The un-quote of the day

From Roissy in DC:

If feminists are truly interested in not being treated like morally undeveloped children under the law, they will agree to my definition of rape. But since feminism is about power dynamics and not at all about fairness or justice, they will never agree with me. That is why feminists are discredited.

We have often wondered about the hostility to feminism, and this quote gives us several layers to look at. What do you think?

I found the quote through tracking back incoming links. If any of us goes over to comment on that blog, it would be great to carry along our major policy: BE NICE!

On being a great success in America

The conservative columnist, Ross Douthat, remarks in today’s NY Times that:

Palin’s popularity has as much to do with class as it does with ideology. In this sense, she really is the perfect foil for Barack Obama. Our president represents the meritocratic ideal — that anyone, from any background, can grow up to attend Columbia and Harvard Law School and become a great American success story. But Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal — that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

It must be said that people writing on this blog do tend to have sought quite a bit of education.  But we can easily see that there are plenty of people who haven’t and who nonetheless have been great successes on their own terms, or on the terms that we would ourselves be happy with.  Virginia Woolf was brilliant and produced great work, but she  did not go to college.  Steve Jobs has brought a large creativity to Apple and he didn’t finish at Reed.  Many people do what they care about at a high level, from teaching little kids to being a sustaining presence in their community and onto making, building and nurturing.  There are all sorts of heros.

None of that means, however, that any one of these other people could do what Virginia Woolf did or accomplish what Steve Jobs has done.  So why is there this persistent idea that nonetheless they could be a wonderful president?

If Malcolm Gladwell is right, then the hugely successful – the outliers – tend to put in a staggering amount of effort into their success.  However much they might  hide it, they are swots, to use the English term.  There are elements in both England and the US that are really very anti-the-swots.  Is part of Palin’s appeal just the reluctance to let the swots have the prize?

And, finally, why did she do that?!?  Just quit her job?  I expect to see her show up on Fox TV with a hugely lucrative contract and a lot of power, but this seems to be a minorty opinion.

Web tips: Quicks paths to perfection

Getting a  tip about how to do something can be a bit difficult.  There are enough people principally interested in pointing out that you’re messing up because you are too dim to have figured out  some simple thing.  So your associations with getting tips might not be too good. 

Still, there are lots of really good tips.  Here’s one: if  you are holding a meeting, try to draw up and stick to an agenda.  That’s pretty easy to do, quite easy to remember, and it can make a huge difference.

  In any case, I love reading tips.  I think I must have a highly resilient American optimism that there are littel things one can do that will make a big difference.  At the same time, there are grounds for worrying about the role of tips; maybe they merely give one the illusion of planning to change.  That’s because  a  lot of tips ask you to change some part of some routine in a fairly permanent way.  That’s really hard.  “4 Tips to get your life back on course” might be interesting, but it might not be really helpful.  The flylady, on the other hand, seems to have a good idea  of what it take to really change some part of one’s life though using her tips.  See our interesting discussion of her here.

So here are some sites full of tips.  You may know others.  You are hereby invited to share, critique or change the topic!

1.  The happiness project.  This is full of tips and, yes, some awareness of what philosophers have said about the good life!  Still, the introductory description could make one worry:

I’m working on a book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT–a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah.
Try test-driving for a short period of time Aristotle’s views about happiness and virtue!

2.  Dumb little man – tips for life.   The title for this site might just be making explicit the attitude people “just giving a little tip” seem often to have.  The authors for this blog also seem to have their own tipster blogs.