Saturday, September 8, 2012


Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 6:00 PM


"… the modern meritocracy dates only to the 1930s,
when Harvard President James Bryant Conant
directed his admissions staff to find a measure of
ability to supplement the old boys’ network. They
settled on the exam we know as the SAT."

— "Tyranny of Merit," by Samuel Goldman,
       a book review dated August 21, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

Merit vs. Meritocracy

Filed under: General — m759 @ 11:02 AM

The New York Times  online opinion today

"Merit has been traditionally equated with intelligence, industriousness, educational attainment, creativity and competency. In a meritocracy, formal qualifications provide opportunity, position is no longer ascribed by birth, and rewards flow to those who excel.

The rise of meritocratic competition as the preeminent means of social stratification in America has been hailed as a welcome advance because it replaced a society dominated by an upper class dependent on inherited wealth and status. The transition to meritocracy has, however, had unintended consequences. In the business sector, particularly, other less benign qualities emerge as essential to meritocratic success: aggressiveness, ruthlessness, dominance-seeking, victimizing behavior, acquisitiveness and the disciplined pursuit of self-interest." 

Journalism professor Thomas B. Edsall discussing remarks last December by Mitt Romney

Note the subtle shift here from "merit" to "meritocracy." Romney used the former word, not the latter.

Note also this sentence, aimed particularly at meritocratic New York Times  readers—

"In a meritocracy, formal qualifications provide opportunity… and rewards flow to those who excel."

Edsall lies. In a meritocracy, rewards flow to those who rubber-stamp "formal qualifications." See particularly Walter Kirn on meritocracy.

Edsall is pandering to Times  readers. Romney was pandering to a different group—

IMAGE- Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks to Republican Jewish Coalition

Monday, September 23, 2019

Reflections in a Cartoon Graveyard

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 11:58 AM

Images from this  journal related to the above cartoon —

(Click images for related posts.)

Hard Candy on Good Friday 2006

A sketch adapted from Girl Scouts of Palo Alto —

Monday, December 17, 2012

Nonlyric Stupidity

Filed under: General — m759 @ 5:35 PM

Or: Being There

(A sequel to last night's Lyric Intelligence )

IMAGE- Book reviews page of William Deresiewicz, showing reviews titled 'Be Here Now' and ''I Was There.''

William Deresiewicz reviews Kurt Vonnegut's 1952 novel Player Piano :

The novel’s prescience is chilling. Six years before the left-wing English
sociologist Michael Young published The Rise of the Meritocracy ,
a dystopian satire that coined that now-ubiquitous final word,
Vonnegut was already there.

Related material:

Intelligence Test , Gombrich,  and, more generally, Stupidity.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Diamond Speech

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:23 AM

IMAGE- Resignation of Robert Diamond as Barclays CEO

"And when I think about the values
that are important to me today,
I think first about meritocracy."

Robert Diamond, Colby College '73, now
Chair of the Colby College Board of Trustees, in a
commencement address on Sunday, May 25, 2008

Other remarks on that Sunday —

Related material from Colby—

IMAGE- Colby College page on mathematician Fernando Q. Gouvea

See also an MAA report on Gouvea from June 6, 2012.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Blue Ribbon

Filed under: General — m759 @ 10:00 AM

"I think there's a lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue-ribbon talk here."

– Chris Matthews on President Obama's Tuesday night speech

And here…

Image-- Detail of New Yorker cover 'Finish Line,' double fiction issue of June 14 & 21, 2010
Detail from cover of current New Yorker
in Thursday afternoon's Log24 post

Related material:

Image-- Nobel Prize-Winning Writer Saramago Dies at 87

See also "Saramago" in this journal
as well as his Nobel Prize lecture.

Word of the Day

Filed under: General — m759 @ 8:28 AM

… and week, year, decade, century…

"I think there's a lot of meritocracy, a lot of blue-ribbon talk here."

— Chris Matthews, at 5:00 of 6:44 minutes in a YouTube video of an MSNBC discussion at the news blog ArlingtonCardinal.com Wednesday morning. The post containing the video was headlined "Word of the Day: Meritocracy."

"There is a growing meme that Mr. Obama is too impressed by credentialism, by the meritocracy, by those who hold forth in the faculty lounge, and too strongly identifies with them."

— Peggy Noonan in today's Wall Street Journal

Some background—

Lost in the Meritocracy:
The Undereducation of an Overachiever

by Walter Kirn, 224 pp. Doubleday, 2009

and the review by Laura Miller in the Sunday,
May 24, 2009, New York Times Book Review.

See also Log24 on this date three years ago
a post on Harvard, Bunker Hill Community College,
and the Mystic River area in between.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Saturday January 22, 2005

Filed under: General — m759 @ 9:00 AM

Go Tigers!

Recommended reading for the
Princeton Evangelical Fellowship (PEF):

Walter Kirn, Lost in the Meritocracy,
Atlantic Monthly Jan.-Feb. 2005

The PEF in action:

The image “http://www.log24.com/log/pix05/050122-PEF.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

"Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness."

— T. S. Eliot 

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