October 25, 2021

Went to Texas this weekend--a great visit.  (Here's looking at you, SMU and Baylor.)  Left me feeling reinvigorated, as if there will be a future again, in which we nerds get together and talk as nerds are wont to talk.  Plus there were tacos; what's not to love?

For you today, what is to love, is links.


“The massive generational cohort born in China in the 1990s, totaling about 175 million people, has fundamentally changed the country’s social structure, social space, and social connections.”  And it was “born digital.”  Here’s a piece about this generation of Chinese, and how deeply they will influence the next 40 years of human history—from their 20s to their 60s, say.  As the author says,“China’s digital natives’ intragenerational differences, intriguing relationships with Chinese authorities, anxieties and ambitions, and views of the country’s role in the world reflect an important evolution that should attract the attention of observers of this rapidly changing country.”  But how?  I want to know more—especially their views of their own country, and the rest of the world.


Sometimes Thomas Edsall of the New York Times drives me crazy; sometimes I agree; almost always I leave one of his pieces much more informed than when I entered it.  Still, I worry for his sanity, as he's kind of occupying the role of a meteorologist in the middle of a hurricane.  This piece is a good example of what he does; it's very thoughtful.


A good piece exploring Carl Schmitt’s popularity, as much as can be discerned, among the ruling class of China.

“At a glance, it seems the “Crown Jurist” enjoys prestige in China for a simple reason: There is a spontaneous affinity between Schmitt’s conceptual contributions to legal and political theory and the Chinese view of world order and human government. As Ryan Mitchell, a professor of law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, brilliantly argues in “Chinese Receptions of Carl Schmitt Since 1929,” the essence of Schmitt’s ideas about politics, culture, law, and society are deployed in China either “as justifications for the total power of the state and the elimination of challenges from civil society…or, alternatively, as articulating dissatisfaction with…the possibilities afforded by Western liberalism.”

Good piece on John Ashbery, and whether his poetry will endure, and if so how.  Interestingly doesn’t pull any punches on recent and contemporary poetry, too.  It has helpful thoughts like this:

“Poets shaped by the internet can’t help but speak from within Ashbery’s “convex mirror,” where “the soul is captive” inside its own image, looking back out at the world. But where Ashbery could see the sphere dispassionately, peeling back layers of subjectivity, they are trapped inside the glass, struggling to describe the curvature that bends their vision.”


This strikes me as a very interesting analysis of Britain since World War II, and of the British left, masquerading as an account of Perry Anderson, the prominent left-wing thinker.

“What needs to be explained is not British economic decline, but growth and radical change; there was discontinuity not continuity. And that is true not just of the UK, but of the world as a whole. The changing dynamics of both combined, inevitably, to produce relative decline in Britain. Indeed, the fastest relative decline took place when the UK did especially well – during the Second World War and in the long post-war boom. Most of the British decline was caused by the success of others, not British failures, and especially not supposed failures in the distant past.”


Yikes: “A 2020 paper by Kenneth Rogoff and Yuanchen Yang shows that Chinese investment in real estate now greatly exceeds U.S. levels at the height of the 2000s housing bubble, both in dollar terms and as a share of G.D.P.”


Finally, as a palate-cleanser--or perhaps a final enricher--here's a great article about a mythic scrimmage but the 1992 USA men’s basketball Dream Team.  “'You understand the respect I have for Michael,' Krzyzewski will say years later, 'but one thing about him -- he cannot be kind.'”


I want to remember to be kind.  I hope you want to remember that, too.  Be well.