Let's do one of those adnotation deals.i
A lot of people," writes Professor Amy Chua of Yale, in the Wall Street Journal,
wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. Well, I can tell them, because I've done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:
• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
It's hard to argue with success-- one of her daughters is pictured playing piano at Carnegie Hall-- and the kids seem at least ISO 400 happy. So is making them practice 3 hours a day, etc, so terrible?
If you're trying to figure out if her method works or if it is harmful some other way, you're missing the real disease in her thinking.ii She's not unique. the disease is powerful and prevalent, it is American, but a disease nonetheless. (No, this time it's not narcissism.)
I'll explain what's wrong with her thinking by asking you one simple question, and when I ask it you will know the answer immediately. Then, if you are a parent, in the very next instant your mind will rebel against this answer, it will defend itself against it-- "well, no, it's not so simple--" but I want to you to ignore this counterattack and focus on how readily, reflexively, instinctively you knew the answer to my question. Are you ready to test your soul? Here's the question: what is the point of all this? Making the kids play violin, of being an A student, all the discipline, all of this? Why is she working her kids so hard? You know the answer: college.iii
She is raising future college students.
Oh, I know that these things will make them better people in the long run, but silently agree that her singular purpose is to get the kids into college. Afterwards she'll want other things for them, sure, but for 18 years she has exactly one goal for them: early decision.
Before you argue the merits of that goal, let's ask ourselves why that is the pivot point in America? I don't know any parents who are desperate to raise better parents or better spouses or even better software engineers, we don't think like that. The few times someone thinks out of the box-- "I want my kid to be a basketball star" "I want my kid to be a Senator" the parent is identified as an unrealistic nut. And while a stated goal might be to raise a future doctor, in truth that's really only an abstract promise-- the 18 year goal is explicitly college. You don't teach your 6 year old to assess acute abdominal pain, do you? Nowhere to put that on an application.iv No, you teach him piano.
I certainly am not saying forcing them to learn piano is bad, or bad for the kid, or that despite the disease that has infected you it won't benefit the child-- I'm not saying Chua isn't right in her techniques. I am saying that what Chua is advocating is ultimately pointless because it is for a meaningless endeavor. The piano isn't for itself, it's for the "right" college, and for 99% of America the precise college you went to is as irrelevant as the beer you used to lose your virginity. Was it Bud Light or Stella Artois? Same bank account.
I feel you resisting my thesis, but no moment in time, at that moment, seems as important as getting into college, both to the parents and the kids. No one anymore celebrates getting a job even though that really represents your future lifestyle, limitations, experiences, everything.
You want your kid to go to a good college, of course I get it. But that monomania for college has to occur at the expense of something else. How much better/worse off are you that you went to your college and not your friend's college? In this hypothetical you don't play football.
And is that average class at an Ivy really better than the average class at a state school? I've taught at both: no. NB that in my example both the state students and the Ivy students had the same teacher-- me. I know there are differences between schools, I'm not naive, but most of those are social/political/sexual and not educational.v An Ivy is "better" because its brand is better, like a car. No I don't mean "hey, they all get you there" I mean that the engine of a Toyota and a Lexus is the same, the difference is the leather seats. You want to pay for brand, go ahead; but the people in the know aren't fooled by your fancy car and windshield sticker and the people who aren't in the know can only praise or envy you, but they're in no position to help you attain your goals.vi
Don't think I've forgotten how important college is to a high school kid. I remember that despite terrible grades I was, inexplicably, put on the wait list to the University of Chicago. And all I could think was, "I'm going to be Phaedrus!" I didn't give a damn about the education, I was hoping/believing that that college was going to define me, make me into someone I was not. I should have been drafted into an infantry battalion just for that.vii
"Get back to the piano now," I ordered.
"You can't make me."
"Oh yes, I can."
