Category Archive 'Millennials'
20 Apr 2019

“The Injustices of Capitalism”

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Alyssa Ahlgren has some choice words for complaining leftists.

I’m sitting in a small coffee shop near Nokomis trying to think of what to write about. I scroll through my newsfeed on my phone looking at the latest headlines of Democratic candidates calling for policies to “fix” the so-called injustices of capitalism. I put my phone down and continue to look around. I see people talking freely, working on their MacBook’s, ordering food they get in an instant, seeing cars go by outside, and it dawned on me. We live in the most privileged time in the most prosperous nation and we’ve become completely blind to it. Vehicles, food, technology, freedom to associate with whom we choose. These things are so ingrained in our American way of life we don’t give them a second thought. We are so well off here in the United States that our poverty line begins 31 times above the global average. Thirty. One. Times. Virtually no one in the United States is considered poor by global standards. Yet, in a time where we can order a product off Amazon with one click and have it at our doorstep the next day, we are unappreciative, unsatisfied, and ungrateful.

RTWT

09 Apr 2019

The Closing of the Millennial Mind

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Rod Dreher

Over the weekend, I met a friend in Cambridge, Mass., for lunch. He’s a foreigner studying at Harvard. He told me that his experience there has been quite an education in how the American elite constructs its worldview and reproduces itself. In fact, that is perhaps the most important lesson he has learned from his experience at the top US university.

I’m writing this with his permission, but I want to be careful about what I say, to protect his privacy. In general, he said it has been a real shock to him — and to the other foreign students in his circle — to observe how “coercive” (his word) the intellectual atmosphere at Harvard is, at least in the areas he’s been studying. He explained that it is quite simply impossible to discuss certain things, and ask certain questions, because of the ideological rigidity of the American students and their teachers. My friend made clear that this is the consensus view of the foreigners he knows there, whether they are on the left or the right.

My lunch companion said that the elites formed by this most elite American university are people who have set up a world in which they never have to encounter an idea, or a person, that they don’t already endorse or embrace. We were joined at the table by a third person, a left-wing Baby Boomer who works in a very liberal Boston institution (I’ll not name it to protect his privacy), and who said that he finds the ideological rigidity of Millennials and the generation behind them to be insufferable. Such joyless, humorless, incurious people, he said. The foreigner, though a Millennial himself, agreed.

On our way to the restaurant, I had mentioned to my foreign friend something I’ve heard from several of you readers of this blog who are conservative academics: that as long as old-school liberals remain in charge of faculties and academic institutions, there will be a place for right-of-center scholars. But when the Jacobin-like younger generation moves into leadership, that will be the end. He agreed, and brought up several examples from academia and academia-adjacent institutions (e.g., publishing). He told me one story about a left-liberal scholar he knows who has been turned into a non-person for questioning out loud some of aspects of au courant progressive dogma. I’m not easy to shock about things like this, but this particular story — my foreign friend named names — was for me a sign of how advanced the ideological militancy has become.

It recalled in fact an e-mail conversation I had last week with a liberal journalist friend who hates to see this closing of the left’s mind. My journalist pal said that he’s seeing on the left a moralistic refusal even to consider ideas, people, and data that contradict these leftists’ moral code. Understand: it’s not that this new breed of progressives disagrees (though they do); it’s that they believe, and believe strongly, that even to confront information that contradicts what they prefer to believe is intolerable.

Said my friend: “No wonder these people are always shocked by the latest developments in politics. They refuse to see the world as it is.”

RTWT

06 Mar 2019

Harvard Checks “Climate” — Snowflakes Mustn’t Melt!

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Oh, me! Oh, my! Can Harvard students possibly bear up and survive in a climate in which their own House Master/Faculty Dean (and Law Professor) proposes to represent a cad like Harvey Weinstein accused of numberless cases of crude advances, sexual harrassment, and generally being a masher?

Harvard Crimson asks that important question, and apparently is asking it on behalf of the management of Harvard itself. Presumably in the case of unfavorable responses, Harvard’s Administration will lay in a copious supply of smelling salts, fainting couches, and gallon jugs of Lydia Pinkham’s. There will doubtless as well be long queues of desperate Harvard students lining up for counseling.

“Doctor, how could he? How could he represent that… that beast?”

Harvard College’s institutional research office sent an anonymous, online survey to Winthrop House residents Tuesday as part of a review process aimed at addressing students’ concerns about Faculty Dean Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr.’s decision to represent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein as he faces charges of sexual assault.

The survey asks students a series of questions about whether they feel welcome in the House. It also asks them to score Winthrop on a five-point scale based on whether they believe the House is “hostile” or “friendly,” “contentious” or “collegial,” and “sexist” or “non-sexist,” among other metrics.

Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced that former Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ’67 would lead a “climate review” in an email to Winthrop residents on Feb. 25. Khurana wrote that the College decided to launch the review after hearing concerns surrounding support structures for students in the House following Sullivan’s decision to defend Weinstein.

Harvard College Institutional Research wrote in its Tuesday email that in trying to examine the “climate” of Winthrop, the survey will use Pennsylvania State University professor Sue Rankin’s definition of climate: “the current attitudes, behaviors and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.”

In response to Sullivan’s decision to join Weinstein’s defense team, some students started protests and wrote open letters calling for his removal as faculty dean.

The survey sent Tuesday begins with a question about students’ level of satisfaction with the House’s climate. It continues by asking students to indicate their level of agreement — from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree” — with a series of statements evaluating their experiences in the House.
Some of the statements read “I feel I belong in Winthrop House” and “Winthrop House has a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Another question asks students to rank the House on 12 different characteristics including disrespectful or respectful, elitist or non-elitist, homophobic or non-homophobic, and racist or non-racist.

The survey closes with two demographic questions and a space for additional comments.
The College will use the results gathered from Winthrop affiliates to guide any further action, Khurana wrote in his original email.

RTWT

I try to imagine the Yale Daily News, back in 1966, inquiring if we “felt welcome” in our Yale freshman dorms or residential colleges, and I have to hold on to the arms of my chair not to fall out of it laughing.

Can you imagine not feeling welcome in one of the poshest, most luxurious undergraduate colleges in the country and the world?

I am reminded of the comedy film, in which the upper class mother points out to her unhappy adolescent daughter: “You know, you will never again, in the rest of your life, be this rich or this thin!”

A friend of mine used to remark ruefully that life after Yale amounted to constant struggle to try to live as well as you did as a Yale undergraduate.

14 Feb 2019

Millennial Snowflakes at Yale Apparently Need a Professional “Cool Aunt/Uncle” Whom They Can Run to Whenever They Feel “Unsafe” or “Uncomfortable” on Campus

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Snowflakes at Wellesley reacting to 2016 Election returns.

My blood boiled this morning when I read this reply to a question on Quora:

TheFire.Org asked, rhetorically:

Is the reaction of Yale University students against professor Erika Christakis email the signal of the start of the steep and rapid decline of Yale and its motto of truth?

——————————————————-

Cathy Xue, Silliman ’19 replied:

During the 2015–2016 school year, I was a freshman in Silliman College, where Erika Christakis was Associate Master (the position of “Master” has since been re-titled as “Head of College” or “HoC”). *Mrs. Christakis’ decision to express her opinions on free speech and Halloween costumes in an email the students of Silliman College, **/where she occupied a position of authority/**, was inappropriate. *I do not doubt that if she instead published her statement in a more general forum, for example as an op-ed in the /Yale Daily News/, that the reaction would not be as intense.

Basically, *Erika Christakis failed her duty as Associate Master by sending that email*, and this upset a number of students in Silliman College and in the broader Yale community. At Yale, the role of (Associate) Master/HoC is one of social and community leadership and support — kind of like the cool aunt/uncle for the 400 or so students under their watch. Erika Christakis was supposed to be someone that Silliman students could feel comfortable approaching if they felt unsafe or uncomfortable on campus. Instead, she indicated to her charges that she valued the principle of free speech and intellectual discussion over the very real personal hurt that insensitive language or other expression (like Halloween costumes, for example) might cause.

Also, the negative reaction didn’t occur in a vacuum — other events had already fueled discussion and unrest about racism on campus.

And unconditional emotional support is more important to them than Free Speech.

I’d say: Yale made a huge mistake whenever it started admitting these kinds of spoiled, entitled, sensitive blooming plants.

The Master (Bugger that “Head of College” nonsense!) of a Yale Residential College, I have news for you, Snowflakes, was never intended to be the “Cool Aunt/Uncle” meant to be used as a crying towel at all.

College Masters, in my day, were older male faculty members of distinction whose role was approximately that of the British Viceroy of some minor Imperial Colony. He received a suitably impressive residence and an expense budget. His role was to preside as Master of Ceremonies over regular significant events, to represent the college officially, and to exist remotely, floating above the daily life of the college, as a benign tutelary deity, capable of dipping into that special budget under his control to bestow special favors, a celebratory dining-hall feast, a high-end table soccer game for the Common Room, special funding for the print shop or the wood shop.

