What I'm reading

Thea Riofrancos: Populism Without The People

POPULISM IS THE SHADOW of representative democracy. Again and again, populist movements emerge and come to thrive in the gap between the promise of collective sovereignty and the disappointing experience of politics as usual.

The Last Psychiatrist: The Maintenance of Certification Exam as Fetish

Last year there was a large cheating scandal at Harvard, over a hundred students were accused of plagiarism in a government class, and amidst the usual self-aggrandizing criticisms of the college kids as entitled, lazy, or stupid, what no one wondered is why, in an introductory survey course predicated on institutionalized grade inflation and no wrong answers, did the students feel compelled to cheat when they were all going to get As anyway? The terrifying answer is that they weren’t cheating to get the right answer, there was no right answer, they were forced to cheat to concoct the answer the professor wanted— because that’s the system. Meanwhile, while they were spending their time “cheating”, what real learning could be done? None. So—- why bother with an exam at all? Why not just offer the course and give everyone an A anyway? Because the purpose of the test is to say a test was given, to prove to some hypothetically gullible entity that learning occurred— and to prove it to ourselves. Which is why our reflex was to criticize the kids, not the system: we are products of that system, to criticize the reliability, let alone validity, of that system would be to open ourselves to scrutiny, to deprive us of a core part of our own identity. “Things were a lot more rigorous when I went to college.” First of all, they weren’t. Second, even if they were, why, when you got to be in charge, did you change the system to this?

David Roth: This is all Donald Trump has left, thanks to @hamonryen on twitter

Like many in his generation, Trump has mistaken the end of his life for the end of the world.

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