Back at the piano, Lulu made me pay. She punched, thrashed and kicked. She grabbed the music score and tore it to shreds. I taped the score back together and encased it in a plastic shield so that it could never be destroyed again. Then I hauled Lulu's dollhouse to the car and told her I'd donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she didn't have [the piece] perfect by the next day. When Lulu said, "I thought you were going to the Salvation Army, why are you still here?" I threatened her with no lunch, no dinner... no birthday parties for two, three, four years. When she still kept playing it wrong, I told her she was purposely working herself into a frenzy because she was secretly afraid she couldn't do it. I told her to stop being lazy, cowardly, self-indulgent and pathetic.
Take a step outside the article. This is a woman explaining why Chinese mothers are superior. The thing is, I don't know any Chinese mothers who would ever talk about their families this way, publicly, describe their parenting, brag about it. Never. And then you see it: Amy Chua isn't a Chinese mother, she's an American mother. She had a Chinese mother, but now she's a first generation American, which means she has more in common with Natalie Portman than she does with any recent Chinese immigrant. As an American, she was raised by the same forces: MTV, Reagan, Clinton, John Hughes movies. She may have reacted differently to those, but they were her experiences.viii
And what do Americans do? They brand themselves. I have no idea if Amy Chua cares about Viking stoves or Lexus automobiles but clearly her brand is SuperSinoMom and her bling are her kids. When Jay-Z wants to front he makes a video, and when Amy Chua represents she writes a WSJ article. Because that's her demo, you feel me?ix
Which means this self-serving piece has nothing to do with "how Chinese mothers are superior" but is really a summary of her episode of MTV Cribs. "Welcome to my home, yo, let me show you my gold toilet. It's for peeing and flushing the coke down when the heat comes in the back way."
She meant this next passage to be self-congratulatory, let me know if she succeeded:
"You just don't believe in her [the daughter]," I accused.
"That's ridiculous," Jed said scornfully. "Of course I do."
"Sophia could play the piece when she was this age."
"But Lulu and Sophia are different people," Jed pointed out.
"Oh no, not this," I said, rolling my eyes. "Everyone is special in their special own way," I mimicked sarcastically. "Even losers are special in their own special way. Well don't worry, you don't have to lift a finger. I'm willing to put in as long as it takes, and I'm happy to be the one hated. And you can be the one they adore because you make them pancakes and take them to Yankees games."
Who talks like this?x This isn't a 3rd person account, it's her autobiography, these are her words, she chose these words, these are how she saw it all go down: "accused," "scornfully", "rolling my eyes," "sarcastically." That's her impression of the world. She's writing this about her husband.
She can't resist getting in a few jabs at her husband. I cringe when I hear a spouse criticising another spouse in public.xi Lesson 1: you should never, ever, ever, demean your spouse in front of a commonerxii, and that's a much more powerful lesson to teach your kids than a decade and a half of Minuet in G.
And while we're on the subject of her husband, when I Google Earth this guy "Jed" what Chinese province is he going to be from? Oh, Jed isn't Chinese, he's a Jewish American Yale law professor. Now I can't tell if this woman is a racist or insane. Its ommission can only be deliberate, right? It's almost as if she is trying too hard to convince us not that she's a good mother or a successful woman but Chinese, that's the focus for her, so important is this that she needed to make it public-- which makes me want to bet ten million dollars that her children are being raised Jewish.xiii Is she publicly broadcasting that she's the Chinese mother stereotype to make up for the SinoSems she's created?
You/she'll say that the Chinese discipline is what makes the kids successful, but that's silly. Given that her husband is a Jewish American equivalent to her Chinese Americanness, why isn't their daughters' successes the result of Jewish fathering? Chua would say that she's the one who made her practice, but she's at work all day just like he is, right? I get that she yells more, ok, mission accomplished, but as a technical matter she's not there all the time, the kids have to be self-motivated, and that self-motivation came not just from the mother, but from growing up in with those parents. Unless she's arguing that the father is pretty much irrelevant? Oh, that is what she's arguing. Sigh.xiv
What Chua believes has made her kids succeed isn't just that she makes them work hard, but that she is allowed to yell at them.xv
As an adult, I once did the same to Sophia, calling her garbage in English when she acted extremely disrespectfully toward me. When I mentioned that I had done this at a dinner party, I was immediately ostracized. One guest named Marcy got so upset she broke down in tears and had to leave early. My friend Susan, the host, tried to rehabilitate me with the remaining guests.
