A Passion For Cubbyholes A Blast From the Past from February 2015

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A Passion For Cubbyholes A Blast From the Past from February 2015

Yesterday I took a shashay down to Otherwhere Gazette, where someone in the comments of the posts was asking what the difference was between us and the SJWs, except they had a college degree and we didn’t.

The assumption dumbfounded me. Of my friends, I’m one of the least educated ones, as Kate and Amanda pack multiple graduate degrees, Dave Freer is a doctor (of fishology. Okay, it might be marine biology) and Tedd Roberts… well, a supervisor to doctoral students, besides being a doctor himself. As for the people involved with Sad Puppies, I have clue zero what Brad’s degree is. It doesn’t normally come up in conversation. I do know that Larry has an accounting degree for which he most certainly went to college (and paid his own way.)

Myself, as most of you know, I’m about a year short of a doctorate and now not likely to ever take it, because it was in languages, but over thirty years those have gone rusty and besides what good does it do me, now?

[Addendum: I just wanted to note I also have brilliant friends without college degrees and that I don’t consider a degree a stamp of intelligence.  Never have.  I took my degree in the hopes of a secure job.  Until the third year I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. (And then it was Swedish.)  Because the Author up there has a sense of humor, other than two brief stints teaching when Dan was unemployed, my degree has been of zero use for my actual work.  And I’ve learned more about areas like history that I never took in college than I ever did about the areas I did take in college.]

So the assumption that we didn’t have college degrees puzzled me. It reminded me of when a new girl about ten years younger than us, joined our writers’ group and assumed Rebecca Lickiss (physicist) and myself had no degrees. Why? Because we were married and had kids and chose to stay home with them. Therefore we clearly weren’t “educated.”

If you’re doing the sinal salute right now – fingers on either side of bridge of nose, head slightly bowed – yeah. I was too last night. It’s like they can’t conceive of people who have been “educated” choosing a different life path from them or even having different opinions.

I could say this was an effect of maleducation and their having illusions of intelligence. I.e. they let some college professors convince them that there is a “smart path” and a “stupid path” and the “smart path” for good little boys and girls with good grades obligates everyone to be a clone of whatever the professors envision.

I could, but we all went through the same maleducation and the same lectures which are mostly supposed to sell a point of view. And a lot of them are no dumber than we are. Yet we emerged… different. In fact, it’s almost a joke among my friends, and something that makes my kids’ blood run cold as they pursue their specialties, that few of us work at what we studied in college. And some of us have had intricately convoluted paths to get to doing what we actually enjoy.

So something different is at work here. It is in fact as though they thought that being “smart” obligated you to be an exact clone of them. As thought “smart and educated” were a category under which you get filed when you prove worthy of a college degree. (Which these days is not exactly hard. In my day, sonny! Also, get off my lawn.)

My son calls Wreck it Ralph the evilest movie ever made, because the moral of it at the end is “you should stay where you’re assigned.”

Yesterday I didn’t watch – but Dan was watching in the family room while I cooked – this movie where people got assigned a “role” and a station in adolescence. (That the authors thought there were only five and one was “thinker” was kind of funny. And sad. But mostly funny.)

I have no idea what the movie was, but what struck me was that as with Wreck it Ralph, the movie seemed to believe this putting of people in pigeon holes was a good thing.

It is a lust I’ve noticed among the people on the left, in the last oh, ten years. People should be assigned places according to their capacity judged by an “impartial” third party. That way they wouldn’t have the great unwashed crowding them about. Every person in his place and a place for everyone.

It’s all of a piece with their believing that the government must be brought into the most minute transactions and decisions affecting someone. There must be after all a government authority that decides I must have healthcare insurance, and I must have the package my ‘betters’ designed, providing for both birth control and abortion, even though I’d only need the first if I had a completely different body and I’d only have the second if I had a lobotomy. There must be a (benevolent) government dictating for whom one must bake wedding cakes. No decision too large and no decision too small when it comes to you not making it.

Because, you see, you’re just a widget, supposed to fit into a slot and do what you’re supposed to do, while all decisions, all rules control what you can do, so you’re no different than all those other widgets in the same slot.

This is of a piece with their inventing a multitude of genders (how many was it at last count, 41?) including “seeking” which means “don’t know.” It’s like they believe being a man or a woman and gay or straight means you have to absolutely conform to the stereotypes. If you don’t, you need a new word to describe what you are because every widget must be described so the right slot is found for him/her/shim/sher/blob. The seeking part always makes me think goes something like this “ZOMG, I’m not being attracted to anyone right now. I don’t know what I am. Seeking, seeking, seeking.” If you imagine that said in a little robot voice it’s just about perfect.

What amazes me is their assumption that not just them but EVERYONE would be happy in a world like that, where each human is put in a cubby and expected to live there forever.

I do them the justice of thinking they’re mistaken even about themselves. Particularly about themselves. A lot of the people who hold hardest to the idea that every little human comes stamped with a function (sort of like an egg) and an identification which determines his/her destiny are the sort of people who wake up on Tuesday morning and decide their real identity is dragon, something previously unsuspected in their sixty years of life. They’re the people who abandon a marriage of twenty years to “go find themselves” because apparently they somehow slipped behind the sofa cushions unnoticed. They’re the people whose resume goes from barista to physicist to astrologer and back again.

I think that’s why they lust for the ordered world. They feel out of control, bewildered by too many options, and crave an ordered world where someone would psychically know where they belong and put them in the place where they’d be happy.

Two problems: first who can do that? We don’t have immortals among us, who can read the heart of men (yeah, and women and seeking, and dragons too) and tell exactly where you belong and where you’d be happy. Himself up there might be able to tell you that but He didn’t and gave you free will instead. Second what if there isn’t a place you’d be happy? Perhaps you weren’t built to be contented. Perhaps you’re someone who never quite fits in and pokes every away and towards the edges. Those have existed throughout history and there really is nothing wrong with being one of them.

In fact, the attempts by communist regimes to do this sort of thing were all more or less disastrous. Human beings, real human beings, aren’t easy to second guess or to “place” and tend to resist having their lives dictated to them.

So, beyond not making assumptions about the IQ or education of their opponents, I’d counsel our friends on the left (or anyone who thinks like that, though for some reason that’s mostly on the left) to possess their souls in patience and realize this utopia they seek is not only impossible, but it would be a nightmare for everyone, even the bureaucrats assigned to assigning people. (Can you imagine a more soul-eating job? For the corrupt it would be a chance at more corruption. For the conscientious trying to guess ‘right’ would lead them to suicide.)

You have free will. Learn to use it. And kindly remove your boot from my neck and your governmental mandates from my life.

They will not bring me happiness, and I will ensure keeping them there and attempting to lord it over me doesn’t bring you any either.

Because I am not widget. I am a human being with distinct opinions, thoughts, and power of decision. You will never be able to understand the complexity and contradictions in a single human being, much less mandate what will make that person happy forever or what role they could fulfill for the rest of their lives.

And that’s a good thing.

 

187 responses to “A Passion For Cubbyholes A Blast From the Past from February 2015

  1. Addendum: I just wanted to note I also have brilliant friends without college degrees and that I don’t consider a degree a stamp of intelligence. Never have. I took my degree in the hopes of a secure job. Until the third year I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. (And then it was Swedish.) Because the Author up there has a sense of humor, other than two brief stints teaching when Dan was unemployed, my degree has been of zero use for my actual work. And I’ve learned more about areas like history that I never took in college than I ever did about the areas I did take in college.

    Answer a fool by his folly and you may become like him; answer a fool according to his folly, or he may think himself wise.
    (Paraphrase of God’s Twitter Feed.)

    • Solomon, probably among other sources, really demonstrates that apart from the medium Internet arguments are… nothing new under the sun.

  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I’m a Book-Loving Dragon and won’t fit into “your” little cubbyholes.

    Oh, if I want a cubbyhole, I’ll make it myself (dragon sized). 😈

  3. Incredible post.

    I celebrate the fact that I don’t fit in a cubbyhole. Happy are we, Individuals!

  4. “Putting someone in their place” is an old, old thing and it never made a bit of sense to me. Such arrogance I’ve never known, imagining oneself qualified to define somebody else’s “place” and assign it.

    No matter how educated you might be, as Dr. Sowell has observed, you could never ever hope to hold one tenth of one percent of human knowledge (and on my own I will add that it is highly probable that at least half of what you “know” is wrong.) Being a law professor at Harvard (which presumably many people would deem “highly intelligent”) is apparently no protection against being played, taken to the cleaners and left homeless and in deep debt by a feminist lesbian and a transgender woman.

    • It’s a power play. Some people kill “just because”. Others find the more socially acceptable routes of killing by wrapping their grimy mitts around power, both legal and societal/cultural.

      At least the “normal” killers are honest.

