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Friday, May 15, 2015

MY LIFE: How I deal with people and maybe why I'm not always the most popular

Thus has got me in trouble, or, at least, not the most popular or liked person. But I pretty much take this approach to everyone. Long as they're not hurting anyone, why not?

DUBNER: You remember the train? Yeah. And he’s having this phone conversation literally as if there’s no one else in the world, which is like a sign of focus or some– oblivion. And but I think that that– you know, I realized a long time ago, when you write about or with people who do unusual things, right? So like, Levitt is an unusual scholar. A lot of the people that we’ve written about in our books are similarly unusual scholars or researchers. Sudhir Venkatesh comes to mind, this guy who Levitt worked with a lot who did research on drug dealers and other stuff. And you realize that when people do very unusual things, particularly for a living, that we really appreciate, we can’t also then turn it around and just say, “But I want them to be exactly normal in every other way.” Right? The things that make people extraordinary almost inherently dictate that they’re gonna be kind of not normal in the way that we think are normal people. So rather than say, “Well, I love that guy’s work, but he’s really weird in this way,” or whatnot, we- I like to just think of them as: these are unusual people, and we appreciate the upside, and we kinda, you know, the other oblivious part–we’ll, it’s cool. We just live with it.

LEVITT: So I would- I mean, there’s a sense in which society pins us down. And tells us- Like there’s things you’re supposed to do and not supposed to do. And you think a lot about the other person. And you learn not to follow the thing that interests you, or the joy, and live for the moment. I mean, a lot of pressure, I think. And, like, you know, I wrote this this paper about abortion and crime. And it was a long time ago in the 90’s, and my co-author was John Donohue. And after it became controversial, he was very upset. He said, “I don’t get invited to parties anymore,” right? “People are so upset at what we wrote in that paper, I don’t get invited to parties.” And he thought that was bad. And so– and I think if you live in a world where you care about whether you get invited to parties, then you have a hard time being true to what you wanna be. And I think we’ve kinda adopted a stance of, “We don’t care if we get invited to parties.” And we’re lucky, you know–we’re lucky enough to have a platform and the freedom to not have real jobs and pursue what we love. And that’s– I don’t know. That’s a wonderful thing to have. And I think we just– we just live in it, and not–don’t worry about it. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

HISTORY - How forcibly assimilated Indians made football!

It's the end of the 19th century -- the Civil War is over, and the frontier is dead. And young college men are anxious. What great struggle will test their character? Then along comes a new craze: football. A brutally violent game where young men can show a stadium full of fans just what they're made of. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Penn -- the sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles. And then the most American team of all, with the most to prove, gets in the game and owns it. The Carlisle Indian School, formed in 1879 to assimilate the children and grandchildren of the men who fought the final Plains Wars against the fathers and grandfathers of the Ivy Leaguers, starts challenging the best teams in the country. On the football field, Carlisle had a chance for a fair fight with high stakes -- a chance to earn respect, a chance to be winners, and a chance to go forward in a changing world that was destroying theirs. 

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