Look, I totally get how sometimes a parent will threaten their kid with piranhas or downed electrical wires, but why on earth would you brag about it?xvi Seriously, think about this woman's mind. Either she is totally oblivious to what people would find appalling, or else she actually thinks that she is going to convince an entire room of what I assume are also baby making professionals that what she is doing isn't crazy, but awesome.xvii
Amy Chua wants us to believe she is a "Chinese mother," and my contention is she's not.xviii I'm not saying she's a bad mother at all, only that what she thinks is and what she actually is aren't the same.
What defines a "Chinese mother"-- and any steretoypical immigrant parent situation-- is the sacrifice. "We sacrifice everything to give you better opportunity!!"xix they shriek at dinner. Look up at her opening list: those are the sacrifices her kids make, but what sacrifices does she make?xx Again, I don't mean she's a bad mother, but where is the sacrifice of her own personal happiness, clothing, hopes and dreams? Note carefully that she may in fact be sacrificing, but in her essay she does not describe those as important (or at all) to the success.xxi What's important to her is the yelling and the discipline, which she believes is a Chinese technique.
The curse of the second generation, in which they do worse then their parents, isn't about lazy kids but self-absorbed parents. When you immigrate to America to open a dry cleaning business you don't make it your identity-- it's all for the kids (and boy of boy do the parents never let you forget it.) Then your kids grow up to become, oh, lawyers, and that does become their identity-- so when these lawyers have kids of their own the lawyering isn't all for their kids, a lot of it is still for the lawyers. It's not a criticism, it's a comment on the 24 hour day: two lawyer parents aren't home as much as their wife of a dry cleaner mom was, so there's less time for the kids. There's nothing you can do about that.xxii
Except there is, and what Amy Chua isn't telling you, the real secret of her brand of "Chinese" (read: affluent American) mothering, is that there's likely a brigade of tutors running through the house. Now it appears on screen that Chua can be both successful and devote all this time to calling her kids fatties, but behind the scenes she has help.xxiii Hey, God bless anyone who can get it/afford it/convince your spouse it isn't because you want college girls aroundxxiv, but if you want to prove that something is associated with success, you have to control for the external variables.xxv
You will observe that she is writing this nonsense not in a peer reviewed journal that could take her to task, e.g. McCall's, but in the WSJ. Why would the WSJ want to support "the Chinese mother?" Because if you're reading it, it's for you.
The WSJ doesn't care a lick about her, as evidenced by the fact that they actually published this embarrassment. What the WSJ does care about is defining "good kids" in the same (but opposite) way The New Yorker wants to be the one to define it. For the WSJ, good = will generate a positive ROI.
Let's go back to her crazy list of why her parenting is better. #9: violin or piano, no other instruments. If Chua is so Chinese, and has full executive control over her kids, why does she-- and the real Chinese parents out there-- make their kids play violin, play Bach and not Chinese music?xxvi They'd be happy to educate you on the beauty of Chinese music, I'm surexxvii, but they don't make their kids learn that. Why not?
She wants them learning this because the Western culture deems classical music as high culturexxviii, and therefore anyone who can play it is cultured. Someone said Beethoven is great music so they learn that. There is no sense of understanding, it is purely a technical accomplishment.xxix Why Beethoven and not Beethoven's contemporaries? The parents have no idea. Can her kids write new music? Do they want to write music?xxx It's all mechanics. This isn't a slander on Asian musicianship, it is an observation that the parents who push their kids into these instruments are doing it for its significance to other people (e.g. colleges) and not for itself.xxxi Why not guitar? Why not painting? Because it doesn't impress admissions counselors.xxxii What if the kid shows some interest in drama?xxxiii Well, then the kid can go live with his white friends and see how far he gets in life.
That's why it's in the WSJ. The Journal has no place for, "How a Fender Strat Changed My Life." It wants piano and violin, it wants Chua's college-resume worldview. Sometimes it has no choice but to confront a Mark Zuckerberg but they quickly reframe the story into the corporate narrative. "The Google boys were on to something, but to make it profitable they had to bring in Eric Schmidt..." The WSJ is operating well within the establishment, right wing, artists-are-gay and corporations-are-not context.xxxiv It wants kids who will conform, who will plug into the machine (albeit at the higher levels), it wants the kind of kids who want the approval of the kinds of people who read the WSJ.
