Posts tagged My Original Posts
Posts tagged My Original Posts
Inspired by this post, in which Stephen Colbert comments on Jason Richwine’s claim that “the average IQ of immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population, and the difference is likely to persist over several generations.” Putting aside Stephen Colbert’s hitting-the-nail-on-the-head-perfect response that white people are not the native population of the United States, I have some bones to pick with Richwine and those elements of the blogosphere that have defended him.
Much of the writing in defense of Richwine’s dissertation has focused on the over-politicization of academia, which is a legitimate phenomenon, but, to my mind, ancillary to the discussion at hand. Richwine and his associates made what they knew to be a radical and socially incendiary set of claims, for which they would need extremely persuasive and empirical evidence. Frankly, whether or not Richwine’s study reflected his claims is less important than the way in which he interpreted that data.
A group of people tested lower on IQ tests. What does this tell us? Does it tell us the objective intelligence level of test-takers? The cultural leanings of the test-takers or the exam itself? The data only supports the provocative conclusions if we take for granted the premise that IQ scores are capable of accurately reflecting the objective intelligence level of the test-takers, a premise which has already been undermined if not entirely disproven by previous, peer-reviewed, and scientifically sound studies. Richwine’s publication suggests that they controlled for language proficiency and cultural biases—and even if that were entirely possible to do with any guaranteed amount of accuracy (of which I’m not convinced), that still presumes that the IQ test is capable of objectively determining intelligence, with a definition of intelligence that is more or less universal and stable over time.
Yet several factors undermine this assumption, such as the fact that many individuals’ scores change vastly over time, or the fact that socioeconomic status often predicts IQ results. Many scientists, from paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould to psychologists Peter Schönemann and Denny Borsboom to cognitive scientist Reuven Feuerstein, have pointed out that the fundamental methodology of the IQ test is outdated. It ignores some of the most significant advances/expanded schools of thought within the fields of psychology and cognitive science in the past 50 years—structural cognitive modifiability, mediated learning experience theory, neuroplasticity, differential susceptibility, complexity neuroscience (conceiving the brain as a complex adaptive system), etc. And that’s not even going into the genetic and anthropological studies disproving the concept of race as a stable and biological trait, although that is obviously relevant in this case.
So, long story…less long: yes, academia is politicized, and yes, un-PC claims get a lot of flak. But Richwine and like-minded academics can’t expect to make extreme claims without an extreme preponderance of evidence, and the very basis of Richwine’s study—the idea that IQ scores are accurate representations of objective, genetically-determined intelligence—is faulty. Don’t write provocatively and then complain when people are provoked; and above all, don’t use outdated methodologies to support outdated claims, and then cry “liberal witch hunt” when your peers and the public call your work, in a word, outdated.
Christine’s relationships with the Phantom and with Raoul are actually a pretty fascinating analogue for the Virgin/Whore paradigm. The Phantom represents her impure and “unladylike” traits - her ambition as an operatic soloist, her morbid curiosity, her lust. Raoul represents her “purer,” more socially acceptable traits - her innocence, her desire to feel safe and protected, her childlike affection (emphasized by their mutual childhood memories together).
And I love the way Sierra Boggess plays this dichotomy. During “That’s All I Ask of You,” she’s giddy, enthusiastic, and fond. Whereas “The Music of the Night” is without question as close to an onstage orgasm as a relatively old-school musical staging is going to get.
Just calculated my extraneous expenditures so far this year. This actually explains a lot about my life…
What if “The Phantom of the Opera” had been turned into a movie musical that didn’t totally suck?
[Edit: sorry for the rubbish audio quality; something happened during the upload-to-Youtube process. I don’t know what thing happened to the audio, but it was a sad thing.]
I already kind of hated the character of Raoul de Chagny, but wow, I have never found him more unlikable than in the Phantom at the Royal Albert Hall, played by Hadley Fraser. I don’t know how intentional it is, but if he rolls his eyes at Christine one more time I’m gonna reach through my computer screen and punch him in the fucking throat
~MISANDRY~ featuring Marina Lambrini Diamandis
Marina and the Diamonds, “How to Be a Heartbreaker” (Electra Heart, 2012)
I work in a hotel, and every time I order pizza from this particular pizza place they give me 5-10 free cookies so that I’ll put little ad pamphlets out (to entice our guests into ordering from them idk). We already have a stack of them, but the delivery dude gives me cookies every single time. (Tonight it was 7.) It’s awesome, it’s like getting away with murder
Because Pepper brings people back from the brink. That’s what she does. She didn’t know it at first, and it isn’t her only skill (she is running a Fortune 500 company, after all)— but it might be her calling. She has an easy, no-nonsense kind of calm. Tony’s completely changing his multi-billion dollar company - well, he still has forms to sign. Tony gives her the reigns to his company - in fairness, she’s been the de facto CEO for some time now anyway. Aliens and superheroes exist - no reason for the champagne to go to waste.
And Pepper loves Tony, she does, but he’s chosen this life. A life full of robotic distractions and arrogant threats and what can only viably be termed international (interstellar) dick-measuring contests. There are other ways to change the world.
And Maya Hansen? Is on the brink. In fact, she’s been on the brink for years. On the brink of a breakthrough, on the brink of a breakdown, on the brink of selling her ideals forever. Coming back from the brink happened one small step backward at a time.
1. They needed Pepper to trust her. Maya had to pour out her life’s story, and it had to be the truth, because Pepper could spot a lie from so far away, she could spot lies that the speaker thought were truths. And it had to be real, it had to be emotional. It had to be intimate.
2. They needed to keep Pepper alive. Really, they did. Even if it meant keeping her around when she was a liability, and even if Maya and Killian both suspected Tony would never work with them.
3. Maya had to see that image of Pepper, suffering— over the stupid machinations of two egomaniacs, the conflicts of war machines, the ever-changing, never-changing mechanics of world politics— fuck all of it.
When the bullet rings out, Maya imagines seeing the pain ease away from Pepper’s face, imagines she’s taking the pain from Pepper’s body into hers, the last kind of intimacy they’re ever likely to share.
Then she imagines Pepper wreaking fiery vengeance on Killian. Horrible, violent, gruesome vengeance, because, well, Maya never quite stepped away from the edge of darkness. But even losing blood, faster with each passing second, this feels like coming back to herself. This feels like finding her soul again, just in time to give it up to the cosmic abyss. Watching Pepper’s face, she thinks, “I wonder if Pepper believes in God,” and just as she closes her eyes she finds herself on the brink of something very different.
Come, little children, to Beacon Hills
I happened upon someone’s mindcast for the Charlie Bone series and I realized that I don’t think I could watch any adaptation of it that didn’t have Ioan Gruffudd as Uncle Paton. I didn’t even know my headcanon was that strong, but I saw Viggo Mortensen for Paton and I was immediately like NO OBVIOUSLY IOAN GRUFFUDD JFC WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU