April 16, 2009

The Language Gap

One element of the conventional wisdom about racial achievement gaps that has become particularly popular in recent years is the idea that the gap is caused by the fact that the parents of poor children tend to have small vocabularies and generally don't engage their children in mentally stimulating discussions. Much of this tracks back to a project several decades ago by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley, who recorded 1300 hours of 42 families during various in-home sessions over 2.5 years, and then tabulated every word they said.

Not surprisingly, they found that professional class parents spoke to their children with larger vocabularies, had more interesting things to say, and tended to speak more encouragingly to their children along the lines of "Why, that's a very interesting observation, honey; why do you think that is?" In contrast, the welfare moms' tended to more often interact with their children in the "Shut yo' mouth" mode.

Hart and Risley write:
Before children can take charge of their own experience and begin to spend time with peers in social groups outside the home, almost everything they learn comes from their families, to whom society has assigned the task of socializing children.

I remember when I got the memo from Society informing me that my wife and I had been assigned the task of socializing our children. It came as quite a shock, let me tell you.
We were not surprised to see the 42 children turn out to be like their parents; we had not fully realized, however, the implications of those similarities for the children's futures.

So, the conventional wisdom insists, what we must do is take poor children away from their homes each day from age one upward and put them in day care staffed by college trained professionals from age one onward, who will mentally stimulate them by speaking with large vocabularies.

But, is it really true that "almost everything they learn comes from their families?" Well, no. Among other sources, a lot of what children learn comes from the media.

For example, I've heard about this brightly colored cartoon show about the adventures of a ten-year-old boy and his wacky family, and each episode features the carefully concentrated cognitive liveliness of about a dozen of the most mentally effervescent Harvard graduates of recent years. And it's on free TV twice a day in most cities!

You might have heard of it, too: it's called The Simpsons.

Each of the 450 or so episodes of The Simpsons is a lot more mentally stimulating than listening to your parents or to your daycare worker talk. (Okay, well, some of the episodes from this decade might not live up to that standard, but there are still a couple of hundred good ones.)

By the way, I haven't been able to find anything on Google about the Nielsen Ratings of The Simpsons in black households. It probably doesn't help the shows' rating among blacks that the writers are clearly completely terrified of poking fun at blacks, so the show is kind of boring for black audiences.

Thus, out of the huge cast of recurring characters, the only black ones are Dr. Hibbert and his wife, who go back to the show's ancient rivalry with The Cosby Show, and one each of two interchangeable white-black pairs: Homer's coworkers Lenny and Carl and the cop partners Eddie and Lou. After 20 years, I still can't tell you which one are the black guys and which ones are the white guy. Presumably, the interchangeability of the two white-black pairs is an in-joke from the writers about how afraid they are of touching anything black-related.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

77 comments:

RKU said...

Little wolves are raised by mother wolves, which nip them when they're naughty. Therefore, they naturally go up to bite things they don't like.

Little pigeons are raised in the nest by mother pigeons, which coo over them. Therefore, they too grow up to coo.

The proof of the correctness of the environmentalism/upbringing model of human nature is validated through the entire animal kingdom, and not just among people.

Anonymous said...

The Simpsons? Yeah, FAR better than truly wholesome boob tubeness. If The Simpsons is good, for true "stimulation" why not let the little blank slates imbibe deeply from The Family Guy and South Park, then stand out of the way of the next generation of Lords Of The Flies.

AC said...

What if black children are interested in lighter fare than The Simpsons? That might be caused by genetics but feed back as environmental.

Anonymous said...

Carl, black. Lenny, white.

Kevin Michael Grace said...

I remember reading the Nielsen ratings in USA Today when Seinfeld was the No. 1 rated show in America. Among black viewers it was rated something like No. 82.

Anonymous said...

So, the conventional wisdom insists, what we must do is take poor children away from their homes each day from age one upward and put them in day care staffed by college trained professionals from age one onward, who will mentally stimulate them by speaking with large vocabularies.But when this flawed idea was followed to its logical conclusion with some Australian Aborigine and native Canadian kids, the leftists called it a crime against humanity. Go figure.

If you didn't know, early in the 20th century reassigning kids from such backgrounds to white families was a popular leftist idea. Now they say it was evil. I can easily imagine them changing their mind on it again at some point.

Bill said...

As for blacks liking the Simpsons, I can only say that the Africans I knew in China loved the show, but they liked Beavis and Butthead even more.

Danindc said...

I always thought of poochie as black.

Keep up the Simpsons observations- and I agree that show went downhill big time in 2001-2002- I think they now have woman writers or something. Gotten really liberal, feminist, GOP is the devil, etc. It is barely watcheable now- really, really unfunny. They've even made Homer unlikeable- something I never thought possible.

My favorite minor character was always Professor Frink and I also like the high pitched teenager.

Jeff Burton said...

Little Jefflings are raised to handle firearms and the occasional edged weapon.

Fernandinande said...

Article: "Rather than concede to the unmalleable forces of heredity, we decided that we would undertake research that would allow us to..." maximize employment opportunities for members of... "Copyright by the American Federation of Teachers, AFL•CIO."