Amy Chua thinks she wrote an essay and published it. Wrong. The WSJ wanted this kind of an article and they chose one from the thousands available.xxxv They chose hers-- a woman's-- because if this same article had been written by a man it would have been immediately revealed as an angry, abusive, patriarchal example of capitalism.xxxvi
Which is where this comes full circle. Amy Chua thinks she's raising her kids the Chinese way, but she is really raising them to be what the WSJ considers China to be: a pool of highly skilled labor that someone else will profit from. On second thought, that is the Chinese way.xxxvii———
- Note that these are my comments to a guy's comments to a woman's story, we're so meta by now it's almost pomo. O, you dunno what pompo is ? *rolleyes*. [↩]
- But we're not actually at the point where it was accepted - even argued! - that there is any disease in her thinking at all. What, "everybody obviously knows" or something ? [↩]
- This is utter nonsense and plainly untrue.
Firstly, to get the problem of credentials out of the way : I have no children, nor do I intend to, for as long as the current insanities prevail. It's unclear if Ballas has any, but altogether it seems likely. Be that as it may, I keep slaves, which is to say : by the time the job of these people ends, at 16, 18, 20something, my job begins. I take the output of these parents and... parent it, basically.
He happens to be right in observing that there's absolutely nothing Chinese in the method described. The same exact procedures would be applied by "traditional", "old style" parents of, say, Romanian extraction -- hey, did you know that every year a few girls hung themselves for having failed the "treapta" ie, 10th to 11th grade exam, back in the old days ? But did you know that while dramatic, and regrettable, nobody thought the exam in question should be easier, or the anxiety in any way reduced ? Nobody went "maybe we should put less pressure on the next set of girlies", but on the contrary : more pressure, to make sure they don't end up like that. And the very same would be "old style" Russian, or for that matter Sicilian or probably Indian parenting, depending on where you happened to grow up. The commonality is not ethnic, sanity is not specifically Chinese. The commonality is of time period - sanity is "before 1990".
He is entirely wrong in imagining college (or America in any sense) has anything to do with this. The proof is in the pudding : I do the exact same thing the Chinese mother describes, except a) I am not a mother, nor am I female ; b) I am not Chinese and c) I'm not sending anyone off to college, nor do I have much intention to interact in any way with the US (as a urinal, perhaps, but whatever).
To understand that "same thing", here's an anecdote. One time, a recent (more than a week, less than a month) slave girl of USian extraction had to meet me, and she didn't make it in time. It was about a mile, she had to walk it, she couldn't walk a mile. How many twentysomethings in that country could walk a mile, you think ? And so I picked her up, and drove her on a two mile walk. Literally I mean drove, like you drive livestock. Drove.
She complained as to the very notion of such a thing, that human beings would even be capable to walk for miles. It was a beautiful Spring day, and so I cut a reasonable branch out of a hazelnut bush on the side of the road, and slashed her ass with it. Contrary to what you would perhaps wish to imagine : she walked the two miles. Violence worked, pain worked, she's a pleasure to walk with now, many years later. No, she didn't sit her ass in the middle of the road refusing to move no matter what - perhaps because she wasn't as dumb as you, and correctly intuited that I would have simply beaten her to death, also in the middle of the road. I know you wouldn't have, you have problems with commitment, but try to imagine that I do not - I have no problem whatsoever committing to killing the girl with my own two hands. No, she didn't "empowered woman hear her roar", no, the state you imagine exists (but really does not) did not intervene nor would have intervened, no, there is no recourse. And no, she doesn't hate me now, or "forever". Violence worked, because unlike anything you'd ever try to replace or supplant it with, violence does actually work - provided it is actually taken as far as it needs to go, and moreover that it is in principle boundless. If you're willing to kill her, it'll work, and if you're not the whole thing's not for you. Oh, and provided, of course, that she actually loves you. This goes without saying. Ever had anyone who loved you which went without saying ? Perhaps also not for you.