  5. One of the big problems in academia right now is cubbyholes. We are encouraged to focus more and more tightly on smaller and smaller sub-fields, to the exclusion of everything else. Even in history, you end up with people in the same department who can’t connect their research with other people’s work. And then they wonder why the general public isn’t reading/listening to/donating to their research.

    One reason I went into my sub-field was because it actually requires you to work outside of the historical cubbyhole. We had students taking classes in engineering, fisheries management, vet-med (horses and mules), geology, botany, textile science, and all sorts of things. Something about having to work with real people in real fields outside the ivy-clad walls… It doesn’t keep us from going off the deep SJW/enviro/whatever end, but it seems to slow the process, especially for those of us who ended up outside the Ivory Tower. And we know how to talk to normal people.

    • can’t connect their research with other people’s work

      I’ve encountered a few (thank God, only a few!) people who would consider that to be a feature, not a bug. Just think of the crap someone could foist off without contradiction.

      • stuff like “gun ownership in revolution-era America was rare, based on probate records’?

        • Yep. I’m sure the New England farmers were eager to list the possessions to be handed down to their kids so TPTB could take a look. Snerk.

        • Yeah, that ‘Colonial Americans only owned a few guns, and most of them were broken’ meme stank the first time I heard it. Obviously, Beleele (Or however you spell his name) has no idea how gun culture *works*. By the time Grampa got around to kicking off most/all of his working guns had already been passed down to sons/grandsons/nephews/etc. since Grampa couldn’t hunt anymore, so the only guns left in his estate were the few non-working ones he had left over.

          • Obviously, Beleele (Or however you spell his name) has no idea how gun culture ‘works’

            More like Michael A. Bellesiles has o interest in how gun culture works. And relied on his intended audience being equally ignorant/indifferent.

            My new favorite darling Leftist delusion is Abe Lincoln Was A Marxist.

            Economic historian Phil Magness (a recent Power Line podcast guest) makes quick work of this nonsense idea:

            The claim that Lincoln regularly read Marx, or picked up economic doctrines from Marxist writings, is entirely anachronistic. Marx did not publish the first volume of his treatise Capital until 1867, some two years after Lincoln was assassinated. His earlier writings on the relationship between capital and labor primarily appeared in obscure European outlets with little circulation in North America, and even the Communist Manifesto of 1848 went almost completely unnoticed in the English-speaking world until sometime after 1870.

    • There a couple things driving it, and it is a problem for the system not just the individual.

      Evaluating academics on publications drives publication rate high, and forces focused reading of publications to keep up with a very narrow field. Training PhDs past America’s carrying capacity for faculty drives an increase in the rate of publications.

      Overspecializing is an individual problem, because it weakens more general problem solving and survival ability.

      Higher publication rate and number of active authors is a system problem, because it exacerbates the challenges of finding, mastering, improving, compiling, and verifying research.

    • TheOtherSean

      Do you think the high degree of specialization is the result of a need for novelty?

      • Yes, thanks to “publish or perish.”

        Which, by the way, is one of the big factors driving the feminist/Marxist/whateverist interpretations of literature. All the sane stuff has been done to death already, so instead of finding new works to analyze, the academics go off into the weeds.

        • I came across an interesting argument the other day, attributing the proliferation of [Minority] Studies programs to a (perceived) need to increase faculty “diversity” — something the schools couldn’t do except by establishing/expanding programs which were most likely to attract minority professors. They sure couldn’t increase faculty “diversity” by firing established faculty, nor could they legally engage in preferential hiring of faculty for the few openings they had in standard programs — that would have been discriminatory.

          But growing programs for which few if any white, male applicants were likely to apply? Diversity, here we come!

      • I think it was also the reason academia descended upon the SF field in the early 1980s. They were presenting it as A Good Thing, though they didn’t say just for whom.

      • That also drives much of the replication crisis.

    • I’d say that the elephant in the room with Academia is the sad fact that the institution itself has become corrupted and largely irrelevant. You can’t count on a diploma being worth the fake vellum it’s inscribed on, in all too many cases. This argues that society will soon be routing around the cupidity and stupidity of the academy, and that it will likely be recognized as the anachronism that it really is.

      We really don’t recognize it, because it permeates the environment, but the current situation with a lot of our institutions like the academy are really very analogous to the Catholic Church in the times preceding Luther.

      And, like the Church, they’re bleeding credibility from their arteries, the figurative blood spurting all over society like a bad Monty Python sketch.

      I don’t think we’re too far off from the moment when some Luther nails his theses to a chapel door, in our society. What that’s going to look like, I have no idea whatsoever, but the same contradictions and corruptions that led to him doing that permeate our society today. The Emperor ain’t wearin’ a stitch, and someone is eventually going to recognize that fact, and call all these jackasses on that fact.

      • Oh, the whole thing has massive systemic problems. The “publish or perish” and “must be novel research” drives part of the radical theories, which in turn serve as justification for a lot of, ahem, bumf. Intersectionalism leaps to mind. But I wanted to stick with the theme of cubbyholes.

        • Wasn’t meaning to step on what you were saying, just to extend it, a little.

          I can see the whole structure withering on the vine, TBH. Just like with a lot of the other massive edifices that conditions of yore called for, I think that the entire idea and scope of the academy are due for a re-thinking and reconstruction.

          Decentralization and devolution of power/authority is something that’s coming, as much as we want to make believe that these massive structures are facts of life. You stop and think about it, and you really have to wonder why on earth anyone ever thought that Empire, in either the nation-state or institutional frame of reference, was ever a good idea. Everything has its life-cycle; you put all your eggs into one Imperial basket, and when that Empire inevitably comes crashing down around your ears, you’re going to be enjoying a dark age and total chaos. Whereas if you’d instead had put your investments into a flock of smaller entities, you’d still have at least some of them remain viable.

          The Imperial impulse is something I just don’t get; you stay small and nimble, you can adapt and overcome. Grow large, and you’re merely starting the fossilization process early. You have to wonder how much better off a country like Germany would have been, had they foregone the whole consolidation. Sure, they might have been more vulnerable to the Russians and French, but would the human losses have been any worse if they’d had to fight off a few invasions, rather than gave into the Imperial dream and tried conquering the world the two times they did?

          As a strategy, I say stay small and multitudinous. Big means ossified, and unable to adapt.

          • Scipio Americanus

            I don’t know about this one, Kirk. I like small and agile as much as you do, but, depending on the system, there seems to be a minimum viable size for organizations based on the relative amount of resources and power they can command. Below that and, like the statelets of pre-unification Germany or the principalities of the Italian-Wars-era Italy, they just end up as footballs for surrounding bigger powers. Blood-slicked footballs, typically.

            I’m pretty sure that external competition component is what drives consolidation and aggregation in state formation, as everyone scrambles for the resources to be free of at least gross compulsion by their neighboring states. There are obviously different strategies at that stage of the game, depending on the other relevant conditions, on a spectrum from forting up in the mountains (e.g. Switzerland) to trying to overbear all of your rivals such that none are left to challenge you (e.g. Russia, the Mongols – and note the geographic element to these examples).

            Imperialism as ever-deepening central control of an ever-expanding territory is subject to all kinds of bad frictional forces, as you point out, but moderating the expansionist impulses while trying to keep the internal organs of society relatively disaggregated (as in more federalist and free market models) probably greatly increases the maximum scale of a functional society. The rub is that the larger the potential resources and power a nation commands, the more of a temptation there is for members of the elite to try to consolidate it in ever fewer hands.

          • I don’t know if it’s as simple as just big or small, Kirk. I like small and agile as much as you do, but, depending on the system, there seems to be a minimum viable size for organizations based on the relative amount of resources and power they can command. Below that and, like the statelets of pre-unification Germany or the principalities of the Italian-Wars-era Italy, they just end up as footballs for surrounding bigger powers. Blood-slicked footballs, typically.

            I’m pretty sure that external competition component is what drives consolidation and aggregation in state formation, as everyone scrambles for the resources to be free of at least gross compulsion by their neighboring states. There are obviously different strategies at that stage of the game, depending on the other relevant conditions, on a spectrum from forting up in the mountains (e.g. Switzerland) to trying to overbear all of your rivals such that none are left to challenge you (e.g. Russia, the Mongols – and note the geographic element to these examples).

            Imperialism as ever-deepening central control of an ever-expanding territory is subject to all kinds of bad frictional forces, as you point out, but moderating the expansionist impulses while trying to keep the internal organs of society relatively disaggregated (as in more federalist and free market models) probably greatly increases the maximum scale of a functional society. The rub is that the larger the potential resources and power a nation commands, the more of a temptation there is for members of the elite to try to consolidate it in ever fewer hands.

            • Yes, but…

              The fallacy is this: Big systems fail bigly. Lose Rome, and the entirety of your civilization falls down around your ears like so much snow in an avalanche.

