January 23, 2013

High school

In New York, Jennifer Senior has one of the better examples of the current fad for pop-psychology-dressed-up-with-neuroscience-articles: "Why You Never Truly Leave High School: New Science on Its Corrosive, Traumatizing Effects." In discussing the importance of one's high school years, she points out that too much attention has been paid to early childhood by social scientists:
Yet there’s one class of professionals who seem, rather oddly, to have underrated the significance of those years, and it just happens to be the group that studies how we change over the course of our lives: developmental neuroscientists and psychologists. “I cannot emphasize enough the amount of skewing there is,” says Pat Levitt, the scientific director for the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, “in terms of the number of studies that focus on the early years as opposed to adolescence. For years, we had almost a religious belief that all systems developed in the same way, which meant that what happened from zero to 3 really mattered, but whatever happened thereafter was merely tweaking.” 
Zero to 3. For ages, this window dominated the field, and it still does today, in part for reasons of convenience: Birth is the easiest time to capture a large population to study, and, as Levitt points out, “it’s easier to understand something as it’s being put together”—meaning the brain—“than something that’s complex but already formed.” There are good scientific reasons to focus on this time period, too: The sensory systems, like hearing and eyesight, develop very early on. “But the error we made,” says Levitt, “was to say, ‘Oh, that’s how all functions develop, even those that are very complex. Executive function, emotional regulation—all of it must develop in the same way.’ ” That is not turning out to be the case. “If you’re interested in making sure kids learn a lot in school, yes, intervening in early childhood is the time to do it,” says Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist at Temple University and perhaps the country’s foremost researcher on adolescence. “But if you’re interested in how people become who they are, so much is going on in the adolescent years.” 

The over-emphasis on early years also has to do with the conventional wisdom's hopes for egalitarianism and blank slate social engineering. The younger the child, the harder to measure his capabilities, so the easier it is to theorize that everybody is conceived the same, so All We Have To Do is intervene at 36 months or 24 months or 12 months or 0 months or minus 8 months and 29 days and we can end inequality, especially racial inequality.
Until the Great Depression, the majority of American adolescents didn’t even graduate from high school. ... But these disparate paths did arguably have one virtue in common: They placed adolescent children alongside adults. They were not sequestered as they matured. Now teens live in a biosphere of their own. In their recent book Escaping the Endless Adolescence, psychologists Joseph and Claudia Worrell Allen note that teenagers today spend just 16 hours per week interacting with adults and 60 with their cohort. One century ago, it was almost exactly the reverse. 
Something happens when children spend so much time apart from adult company. They start to generate a culture with independent values and priorities. ... (From the website of the National Home Education Network: “Ironically, one of the reasons many of us have chosen to educate our own is precisely this very issue of socialization! Children spending time with individuals of all ages more closely resembles real life than does a same-age school setting.”) 
In fact, one of the reasons that high schools may produce such peculiar value systems is precisely because the people there have little in common, except their ages. “These are people in a large box without any clear, predetermined way of sorting out status,” says Robert Faris, a sociologist at UC Davis who’s spent a lot of time studying high-school aggression. “There’s no natural connection between them.” Such a situation, in his view, is likely to reward aggression. Absent established hierarchies and power structures (apart from the privileges that naturally accrue from being an upperclassman), kids create them on their own, and what determines those hierarchies is often the crudest common-­denominator stuff—looks, nice clothes, prowess in sports—­rather than the subtleties of personality. “Remember,” says Crosnoe, who spent a year doing research in a 2,200-student high school in Austin, “high schools are big. There has to be some way of sorting people socially. It’d be nice if kids could be captured by all their characteristics. But that’s not realistic.”

The article skims over the central reason that teenage years are so difficult: they are one's introduction to one's value in the sexual marketplace, which is serious, Darwinian business. For many individuals, what they learn comes as a rude shock. 

Some of these differences are innate and permanent, some are situational (smart kids tend to feel their true value can only be recognized by other smart people, which is often somewhat true), and some differences are temporary because kids sexually mature at different rates. 

For example, it's common to see beautiful models/actresses on talk shows, such as Liv Tyler (Arwen in The Lord of the Rings) explaining about how they don't think of themselves as beautiful because they were tomboys who didn't develop or get interested in makeup until after all the other girls, so the self image they retain from adolescence, they claim, is one of gawkiness and lack of sexual sophistication. 

One reason for this is that high-end models need to be tall (Liv Tyler is 5'10"). Puberty tends to shut down growth in height in girls, so fashion models tend to have gone through sexual maturation later than shorter, more buxom girls. But, they get their revenge later in life.

The Harpending-Draper theory from 1982 is that girls from single-parent families tend to sexually mature faster than girls from intact two-parent families. I haven't seen much subsequent research on this, but it could help explain why the white American class system has become so focused around intact families keeping their kids away from the kids of broken families. Two-parent families want their children to grow up in an environment encouraging slow sexual maturation so they'll finish their education before having children of their own. 

Differential rates of sexual maturation help explain why liberal white parents are so averse to sending their children to junior high schools and high schools with large numbers of blacks. The earlier sexual maturation of blacks puts their kids at a disadvantage at a tender age. They especially don't want their sons to develop inferiority complexes that can be hard to shake. 