RKU said...
Some stuff. I hope you're kidding.

Anonymous said...

Steve, I know your kids are older, but there are now a dizzying array of incredibly well-designed shows for young kids that are pretty cleverly constructed to stimulate cognitive function. A lot of these shows, some of them for free on PBS and a lot more on Nick Jr. and the Disney Channel, use extensive research drawing on everything from pediatric neurology to advertising to put their messages across (mostly things like problem solving, vocabulary building, and pre-K skills). I'd go so far to speculate that shows like Sesame Street (especially the animated interstitials) and Blue's Clues are responsible for a good chunk of whatever Flynn effect has been taking place in the last three decades. Tv programmers simply know a lot more about stimulating the human brain at its most plastic than they used to.

What I don't know, though, is the breakdown of who's actually watching the good shows-- whether they cut across demographic boundaries or whether white and Asian parents are dutifully clicking on Blue's Clues while black and Hispanic parents feed their kids lousy movies on DVD and whatnot. Are there any studies on the subject?

josh said...

Lou and Carl are black. duh.

Anonymous said...

Good white parents don't let their children watch TV at all.

Reg Cæsar said...

I remember the Simpsons being very popular with blacks when they first appeared, enough so to inspire news articles. They indentified with the family at least as much as whites did. That the characters were orange didn't hurt either-- a practical reason to limit the number of darker characters. Blacks could see all of Springfield as the ghetto.

Marge, the tall-haired matron with a drawl; Lisa, the blues saxophonist; Homer, the deep-throated, pudgy doughnut snarfer with the anachronous name; Bart, the incorrigible-but-friendly brat. Except for Homer living in the same house, it's all pretty black.

Anonymous said...

My mother works in an inner city school district teaching 1st and 2nd graders, mostly black and Mexican. Many of the black kids come to school with a vocabulary straight out of hardcore rap but never having used a crayon or scissors before. I don't think having them watch The Simpsons is going to help them much, the problems they have at home are just too large to solve with television programming.

The Mexican kids on the other hand are very polite but don't speak English and can't learn because they spend half the year on the other side of the border. Also it's a drag to the other students to spend time teaching the Mexicans English at a lower level than the rest of the class is learning at.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad they don't actually have black actors doing the voice over work. I remember hearing a black actor once say that a "black show" is any show with a black actor on it. I believe the black characters on the Simpsons and The Family Guy are voiced by white actors...

El Caudillo said...

"Shut yo' mouth" mode

Ha ha ha ha ha!

So Steve!

Anonymous said...

"My favorite minor character was always Professor Frink and I also like the high pitched teenager."

I agree with Charles Murray that "The Simpsons" is wonderful entertainment, but we should strive for much better. That being said... Sideshow Bob is the greatest minor character of them all.

I do have young children: ages 9 years to 12 months. Most of the shows, especially on cable, aimed at the very young, are quite good. "Wonder Pets" is darling. Most suffer, still, from the belief that I.Q. can be raised significantly and permanently. Murray in his latest book, "Real Education", said young children would most benefit from learning facts as they have an awesome gift for memory at this age.

The shortcomings of these shows stand out like a sore thumb after reading that book.

PBS used to be really great, but they have moved fully into the realm where it is no longer secret that the audience they are interested in is minority, especially black. I wouldn't mind such a focus if these shows were on BET, but it's kind of unnerving to see that my government is really only concerned with some children, especially as we're taxpayers.

Also, after PBS got the rights to "Bob the Builder", they retooled it and it is pure Gaia worship and social Marxism. Our children happened to be fans of the show at the time of the switch and the change was simply stunning. My husband flipped out when, of all things, the new Bob pours PINK concrete. "Honey, Did I just see Bob pour pink concrete?!" Asked after umpteen observations of multicultural and feminist drivel. "I think so, but was it pink before? Perhaps they just are trying to be colorful in some ill-advised way." "No, it is a colorful show, but the concrete was gray. Why on earth did they make the concrete pink!!??"

Muswell Hillbilly said...

Steve,

Around the 5th season or so, there was a scene where Homer is watching a black stand-up comic on TV. The black comic seemed to be a sort of parody of Pryor/Murphy whites-are-nerdy bits. It made the black comic look really stupid, because he didn't really tell any jokes or do insightful impressions. But then, the scene might also be taken doubly as making fun of whites, because Homer laughs uproariously at it, "Oh it's true! It's true! We're so lame!"

Then there was another episode where Homer wants to do standup comedy, and he says, "I know, I'll do some jokes about how white people are different than black people... you see, white people have names like 'Lenny,' but black people have names like 'Carl'!"

Jerry Mander said...

"Good white parents don't let their children watch TV at all."

I'm with you anonymous. Last year I threatened one of my children, five at the time, with "making [him] watch television" if he kept on doing whatever naughty thing it was he'd been doing to his sister. His eyes began to tear up, and he pleaded, "No, dad, I'm sorry - please don't make me stupid."

James Kabala said...

Kevin Michael Grace: What a pleasure to see your name in any thread. Is The Ambler about to return from the grave (and can the archives yet be retrieved?), or are you (like Mo in the latest Simpsons episode, oddly enough)logging in from the public library?