So why did I do all this ? Why go to all the trouble ? Was I preparing her to "go to college" ? I think not. What then was it all for ?!
I'll tell you what it was all for. I am old. I will be older. I will be weak and frail. I do not wish to be surrounded by imbecile, impotent nobodies that need me when I am weak and frail. I wish to be surrounded by strong, powerful humans that can carry the world better than I ever did. That is what parenting is all about, whether you're raising your own children you don't fuck or someone else's children that you "sfondami tutta!" as the expression goes. And this is why the Chinese did it, and the Romanians did it, and the Russians did it and everyone that ever was someone. The Americans did it too, back in the day, but not anymore - because material abundance has made them dumb, and comfort seeking has become a sort of de-facto religion. The problem, of course, is that Nero is the most notable Epicurean in recorded history.
Forget college. If you are a father worried by your sons prospects, the correct solution is never to go into debt, nor is it to throw good money after the bad. The correct solution is to make more sons, preferably with more women. The correct solution is to make the herd large enough that culling won't be an existential matter, and then to actually proceed to that culling. If your children do not know that they either perform or die, your children will never mature. I understand that the inverse Peter Pan complex this invokes (I can't be old - my children still need me!) is a very sweet, rather irresistible siren song to your dumb ears. It's still nonsense.
- Actually, six year old me knew what a delcou was. Do you know what a delcou was ? (And three year old me accosted some older kids jumping in a puddle and informed them ritously if in characteristic soft palate slur that they should desist, for puddles hold microbes, bacteria and other such things.)
Why wouldn't you teach a six year old that shows an interest how to assess abdominal pain ? [↩]
- And the reason for this is that there's no education happening in the United States, since they gave up beating the children. Because yes, education, rape and violence - the effectual sort called "abuse", violence down a huge power differential, violence towards the utterly defenseless - are all facets of the same damned, damnable coin. [↩]
- This is myopic, even if the myopia is not organic, but ideologic. Ballas has invested his identity in the preconceived notion that all people are equal, and so he is forced to make the mistake of claiming that the inferiors can't help you attain your goals. Trivially, they can. They helped me. People willing to die for you, like horses willing to carry you on their back, can in point of fact help you attain your goals. The only requirement is that your goals aren't braindamaged by bizarre notions of universal equality, is all. [↩]
- It actually is both a natural and a reasonable expectation. That "the world" fails the adolescent in this natural, reasonable expectation reflects poorly on the world in question.
Specifically, it says that it's not really the world, merely "the world". [↩]
- I will note that it's a common mistake for USians to imagine the US a lot more relevant, important and effectual than it actually is ; and also that it is a tediously insistent conceit of Ballas' to misrepresent "the media" but generally speaking pop culture as powerful, important and effectual. Neither of these is true, or even that much about reality. [↩]
- For all I know this is even right. Or maybe it's wrong.
How does Ballas know ? How would he know ?
More importantly : why does he want this to be true ? That's where we start, right, "what does the author want to be true". Well ? [↩]
- People do. People.
I must confess that to a large degree she does succeed, yes, I am mildly impressed.
But it must also be noted that when "popculture rules" unruly Ballasteen encounters counter-example, his reaction is to roll his eyes and go "who talks like this ?!?!?!". This is, or at least should be concerning - obviously there won't exist any elephants in a quaint world made up of a) horses and b) "who horses like this!" [↩]
- This is a valid point, of course, it's in rather bad taste to mistreat the absent, and it's certainly a miserable trait to badmouth family. Nevertheless, I am not too ready to cast judgement : she's not my woman, I can't evaluate how much of the thing is real and how much is feigned. For all you know she and her husband have a deal where she says these things specifically so as to make the naive wanna-be amateur psychologists draw conclusions so they can then privately laugh. You don't know what the wife-husband conventions, deals, arrangements actually are, and every beat cop knows the surest way to get mauled is involve yourself in a domestic argument from a naive, positivist perspective. [↩]
- Provided, of course, you care about the commoner.