Thus, the fashion for redshirting one's son so that he doesn't enter first grade until age seven and grows up being bigger, stronger, smarter, and cooler than his younger classmates. The idea is to get him used to being socially dominant as a child so he stays that way as an adult.

In Back to Blood, Tom Wolfe points out that this dominance dynamic emerges well before high school and has massive political implications. Cowardly and long-winded but insightful newspaper editor Edward T. Topping IV, who functions as Wolfe's mouthpiece, explains:
If you ask me, newspaper reporters are created at age six when they first go to school. In the schoolyard boys immediately divide into two types. Immediately! There are those who have the will to be daring and dominate, and those who don’t have it. … But there are boys from the weaker side of the divide who grow up with the same dreams as the stronger … The boy standing before me, John Smith, is one of them. They, too, dream of power, money, fame, and beautiful lovers. Boys like this kid grow up instinctively realizing that language is like … a sword or a gun. Used skillfully, it has the power to … well, not so much achieve things as to tear things down – including people … including the boys who came out on the strong side of the sheerly dividing line. Hey, that’s what liberals are! Ideology? Economics? Social justice? Those are nothing but their prom outfits. Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong. That’s why so many journalists are liberals! The very same schoolyard events that pushed them toward the written word … pushed them toward “liberalism.”

Much of modern liberalism consists of people trying to get revenge on the football players they felt inferior to in school. 

Of course, this raises the question: but aren't blacks more likely to be jocks and bullies? So, how do white liberals resolve this conflict?

A. Keep themselves and their kids away from the black masses.

B. Don't think about it and get angry at anybody who does.

C. Vote Obama!

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Much of modern liberalism consists of people trying to get revenge on the football players they felt inferior to in school.

Actually, at my elite private high school (which my middleclass parents struggled to afford because i had a high IQ, which they wanted cultivated), the football players, the class officers, the bullies were all a bunch of flaming liberals.

So I became an ultraconservative.

Peter Frost said...

"The Harpending-Draper theory from 1982 is that girls from single-parent families tend to sexually mature faster than girls from intact two-parent families."

The causality is genetic, not environmental. This was shown in a twin study by Mendle et al.(2006):

"The presence of a step-uncle was as strongly predictive of early menarche as presence of a stepfather. It does not seem necessary for a child to experience the direct environmental influence of a stepfather to exhibit an accelerated age of menarche—as long as she is genetically related to someone who does have a stepfather. In a pair of twin mothers of which only one raises her children with a stepfather, the offspring of both twins are equally likely to display early age of menarche. It therefore appears that some genetic or shared environmental confound accounts for the earlier association found in female children living with stepfathers."

Mendle, J., Turkheimer, E., D’Onofrio, B.M., Lynch, S.K., Emery, R.E., Slutske, W.S., Martin, N.G. (2006). Family structure and age at menarche: a children-of-twins approach. Developmental Psychology, 42, 533-542.

Anonymous said...

Trayvon Martin is dead because he was suspended from High School and didn't know how to behave in the outside 'adult' world. That his parents took him out of his normal home and put him in an upscale housing development with nothing to do all day didn't help. I am guessing that where he used to live, local Hispanics were a potential menace to him.

Anonymous said...

Best book for parents on adolescence.


http://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Adolescence-Rediscovering-Adult/dp/188495670X

map said...

Real life is very much like high school. It is the beginning of the never-ending competition for status.

It is a very important part of life.

Let's! said...

Much of modern liberalism consists of people trying to get revenge on the football players they felt inferior to in school.

And this isn't just idle speculation. No fewer than three Slate editors (all female - Jodi Kantor, Kathleen Kincaid, Judith Shulevitz) justified their 2000 votes for Gore by saying Bush reminded them of a school bully.

http://www.slate.com/articles/briefing/articles/2000/11/how_slatesters_voted.single.html

Kibernetika said...

My high school was in competition with Mr. Krugman's. His was on the south side of the figurative tracks (it was a road, rather), mine on the north. He was on Amy Fisher's side, while on my side we had the Irish cops, protestant Germans, Italians, etc.

Junior high was an interesting dynamic. More mixed population by religion. But it was definitely not a vibrant community, and that area is still as clearly defined with ethnic and racial demarcations as a chess board.

An excellent jr. high science teacher we had there used to discuss lead poisoning, way back in the 70s. Made Niels Bohr interesting to us kids more interested in Jill E's butt ;)

Cough.

This teacher used fire breathers as examples of persons who suffered lead poisoning before unleaded came along. Clever guy who made one think.

Let's! said...

They especially don't want their sons to develop inferiority complexes that can be hard to shake.

Another reason why families with weak or absent dads are so pernicious.

A mom who is not getting her emotional needs met will actually interfere with her son's social development and hope he gets an inferiority complex, so his unpopularity keeps him dependent on her for love and acceptance.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, the fashion for redshirting one's son so that he doesn't enter first grade until age seven"

I didn't know this was so common until I saw the ages of the kids killed in the New Town attack. 20 first-graders, all being at least 6 and 4 of them being 7, in December! When I went to school a random distribution should have put roughly half at 5 and half at 6.

SFG said...

"A mom who is not getting her emotional needs met will actually interfere with her son's social development and hope he gets an inferiority complex, so his unpopularity keeps him dependent on her for love and acceptance."

