The happiest & unhappiest states in the union

Gallup has compiled various statistics about “well-being” (health, work, emotional satisfaction, etc.) and has come up with a ranking of  states according to how happy they are.  The most happy states, according to this study, are North Dakota and South Dakota.  The least happy is West Virginia.  In general, the happiest states are those of the upper midwest, and the least happy are those of the deep south.

Now I grant that such studies are very limited and that happiness is not all it’s cracked up to be.  But let’s use this as an occasion to discuss regional differences.

See the top 10 and the bottom 10 after the jump, and go to the Gallup site for more details.

How would you account for the differences?  Some preliminary observations and questions:  The least happy states are poorer than normal, though the wealthiest states are not necessarily the happiest.  Is there something about rural economies, wide-open spaces, and/or natural beauty (especially mountains) that correlate to happiness?  What about the religious differences  (Lutheran strongholds vs. Baptist strongholds)?  What else?  And maybe someone who lives there can tell us what’s so great about the Dakotas. [Read more...]

“Erotic liberty” vs. “Religious liberty”

Al Mohler gives us some useful language in thinking about the conflicts of the day:  “Erotic liberty” vs. “Religious liberty.”  And when those two clash, you know which one will prevail. [Read more...]

Gender diversity and language

You thought it was complicated using “non-sexist” pronouns, avoiding the generic “he” for “he or she” or using “they” as a non-gendered singular?  Consider the travails of a binary language in a world of 58 genders. [Read more...]

The 58 gender options

When you give your gender, that used to be a clear choice between “male” or “female.”  But now, given the LGBT revolution, Facebook is giving 58 options.  See the complete list after the jump. [Read more...]

Superiority + insecurity + discipline = success?

Amy Chua, the author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has written with Jed Rubenfeld another controversial book about ethnic drive: The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.

Members of certain cultural groups do really well in terms of economic and social success.  Others don’t.  Those that do, according to the book, have three traits:  a sense of cultural superiority; a sense of personal insecurity about measuring up to that superiority; and strong self-discipline and capacity for delayed gratification.  We’ll let the Washington Post book reviewer explain after the jump, though I want to make some religious connections. [Read more...]

Leno kicked out while he’s ahead

Jay Leno is off the Tonight Show as of last night.  NBC wants to hand off the iconic gig to someone of the younger generation, namely, Jimmy Fallon.  Never mind that Leno is going out at #1 in his time slot.  Never mind that Leno is #1 with the younger generation (the 18-49 demographic) that NBC is trying to attract with Fallon.

But ratings are not everything in the television industry.  Nor, despite economic theory, are profits everything in the corporate world.  Those who run the entertainment industry and America’s other businesses want the approval of their peers, feel cultural pressure, and yearn to be cool.  Those things can be more motivating than money and success. [Read more...]


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