The actual administrative work of the college, the disciplinary role, the shit work generally was all handled by the Dean, an humble graduate student type, only a bit older than the undergraduates, who was burnishing up his resume with an eye to future university administrative grandeur at some rinky dink institution far away from Yale.

The College Master could be relied upon to smile benevolently in your direction and to acknowledge you with a “Hullo!” or “Good Morning!” when passing by, but no one, in the pre-millennial Yale, would have dreamt of running crying to the College Master that his feelings had been hurt, Boo hoo!

Nobody, in the old days, old enough and smart enough to get into Yale could possibly have been imagined to consider himself “unsafe” or “uncomfortable” as the result of some other student or students wearing Halloween costumes.

In the old Yale, the natural response to some inadvertent insult, would have been to shrug it off. The natural response to a deliberate insult would have been to retort with a wittier and more devastating response.

15 Jan 2019

Sinners in the Hands of a Woke Consumer Corporation

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Corporate advertisers traditionally flatter potential customers, assuring them with gratifying images that the mere choice of the given product proves that the customer is handsome, sophisticated, successful, desirable to beautiful women, capable of appreciating, and worthy of, the best things.

My own favorite examples would be Paul Gerding’s Duesenberg ads that ran in upscale magazines like Vanity Fair and The Sportsman in the 1930s.

But Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette brand director for North America, decided a different approach was needed to cement the company’s ties to Pabst-swilling, tattooed, and pussified millennial metrosexuals. (He seems not to have noticed that they are usually bearded.)

Business Insider:

The shaving giant Gillette knew that its new ad addressing the #MeToo movement would be divisive. But the brand still went ahead with it hoping to appeal to future generations of customers.

The ad is part of a broader brand repositioning that turns Gillette’s 30-year-old tagline, “The Best a Man Can Get,” on its head, making it a call for men to take an inward look and placing the onus on them to be the best versions of themselves.

Pankaj Bhalla, the brand director for Gillette and Venus, called it “a statement of self-reflection” from the brand.

Gillette first started brainstorming the repositioning last spring, and it ran several qualitative tests before running it.

Gillette was well aware that its new ad would ruffle some feathers.

But it still went ahead with it because it felt it needed to reposition itself to continue to resonate with the next generation of its customers and wanted to leverage its position as a 117-year-old brand and a market leader to spark dialogue.

“We knew that this particular commercial would trigger a conversation,” Pankaj Bhalla, the brand director for Gillette and Venus, told Business Insider. “The idea was to get people thinking, because the belief was that good advertising does trigger a healthy debate.”

——————————

Skeptics are doubtless snapping up Unilever stock (owner of Dollar Shave Club), but there is, after all, nothing new under the sun.

Pankaj Bhalla, armed with a Bachelor degree (Hons.) in Commerce and Business Economics, 2000, from Hyderabad, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Brand Management from Ahmedabad, 2003, must have deduced that today’s rising generation in America resembles in some uncanny way the generation coming of age in New England in the 1740s, another time in which people desired not to be flattered and praised, but threatened and abused.

For his next Gillette commercial, I’d recommend that Grey Group consider adapting some of the text of this sermon delivered by Jonathan Edwards, Yale 1720, 8 July 1741 at Enfield, Connecticut:

[excerpt]

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking his pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.

O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder; and you have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment.

09 Jan 2019

She Should Run For Congress as a Democrat

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22 Oct 2018

The Very Model of a Modern-Age Millennial

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The Very Model of a Modern-Age Millennial
by Meg Elison

I am the very model of a modern-age millennial,
I’ve got no cash, no house, no kids, and student debt perennial,
I know the rules of Tinder, and I’m not sold on monogamy
(For what it’s worth I think that stems from troubles ‘tween my mom and me)
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters on the gender front
Myself, I am nonbinary; your labels I so do not want
Been disillusioned by my expectations with a lot o’ stuff,
The skills with which I am equipped for life are frankly not enough
My job prospects are hobbled by insistence on a living wage
Compete at entry level with some washed-up folks at twice my age
In matters of identity, employment and such petty ills
I am the very model of a modern-age millennial