I think it's more a matter of not having a male role model. I think few mothers (apart from feminists) would try to raise unsuccessful boys. They just don't know how to raise successful ones.

Anonymous said...


"Thus, the fashion for redshirting one's son so that he doesn't enter first grade until age seven"


I didn't know this was so common until I saw the ages of the kids killed in the New Town attack. 20 first-graders, all being at least 6 and 4 of them being 7, in December! When I went to school a random distribution should have put roughly half at 5 and half at 6.


This evidence doesn't support what you are saying. All kids must be at least 6 to go to first grade. Four of the 20 had their birthdays by January, unsurprisingly. So 1/5 were seven by the time that 1/2 of the school year had passed. We should expect that more like 1/3 would be seven by January if all of them have to be seven by September.

I have a child in first grade.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Not just modern liberalism is in competition with football players. Remember James Thurber's nasty comments?

as said...

Paging agnostic and Michael Blowhard...

James Kabala said...

I find the Hollywood version of high school to have very little to do with the real thing.

I also have no idea who was "dominant" in my first grade class, and I doubt if Wolfe could remember such a thing either. In first grade, the bullies, if there are any, are kids from the upper grades who like to pick on the little kids; I don't remember much intra-grade bullying until a few years later.

5:06 anonymous: I think to some extent you're confusing first grade with kindergarten. By mid-December in a traditional "all kids born in the same year are in the same grade" school, nearly everyone would be six. There would be no five-year-olds (or at most one or two by statistical chance), but no seven-year-olds either.

Truth said...

"Trayvon Martin is dead because he was suspended from High School and didn't know how to behave in the outside 'adult' world."

Darn! The Bilderbergs keep putting out this ridiculous story that he got shot.

Anonymous said...

One of the less realistic aspects of Back to Blood was the idea that newspapers are central to the lives of cities these days. Fifteen years ago, yes. Maybe 10 years ago, too. But the space newspapers take up in the mental landscape has dropped off a cliff in the last five years.

Also, a cop that is unclear on the idea of Starbucks?

Anonymous said...

"put him in an upscale housing development "

The housing development Trayvon was at wasn't upscale. It wasn't the hood, but it was pretty modest. According to Zillow the condo prices in the complex were around $80K and rental prices around $1,100/mo.

That rent seems pretty high compared to the condo cost.

countenance said...

The Harpending-Draper theory from 1982 is that girls from single-parent families tend to sexually mature faster than girls from intact two-parent families.

How hard can this be? "Single parent family" is code for black, "Two-parent family" is code for white. Blacks start puberty earlier than whites.

Whoopin' Warren said...

Steve quoted Wolfe as saying:

"Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong."

Steve, your (and Wolfe's) thesis is fun, and your writing is zappy as usual, but do you *really* think this can be right to any nontrivial degree?

It should be very testable. There is probably some scale of retrospective reports like "I was popular in high school." and "I was bullied a lot as a child." stuff like that. What percent of the variance in voting behavior do you think this sort of scale would predict?

It would be interesting to check out. I'll bet it would not be more than 5% of the variance--which would mean there could be 19 other determinants equally important. And I wouldn't be stunned at all if the direction of the effect were the opposite of what Wolfe said.

But it's a fun notion.

Steve Sailer said...

"One of the less realistic aspects of Back to Blood was the idea that newspapers are central to the lives of cities these days. Fifteen years ago, yes."

The real central character in Back to Blood is young reporter John Smith, who is actually Tom Wolfe at age 28. It's not really a book about contemporary Miami, it's a disguised Tom Wolfe Greatest Hits album.

Wolfe's early career is murky, but he covered the Cuban Revolution for the Washington Post, so he probably spent some time in Miami then. For example, the art museum fraud storyline in Back to Blood actually happened in Miami a half-century ago.

mark said...

Finally read an article on the web before you referenced it. One of the interesting parts of the article was when the author mentioned Mitt Romney. I couldn't help but think of President Obama. It seems like he was an outsider in High school and is pretty much an outsider today. Don't want to chit chat with the old Washington pols, I can sympathize, but I suspect he didn't do much chit chatting in High school either. Seriously, a casual(not sure how casual) pot smoker would be in the druggie sub group at my sort of square High School.

Steve Sailer said...

"I'll bet it would not be more than 5% of the variance-"

5% would be a big deal. You can explain much of politics by basic demographics such as race, marital status, region, parents' politics, and so forth. To explain 5% of the rest based on perceptions of school experience would be huge.

Steve Sailer said...

Obama was a Jock (state champion basketball benchwarmer) and Druggie (Choom Gang). In college, he was in the Multiculturals / Internationals (but definitely not the Blacks), especially the Pakistani Mafia. And he was on the fringes of the Creative Writers and Lefty Intellectuals.

The interesting thing about Obama is that he wasn't a leader in any of his social cliques. His friends looked upon him as a cool guy, but not somebody you'd turn to when you needed to get anything done.

Difference Maker said...

I was naturally domineering and aggressive but also shackled by Christian mores. The Bible must be explained to be not literal for children.

Then came the sleep deprivation, or all would been fine. All would have sorted itself out - what with pretty girls, athleticism, public speaking, musical talent, the best scientific mind in the high school, all accruing to me

I can feel the glory and power now

Whiskey said...

