A few items of interest from academics on the Internet, including topics such as our rich meritocracy, twits in the media, and conservative columnist Kathleen Parker auditioning for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
Over at MischiefsofFaction Professor Seth Masket has an amusing post concerning mainstream media befuddlement over Twitter in the 2012 presidential campaign, These Darned Kids and Their Pesky Twitters. Prof. Masket provides some examples of journalists like Tom Friedman and Peggy Noonan totally ignoring empiricism in favor of gut feelings and misplaced metaphors. There is a hilarious Kathleen Parker quote about how liberals are driven mad by “that certain brand of manliness” exhibited by Rick Perry and George W. Bush. Is Kathleen Parker cast in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie?
Paul Krugman has an interesting piece called Rich Man’s Recovery in the New York Times questioning the notion that our best and brightest rise in a pure meritocracy. It turns out that there is a good deal of conflict in at least one institution that produces our elite between regular students and their extraordinary wealthy counterparts. That institution is Harvard Business School. (Notice I said “extraordinarily wealthy” students, not “legacies.” That is because Harvard is a pure meritocracy as we all know). Krugman goes on to argue that after a rough period the elites of our financial institution are making a strong comeback while the rest of us lag behind:
In any case, however, whatever is causing the growing concentration of income at the top, the effect of that concentration is to undermine all the values that define America. Year by year, we’re diverging from our ideals. Inherited privilege is crowding out equality of opportunity; the power of money is crowding out effective democracy.
President Obama’s speech on Syria was widely panned by the self-important media (see These Darned Kids and Their Pesky Twitters above) So that must make a huge difference and the Obama team should really be worried, right? Not really, explains Professor Andrew Rudalevige in The Media Pounds the President: Does It Matter? over at themonkeycage.org.