An unprecedentedly intimate and comprehensive glimpse at the breadth and diversity of one of world literature’s most vital, adventurous presences.
On Monday I killed Applebee’s, on Tuesday I axed country clubs
I’ve never bought a diamond and I have no use for cashmere gloves
I quote dank internet memes in lieu of sharing actual thoughts
For earnestness has been passé since sometime in the early aughts
Still advertisers flail and fail to capture all my buying power
(The sum of which amounts to renting GIG cars by the paltry hour)
I’m subject to the bleak nostalgia of Generation Xers
And YouTube sensibilities adored by web-savvy youngsters
So I get to the take the blame for our country’s tanked economy
While fighting for my basic rights and bodily autonomy
In short I’m fucked in matters from the vital to the trivial
I am the very model of a modern-age millennial
In fact, when I know what is meant by “social justice warrior”
When I can tell at sight a fascist MRA conspirator
When such affairs are treated as unsolvable new mysteries,
I shake my head and wonder if the Boomers studied history
When I have learnt what progress has been made and then just flushed away
My generation’s best bet looks like playing Fortnite drunk all day
In short, if you’re angry right now and spewing aged white vitriol
Remember you created me: the modern age millennial
For I’m the generation raised upon the game Monopoly
You’re hoarding all the wealth and jobs and mock me for my poverty
So now I’m skewing socialist with discourse quite ungenial
Please check your local ballots for the modern-age millennial

HT: McSweeney’s via Karen L. Myers.

10 Oct 2018

Job Interview: Millennial vs. Baby Boomer

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04 Oct 2018

Artisanal Brooms

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A broom is not just a broom. It is statement about who you are. Your broom expresses your values, your identity, your respect for skilled craftsmanship, and your passion for your home. Obviously, you, too, need an artisanal broom made by a sophisticated, college-educated woman living in Brooklyn. (Or not.)

Vox tells you all about them and where to get them.

In the spring of 2017, Erin Rouse quit her job at the lighting design firm Lindsey Adelman to make brooms full time. She picked up the skill during her time in that job, which allowed employees to study in workshops around the world. She went to the Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, where she studied with a master broomsquire, the technical term for a broom-maker.

At $80 for a hand broom and $200 for a full-size version, which can reach $350 with a pleated skirt and handle cover, Rouse’s brooms aren’t cheap. Assuming all of her materials are prepped and ready to go — the process of cleaning and sorting by size a 100-pound batch of broom corn can take three or four days — she can make one in roughly two hours, plus the time required to trim the broom and sew a skirt and sheath. If she’s also dyeing the broom, that adds another five days to its production time. …

There are people willing to pay good money for a beautiful, well-made broom. Hilary Robertson, a New York-based interior stylist and set designer, is the target audience for that.

“I don’t really want to own anything that I don’t find beautiful, even if it’s a washing-up bowl,” Robertson says over the phone. “That’s my business, and the way I live.”

She recently bought one of Rouse’s brooms for her weekend home in Connecticut, an old schoolhouse with an extension. It has stone floors that get dusty very quickly, so Robertson needed a broom, and it has very little storage space, so she needed that broom to look especially good. Indeed, anyone who’s buying a luxury broom is doing so because they consider it part of their furniture, Robertson says. But that doesn’t mean it’s a choice lightly made.

RTWT

You have to love millennials.

15 Aug 2018

Socialism: A Political Solution to a Spiritual Problem

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Nathanael Blake has a good editorial explaining that the yen for Socialism really amounts to a category mistake.

The surge in socialism’s popularity among young Americans has little to do with the actual merits (or demerits) of the system, or even what it actually entails. Most seem to think it means a larger welfare state and taxing “the rich” a bit more. Rather, socialism’s allure is due to the families that are broken, the communities that are atomized, and the churches that are empty — often, sadly, because they betrayed their responsibilities to God and man.

The needs and desires that are met only by faith, family, and friendship are still part of the human condition. The current half-baked socialist revival is a category error, as it attempts a political and economic solution to a cultural and spiritual problem. But part of our crisis is the loss of the ability to think clearly about such matters, as exemplified by a generation that relies on the Harry Potter books for a shared moral language. This poverty of moral imagination and expression illuminates the spiritual and cultural desolation that prior generations created and bequeathed to their children.

As people seek a political solution for their spiritual and psychological dismay and distress, we see pathologies that used to afflict religious entities become manifest in politics. The sudden popularity of ersatz socialism is not because it offers a realistic plan of improvement, but because it sounds fair and compassionate while promising to relieve anxiety over economic uncertainty. That socialism will deliver on none of these promises is beside the point.

The concerns and anxieties that beset our culture will not be addressed only by reminders of material abundance provided by free market economics. Man does not live on technological miracles alone. Wealth will not satisfy us and assuage our anxieties; affordable airfare and iPhones will not save our souls. But as we look for that which will, we must remember the bounty lavished upon us. Our unhappiness rarely results from real material deprivation, and a socialist redistribution will do little to increase the sum of human happiness.

Only by bearing our material blessings in mind will we be able to think clearly about our desires for cultural, relational, and spiritual satisfaction.

RTWT

14 Aug 2018

“Get Off My Green!”

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30 Jul 2018

A Rising Democrat

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