He That Increaseth Sorrow Increaseth Knowledge: Or, Notes on Meritocracy

This is a great piece but I guess the reason the end disappointed me is that it turns out to be a sardonic, passive-aggressive (not that there's anything wrong with that) reaffirmation of the meritocratic winners' authority, when what I would rather read is somebody's portrait of alternative authorities. So sure, here's a list of reasons I've seen real people be treated as authorities. Andrews's list would be different no doubt but that's precisely why I would have liked to read it....None … [Read more...]

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“The New Ruling Class”: Helen Andrews

on the beginning and middle of the meritocratic era: Last fall, Toby Young did something ironic. Toby is the son of Michael Young, the British sociologist and Labour life peer whose 1958 satire The Rise of the Meritocracy has been credited with coining the term. Toby has become an education reformer in his own right, as founder of the West London Free School, after a celebrated career as a journalist and memoirist (How to Lose Friends and Alienate People). In September, he published an … [Read more...]

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“Terry Castle: The Anti-Paglia”: Helen Andrews

alerts us: ...Like Paglia, Castle’s entrée into the literary tradition of sexual inversion was a teenage fascination with Oscar Wilde—she dreamed of being “male, dandified, and in some sort of filial relationship to various 1890s Decadents.” Unlike Paglia, her grown-up persona is less flamboyant, more Jamesian. Indeed, the two ladies juxtaposed remind me a little of Wilde and Henry James circa Guy Domville: Wilde the crowd-pleaser reigns supreme over the London stage, for now; James, no less of … [Read more...]

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A Couple Best-Of Lists from Wesley Hill and Helen Andrews

Hill: ...I write often about the consolations of friendship, hospitality, and Christian community, but sometimes I wonder if I’m too sanguine, writing as if these were easily attainable and capable of straightforward engineering. These three books, in very different ways, puncture my naivety. more!Andrews: ...Any culture that bestows fame on fiery young radicals will see some of them punished with remorse in old age, but there are surprisingly few role models for writers who find t … [Read more...]

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“Their Decadence and Ours”: Helen Andrews

right in her wheelhouse--provocative & insightful: Fundamentally, the difference between the two movements was that the English thought decadence was just a game. Only after intense personal suffering did they come to realize what the French had known from the beginning, that it was serious business in which a person could—almost certainly would—get hurt. more … [Read more...]

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