Writing nasty stuff in columns or books is not a path to power. Wolfe is wrong on that one. If you look at past Presidents, the path to power is being part of a dynasty: JFK, Bush I and Bush II, arguably Obama. Or acting: Reagan. Or law-hustling and influence peddling (Clinton). Or moralist versions of the same (Carter, Obama). Or angry middle/working class law hustling and influence peddling (Nixon).

The Military has been a loser since Ike, America has moved to the law and influence peddling as the path to power since WWII, just ask Presidents Dole, McCain, McGovern. Also a loser: Business. Just ask Presidents Perot, Romney.

Of course being Black, and a law-hustler, is about as powerful as you can get. Writing stuff, about as meaningless.

kaganovitch said...

I think we should'nt forget the pernicious influence of siggy freud and the stranglehold he maintained on the culture until very recently to explain the overemphasis on early childhood and consequent under emphasis on adolescence

Modern Abraham said...

I remember being surprised to learn that in Germany athletics is not something that is handled through the school system- kids who want to play organized sports have to join separate athletic clubs. A bit of relief from the hothouse aspects of high school, where you study, work, socialize, date, and play sports within the same tightly-controlled community of people.

If more studies like this get attention, count on home-schooling and "apprenticeship" to be the next, big SWPL fad. Once shorn of its fundamentalist Christian taint, home-schooling has everything SWPL's love- it's basically artisinal child-rearing.

Silver said...

I also have no idea who was "dominant" in my first grade class, and I doubt if Wolfe could remember such a thing either.

I don't know about that. I think I had some idea. I can easily remember being keenly aware of who the troublemakers were and who the well-behaved kids were. I don't think I started drawing deep distinctions between who was incurably dumb and seriously smart until age 8 (which for me was 3rd grade), which was also about the time I started thinking about the qualities of the most popular kids (I wasn't among the most popular and it used to bug me).

Steve Sailer said...

I suspect that if anybody can recall who was dominant on the playground at age 6, it's Tom Wolfe. I'd like to see him write his autobiography about the 33 years of his life before he suddenly became famous in 1964.

I can piece together parts of his life, such as that he hated being a poor grad student but stuck it out to get his Ph.D. in American Studies at Yale. But there are parts that appear obscure.

Yale's American Studies program was sort of a CIA front, so it would be interesting to know what Wolfe thought of the CIA boys he knew at Yale. Did it ever occur to them that Wolfe might be an interesting asset in some capacity?

He's the grandmaster of the emotion of embarrassment (c.f., "I Am Charlotte Simmons"), but I can't recall ever hearing from him what was the most embarrassing moment in his life. Whatever it was, I suspect that it creatively gnaws at him still.

Peter the Shark said...

Actually, at my elite private high school (which my middleclass parents struggled to afford because i had a high IQ, which they wanted cultivated), the football players, the class officers, the bullies were all a bunch of flaming liberals.

I've never met flaming liberal football players, even at liberal places like Wesleyan. You're team must have really sucked ass.

DaveinHackensack said...

"He's the grandmaster of the emotion of embarrassment (c.f., "I Am Charlotte Simmons"), but I can't recall ever hearing from him what was the most embarrassing moment in his life. Whatever it was, I suspect that it creatively gnaws at him still."

I saw a clip recently (here on your blog?) of Wolfe telling an interviewer about some incident from decades ago (the 1960s?) that still gnawed at him. Wolfe described it as a humiliation, but it didn't seem terribly humiliating the way he described it. Wolfe was trying to catch a cab on a cold night in New York, and another guy who got there at about the same time jumped in and took it. And Wolfe still wonders whether he should have started a fight with the guy. Something like that.

deep_jr said...

Reshirting also gives a noticeable social advantage in the later years of high school: being the first among your grade cohort with a driver's license/car.

Dr Van Nostrand said...



The pudgy Newt Gingrich who had an affair with both his high school and college teachers called for an to adolescence and by extension- high school.

Make what you will of that!





Dr Van Nostrand said...



I went to all boys school and wore uniforms.I think this takes the edge of a great deal of Darwinism that is prevalent in high schools.
To be sure there was violence and fighting, but violence and hostility motivated by sexual jealousy in a coed setting is a great deal more dangerous,insidious and long lasting than between two boys duking it out over some silly slight.
I am still good friends with the guy who gave me a broken nose and vice versa.

Girls hate to admit it but they are flattered that they are able to bring boys to blows over them.

Anonymous said...

Whites don't want their children to go to school with blacks because their daughters get constantly hit on by sexually aggressive black males.

SFG said...

"I saw a clip recently (here on your blog?) of Wolfe telling an interviewer about some incident from decades ago (the 1960s?) that still gnawed at him. Wolfe described it as a humiliation, but it didn't seem terribly humiliating the way he described it. Wolfe was trying to catch a cab on a cold night in New York, and another guy who got there at about the same time jumped in and took it. And Wolfe still wonders whether he should have started a fight with the guy. Something like that."

Must be one of these North-South things. Somebody in NYC acted like a jerk? So what else is new?

It's the flipside of that stupid Jewish guy in Iowa who whined because people kept telling him he had a hunting dog.

Cail Corishev said...

"I also have no idea who was "dominant" in my first grade class, and I doubt if Wolfe could remember such a thing either."

