I am Smart, Hear Me Roar

I’m smarter than you. I’m also a better person. These things go without saying, but I like to say them anyway because it makes me feel good. And because sometimes (too often) you need the reminder. This is one of those times. Never forget: I’m the one that went to the right schools, studied the…

Thunders and Unravelings

A little over a century ago, a young man died of tuberculosis while in prison, just three months before his twenty-fifth birthday. According to various sources, he had etched a bit of free verse into a wall of his cell: Our shadows will walk through Vienna wander the court, frighten the lords. Gavrilo Princip had…

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

NOTE: Danish coverage of recent American events has been universally awful: whether on television, radio, web, or print, it’s all had the calm tone of MSNBC, the editorial equilibrium of the New York Times, and the penetrative historical insight of Vox. That is, it’s been a dumpster fire of unhinged and often uninformed hyberbole. Rather…

Cancel All the Things

As the annus horribilis 2020 draws to a close, the media are full of the usual “year in review” pieces. Australian wildfires, the deaths of Sean Connery and Eddie Van Halen, the murder hornets, the BLM “movement” and civil unrest, the American election, Tiger King, and, of course, the global pandemic and its consequences. People…

Algorithms Amok

I could go to any number of Danish or American articles for this, but let’s take one NPR article as our crash test dummy because it’s the one that caught my eye: Stanford Apologizes After Vaccine Allocation Leaves Out Nearly All Medical Residents, Laurel Wamsley, NPR.org, 18 December It’s a simple story: the leadership of…

(E)quality Control

A few recent and unrelated stories in the Danish and American news are worth considering together: Bodega owner fined for offering free shots to women, Christian Krabbe Barfoed, TV2.dk, 16 December Cornell offers ‘person of color’ exemption for flu vaccine requirement, Benjamin Zeisloft, CampusReform.org, 7 December Tulsi Gabbard introduces bill that ties Title IX protections…

It’s All Good

A specter is haunting Europe. Europe in meltdown as Covid death tolls soar and progress unravels, Emma Reynolds, CNN.com, 11 Dec Europe’s Deadly Second Wave: How Did It Happen Again?, Josh Holder, Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Allison McCann, New York Times, 4 Dec …it’s not the specter of covid, but the specter of broken journalism. From…

The Joy of Conservatism

While running for president in 2000, George W. Bush spoke frequently of a “compassionate conservatism” that he himself characterized (years later) like this: The philosophy took hold in my first race for governor. I remember my announcement tour and subsequent speeches saying, “It is conservative to insist that we measure students in public schools; it is compassionate…

Minky Business: A (Possibly) Teachable Moment

You may have mixed feelings about the Great Mink Debate raging across Denmark today. You may see the pluses and minuses of both sides. You may favor some kind of compromise solution. I ask for the next few moments that you stop being like that. I ask you to choose a side. I don’t care…

The Bloomberg Fallacy

Let’s start with something very simple: people are not idiots. There’s an unnamed fallacy that we all understand intuitively. It’s the assumption that people who are smart and competent in one thing are smart and competent in others, and that people who are stupid or incompetent in one area are clueless in general. The strength…