinction, and coddling goes with that.

That said there's plenty of weird separate but equal social behaviours in Australia, go to an Australian family BBQ and watch the genders part like the Red Sea.

I wasn't in the country for the whole Julia experience but her becoming PM was less of an outlier than say Thatcher.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
142

I'll cop hobbiton as more progressive though.


Posted by: conflated | Link to this comment | 10-11-14 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
143

The thread is dead and wasn't about the OP for a long time hence, but this article about grit and the marshmallow test is quite good. Particularly such passages as:

What mostly interested [marshmallow test guy] wasn't whether children could wait for a bigger treat--which, by the way, most of them could. It wasn't even whether those who waited fared better in life than those who didn't. Rather, the central question was how children go about trying to wait and which strategies help. It turned out that kids waited longer when they were distracted by a toy. What worked best wasn't (in Mischel's words) "self-denial and grim determination," but doing something enjoyable while waiting so that self-control wasn't needed at all.

And here's another twist: The inclination to wait depends on one's experiences. "For a child accustomed to stolen possessions and broken promises, the only guaranteed treats are the ones you have already swallowed," remarked a group of social scientists at the University of Rochester. In 2012, they conducted an experiment in which children were encouraged to wait for a new set of exciting art supplies rather than using the well-worn crayons and dinky little stickers that were already available. After a few minutes, the adult returned. Half the kids received the promised, far-superior materials. But the other half got only an apology: "I'm sorry, but I made a mistake. We don't have any other art supplies after all."

Then it was time for the marshmallow challenge. And how long did the children wait for two to appear before they gave up and ate the one sitting in front of them? Well, it depended on what had happened earlier. Those for whom the adult had proved unreliable (by failing to deliver the promised art supplies) waited only about three minutes. But those who had learned that good things do come to those who wait were willing to hold off, on average, for a remarkable 12 minutes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-12-14 6:54 PM
horizontal rule
144

Maybe the kids who actually got the art supplies had more to do while waiting.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-12-14 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
145

Art supplies produce complacent kids. Cancel art and up the revolution.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-12-14 7:10 PM
horizontal rule
146

But then all the revolutionary posters and pamphlets will look laughably amateur. No one will take them seriously. You need to strike a careful balance. Art supplies for some, up against the wall for others.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-12-14 7:13 PM
horizontal rule
147

140: first country to give women the vote! Etc. Um, NZ is probably better than Oz. Clark got sexist shit but not as bad as Gilliard.

Still not good enough etc.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10-12-14 7:21 PM
horizontal rule