We all knew who was the smartest in my first grade class. The smartest kid was voted class president in the first week or so, because young kids figure smarts mean you should be in charge, even though that kid was shy and had absolutely no interest in such things.

We (the boys, anyway) also knew who was better at sports, and choosing teams on the playground became predictable very quickly. It also didn't take long to recognize who would be the target of bullies.

I suspect the girls were doing the same thing, but based on other criteria like clothes or looks.

I don't know if I'd call all that "dominance," though. (Maybe I'd think differently had I been at the bottom.) We were sorting, but it didn't really turn into a hierarchy until later years. I also attended pretty small schools, so we didn't have enough kids for all the separate cliques that big schools have.

Eric Rasmusen said...

"I often think it's comical--Fal, lal, la!
How Nature always does contrive--Fal, lal, la!
That every boy and every gal
That's born into the world alive
Is either a little Liberal
Or else a little Conservative!"

--Iolanthe

Dahinda said...

"Their politics were set for life in the schoolyard at age six. They were the weak, and forever after they resented the strong." I knew a lot of wimpy little guys who were bullied but grew up to be the most vocal conservatives. Also, if liberals represent the wimpy kids, are conservatives then bullies?

all-city jock said...

And this isn't just idle speculation. No fewer than three Slate editors (all female - Jodi Kantor, Kathleen Kincaid, Judith Shulevitz) justified their 2000 votes for Gore by saying Bush reminded them of a school bully.

But do you believe it? I'd never take these plaints at face value. When I was in high school, the Jewish girls had virtually no contact with the jock-jerks because (a) they were too ugly to bother with, and (b) they thought they knew everything (freudianism) so they were insufferable to be around.

Anonymous said...

high-end models need to be tall (Liv Tyler is 5'10").


Which is in "freakish" territory. That's six inches above the female norm. How many 6'4" male actors or models do you see? None. In fact the tendency is for male actors to be shorter than average.

Anonymous said...

I remember being surprised to learn that in Germany athletics is not something that is handled through the school system- kids who want to play organized sports have to join separate athletic clubs


That's the case in most (all?) European countries.

Anonymous said...

Would neo-progo urbanism be possible without open borders?
We generally focus on the talents of the urban economy--the computer geeks, artists, lawyers, financiers, businessmen, and etc--, but the underbelly that makes urban revival possible is cheap labor, usually of immigrants, legal or illegal.

A city cannot live on top talent alone. Top talent have lots of dough and can afford just about anything, but there's also middle talent and lower talent among the 'creative' class, and these people have to watch their wallets.
What makes urban living affordable to them is cheap labor of immigrants. Without immigrants, most restaurants would have to hire blacks(troublesome) or whites(who demand higher wages). Blacks are not only lazier and crazier but, if fired, can cry 'racism' and sue or act like Omar Thorton.

While top talents can afford anything, the lesser talents would be able to afford restaurants, nightlife, and other amenities of urban living ONLY IF there's lots of cheap supply of labor. If someone wants to open a small business, it sure helps to hire cheap immigrant labor.
Of course, there's longterm cost to immigrant labor. Children of Mexicans don't do well. And immigrants eat up tax dollars too. But urban libs would rather make the money and pay taxes than not make any money at all due to lack of cheap immigrant labor. If one can hire Mexicans, one can run a small food business and pay taxes. Without Mexicans, one may not be able to run any kind of business in the first place, especially in expensive cities.
It's funny. Liberals pass all kinds of regulations that make it tougher and more costly for businesses. So, businesses must hire illegal immigrant labor to cut costs. Rules raise the costs of doing business, so businesses must break the rules by hiring illegal labor.

What would happen to NY, Chicago, San Fran, and etc. if all the immigrant labor were to vanish? While top talents will continue to do well, lesser talents will find cost of living rise. And small businesses will have a harder time hiring cheap labor. Restaurants will have to raise prices, and fewer will be able to enjoy nightlife.
But it will hurt top talent too. The very rich need the lesser rich to support urban ecosystem or metrosystem as a whole. Very Rich folks wanna be surrounded by Rich folks who wanna be surrounded by near-rich folks who wanna be surrounded by upper middle class folks who wanna be surrounded by middle class folks who wanna be surrounded by lower middle class folks and so on. Very rich folks don't wanna be surrounded by poverty. No matter how rich one is, he's not gonna wanna live in Detroit. To prop up the lesser rich and middle class in cities, there has to be cost-cutting measures to make expensive city living less expensive, and that is immigrant labor. Rich folks don't just want money; they want to be part of a community, and that means being surrounded by concentric circles of lesser and lesser privilege.

Anonymous said...

I remember being surprised to learn that in Germany athletics is not something that is handled through the school system- kids who want to play organized sports have to join separate athletic clubs. A bit of relief from the hothouse aspects of high school, where you study, work, socialize, date, and play sports within the same tightly-controlled community of people.



I grew up in Ireland: As in Germany, the schools are places of academic learning and nothing else.

You could never have the elaborate American class structure of nerds and jocks and cheerleaders and so on (such a staple of American teen movies) in an Irish or German setting. There is no school football team, no school cheerleaders, no school band. And so the children are never split up into those categories. I never even considered the existence of such groups until I came to America. Of course here it is widely taken for granted that these categories reflect bedrock human nature. (They don't)

There was a time I envied the American system. But the more I learn about it the more it seems overbearing and claustrophobic and stifling.

rob said...