              Don’t “go large”, and you endure, with minor failures and competition keeping everything balanced. I don’t read the unification of Germany as a good thing, nor that of Italy. Both unifications led almost inevitably to WWI and WWII. Germans and Italians both would have been better off taking the lessons of Ancient Greece and Europe as a whole. The EU is another example of this–They’re building up this massive bureaucracy in Brussels, and when that finally ossifies and collapses…? What then, for Europe?

              Economies of scale are good, and all, but does that translate out into long-term success and stability for nations? I don’t think it does; look at what’s happened to us, as we abandon federalism and create the massive national infrastructure we have; is it sustainable, over the long haul? What happens when in inevitably collapses, as all such things do?

              I think there’s a relationship between size, complexity, and longevity. The bigger and more complex, the shorter period of time where it is successful and sustainable.

              The other problem is that these things keep growing, like Topsy. Show someone from 1870 what the Federal Government has morphed into, and they’d be horrified. Rightly so, I think–It’s gotten too damn big to manage, and too damn big to fail, which almost certainly means that it will, eventually, fail. And, take a lot of good things with it.

              The other problem is the moral hazard aspect of it all–When you’re Dacia or the North African provinces under Rome, you can afford to short-sightedly rape the provinces, because you know Rome will be there to backstop you if things go really badly. Same-same with state governments like California, which I’m convinced is doing what it is only because the people running the place think that the Feds aren’t going to let them fail. Where does this lead? Look at Rome; look at California. If those governors and state legislatures knew that the fiscal cavalry wasn’t a possibility, do you suppose we’d still see the same feckless attitude?

              Big is not better; if anything, it’s a sign of a specific organism or civilization reaching a point of inflection that usually comes right before the whole thing gets all filled with arrows and big, sweeping lines showing how things went to hell in a handbasket…

              • I thought it was “Lose Rome, and the capital of your civilization moves to Constantinople.”

                • Which kinda goes to prove the point, doesn’t it?

                  Splitting the Roman Empire is what saved it, to my way of thinking. Most of what made the Western Empire vulnerable was the fact that the individual parts of it were economically entangled to the point that they could not survive on their own; knock out the network, and the whole thing crashed for centuries. Had they organized more robustly, with more redundancy and independence, they’d have survived longer.

      • I have an outline for some thesises that I started on this spring, somewhere.

    • The multiplication of sub-fields probably has a good deal to do with the necessity of finding room for an expanding number of ‘scholars’ when, realistically, academia ought to be shrinking.

      Offering degrees in previously unheard of sub-fields (puppetry anyone?), attacking ‘for profit’ colleges, and jabbering about forgiving student debt and ‘free college’. All strategies to keep a large number of work-shy Progressive Intellectual ninnies employed.

      • Someone once told me that they’d gotten a Master’s in something called “Outdoor Recreation”, and that they were $120,000.00 in debt for the degree. I just had to make the mistake of asking what that degree entailed, and the sheer existential horror created by the vacuity of it all just stunned me.

        A couple of generations ago, this guy would have found himself a backcountry guide to apprentice with, and that’d have been it. Instead, today, he felt the need to spend seven years pursuing a credential that nobody is ever going to ask him to show, in order to do the same damn thing.

        The scary thing was, he was convinced, absolutely convinced, that he needed that document in order to do what he was doing, which was being a guide for day-trippers doing river-rafting on a rather tame river here in the Northwest. What was worst about it? He didn’t even get the sort of things taught to him that would have been of real utility, like lifesaving and swift-water rescue… It was all dryly irrelevant academic meandering, like how to write haiku appreciating the wonders of nature and the river.

        I met this guy, chatted with him a little bit, and it’s amazing how much of my interest in an academic career just evaporated in the course of that half-hour… Even more entertainingly, he thought he had a STEM degree, based on some 200-level botany and biology classes he’d been required to take.

        • //Master’s in something called “Outdoor Recreation”

          Oregon State School of Forestry had 4 different options in ’70s (each had their sub-options, but the primary ones were:)

          1. Forest Management – essentially managing stands through harvest and replant, repeat.
          2. Forest Product (Renewable Resources) – what to do with wood and tolerances.
          3. Forest Engineering – Roads and all aspects, including bridges and culverts, and actual physical logging.

          AND 4. Recreation (AKA Natural Resources) – where they expected to get jobs with the Federal, State, and County, park systems. And people thought Forest Management career was pie in the sky (well it was 80’s and 90’s.) Yes. It was kind of the joke department. If you were female and attending School of Forestry, you were presumed to be part of the Recreation program; until they knew better. Now this has been split into 4) Natural Resources and 5) Tourism, Recreation + Adventure Leadership.

        • The problem, however, is because of job “requirements” to have the degree–particularly in government (which is where a lot of the outdoor recreation degree holders end up–largely in the Parks Service, Forest Service, and BLM). Because you can’t even get an INTERVIEW for a lower-grade job (aka the ‘foot in the door’ jobs) unless you have at least a bachelor’s degree. Any kind of bachelor’s degree.

          Many of the somewhat better-paying jobs (and most of us government employees aren’t particularly well paid, no matter what folks claim–it’s the ‘appointees’ and whatnot in DC that are raking in the huge salaries, mostly) require you to have a Master’s degree.

          The irony is, it doesn’t really matter if it’s the ‘correct’ (ie, related to what your job) degree or not, for most things. (Though some things require it to be a degree in science or engineering–though not actually the science or engineering you’re supposed to actually be doing on the job). But you have to have it, or you don’t have a hope of getting the job in the first place.

          (Now, many of the jobs, once you’re IN the door, will allow for ‘years of experience in job or at GS level, but even so. When you liekly have to have a freaking bachelor’s degree just to get a job at the FRONT DESK it’s a bit ridiculous.)

          • “The problem, however, is because of job “requirements” to have the degree–particularly in government (which is where a lot of the outdoor recreation degree holders end up–largely in the Parks Service, Forest Service, and BLM). Because you can’t even get an INTERVIEW for a lower-grade job (aka the ‘foot in the door’ jobs) unless you have at least a bachelor’s degree. Any kind of bachelor’s degree.”

            Yep. It was starting to be a BIG issue in all the little cubbyhole out in the middle of nowhere districts, where these government agencies were one of the few employers, in the ’70s, when non-degree was still possible to get hired seasonally and move into semi-permanent. Being female on forestry crew wasn’t a problem. Being NON local college student was … full disclosure, I was raised a whole 60 miles away, same state, one county north, and was at school only another 40 miles and one county north of there (still same state). Heck, my college roommate/classmate would have been an outsider and she grew up in the neighboring watershed, same national forest, different district. But … still an outsider foreigner, because didn’t go to the local HS. Only gotten worse for most as the lack of logging, anything, has made government agencies the ONLY possible employer.

            • Not to mention the stupid game you have to play just to get far enough through the ‘screening’ process to even get considered for an interview. (Full disclosure: I am a gov employee, but the process getting there was, to put it mildly, frustrating. And like you were saying: not a ton of options other than gov where I live. I was going to say ‘prison guard’ but that’s also probably technically gov, just not feds, heh.) Essentially, you have to lie just to score ‘high’ enough, and claim you’re an expert or near-expert in everything to do with the job. The interview panels know its bs, the applicant (hopefully) knows its bs. But the problem there, too, is that it gets a lot of people on board who then continue to lie about their capabilities (not that this is exclusive to the gov, sadly). It’s very disheartening. I *hated* the application process–because I hate lying. But bills don’t pay themselves (and I work hard to gain the actual skills I need to do my job and other future jobs).

              Around here, the problem isn’t so much that people are treated like outsiders (at least not by the gov office–though non-locals still run into social interaction issues in some arenas), it’s more convincing people to move to a town that even locals think is a crap-hole (or you have to do what I do, and commute an hour each way to work, heh), and also has nine month winters and wind that will drive you insane, lol.

              But also the stupid hiring practices. Especially since college degree != competence or even intelligence, much of the time…. >.>

              • Haven’t been back now in well over 40 years. Transferred to a different less isolated district, season before graduation. How in the heck I got on the original districts “come in for an interview” for full-time part time Forest Tech category, I don’t know. I declined the option (suspect it was the forest headquarters pulling strings; I did work there 3 seasons. Go back. Nope.)

                Now the district in question the locals have “better options”, because of the local Indian casino that has gone in over the last 25 to 30 years, or less. But not sure how that is working out. For some great (members of the tribe.) Others not so great, because now they are essentially second class citizens because not members of the tribe to work for the casino, even if they get on. Plus I’m going to bet some thought they were tribal members and weren’t or got de-enrolled because of percentage (huge kerfuffle locally.) It’s amazing what happens when there is actually “we have to share OUR” money, is involved. No problem if it’s THEIR money. OURS? Uh, wait …

          • The Left is very adept at establishing choke-points and charging tolls for passage. As many a minor noble of ancient times learned, there’s a world of profit to be found in controlling a narrow passageway. It doesn’t even require much talent.