There are two kinds of men in this world : the kind who think nothing of being seen naked by the maid, and the kind who fret it. Only about the former can it be said that they're habituated with keeping servants. The latter are at best nouveau riche, and more often simply the servants in question. Similarly...
Obviously the author has serious problems handling the reality of an inequal, stratified human population. This mental block does not, obviously, impact reality. [↩]
- It's also possible that the guy's race is just not important to her. She's talking about herself, and her stuff. Why should he be automatically included ? Why would such be necessary ? If he drives her to the porn set and back should his name appear on the credits for each "One MILF Two Cups" video she ever puts out ? "Oh but she couldn't really be a MILF without a husband". Sure. So ? "But he's Jewish!" Sooo ? "IT SHOULD READ JMILF!!!" Relax, wildman. It's just a story, and JMILF isn't even a thing. [↩]
- Perhaps. It seems to me a case of simply reading too much into a story, but who knows. [↩]
- This is strictly true. [↩]
- Because it's both necessary for a functioning childhood and the exclusive, only, unique way parenting can work. Not "bragging" about it, ie, not mentioning it in a society of retards who wish to lie to themselves and pretend the contrary, is immoral. If the same dinner party had casually agreed that "calories are a myth - people are fat because of microaggression" or "global warming is a thing, and carbon" or "truly Solar eclipses predict wars, earthquakes and plagues of locusts", not saying anything would be at the very least in bad taste. Make the idiots leave, that's the right policy, fuck the stupid woman that "had to leave early", if I were Chua I'd have made it a point of foreign relations policy that she never be invited anywhere ever again. Idiots do not belong in human society. [↩]
- The reaction of people is not the point. What she is doing is actually awesome, and the entire collected assortment of everyone can go dangle. [↩]
- The problem with this contention is that it's meaningless. [↩]
- This is very strictly untrue.
It would be convenient if it were true, yes, it would serve the retarded narrative of US-flavoured failure, it would present the private, tiny advantage that Ballas wouldn't have to reconsider any of the mistaken notions impacted in his cranium, sure, but nevertheless and irrespective of all that : not actually true. [↩]
- The relationship is neither idempotent, nor equal, nor commutative. It's not a deal. It's not an agreement.
"Do it, or die here". That's the whole story.
It does not even have to be accepted by the victims/children, or approved by anyone else (other spouse included). As the same author points out, correctly, mere weeks prior, you are what you do, not who you wish to be, and consequently the path to changing who you are goes through doing what you wish you were doing. It works in the hands of a parent or master just as well as it works in the hand of "the people themselves". Better, actually, if the master is any good. [↩]
- Because it very strictly isn't.
This is readily understood when one considers the obverse : does "sacrificing" produce better offspring ? Consider the rich father who raises his children in poverty, opposed to the equally rich father who raises his children in abundance. Who is more likely to have raised good children ?
Do not, ever, sacrifice anything for your children. For one thing, it doesn't help them, it hurts them. For the other thing, it will make you bitter and resentful (no, you are not above this - and the fact that you find yourself inclined to pretend otherwise just makes it worse), which also hurts them. "Sacrificing" for your children is a double whammy of horror, and that even when it is the genuine article, we're not even discussing the horror of ex post facto rationalization.
Instead of this sacrifice nonsense, include them. Do not give up on golf so you can pay for their new shoes - they can wear the old shoes, toes coming out and all while following you around the golf course. They will be happier for it! If your idea of "sacrificing for your children" is spending another hour at work so you can buy them an iPad you are the dictionary definition of insane, set up a date to have your picture taken for the next edition. Burn the fucking ipad, they don't need that, or a college fund, or for that matter cupcakes. Dress them in canvas, feed them slana, bread and beer and take them fucking hunting.