DaveinHackensack said...

...Wolfe telling an interviewer about some incident from decades ago (the 1960s?) that still gnawed at him. Wolfe described it as a humiliation, but it didn't seem terribly humiliating the way he described it...Wolfe still wonders whether he should have started a fight with the guy. Something like that.


It's different for Southern guys. Among the Yankees physical fights are mostly a lower class thing.Even in the upper-classes in the South masculinity is tied to physical violence. If you hit someone after he provoked you, you'd probably feel bad about losing your temper. If someone were trying to provoke me, I'd feel bad if I didn't hit him.

Anonymous said...

"Differential rates of sexual maturation help explain why liberal white parents are so averse to sending their children to junior high schools and high schools with large numbers of blacks. The earlier sexual maturation of blacks puts their kids at a disadvantage at a tender age. They especially don't want their sons to develop inferiority complexes that can be hard to shake."

I don't know about this. I think parents just don't want their kids to be bullied, and I mean physically. (Of course, black schools are also academic cesspools.) While physical intimidation may affect psychological well-being, I'm not so sure that white liberal parents are worried about 'inferiority complex' among their white sons.
If so, why do liberals promote and embrace so much in popular culture that wussifies, demeans, mocks, ridicules, and demoralizes white male pride, courage, strength, and honor? Why do rich white liberals indulge in stuff like DJANGO UNCHAINED? Why do rich white/Jewish music industry folks promote rap music that is all about black stud-thug power that can whup the white boy's ass? Why is Ken Burns the ultimate SWPL scholar of white wussyboy worship of black creativity and muscle? Think of JAZZ and UNFORGIVABLE BLACKNESS.

The entire media complex promotes images and ideas that demand that white males(straight ones at least) feel inferior. Liberals in the 2012 election rejoiced about how Romney got his ass kicked by a black guy. Libs joked about how white cons reacted to Romney's loss like their wives had sex with a black guy. Tim Wise and his ilk are invited to schools to give lectures demeaning white boys. Colleges are run by administrators and professors who push the castration of white males. White liberal mothers raise their boys to be wussy worshiper of black charisma(MLK), gay sainthood(Milk), feminist bitchery, and etc.

So, white liberal parents don't care about their white sons feeling inferior. The operative word isn't 'inferiority complex' but 'inferiority comfort'. According to PC, white males should be wussyass white boys who should feel comfortable with their inferiority(sexual, athletic, and musical vis-a-vis blacks; intellectual and moral vis-a-vis Jews; work ethic and determination vis-a-vis Asians; creative vis-a-vis gays, etc); white boys ought to be resigned to a future of inferiority in a more 'diversely empowered' world.

Political correctness has no place for white male pride UNLESS the white male attacks politically incorrect white males. So, Lawrence O'Donnell acts like an angry tough guy but in the name of shitting on other white males who aren't as 'progressive' and 'compassionate' as he is. (He's just a stupid barking dog of his Jewish masters.)
Chris Matthew's clitoric leg is the symbol of white male inferiority comfort. Matthews admits that he, a dorkass white boy, goes wee wee in his underpants when he listens to a Real Man like Obama with style, charisma, and presence. He has no white male pride but he feels pride in his acceptance of inferiority. He's proud to admit that his leg cuckolds him with Obama.

Though white liberalism castrates white boys and reduces them to inferiority COMFORT, no parent wants his kid to be beat up in school or be bullied. And that is why white liberal parents keep their kids away from dangerous schools. They wanna castrate their boys, but castrated boys are even wussier, and such boys must be protected from tough boys.

It's like Nurse Ratched in CUCKOO'S NEST mentally castrates the men in her ward but is also very protective of them. Psychologically pussify, physically protect.

Anonymous said...

I do remember reading that Tarantino suffered terrible bullying from blacks at his public school.
He left school shortly before turning sixteen because of this.
He had a mixed race step dad and his mothers best friends were black women.
No wonder he's so messed up.

FWG said...

Kid comes out in award acceptance speech:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/high-school-senior-comes-gay-while-accepting-award-230305217.html

Award speeches sure have changed since my day.

Simon in London said...

Worth noting that American High School is highly aberrant, though. High school in most other nations is very different; social interactions and stratifications are different; eg sport is usually far less important and 'jocks' have far less social status, etc.

DYork said...

Kurt Vonnegut's opinion.

Anonymous said...

A more practical problem with earlier sexual maturation

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/9823234/Boy-11-admits-raping-six-year-old-girl.html

Anonymous said...

All I remember from my high scool days was being bullied.

ironrailsironweights said...

didn't know this was so common until I saw the ages of the kids killed in the New Town attack. 20 first-graders, all being at least 6 and 4 of them being 7, in December! When I went to school a random distribution should have put roughly half at 5 and half at 6.

This evidence doesn't support what you are saying. All kids must be at least 6 to go to first grade. Four of the 20 had their birthdays by January, unsurprisingly. So 1/5 were seven by the time that 1/2 of the school year had passed. We should expect that more like 1/3 would be seven by January if all of them have to be seven by September.