      • There have been degrees in puppetry for decades.Not a recent invention.

        • The degrees have been offered, but the perception that they’re needed for a career at doing puppetry is fairly new, on both sides of the hiring desk.

          • And yet, Henson hires grads from the CalArts program regularly- partly because employees of theirs teach there.

            • What relationship does that have with anything that we’re discussing?

              The point of all this is the insane need to have an academic imprimatur on skills and trades which heretofore have been attained via apprenticeship and practical experience?

              Are the puppeteers produced by CalArts any better in significant ways than the ones we had before? Is it worth the tuition fees? Has the academy added anything to it all, aside from granting a diploma?

              Annual tuition is $50,000.00 at CalArts, plus living expenses, fees, and everything else. Is that a good value for the money, spending $200,000.00 to get an education that qualifies you for a job whose average salary is $28,000.00 a year?

              Call me a luddite and a primativist, but I’m not seeing the value-added proposition here. If you want a job paying less than $30,000.00 a year, I really don’t see how spending $200,000.00 for a four-year degree to get it is at all a smart move…

              And, in the larger picture? Is that puppeteer ever going to contribute enough back to society that this is a sane proposition? I can see $200,000.00 for a physician, but that’s a hell of a lot more time in school and a profession that actually contributes to the general welfare.

              The entire proposition is insane, and cannot possibly last.

              • Because they’re hoping to get those entertainment industry jobs, which pay a *lot* more than $28k/yr. Because some people who are artists like to try that lottery for the ‘big time’. BTDT.

                • It’s a lottery with an even lower success rate than that of professional sports.

                  And, I’m still not seeing the value-added proposition. What does this over-academized pathway give us except a lot of debt-enslaved peons who’ll work for peanuts like the anime animators do in Japan, and some very well-off professors and administrators at CalArts?

                  The public is waking up to this insanity, and the academy is not going to like what happens when enough of them do.

                  I again have to ask: What does a four-year puppetry degree get you that an apprenticeship working for Henson wouldn’t? Aside from debt-peonage, that is…

                  Good grief, the whole thing makes even less sense than the average wannabe actor moving to LA to wait tables and be “discovered”.

                  • Honestly, it’s because people have bought into the idea that one MUST have a degree on a large scale. No, they don’t actually NEED that academic stamp to do the job–an apprenticeship would do more than fine for many, many things–but given that the public school systems have been for *decades* now preaching nothing but the gospel of “you must have a college degree to be successful or to get a ‘good’ job” it’s not a surprise that vast chunks of the employment world have bought into it. Like other nonsense, it was the ‘wave of the future.’

                    When the idea that you had to have a degree in became prime–and that giving competency tests for everyone, degree or not, as part of a job interview process was ‘racist’ or whatever excuse was used. When you had states and local governments and similar actively driving to get rid of vocational schools and making it so that college was the ONLY option (because no, you couldn’t get a ‘good’ job with just a high school diploma). When you had jobs that you don’t actually need a college degree to do *requiring* applicants to have some kind of college degree–that’s what’s brought on all this insanity.

                    • Because far too many high school diplomas mean nothing. Not functional literacy, not the ability to multiply and divide with fractions and decimals, nothing. So an AA or BA means you have someone who should be able to read, write, and cipher. *jumps off of soap box before rant starts*

                    • *makes a video game of TXRed jumping off of soapboxes

                    • Oh, that is just very unfair! A High School diploma is an excellent Certificate of Attendance, attesting that you managed to avoid doing anything so egregious that they gave up on collecting your per diem from the state.

                      That ain’t nothing!

                    • Back in the Seventies I was advised that for many a company it served as a marker of an applicant’s ability to defer gratification in pursuit of a greater purpose.

                      I suppose that was true, if you call sponging off of Mom ‘n’ Dad while partying, sleeping around and taking courses in nonsensical unchallenging subject matter “deferring” gratification.

  6. People do want to have somewhere they belong, and for many it’s more soothing to let others make that decision. Problem comes in that for every, let’s say 10 like that, there are 3 that want to chose for themselves. 2 of them go the route of being the decider class while the last tries to go own way and not force others into their bubbles. For much of life the numerical superiority of the 2+10 will push the ones into pens but this can only work until the pressure makes everything go kablooey.

    And at that point we get the maps going all arrows and colors. And various pressure vessels undergoing both controlled (through use of moving sections of vessels, often lead and brass) and uncontrolled venting.

  7. I must have healthcare insurance, and I must have the package my ‘betters’ designed, providing for both birth control and abortion, even though I’d only need the first if I had a completely different body and I’d only have the second if I had a lobotomy.

    C’mon now, you know that they are only insisting on that coverage because they don’t expect you to use it. It is all part of the “cost sharing” in which the costs of the few who do utilize a particular coverage are distributed across a wide range of other people who won’t partake. It is the same reason why they are forcing young adults, the kinds of people who have the least need for comprehensive coverage, into exactly such high-priced plans.

    • I’d say that given the typical effectiveness of govt action that the birth control would increase fertility, but given the prevalence of unintended consequences from it it would probably end up with a child of Cthulu

    • I’m surprised they haven’t come after Sarah for insurance fraud. Pre- and post-natal care, plus delivery of products of conception? We can’t pay that! We know Sarah Hoyt is a white male Mormon!

      /sigh

      Bureaucracies!

      • nope, if your insurance is Ocare compliant, you’re covered for it.

        (doesnt cover reproductive assistance, or stuff to help men on BP meds compensate for their side effects, tho…)

        • Stuff to help men on BP meds to compensate for side effects is often worse than the side effects.

          There’s a reason why many men taking Viagra no longer consider, “I have a headache” to be a viable substitute for “No”. Viagra headache is one of the most frequent side effects, and we know just how much has that stopped a guy from performing? Eh? YMMV

          On the other hand, to would be interesting to see how many men have sustained a TMI from Viagra use.

          • Amidst all of the complaints about O-Care covering Viagra, it occurred to me that the primary beneficiaries of Viagra are female. A guy can get off without maintaining much of an erection, after all.

            Now, thanks to Viagra, women can rape men by chemically inducing erections and forcing insertion of his member. Sarah had an Instapundit note about it just the other night.

      • A white male mormon with a great rack. Quit misidentifying xer!

        More seriously, with the whole trans identity madness going on I’m not sure they would dare argue that being a man would stop her from having babies.

    • and most of the uninsured that they were bemoaning… were eligible for MediCaid the whole time.

  8. “…where someone in the comments of the posts was asking what the difference was between us and the SJWs, except they had a college degree and we didn’t.”

    Once upon a time at Small Dead Animals, Kate McMillan got tired of SJWs claiming that all Righties were a collection of untutored trogs and knuckle-dragging manual laborers. So she put up a post for people to tell their education level.

    Turns out SDA has about the most educated comentariat one could assemble. PhDs were very common, also engineers, physicians etc.

    Here at According to Hoyt I expect the bar is MUCH higher, given the subject matter. Trogs and knuckledraggers are usually not big SF/F fans.

    I have two degrees, one in Anthropology and another in Physical Therapy, which is as nothing compared to many here. Neither of which has made me much money, but knowledge is never wasted.

    • As to cubbyholes, I have yet to see one I fit in. I appear to be tesseract-shaped, or possibly Klein-bottle. So far nobody has tried to make a proper one just for me, a gross dereliction on someones part I’m sure. ~:D

    • I’m probably on lower end here with just a masters.

        • Nope. Only Bachelor of Science. Two of them. But never, ever considered a master’s, let alone PHD.

          • If I had been able to get work in the glorious 2010 economy may not have gone. But was actively filling out applications with private ambulances when got the acceptance and research assistanceship

          • Roger Ritter

            One bachelor of science here, in computer science. With a little (very little) post-graduate work. And programming is what I did for pretty much all my career, so it was even a useful degree.

            • First BS was Forestry, early ’80s. Full disclosure. I hated, despised, the one computer class I had to take (’76). … Second BS (’89) *Computer Science with AA (’85) in computer programming (before the BS). Spent my career programming for 35 years.

              Irony in motion — My first full time job (until they left the area) was for a major Forestry company. Job posting was – “Degrees in Forestry and Computer Science, and experience in Both. Based on Oregon Coast.” (as in “don’t blink you’ll miss the town.) Even tho there was no way I was computing from the valley to the coast, put in a resume; yes, fully met all 4 qualifications. First interview on the coast, hubby and kid (9 months) tagged along and waited in the car. We took kid to his first beach trip afterwards. Second interview, one of the interviewers was a class behind me at Oregon State. He knew who I was (come on, like there were that many women in Forest Management in mid-to-late 70’s) once we met (did not have same last name, but hubby was a couple of years ahead of me.) The job was moved to be based in the valley.

