No Horror But the Class Horror: Short movie reviews with an unexpected theme

Compulsion: The other, other Leopold and Loeb flick (after Rope and Swoon, although idk, maybe Swoon is one of those things Only 90s Kids Will Remember) and it's definitely worth watching if that sounds like your bag. Unlike Rope, Compulsion focuses on the social context: Prohibition--the law that everybody was above!--and the Golden Age of the gutter press. The KKK burning a cross outside the Clarence Darrow-analogue's window. The fake surnames in this one are super Jewish, is what I'm … [Read more...]

“The Rise of the Cashless City”: The Guardian

this is a good piece in the Grauniad: ...Could we see a whole city go cash-free? From Seoul to Bergamo, cities big and small are at the forefront of a global drive to go digital. Many of us are happy to tap cards or phones to hop on a bus, buy a coffee or pay for groceries, but it raises the prospect of a time we no longer carry any cash at all.No spare change for the busker at the station, the person sleeping rough in need of a hot drink, the market trader, the donation box. Although even … [Read more...]

Why Don’t Blue-Collar Workers Just Take Pink-Collar Jobs?: Megan McArdle

vs economists who scold men for not becoming the New Soviet Persyn the market demands: Why can’t a woman be more like a man? Henry Higgins demands to know in "My Fair Lady." These days, labor economists are asking the opposite question: Why can't a man be more like a woman?The decline of traditionally male blue-collar work like manufacturing has left many men adrift. There are growth industries, such as health care, where some of these men could get work. But they don’t seem to be taking adv … [Read more...]

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...]

“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...]

“When the Neighborhood Changes”: Matthew Loftus

covers a lot of ground quickly: [Baltimoreans] have good reason to be afraid. Some places are using “artwashing” — the practice of drumming up the art scene in a neighborhood or building to drive out lower-income residents in preparation for higher-income tenants — to advance gentrification. Indeed, much of New Urbanism hinges on “reviving” blighted areas of a city with more upwardly mobile residents, with long-term residents simply not included at least and deliberately opposed at worst. A neig … [Read more...]

“Net Worth of White Households in DC Region is 81 Times That of Black Households”: Washington Post

basically runs a press release from the Urban Institute, but since I wanted to read that press release I won't complain: The Urban Institute report, “The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital,” said the Great Recession and housing crisis of 2007 to 2009 exacerbated long-persistent disparities, with black and Hispanic households losing about half of their wealth. In 2013 and 2014, white households in the D.C. area had a net worth of $284,000 while black households had a net worth of $3,500, the … [Read more...]