Connecticut school districts use a December 31 cutoff date for determining grade eligibility. A 5-year-old can start first grade so long as he or she will turn six by December 31, which is typically about four months after the start of the school year. It is not surprising that there were no 5-year-old victims of the shooting as it occurred just 17 days prior to the end of the year and the cutoff date. In other words, only a child born between December 15 and December 31, 2006 could have been five years old at the time of the shooting.

Nor do the profiles of the victims support the idea that parents often "redshirt" boys to allow them to become more mature before starting school. Two of the four 7-year-old victims were girls. More to the point, all of them had been born in the last few months of 2005. It has long been common for parents of children born late in the calendar year to hold them back a year so they won't be among the youngest in their classes.

Peter

Anonymous said...

"Wolfe was trying to catch a cab on a cold night in New York, and another guy who got there at about the same time jumped in and took it."

In NY, that sort of thing is the norm.
If you live in NY long enough, rudeness is the way of life. To be sure, it's been some time since I lived there so maybe things are mellower now.

But I remember in the 80s and early 90s how going from NY to other places was like a culture shock. Even other big cities are 'nice' compared to NY.

DCThrowback said...

Anytime the discussion comes around to High School, you have to remember the Derb's quote about the (only) two things you can (really) do for your kids:

1.) Give them good genes
2.) Don't surround them w/ idiots during their most impressionable (HS) years.

Makes a lot of sense to me.

Steve Sailer said...

Okay, the name of the dominant athlete in my first grade was John Hanley. From Baseball Reference, I see that John grew up to be 6'-4" and 210 pounds and he played five years in the minor leagues in the White Sox organization, with a best season of hitting .289 with 23 homers and 90 RBIs at Modesto in Class A ball in 1980. Never made the Big Leagues, but he was a pretty good athlete, just like he seemed in first grade.

Anonymous said...

"All I remember from my high scool days was being bullied."

I love highschool.
From 3rd to 6th grade, I went an integrated elementary public school in the city. With each passing year, the classes got less white and more black. It was 70% white in 3rd grade but only 10% white by 6th grade, with rest being black, hispanic, asian(lots of vietnamese with recent boat people influx), and etc.

Then we moved, and middle school yrs were pretty cool.
My high school had lots of whites, Jews, and Asians--and very few hispanics and just a handful of blacks--and most were nice. And nice teachers too, and this was in the early 80s, long after the craziness of the 60s/early 70s and before the rise of PC in the late 80s. A wonderful time at a wonderful school.

Anonymous said...

"I do remember reading that Tarantino suffered terrible bullying from blacks at his public school."

But he still worships blacks cuz they got the style and power.

------

I wonder...

Though I'm most certainly wrong, do you suppose Tarry made DU because he's planning a movie where a white guy kills a whole bunch of blacks? If Tarry didn't make DU, he'd be accused of 'racism' for making a movie where a white guy kills lots of blacks.
But DU can serve as cover for a movie where heroic white guy kills a bunch of blacks.

Anonymous said...

"Kid comes out in award acceptance speech"

Faux-courage, just like 'leftism' in college is faux-radicalism.

Today, you are showered with love and approval if you come out. What took courage in the past is no more. If anything, it takes more courage for gays to remain in the closet as other gays will hassle him or her to death to come out!!!

But really...

so, he came out with the fact that he likes to come inside men's fecal holes. I mean ewwwwww.

Corn said...

"If more studies like this get attention, count on home-schooling and "apprenticeship" to be the next, big SWPL fad. Once shorn of its fundamentalist Christian taint, home-schooling has everything SWPL's love- it's basically artisinal child-rearing."
This comment may prove very prescient. Just a week or two ago there was an article circulating around the conservative internet about groups of middle-upper middle class parents homeschooling in New York City... Manhattan no less IIRC.

Truth said...

"I do remember reading that Tarantino suffered terrible bullying from blacks at his public school.
He left school shortly before turning sixteen because of this.
He had a mixed race step dad and his mothers best friends were black women.
No wonder he's so messed up."

Well hey, Sport, that leads to an excellent question, which I'll get to in a second.

Tarantino is a very wealthy man who is internationally known, has banged Uma Thurman and Mira Sorvino, and is mentioned in college lectures, magazines, and industry publications from coast to coast and around the world. He has changed the way movies are made, clawed his way to the top of an ULTRA competitive field, and formed a company that releases lesser-known foreign pictures to the American art house, cinephile crowd; so my question is this:

If he's "fucked up", what does that make you?

James Kabala said...

Well, clearly everyone has different experiences, and some have sharper memories - my first grade experience is pretty much a blur, and from what I do remember, recess consisted mainly of running around in a disorganized fashion. There might have a "dominant athlete" in my fourth grade class, but in first grade, I don't think there was much opportunity, because no one was playing real sports.

If Tom Wolfe really still broods about a decades-old incident involving being cut in line for a cab, he is a pretty ultra-sensitive guy.

Steve Sailer said...

Of course Wolfe's an ultra-sensitive guy. He's the single most important American writer of the second half of the 20th Century.

Anonymous said...

"If he's "fucked up", what does that make you?"

Maybe he/she meant you gotta be 'fuc*ed up'(and creative) to fuc* a lot of people. A lot of rock stars are fuc*ed up, but they get lots of chicks.

mel belli said...

but in first grade, I don't think there was much opportunity, because no one was playing real sports.

