Monthly Archives: February 2008

the recognitions

There’s that saying “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.”  Why is there a saying: “Just because there’s a phenomenon called impostor syndrome doesn’t mean you are not an impostor.”  Except, not about you.  You aren’t an impostor and if you think otherwise that’s just more evidence of how insidious impostor syndrome is.  Me, on the other hand, I’m the real deal impostor-wise.  I am the splotchy green canvas a drunk guy whipped up in a few hours and am now trying to pass myself off as a Vermeer.

speaking of social psych and hollywood…

(I realize that I haven’t blogged in weeks and now it’s two times in an hour, but bear with me)

Back in my Intro to Soc days I used to have students do this project on stigma.* Within minutes of my last post, a friend shared a link to this little Hollywood adaptation of that assignment (although I had students work in teams of two, not two hundred).

Continue reading

social psychology goes hollywood.

I’m sure that I’m not the only social psychology instructor that hates to show any part of the Stanford Prison Study because of the lackluster video and sound recording (especially evident about a minute into this excerpt). I mean it’s such an important and influential experiment – methodologically, ethically, and intellectually – one would hope that the documentation of research with such ramifications would be perfect or at least better than it is. However, I’m not sure that an endeavor like this is the answer. Continue reading

and in other news

My TA recently approached me about students in our class (stats/methods).

TA: I think we need to reassess where our students are.
SK: Oh, really? Why?
TA: Um… well… one just came up to me and asked, “what is this thing – a ‘mean’ – that he keeps talking about?”
SK: Oh! [eyes widened, worried surprise]
TA: Yeah, well, that’s not the problem. I said, “Oh! It’s just another term for the average” and the student replied, “Oh. Okay. How do you calculate that?”
SK: … [speechless]

At this moment I realized that I had assumed much too much. And that a sizable chunk of the class could have no idea what I’m talking about. And that this has been going on for more than a month now. On Tuesday I think I’m going to give a non-graded, evaluative math quiz with basic concepts – just to see where they are. I won’t even ask them to put their names on it. But I worry a bit that this will freak them out and/or seem condescending. But I don’t know how else to see where they all stand. After this, I have a little less faith in the world.

i’m pathetic

This is both a story about how I’m pathetic, and (cleverly) a way to brag. Soon, Top Chef begins. And through some mystical process, I have managed to get invited to watch the opening with one of the contestants! So I get the evite today and notice that only ten of us will be there. And so I think to myself, “woo! it’s exclusive!” So now I feel as if my experience isn’t cheapened by being common. And I can more legitimately claim my own significance.  God, I’m a snot sometimes. I guess there’s no wondering why I study elites…

on superdelegates

I’m not usually an especial fan of this sort of humor, but this clip made me laugh out loud here in my office several times.  I mean, not a big guffawing laugh but the little snorty laugh I do. [HT: Gwen and Cap'n Crab]

whiteness studies

Readers review a gallon of milk on Amazon. [HT: Lucy]

lie detector

Remember in Quiz Show where the producers rigged the game show so that the guy won week after week and then blew it on a comparatively very easy question, because that was more poignant and had a compelling irony? Lo, via a Washington Post blog:

If you’ve missed [Fox's "The Moment of Truth"], I’ll summarize: contestants undergo a pre-show interview strapped to a polygraph and are then asked questions about every deep and dirty secret in their life. On the air, the contestant sits before a couch filled with loved ones [...] and are then asked about these questions. If they answer truthfully, money. [...] If their answers are false–based on the pre-interview polygraph results–they get the boot with nothing.

Watch this clip first, and then let’s talk.

Holy Cow, right? The short version of the story is that this week’s contestant seems to have blown her life to bits in short order for um, zero dollars. She confessed to stealing money from work and avoiding sex with her husband. And then a slew of other not such good things [e.g., being in love with someone else and having cheated on her husband]. But she keeps answering truthfully and being rewarded with money.

What is amazing is she’s ultimately undone when she answers the question: Do you think you’re a good person? She says yes. False! She thinks she’s a bad person! Since she confessed to being adulterous and lying it kind of seems like she might have realized her conscience might be in conversation with the polygraph.

This clip is so fake-o I can’t believe it’s been first a television and now Internet sensation. I especially like the part in the middle (@ 4:30) where the host asks the husband if he’s been unhappy, immediately after the wife admits to being in love with an ex-boyfriend, and the husband says “Sometimes. (ludicrously fake somber dramatic pause, then softer) Sometimes.”