Take them to the office. Teach them how to set up the printer, let them play with the document shredder, explain what the difference between rape and ravishment is to your nine year old daughter if she asks. It won't hurt her. "Less time for the kids - there's nothing you can do" will hurt them. That is the only thing that ever will. [↩]
- There's nothing wrong with having help. There is nothing wrong with the help being behind the scenes. This nonsense where they bring up the cleaning crew for applause because "they contributed" ... by the time the help is a part of the show, the show's long left the building. [↩]
- The convicing takes the shape of a suite of leather straps ; the spouse'd better be eating them out. [↩]
- Except the woman was not wanting to prove. The woman made some statements, about her own life, which for whatever reason drove random Internet guy up the fucking wall. [↩]
- This must be some sort of a joke.
Seriously, "Chinese music" ? Wipe the froth off, wildman. There is no "Chinese music", zee Germans invented music. Why don't you teach your kids "Austrian psychology" ? [↩]
- You're only sure because that's the silly narrative you aim to impose upon the world. The Chinese (which are a thing, in ways "the Americans" are not nor will ever likely be) do not think much of Tang music, or whatever would be misrepresented as "Chinese music" by the cultural equivalent of Victoria Nuland for the benefit of some random TV station. [↩]
- No. Not anymore than Western science deems Jewish Physics as High Physics. Yes, Einstein was a Jew. That's irrelevant. [↩]
- How would we know this ?
I understand why and wherefore the author must believe this. But we're not enraged, so we can actually consider this matter. How would we know it's "a technical accomplishment" ? More importantly, is music - actual music - even amenable to the technical approach ? Can one "master Beethoven" in the technical sense ?
Apparently only some of us had an actual education, I guess. [↩]
- This purely UStardian nonsense whereby the only way to enjoy a field is to "write new". I've talked of it before. It is disgraceful.
Here's a tiny example : I enjoy poetry. I do not enjoy creating "new" poems. I enjoy rewriting old ones. Like this. Or like that. Or like many more examples. What of it ? Nothing, really, except it is purely inassimilable by the ferrous cranium of a UStard. There's some random forum dedicated to poetry that specifically forbids rewrites. Who came up with this ? UStards. Why ? Gotta create! How is anyone going to learn anything, or for that matter enjoy anything, if they're not going to copy the masters, drill down a thousand times on the same sweet, old, human melody ?
There's reasons stupid people are unhappy. They generally look a lot like this sort of nonsense. [↩]
- Moreover, the English notion of "thing itself" is very badly broken. I am satisfied that they do it for the thing itself, just, in their own way. Which not only happens to be their own, as proven by the complete inability of the author to even guess there's something there, but also happens to be the correct way. [↩]
- Or perhaps because twenty-three centuries ago, which is to say before America was invented five times over, music was included in the gymnasium, but "painting" was not. Geometry, yes. [↩]
- Drama is for whores.
There's nothing wrong with that, but it is generally the view in structured societies (such as the Chinese) that whoredom is the job of people with shitty parents. While this may be "good" or "bad" in any arbitrary outside perspective, stop and consider for a second that every working system has its own balances - you don't go scalpel first into someone with situs inversus just because "it should be on the other side". For as long as it works, it stays as it is.
So : in Arab countries not only is it the common habit that well to do men take multiple wives, it is also the social expectation. Because society is so balanced, and the daughters of the poor need an outlet. They need to be able to make something of their life, they need to have something to aim for, just like everyone else. Also just like everyone else, they need to eat. So, not taking the third wife as a millionaire Saudi is not "being progressive", it's being weakly, lowly and slightly retarded. It is a shortcoming.
Similarly, allowing your kids to go into whoring in that culture means that you've taken some bread from the mouth of some other people. Who probably need it more. So no - no drama for children of powerful parents. Oh, your ideology is that "kids should be able to do anything they wish" ? Look where that nonsense has taken you. More importantly : make sure anyone asked you anything. From where I'm sitting, it doesn't appear to be the case. [↩]
- Perhaps it is. But this changes nothing.
Because - get a load of this - because the press is powerless. [↩]
- This seems altogether dubious, as even a cursory look at their ever dwindling editor stable and horrid financial situation would readily show. [↩]
- Here it is. What of it ? [↩]
- That is the way.
Chinese has nothing to do with it. "Being a productive member of society", as opposed to "a loser" / "a narcissist" is all about this. What else ?
What'd one have to be running from to not even notice all this ?! [↩]