              * Yes. Figure out HOW that happened?

              Hint – Basic on teletype, don’t ask me which mainframe that kept going down, and I couldn’t type worth beans. Typing has improved a bunch since then. VS actual screens on mainframes and baby PC’s. Regarding those stupid flowcharts. Have no idea why I didn’t understand them back then. Not that they’ve ever gotten used much, but whipping them up short notice is dead easy, as well as any other diagram type someone might dream up. I haven’t programmed now in almost 4 years, since retirement.

          • Here I am with just the one bachelor’s. No wonder I feel so dumb around here.

            • One of the reasons I like this group is that they don’t confuse formal education for intelligence, pass along knowledge with condescension, and are willing to listen and engage. I’ve never been made to feel dumb around here.

            • Weird. I don’t find you dumb.

              • Don’t have the level of historical background of most people around here.

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Lack of Knowledge does not equal stupidity. 😀

                  Of course, I just say “I read a lot of books”. 😉

                • I don’t have the historical background either. Not world wide, or US either. At least not politically. I’ve learned a lot from this group. Or gotten a lot of insight depending on how people prefer it to be put.

                • That just means you don’t know stuff. That’s easily fixable.

                  Dumb is not fixable.

                  • As the saying goes: it isn’t what you don’t know, it is what you know that just ain’t so.

                    Lack of knowledge is more correctable than lots of knowledge that is simply contradicted by facts and evidence and reason. No, ancient Celts did not use telekinesis, nor magic crystals nor the aid of interplanetary travelling aliens to erect Stonehenge.

      • Bachelor’s. Dropped my Masters pursuit when the AF dropped that as a requirement for promotion to Major.

    • Thing is, some of the commentators here I’m sure have spent their time and energy differently from advanced degrees, and are very insightful. I value their opinions a great deal more than someone with a PhD who never thinks or pays attention. And thinking attentive PhDs I would want to get to know first, to find out what their specialties are, how trustworthy they are, and how well they think off specialty.

      What an advanced degree in STEM can provide that an autodidact might not get are intensity, coverage, and a really obscure specialty. If there are twenty total papers on a subject, it gets hard to even find out it exists working on your own.

      • It is useful to keep in mind that some of the most insightful political commentary of the last seventy-five years was committed by a long-shoreman — Eric Hoffer. And some of America’s greatest literature was written by a newspaperman (Clemens would have disdained the pretension of “journalist”) who had left school in fifth grade (Wiki).

      • This is true. However, there are those who tend to measure intelligence in degrees, and its worth pointing out that even by that standard, we aren’t a bunch of neanderthals. I don’t think my PhD makes me smarter than everyone else, but if anyone wants to play the “I’m more educated than you” game, I’m more than capable of joining in.

        • I don’t bother. “You win.” Competitive me. Nope. Can’t be bothered. This type of conversation. Kind of tongue in cheeks, where nobody is really serious, or could care less, even about their own accomplishments. Well, okay. Otherwise, nah.

      • Interestingly enough, my last job I won out (or so I was told) over someone with a PhD in Computer Science. I presume someone with a PhD was applying for the same reason I was (just a bachelors, but by then 23 years of experience) for an entry level pure programming job … because we both needed the income, and out of area moving was not an option, even at low salary entry level. (less in 2004, than I made in 1990.) How I got the job over someone with PhD, I have no idea, regardless of my experience (which, and because I was female, did NOT help. The boss could care less about ERA.)

        • PhDs are specialists. The PhD alone just means academic expertise, and a certain amount of long term project management. Academic expertise alone can be tits on a boar useless in the real world.

          I’ve heard you and others talk about programming experience.

          It is fairly obvious that you have, or at least had, a range of broadly applicable real world skills.

          For the tasks you describe, you are probably simply better than a fresh out of school PhD, or one that has been since working on specialized problems. You would instead want the fresh out of school PhD for a work domain that ties into the specialized academic experience.

          • “I’ve heard you and others talk about programming experience.

            It is fairly obvious that you have, or at least had, a range of broadly applicable real world skills. ”

            Yes. Suspect that was true. Wide range of experience and skills. Expert at getting things done and working. Otherwise, not a lot of depth in any one programming aspect. No. I can not look at hex and read it directly; work it out, yes, read it directly, no. I have met those who can. OTOH I’ve never had someone go into parts of my code and try to change it and have to come to me for help in changing it*. Overall concept, yes (although if they’d read the damn documentation**, they wouldn’t have had to do that.)

            * Stupid me. They’d STILL be calling me for contracting help. Laugh at my naming conventions, Yes. Not able to follow code and change it, nope.

            ** 4 hours consulting fee for 15 minutes of work … well maybe 30 minutes, as “Okay. What is the problem? Let’s open this document. Lets walk through the document regarding the problem.” The guy I was working with fell off his chair laughing. I’d outlined the concept in the email he’d gotten forwarded from the boss with that in in it, for free … I was already scheduled to be there that morning … Second time they asked for help and I sent the short free answer, they followed through. They quit calling for help.

    • When I wrote this, I forgot (actually I forgot till I stumbled on the diploma while cleaning the closet) I actually have two degrees. The first is (roughly) the equivalent of MA plus in languages and literature in English and German, with option to teach (yes, I know. Portugal is a weird place). The second, taken concurrently, is a BA in Italian from the extension of the University of Milan. Eh. Completely forgot it. Because other than some scientific translation way back in the day, what I’ve done with it is nothing.

      • Frame them and put them on your “I love me” wall like the rest of the world? Right next to the first publisher’s acceptance letter.

        • …and the first rejection letter.

          I still remember mine. After months of being ignored, it was *something* showing at least one letter had been opened and read…

        • Are you sure 2 college degrees are signs of loving oneself, not masochism ?

          • Hmm. Maybe it’s a military culture only thing. Well, and doctors and academia too. People change duty stations and the manager/supervisors always seem to put up their awards and credentials on a wall in their office and it gets referred to as their “I Love Me” wall. All my crap is stuffed in a drawer around here someplace….

            • The stuff that really matter to me (mostly stuff my troops gave me ) are around the house. Never took any of it into civilian jobs. Mostly I now see such stuff at Dr. Offices.

              • *snicker*
                The “I Love Me Wall”
                Did a couple of posts about this on my old mil-blog. A lot of my framed testimonials from previous units were in the trunk of the car … or posted on the walls of the garage, when I retired.
                Although – there was that one unit, where I asked that they should just buy me a rose bush from Jackson & Perkins, since that was something that would really be meaningful to me …

            • My plaques and such are on my “office” walls, but only the two of us see them. Once we move into the house a-building, the flags of the states in which I have been assigned will join them. Also mugs, which tend to accumulate.

    • Just a lowly B.S. degree. However, I am working in my field of study. But I don’t need the degree to do what I do.

    • PhD in computer science here, with my subfields being algorithm analysis and computational biology.

    • PhD, ATP, CFI, plus Associates in aircraft maintenance. Not necessarily in that order, some restrictions apply, see issuing agency for details. Offer not valid where prohibited.

    • I’m probably at the low end of things here… BA in Cinema, specializing in producing and cinematography

    • No degree for me. I’ve had several people ask me what mine is (last one was a EHS centric walk through from Corporate), but nope.
      My Dad took one of my antique jokes and used it when he was asked where he Matriculated from . . . “Sam Houston Institute of Technology”

      • tregonsee314

        Oddly there is a Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken NJ that is sometimes derogatorily referred to as Stevens Hoboken Institute of Technology. SIT is not much of an improvement usually they avoid any Acronyms…

        • so, if one went and tried to get every degree from there, you’d go to SIT and stay?
          Wait, Hoboken?
          who’d want to stay there?

          • tregonsee314

            Yeah when I was look at engineering schools Stevens was at the bottom due to location. It is bad when you’re beaten out by Troy NY, Rochester NY and Worcester MA… Hoboken has come up in the world, these days its full of hipsters.

  9. Impossible!

    As is commonly known, Neo-Con Trump was behind the 4chan Koch funded and Zionist Neo-Nazi organized Alt-Right Libertarian astroturf known as Sad Puppies. Everyone who was involved in Sad Puppies is a highschool drop out incel establishment Republican straight white Morman male who is deeply traumatized by the small size of his genitalia.

    And critics of Sad Puppies are informed and capable thinkers if they think that is entirely credible.