Update, next day:  This is a quote from the husband in a story about the episode in the New York Post: “Everything that was mentioned during this show, we had talked about before. We’ve had our issues. Unfortunately, now they’re not just our problems. Everyone knows about it.”

i knew it was bad, but…

I didn’t realize how bad. I know that others here (and readers) know far more about this than I do. But really? 1 in 100 U.S. adults are behind bars? I have recently been feeling that we’re moving to a moment of Marx’s revenge. It may not be proletariat and bourgeoisie, but I feel like we’re stretching out into two groups. I did a little thought experiment. How many people do I know who are in jail? None. And I’m not talking about friends here. I’m also thinking about my extended networks. I don’t know anyone. Given that 1 in 9 black men between 20 and 34 are in jail, the answer for other Americans is, a lot.

I looked at the map of prisoner increases by state (see after the break). But my prediction was wrong. Where would you guess the increase is?

Continue reading

shhhh…it’s a secret (that everyone knows)

Based on popular demand  (n=2), I’m raising a question from today’s “ask a scatterbrain” comments thread from “off topic” to the topic

Is it possible to be on the job market “on the down low”?  Continue reading

article title of the day

The Economics of Workaholism: We Should Not Have Worked on This Paper” by Daniel Hamermesh and Joel Slemrod.

how to diminish the influence of economics

1. Expend energy railing against the Patriot Employer Act, co-sponsored by Barack Obama. What’s to hate about it? From the Economist‘s Free Exchange blog (h/t Mark Thoma):

There is much to dislike in the bill. Essentially, it offers employers a tax credit, worth one percent of taxable income, in exchange for adherence to a set of economic limitations. Among them are: a minimum wage, minimum standards on retirement and health plans, and protections for workers and headquarters based in America.

Yeah, that Obama sure is History’s Worst Monster for wanting to give corporations a modest tax incentive to do that sort of stuff. (They do need to hire a Frank Luntz type to come up with a better short title for the bill, though.)

A couple of European academics go much further in calling this package “reactionary, populist, xenophobic and just plain silly.” It perhaps goes without saying that, were Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert somehow to lose their sinecures, they wouldn’t have to pray to the gods of health that they not get too sick for a while. Or perhaps they’re just part of a movement, which I’ve found curious, of neoliberal Euroeconomists who seem want to show their pals at Chicago how tough they are. Or, as Charlie Stross put down New Labour:

And lo, in the thrusting entrepreneurial climate of the early nineties a new government came into power with the remit to bring about the triumph of true socialism by privatising the post office and air traffic control systems…

And it might be prudent to verify that the U.S. doesn’t get thrusted by its entrepreneurial climate before frothing at the mouth about the evils of populism.

what matters? ask a scatterbrain

From a student:

I’m a few years away from the job market. But not THAT far away. What matters? Everyone I talk to alternates between telling me how hard it is to predict the job market while acting surprised that I’m not doing what I “should”. So, what “should” I do? What matters on my CV? What matters that isn’t on my CV?

pedagogy of the powerless

I decided that with this morning’s class I would finally master the mojo of integrating video clips into my lecture. After all, the topic was “authority,” which meant giving some consideration of–you have to see this coming–the Milgram experiment. I downloaded a program to convert YouTube/Google clips into .mwhatever files, and upgraded QuickTime so that I could edit and splice excerpts. I decided on four short clips, figured out where they would go in my presentation, and had everything ready to go on the hard drive of my office machine when I went home last night.

What are the odds that my hard drive would crash? Nil, right? Indeed, my hard drive did not crash. Instead, I get up here at 5 this morning and there is no electricity in the sociology building. I worked for awhile from the 24-hour Burger King down the block and then just going back in the falling snow to my apartment. The power didn’t come back on until after my class. I ended up explaining how the Milgram experiment working using a weary pantomime. Oof.

book writing: so exciting i might hurl

OMG! I am reading the copyedits of my book and making almost-final revisions! Squeee!

I don’t know what is wrong with me, but for whatever reason, I have this feeling of excitement combined with nervousness that seems to be building upon itself into a crazy whirlpool of doom/glee in my stomach. Why the doom? Why not just glee? I don’t know for sure, but I have a hunch.

Nonetheless, I think it is a promising sign that, when my publisher sent me the snippet they put together for promotional materials, my reaction was, “Wow! That book sounds really interesting. I would totally read that book.” Hopefully, others who may not have spent many years researching that exact topic will feel the same.

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