Saturday, June 27, 2009

“The idea is that a gay friend will be more in tune to women and more likely to have female friends,” Professor Savin-Williams said. “And it’s a stereotype, but straight men also feel they can talk to gay men about fashion and ask them if they’re looking O.K.”

Oh come on. The only reason a straight man would be friends with a gay man is to ask for fashion tips? this is hugely offensive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I dunno, Malcolm Gladwell. I think I might be done. I thought "outliers" was way too riddled with inaccuracies, along with being a fundamentally flawed premise. For instance, I don't understand how he can tell the story of Bill Gates and try to argue that it was merely circumstances that allowed Bill Gates to become who he is today. For some reason he acts as though Gates was the only person with access to a computer at that time- although he has proved that it was a rare circumstance, there were say, at least a couple hundred other kids with the same opportunities. and that he can actually write into his book that Gates would sneak out from his house most nights in high school so he could use a computer lab at a nearby university that had an opening between 3 and 6 in the morning, and not notice that THAT takes a one in a billion person, blows my mind. He's ignoring facts that he has written into his own book.

Also, the book is ridiculously anecdotal. For instance, when he is talking about immigrant Jews who went into textiles, and whose kids then became lawyers. If he's going to argue that it was the circumstances not the person, then how come all of the Jews who immigrated to the Lower East Side didn't end up in the exact same position? What about the people who didn't start their own companies? The same reason they were left out of the Gates chapter- because if you include all the people in similar situations who didn't turn out the same, you destroy your fragile thesis.

By far the worst chapter, or the one that upset me the most, was about how Asian people are good at math because they worked in the rice paddies. Way to explain a stereotype with a very offensive stereotype. First of all, way to conflate all Asian people. Second of all, in any of those countries not all of the people, not even all of the peasants, are farmers! Like, what? I just don't even understand how he could publish this chapter. I'm sure there are so many other reasons that could serve as better explanations for why people in those Asian countries scored better on math tests. And then beyond that, he sticks with the American fearmongering idea that because Asian people tend to score better on math tests, they are smarter and more successful. He should have at least spoken to educators or critics of the education systems in these countries, who I'm sure would have pointed out that their education systems overemphasize number crunching, teaching few leadership or creative skills. Basically, i thought it was an unbelievably superficial explanation of a complex issue, not too mention reenforcing many of the stupidest American ideas about "Asia."

The book basically exemplified everything that is wrong with trying to understand deeply complex societal issues, especially regarding minorities, by coming up with glib answers that increase distance between different types of people, precluding the ability to understand another person as part of modern society.

Monday, June 01, 2009

this is why i don't understand why internet advertising hasn't taken off. it seems to me to be a million times more clear who is buying into the ads. With tv and most other advertising, it's like throwing it into the abyss, and hoping that the right people will end up seeing, and then end up following through. on the internet, it's so much more direct- you know how many people have clicked on it, and it has taken them right to the website. you could probably even directly correlate the amount of money the person spends after going to the link. and then everyone can advertise- not just companies like Nike who can throw away the money advertising on tv. Smaller businesses are much more likely to purchase small internet ads when they can quickly chart how effective they are, and how much they are helping business. And I know that people got turned off by internet ads because of the massive pop ups of the early internet days. But now, for instance, when i have ads on my facebook, they actually often relate to things i'm interested in, and so i'll click on them. it's not a war between us and advertisers. advertisers are for getting the product to the client, and the internet really seems to be the best way to do this.