  10. Indeed 0 I followed an eccentric path in higher ed; BA in English, almost an MA in public administration. (All but the final and the dissertation. Hey, I was bored, the education office at Misawa AB offered it. Then I had a child and suddenly wasn’t bored any more.) Follow that with a whole bunch of professional military education and a lot of self-directed reading … and I have never felt the slightest bit at an intellectual disadvantage. And I have known too many people without formal degrees who were toweringly well-informed about their chosen passion or hobby …

    • I never found myself having the stomach for academia’s pretensions and posturing and always tapped out after three years, claiming a BA Magna Cum and a BS Summa Cum, along with a Phi Beta Kappa key which, best I can tell, gets me a nice newsletter and free shot of espresso at coffee shops. (N.B., contrary to what some will tell you, “Cum Laude” has nothing to do with your partner’s vocalizations during coitus.)

      Thus far the primary use for the PBK key has been trumping idiots online who a) believe me when I claim to have one* and b) think it is meaningful.

      Still had to hire a contractor to replace the deck and back doors.

      Contra Wizard of Oz, education has to co with learning to think and to explore knowledge — certifications are a byproduct and not always evidence of the process.

      *I do, but then if I were the sort of person who thinks it is a meaningful talisman I would be likely to lie about it, wouldn’t I?

    • I’m boring, I guess, BSEE in ’74, MSEE in ’91, lots of noncredit hour instruction and self directed learning in programming. The construction stuff came because I needed it and was too broke/stubborn to hire out. (Learned there are things I can’t or won’t do. Another part of learning…)

    • “Then I had a child and suddenly wasn’t bored any more”

      Wish ^^This^^. Finished up the second degree for changed field (which I really didn’t want, but employer was willing to pay for. Then employer went away. But hey. Second degree in new field.) Kid was born a week after last final, just before graduation ceremonies (not that I was going to go.)

      Would have preferred to take time off and wait to find work. But when spouse has job that “lack of work” is an annual event, and new career is “6 months off is out of date” … yea, went to work.

      Definitely not boring …

  11. Divergent by Veronica Roth? The 2014 movie, or its sequel?

    I’ve done 500 zillion percent more academic work after college, than I ever did or was encouraged to do while earning a BA in linguistics. (That and a buck-fifty will get you a cheeseburger at Burger King. And I was in a reasonably challenging program, btw.)

    College is ridiculously easy for anyone with a certain type of intelligence and a certain kind of memory. There are some programs where they actually up the difficulty for those who have the capability; but that requires real mentors or Oxford-style tutors. And frankly, that almost never happens in the US.

    Actual useful intelligence usually is associated with different types of mental processing and memory. Brilliant new developments or totally new ideas usually come from people who were crap at school.

    • Imo, in my field, college is perfect for analysts and similar pure heads down stuff. Given choice between a machinist with 4 years experience and a kid just out of college for my field (design) I’d go for the machinist over half the time.

    • My guess was Divergent.

      I watched a couple of the movies… not all, though or maybe that was the end and there wasn’t more. Eventually it all turned out to be some sort of sadistic experiment by some other people elsewhere. So if it ever resolved that, I didn’t see the rest.

  12. William H. Stoddard

    That was Divergent. The five castes were Abnegation, who basically were committed to doing their duty no matter what, in the style of Comtean altruism, who run the state; Amity, the caregivers, whose actual role seems to be that of farmworkers; Candor, truth-tellers, who were basically journalists and media people (“truth” perhaps in the sense of pravda); and Dauntless, the warriors; andErudite, the researchers and technologists. I believe the warriors and the technologists were the evil conspirators against the larger society—rather a projection of left-wing ideas about who the wicked people are. On the other side, you had the selfless rulers, the field hands, and the media people. Allegory much?

    It really struck me that none of the factions had the slightest tinge of libertarianism, and that the society seemed to have no functioning markets at all. The protagonist got to make only one choice—to become Dauntless—and she wasn’t supposed to have that choice; being suited to more than one faction made you an evil deviant.

  13. I got my degrees non-traditionally. My Associates I accomplished by On-the-Job training classes, plus college level examination program testing, plus a couple of night school course. Bachelor degree was done with a couple of on-campus courses using my vacation time, about a quarter challenge exams and the rest with night school courses. Masters was done via night classes in conference rooms at my place of work, and a few on-line courses.

    What did I learn? I learned I didn’t want to be a clinical psychologist. I learned how to be a better programmer. I learned better ways to manage groups of people to accomplish goals; and that I’ll never be a “great leader”, merely adequate. I learned that a college degree is mostly just proof to employers that I can complete a long range task. And I learned that half the money I spent on education would have been better invested in the stock market.

  14. Back in the early 90’s, when I was on the online service GEnie (the Internet was still pretty much limited to government and university stuff and hadn’t really taken off for the general public yet), I was in a “discussion” with someone about political philosophy. This was on an education forum and the context was how crappy the public schools were. Since we differed on a point of political philosophy, this other person, very sneeringly told me to “go back to school, to public school”. Since our point of difference was not one of fact but of philosophy, I pointed out that he/she (screen name really didn’t make clear which) had just admitted that the schools served as institutions of political indoctrination not education. He/she could not grasp the concept.

    More recently, a number of folk on the Book of Faces touted a “study” that showed that the more education a person has the more likely they were to be “liberal” (as the term has come to mean in modern American politics). The tone was “see, conservatives are stupid.” This prompted my “Not Stupid” blog post ( https://thewriterinblack.com/2018/04/11/not-stupid-a-blast-from-the-past/ ).

    However, once again the differences are differences of philosophy, not fact–mostly. The differences of “fact” generally stem from one side or the other trying to cram reality into the philosophy even when it doesn’t fit. And, yes, all sides do it. One might argue that a particular “side” does it more than others and I might even agree with that, but it’s well to remember that even the folk on “your side” can fall prey to it.

    In any case, I had exactly the same response: since the primary difference is philosophical, then the results of the study, if true (see “cram reality to the philosophy”), merely show that the schools and universities are not educating but indoctrinating.

    • Only a fool would imagine that education correlates with intelligence; in my experience it more nearly correlates with gullibility and tolerance for horse manure (thus the significance of the Piled Higher and deeper degree.)

  15. I’ve not read past the claim of Wreck It Ralph (which I’ve not seen) as evil and suddenly I think of why (beyond the look of the thing) I find the “Sorting Hat’ really, REALLY, REALLY CREEPY. And that might be it. Four choices… when EVERY time I test… I seem to get 50% “Able” and 50% “X-ray” or sommat. And I’m not attempting to thwart the tests… the tests are really just that useless!

    • Keep in mind that – as noted at the end of the final book – the Sorting Hat *does* take personal preference into account. It initially offers to put Harry into Slytherin. But Harry doesn’t want to go there, so it puts him in Gryffindor, instead. The intent of the hat seems to be to ensure that the students you initially meet have a similar temperment and expectations.

    • I’ve seen it, and the follow-up; I can see how someone might interpret it that way, but in the metaphor of the post, I think the point was something more like “you are not limited to your cubbyhole.”

      The opening is “I do X because I’m the villain, and that is all I can do” complete with a villain support group, and by the end of the second movie there are a couple of heroes in the villain support group which has shifted to a book club. (…which is reading war and peace, so clearly it’s still evil in SOME way!)

      Just realized it makes a decent argument against things like transgenderism— there’s some things you can’t change, but they don’t really control EVERYTHING.

  16. My son calls Wreck it Ralph the evilest movie ever made, because the moral of it at the end is “you should stay where you’re assigned.”

    That certainly isn’t the takeaway I got from Wreck it Ralph. In the beginning, Ralph was miserable and alone. But he was miserable and alone because people confused the role he played in the game with who he actually was. He “played” the antagonist in the game, and so all the other characters shunned him. He tried to take another “on screen game role” in “Hero’s Duty” (heh heh “dooty”). That didn’t work out.

    But inside the actual “reality” of the game world (“reality” as those characters see it), he did become a hero, saving the folk in the racing game from the real bad guy (again in the reality of the game world). As I recall, the other characters in the Wreck it Ralph game came to accept him when they weren’t “on stage” giving the performance (i.e. someone playing the game). And while his closing monologue was about Vanelople accepting him, but what I saw was that he could play the role because he didn’t confuse the role when giving a perfomance with who and what he really was. Vanelope’s friendship was simply an indicator of that.

    Anyway, that’s what I took from Wreck it Ralph.

    • I have no DIRECT experience, but I have been told that the ‘King’ (and ‘Queen’ etc.) at RenFaires will “lord” it over everyone ‘on-stage’ for show… BUT the good ones are the ones who once off-stage are the aids to everyone else – if only to prove that they are NOT their ‘character’.

      But what does a mere ox know?

    • The same….

      To me, the story that screamed “stay in your place, peasant!” to me, are most non-Disney versions of “The Little Mermaid”, that appear to lose the “learning to sacrifice” bit people keep telling me was in the original (but I don’t remember – granted I’ve not read the original version in the last 40 years).