In my first grade, the opportunity was called dodgeball. I well remember the one guy I could never hit. Forty years later, he hailed me from his UPS truck in downtown san francisco.

not a hacker said...

If he's "fucked up", what does that make you?

Yeah, and Howard Stern's even richer. Hey Steve! We've been missing the real causation vector all along!

Steve Sailer said...

In first and second grade, we played kickball. John Hanley, who went on to have a five year minor league baseball career, was a total stud at kickball. Whichever team had Hanley on it just had him come up to bat (kick?) whenever the bases were loaded. I recall protesting that the way real baseball was played was that everybody batted in order and that therefore I should come up to the plate now with the bases loaded. To my surprise, Hanley, after thinking about this, agreed, so, of course, everybody went along with what Hanley thought. On the spot, I kicked a double off the fence, for my big kickball career triumph.

Cail Corishev said...

Yeah, you don't need "real" sports to tell who the athletes are. Dodgeball, kickball, even a rousing game of duck, duck, goose will sort the nimble from the future water boys right quick.

Anonymous said...

even a rousing game of duck, duck, goose will sort the nimble from the future water boys right quick.


Europe has no water boys, and thus no "future water boys".

One of the errors all humans are prone to is thinking that the social conventions of their own society reflect something profound and eternal about human nature. Once in a while they do, of course, but usually not.

David Davenport said...

To prop up the lesser rich and middle class in cities, there has to be cost-cutting measures to make expensive city living less expensive, and that is immigrant labor.

You're wrong, all wrong. Poor immigrants make bad neighborhoods. Non-rich whites want to move away from bad neighborhoods, which results in higher costs of living for non-rich white folks.

Granted, poor immigrants make cheaper servants, thereby making city living less expensive for the class of those who hire cheap labor. But most of the middle class is more interested in affordable housing than in hiring low wage workers.

Anonymous said...

I never "banged" Uma Thurman, but I have stood downwind of her and can report she stunk like hell.

I met Liv Tyler and the rest of the cast of the movie "Heavy" on a location shoot and can say she doesn't look that tall in person. I think it's maybe the best film she ever did.

Anonymous said...

I'm somehow not surprised thatTarantino got beat up a lot in high school.

Anonymous said...

"I never "banged" Uma Thurman, but I have stood downwind of her and can report she stunk like hell."

Only in isteveophere.

Anonymous said...

"Poor immigrants make bad neighborhoods."

they supply the cheap labor for business, services, construction, and union busting.
libs dare attack unions head-on as democratic party is *supposed* to be the party of the working class.
libs undermine unions by 'diversity' tactics. use minions to undercut unions while professing to protect unions from gop.

Silver said...

On the spot, I kicked a double off the fence, for my big kickball career triumph.

I hated kickball. My kicks never had any power so batting was usually an embarrassing experience. The most embarrassing was psyching myself up for a really big kick once and completely missing the ball. Man, that still kills me. Also, kickball was a teacher-organized (phys ed? probably) activity for us so there was no way out of it. I don't know of any kids ever organizing a game for pure fun though, which is what I gather occurs in America. We used to play British Bulldogs for fun during recess. One hell of a game, that. Strength was an advantage in tackling and breaking tackles, but speed and agility were the most important traits. I am way stronger nowadays and I would dearly love a school reunion playing that again - yep, still some scores to settle, lol.

Anonymous said...

"libs dare attack unions head-on as democratic party is *supposed* to be the party of the working class."

correction:

libs dare NOT

James Kabala said...

"Of course Wolfe's an ultra-sensitive guy. He's the single most important American writer of the second half of the 20th Century."

Touché - but I meant "sensitive" more in the sense in which elementary school teachers use it, where, as an acquaintance of mine once put it, "he's a sensitive boy" is a euphemism for "he cries a lot."

Anonymous said...

"I hated kickball."

Ow, My Balls.

Nick Diaz said...

@Steve Sailer

"Much of modern liberalism consists of people trying to get revenge on the football players they felt inferior to in school."

Wrong. You disprove this hypothesis. looking at pictures of you, it is pretty obvious that you should have embraced loiberalism if your hypothesis were true, and yet you gre up to become a (very)conservative. Hypothesis disproven.

eh said...

From Baseball Reference, I see that John played ... at Modesto in ... 1980

No, he played for Redwood, which was Rohnert Park (Sonoma County). Nice stats. The Cal league is known as "fast" Class-A.

Steve Sailer said...

Right, Redwood, not Modesto and .289 - 23 - 93, with lots of walks. A good season, but they couldn't seem to figure out which position to play him at -- catcher, third, first or outfield. If he could have made it as a catcher with that kind of bat, he likely could have had decent big league career. On the other hand, if he can only play first or left, well, there are lots of guys with that kind of bat. It appears he got hurt the next season, and that was that.

Anyway, at age six in the school yard, his physical dominance at sports was so clear that he ran the games.

Norville Rogers said...

re: Tom Wolfe, wasn't that view of high-school social competition the predominant theme of his previous novel (I think it was about the NYU lax team, or something like that)? Also the tail-end metrics of selection are a major motif in The Right Stuff...

Norville Rogers said...

America also warehouses the young in school way too long; resulting in crappy films like "Mean Girls" that resonate deeply with the dimmer among the symbol-manipulator class. Give them a choice of a certificate or vocational school at age 15, save a lot of money that way