  17. I might well have some betters.. but so far exactly NONE of the g_ds have made themselves clearly and plainly known to me (alright, ox have thick skull… still…). Until then, my “betters’ ain’t.

    • And considering a good many stories, even g_dhood being ‘better’ is a pretty dubious claim. Just.. that not going along with the claim ca be.. awkward… on the better days.

      • There have been people I’ve run into over the years who are head and shoulders better at things than I am. I have no problem with letting other people know that; and I wish them the very best.

        • There are plenty “better AT” than I. But just plain “better”?
          Yes, there are a few Those boasting so… aren’t.

          • Obviously we have a lot of Talking Beasts among us. But:

            “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.”

            • Hmm… Off the top of my head I think we have a cat, a fox, a wallaby, a minotaur and a dragon. I may be missing several others.

              The Werewife may also qualify, depending on whether it’s her form or her marital status that changes with the moon. I still haven’t figured that one out yet.

            • tregonsee314

              Though not a talking beast there is one I find compelling, the badger Trufflehunter from Narnia
              “I’m a beast, I am, and a Badger what’s more. We don’t change. We hold on.”
              This seems to hold for the whole family. Elder daughter says we ought to have a badger (Rampant) on our crest with the Motto “We Prefer to Struggle!” as no one ever wants help in the household.

  18. Margaret Ball

    “It is a lust I’ve noticed among the people on the left, in the last oh, ten years. People should be assigned places according to their capacity judged by an “impartial” third party. That way they wouldn’t have the great unwashed crowding them about. Every person in his place and a place for everyone.”

    Oh, it’s been around longer than that. One of Sheri Tepper’s novels featured benevolent aliens landing and, among other “improvements,” creating psychological counseling centers where people could be gently steered towards the jobs they ought to want to do. I think that was in The Fresco, which would make the horrifying picture at least twenty years old… but I refuse to hurt my head by re-reading any of her books, so I can’t be sure.

    • There’s also A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle, published in 1978. The Utopian society that Charles Wallace visits as his first experience “going within” has everyone assigned a place, everyone content with their place, and all places equally respected. So it’s at least 40 years old.

    • Sheri Tepper is almost as scary a horror writer as Octavia Butler. Almost.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        What’s really scary is that Tepper isn’t intentionally writing horror. 😈

  19. Three comments: FIRST – I worked for the Navy’s think tank where 75% of the OR Analysts were PhDs. But it turned out several were PhD (ABD). The ABD meant “all but dissertation.”
    SECOND: I only had a 25 year old BS in Physics, when Physics was F=MA and you can’t push a rope. None of the Higgs boson magic. And my team leader was the only lead without a PhD. He did have a Masters in Math. But the team succeeded in getting extra funding from both the Navy and USMC for new OR Analysis work.
    Despite my lack of formal education I was chosen to lead a Billion $$ Analysis of Alternatives that was briefed to the CNO, CMC, and SECNAV. Today 2 of our designs are in production. Formal education is , but the ability to led and manage a team of about 30 engineers, military officers, financial planners isn’t part of the post-grad curriculum.

  20. “My son calls Wreck it Ralph the evilest movie ever made, because the moral of it at the end is “you should stay where you’re assigned.”

    You’ll find this “moral” in a great many places in left-leaning fiction. From superhero comics, sci-fi and fantasy shows, young-adult books etc., the spiel is always the same – the Heroes™ are sooper speshul, born with superpowers or in affluent or outright aristocratic families, or otherwise accidentally coming to wield great power… that nobody else can, or even should aspire to. Having power is almost always good, whereas gaining it, even through perfectly legitimate means like invention and study, is inherently suspect and pretty much always ends up villainous.

    Same goes for even more conventional forms of authority. Public accountability? That’s a no-no. The Heroes™ always know what’s right, anyone protesting or even merely skeptical of their authority is obviously a Villain™ and should be beaten up with extreme prejudice. Technological advancement? Also evil, unless strictly in the control of the resident ultra-mega-genius Hero™, who never offers any gear for the conventional military, let alone the civilian market. Because we suck, and he hates us.

    All in all, for a bunch supposedly all about equality, libs do tend to prefer fiction that explicitly divides people into haves and have-nots, often by supernatural means, but with the heroes of the story invariably belonging to the former. This is what ultimately led me to understand that it’s not inequality that the left complains about, merely inequality not in their absolute favor. Conversely, any legal framework or even fictional setting that offers an equal playing field even in theory, is all but anathema to them. Perish the thought for the proles to ever challenge the patricians.

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      But but… Superheroes Are Fascists!!!!!!

      Beings with Great Power Not Answerable to the Good Folks! [Sarcastic Grin]

      Seriously, some idiot actually wrote an article based on Superheroes are Fascists.

      The problem is that Superheroes are a modern form of the Wanderer in folklore who finds a problem and assists or revenges people who need it.

      They aren’t REQUIRED to help but do so anyway.

      Not that there are/were Superheroes who would be loved by the SJWs.

      Just look at that idiot “Captain Planet”. 😡

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Planet_and_the_Planeteers

    • Star Wars, farm boy turns out to have special powers, then it turns out he’s the son of a guy with special powers. Han Solo had a chance as the dashing rogue who cleans up his act, except in the force awakens, he’s fallen off the wagon back into being a rogue and then gets whacked by his own kid turned bad. Bleah.

      Iron Man. You’d think that Tony Stark might be the self made man, but he’s a genius and comes from a wealthy military industrialist CEO family. Born with a silver cybernetic spoon in his mouth.

      Maybe that’s why I like Simak’s Mastadonia so much. Just an ordinary guy with a dog, a lonely, friendly alien who gives him a small gift…

      • Pretty much. Star Wars also has a whole cadre of self-governing supernatural psi-corps as the sole executive authority of a galaxy-spanning government – a special snowflake dream job if there ever was one.

        It’s certainly easy to see the appeal of that kind of fantasy – being special and having power without ever working at it – but this tends to turn toxic when stories make an issue of it, and then milk every excuse imaginable as to why nobody else can ever try for the same, lest it threaten the status of the Hero™. It’s like a supernatural version of the classic liberal mentality – “rules for thee, not for me”.

        • >> “It’s certainly easy to see the appeal of that kind of fantasy – being special and having power without ever working at it”

          In fairness to the original Star Wars movies, Luke did have to earn it. It wasn’t until the third movie that he was a master, and he got knocked on his ass HARD in the second before he really learned.

          But from what I’ve heard, the more recent movies are a good example of what you’re talking about.

          • it can even be argued that he wasn’t a master in ROTJ.

            • It has been decades since I’ve seen the movies, I admit.

              • sure, but we’re shown in the prequels that a master can deflect, or at least temporarily shrug off, force lightning

            • Luke asked if he was “a Jedi,” and Yoda told him not yet, not until you defeat Vader. Note that he wasn’t asking if he was a master, just a basic Jedi Knight, and Yoda wasn’t even willing to grant that much. Seems like Luke was a long way from being a Yoda or an Obi-Wan Kenobi or even a 2nd and 3rd prequel Anakin.

              Luke is Exhibit A for “You go to war with the Jedi you’ve got.”

          • I was in love with Star Wars as a kid. The visual effects, the world-building… All of that, but not the story or the dialogue. Even at the time, I thought “This is junk… Heck, I could do better…”.

            Then, the sequels came out, and it became harder and harder to do that “willing suspension of disbelief”, particularly since I’d leveled up considerably with my historical reading and understanding. Where the original movie had the Jedi as this “lost heroic order”, the later films made it pretty clear that the Jedi were not the positive knightly order that we were told to expect. The prequels put an entire box of nails into that coffin, and you came to see the Jedi as an inimical force, not a positive one. The way they treat the young Anakin, the separation of the “younglings” from their families and any natural family connections…? That’s not a “force for good”, that’s a monastic order devoted to abuse of powers. Look at the whole deal with the creation of the clone armies, and how those poor bastards are basically shown as sub-human slaves with no real agency.

            The Jedi that were alluded to in the original movie could have been anything you imagined. Unfortunately, Lucas had to go and ruin the whole thing by actually showing us a vision into his id, and an ugly place that is, full of totalitarianism and mind-control. It’s extremely interesting who he makes out to be his heroes are, and what their attributes are.

            Frankly, between the Jedi and the Empire, I see very few real differences. When we learn that the “clone troopers” were created by the Jedi, I quit seeing them as positive in any way. Frankly, both the Empire and the Jedi are people I’d cheerfully fight to the death, rather than let either of them run things. When you consider the mind control, and the creation of the clone armies, I’d almost have to pick the Empire as the lesser of the two evils.

            All that said…? Luke as “Master”? LOL… Why on earth would anyone think that was a good thing? Frankly, the smartest thing you could do with a Jedi “master” is feed them poison when they weren’t expecting it, and ditch the body somewhere before they turn to the Dark Side of the force, or decide to mind-rape you for their convenience.

            One of the scarier things in the prequels was the casual way that Obi Wan “reforms” that guy trying to sell him whatever the hell it was, drugs or something… Imagine going through life knowing that it’s entirely possible that some passing Jedi decided to brainwash you over some trivial thing. You’d never know what the hell was really “real”, or what you truly believed. Maybe your wife was picked out for you, or that kid wasn’t actually yours, but some damn nosy Jedi decided to warp your mind into thinking that you’d always been married, or that that kid was always yours…

            Lucas is a sick bastard, in my opinion. Pathologic, TBH.

      • That must be the novel version of Mastodonia; there aren’t any aliens in the original short story.

        • Catface was what he called the alien. I don’t see it on the shelves down here, must still be in a box in the attic.

  21. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Lets see.

    I have an associate degree in Accounting (tried to get a BS degree but quit).

    I have an associate degree in Data Processing. Actually got jobs with it but later went back and got a BS in Business Data Processing Major degree.

    Can’t say that I learned much that I didn’t already know when I went for the four year degree but HR idiots “liked” four year degrees more than they “liked” two year degrees.

  22. I always found it a little weird that people in some countries (thinking especially Germany) put their *degrees* on their business cards. If I’m negotiating some deal with Siemens, then it is relevant that the person I’m talking to has the title VP of Gerbilator Marketing, but…what degree he has (if any) and what institution he got it from should be between him and Siemens.

    • Celsius, Fahrenheit, Kelvin, Rankine, Labyrinthiniusineheit… as long the scale is understood, the degree doesn’t really matter.

    • Margaret Ball

      Germans do that? I just got hit with major culture shock… in American culture, academics tend to scorn people who put their degrees on their business cards. I had a prolonged fight with my boss at Burroughs, trying to explain that putting “Ph.D.” on my business card would make a terrible impression on exactly the people he wanted to impress!

      • Maybe that has something to do with why Burroughs is no longer a thing…

      • It goes back to when the professors where the first non-noble civil servants to have very, very high social rank. To this day, a professor outranks a mere PhD or MD. It’s fun watching doors open when a family member uses the full Professor Doktor title. He invokes it rarely, usually on bureaucrats who need it.

        Also, until the last ten years or so, a Diplom [whatever] was the equivalent of a MA, and very highly respected. It meant you went to a German university and passed their standards. The doctorate had two parts, the preliminary dissertation and secondary dissertation. So actually finishing your degree to standards was a Big Deal.

        • “It goes back to when the professors where the first non-noble civil servants to have very, very high social rank.” I wonder how that came to be?…Why was the German aristocracy, not for the most part a particularly academically-inclined group of people, willing to assign such a high social rank to professors?

          • I haven’t got the background, but I would guess via the Church being the first Euro-college guys, and they’d teach the nobles and the promising non-nobles, some of whom became teachers themselves (even if they didn’t join anything), and if the noble kids have to respect the teacher then obviously they’re important?

  23. Spring of 1966 I, having had a truly great time in freshman shop, attempted to preregister for sophomore metal shop. I was taken aside and told that my intelligence was too high to waste on that sort of thing and informed that I would be enrolled in the school’s advanced college track.
    I spent the next three years checked out, barely passing. Upon graduation I got a factory job, then five years later another with the local railcar repair facility.
    After fifteen years I was badgered into taking a few community college courses which eventually lead to a BS with dual Industrial and Systems engineering majors followed by an MS in Operations Research.
    Two thirds of the BS coursework was literally BS as was about one third of the MS. And effectively none of it was especially useful during my 25 year career as an Operations Engineer with NASA.
    Somewhere along the way I also qualified for and joined Mensa, serving as both LocSec and newsletter editor for several years before dropping out as the organization moved ever further leftward.
    Must say that I take much more pride in my good work whether in the factories or as a team lead on NASA SpaceLab mission ground support cadre than I do on any degrees I’ve collected along the way.
    Not to mention a great deal of satisfaction in my role as a redneck, knuckle dragging, pickup driving, Trump supporting myrmidon.

    • My humanities professors didn’t like my use of the term checkmark classes

    • Similar timing for me, but a mirror image type of path. I was in college prep freshman year in HS, but sophomore year I insisted on taking a semester of drafting and a semester of metal shop (IIRC, metal shop was second semester.) The advisor was dumbfounded, but I stood my ground, and parents (if consulted; don’t know) either did or would have backed my play. The rest of the courses were still college prep. My drafting was decent (Univ of Redacted dropped the requirement for EEs just as I started) and my shop work was OK, modulo arc welding. (Auto darkening hoods are a godsend…)

      I didn’t get as much push back (I think I broke that advisor 🙂 ) senior year when I insisted on taking programming (business IT was the only option in that time) instead of AP Chemistry. As it stands those three courses helped a lot over the years, both at work and at home.

  24. As one of Richard S. Prather’s characters said, “I recognize no superiors, and damned few equals.”

    – TRX “successfully completed the third grade”

  25. The conceit that the “left” is more educated (and the “numbers” are broken down by race in order to show that and guess who they don’t count) is persistent. But there’s no way at all that it would prove something even if it was true.

    There’s just this bizarre notion that intelligence (theirs) will always arrive at the identical conclusion. The *conclusion* is proof of intelligence. But objectively this is absurd.

    And sure it’s “politics” but it’s also completely generalized to everything under the sun as what is known to be true. If you’re smart, you’ll have the right answer. If you don’t have the right answer, you’re not smart and certainly not educated.

    Even a cursory “reality check” ought to show anyone at all how untrue that is.

  26. “So the assumption that we didn’t have college degrees puzzled me. It reminded me of when a new girl about ten years younger than us, joined our writers’ group and assumed Rebecca Lickiss (physicist) and myself had no degrees. Why? Because we were married and had kids and chose to stay home with them. Therefore we clearly weren’t “educated.” ” IDJITS. We are surrounded by idjits. Who make assumptions willy nilly. With no thought.

  27. Re: catastrophic failure of the university system

    MGC today. Turns out Pearson is going purchases are digital only, and physical copies are rental only with textbooks.

  28. I find an interesting similarity in this kind of conceit – where lefties brag about being smarter, while also finding excuses why this doesn’t make them any more successful in life – with the mentality of the average conspiracy theorist. See, to the conspiracy theorist, everyone else in the world is either ignorant of the conspiracy, and therefore stupid, mentally inferior to themselves, or actually in on the conspiracy, and thus evil, and morally inferior instead.

    So in turn, the only thing the conspiracy theorist needs in order to feel mentally or morally superior to the rest of the world, is to get up in the morning. To put everyone else in arbitrary cubbyholes, so as to feel strong and special. It’s another easy power fantasy, only this one happens in real life, so it’s much more volatile and vulnerable to outside influence.

    Subsequently, when such people are forced to deal with the wider world – like entering the job market after school, for instance – this illusion shatters, and they scramble for any kind of footing, any mentality that would preserve their pretense of superiority in the face of a pronounced lack of actual evidence. Which leads to the current situation of oppression olympics and identity issues, where anything but their personal actions is used to explain their station in life. Everyone but them is responsible. Everyone but them is to blame. Everyone but them belongs in a cubbyhole. Everyone must be regarded as lesser, because that’s how far they must go to imagine themselves as greater.

  29. I think this illusion of them being more education stems from a data point that people who identify on the Left, no matter how slight, possess more college degrees than those on the Right. While this data point could, in fact, be very suspect, I usually assume it’s true. What I also know is that many if not most of these degrees are things that attract the lowest academic performers like Education, Humanities, and Communication – all of which skew wildly Left. That’s leaving out most of the atrocious social sciences, only because those graduates aren’t quite scraping the bottom of the GPA pool. I say this as someone with a political science degree. (Hey, I was paid to get it, okay?)

    I’m not sure what percentage these largely worthless degrees comprise of the modern college offerings, but I’d be willing to bet it’s a near majority. Then there’s the “elite” Lefty schools like Harvard (and it’s not an outlier) where the average student will receive an A-.

    So, really this claim might be true on the surface, but just a tiny scratch reveals there’s not much “there” there.

  30. Maybe it’s a throwback trait. Way, way, back, to the time before language or even intelligence. When stepping out of your burrow got you chomped by something ending in -saurus or maybe -raptor.

    Stay in your burrow. It’s safe there. The monsters can’t get you.

    Well, we know how that ended, a few tens of millions of years on, with fried chicken. But maybe there was once a survival benefit to staying in one’s proper role and place.

    Me, I have a BA in music. Just shy of an AA in history-they wouldn’t count any of music history and I didn’t have time for one more class.

  31. Will Thomas

    People trying to pigeon hole me are always flabbergasted in that I’m actually competent in a wide range of fields. “Specialization is for insects”