Your statement about Seinfeld is true, but I believe Mr. "Caesar" is correct that The Simpsons has ratings among blacks and even Hispanics that are comparable to its ratings among whites. At least this was true ten years ago, when I read that.

First anonymous: I agree The Simpsons is not appropriate for small children, but sheesh, have you ever watched it? (at least pre-2000 or so)

Later anonymous: I enjoyed Sesame Street when I was young, but I think the verdict on it is mixed: Good for reading skills, bad for attention span. In more recent times I have seen Dora the Explorer a couple times out of curiosity, and while I understand the science behind it, I was creeped out when she addressed the camera and paused, as she did frequently. This pitch-perfect parody is the funniest (and possibly the only funny) thing I have seen on Saturday Night Live in the last five years: http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/video/clips/tv-funhouse-maraka/84996/

Matt G. said...

I always thought Eddie and Lou were a parody of the black-white cop duo from Sanford and Son.

Reg Cæsar said...
"I remember the Simpsons being very popular with blacks when they first appeared, enough so to inspire news articles."

This probably had to do with the viewer demographics of the FOX network circa 1990. Most of the shows were black or black oriented.

rast said...

In contrast, the welfare moms' tended to more often interact with their children in the "Shut yo' mouth" mode.Steve, the word is "mouff".

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Carl, black. Lenny, white.

4/16/2009
That seems odd. For one to say that it is inaccurate for President Barack Obama to be called black, then in the same sentence describe cartoon characters as black and white is strikingly disingenuous. In the simpsons case, the "white" characters have yellow skin .. and has anyone ever noticed that all the "black" characters in modern cartoons have brown skin: simpsons, south park, family guy, etc. My point is .. if it is inaccurate for President Barack Obama to be called black, then it is inaccurate for "black" people to be called black. If we are honestly striving for accuracy then "black" people are to be called brown or dark brown people.

Kevin Michael Grace said...

You see, white people and black people use the Internet differently. White people be all (affecting the voice of a constipated Yalie), "Oh dear, the Dow Jones has just lost 70 points!" While black people be all (affecting a voice that could punch through concrete), "Dayum! Those are some big ol' titties!"

Anonymous said...

Steve, Adam Carolla is getting a pilot for a sitcom. It's called "Ace in the Hole". He promises it will be like a modern Archie Bunker.

If you don't know who Adam Carolla is, he's a radio comic who is fearlessly un-PC:

His views on Jesse Jackson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXkrho_VGVU

On Mexico in LA:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgj_KKATMAM&NR=1

On Hawaiians:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df5fBpq7INs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5z2L9Q-CjcM

Anonymous said...

Steve, you were in Chicago when the Simpsons first came out so you must remember how black vendors sold bootleg t-shirts that made Bart an honorary brother.

Garland said...

The isteve staple about the complete ignorance of hispanics by American elites applies massively to the Simpsons. The crown of contemporary social satire and all it's got for hispanics is Bumblebee Man.

Hasnt stopped them from running two (that I know of) open borders episodes.

Anonymous said...

Gardland, don't forget Senor Ding Dong.

Anonymous said...

I guess we don't have to worry about the language gap any more, since some crafty psychologists have figured out how to eliminate it.

Anonymous said...

"Little wolves are raised by mother wolves, which nip them when they're naughty. Therefore, they naturally go up to bite things they don't like.

Little pigeons are raised in the nest by mother pigeons, which coo over them. Therefore, they too grow up to coo."

...and if little pigeons are raised by mother wolves they will grow up to be...dinner?

nzconservative said...

"So, the conventional wisdom insists, what we must do is take poor children away from their homes each day from age one upward and put them in day care staffed by college trained professionals from age one onward, who will mentally stimulate them by speaking with large vocabularies."

Sounds like quite a cool job, but I guess they wouldn't want Steve Sailer fans discussing race realist ideology in Kindergardens.

michael farris said...

I can just envision a day care center run by Sailer:

"No, Maneesha, you're not as pretty as Amanda. That's because of your African ancestory. And you'll never be very smart either. But work hard and listen to the white folks and you might be able to get a job as a maid someday. And if you're really well behaved maybe Amanda will let you touch her pretty blonde hair .. well, not touch."

Anonymous said...

Kevin Michael Grace said...
While black people be all (affecting a voice that could punch through concrete), "Dayum! Those are some big ol' titties!"


Get it right. It's "Dem are" or "Dem be" or, to be truly correct, you omit the verb and say "Dem some". Only an acking-white oreo would say "those are".

Richard Hoste said...

"Keep up the Simpsons observations- and I agree that show went downhill big time in 2001-2002- I think they now have woman writers or something. Gotten really liberal, feminist, GOP is the devil, etc. It is barely watcheable now- really, really unfunny. They've even made Homer unlikeable- something I never thought possible."

Really, it's not even an intelligent leftism. It's like the writers are getting their themes from DailyKos.

The old Simpsons portrayed small town American folk as simple but generally as decent and sympathetic. New Simpsons seethes with rage towards them. It may reflect a cultural change. Maybe the writers were always Harvard elitists, but Harvard elitists have become much more likely to hate the "unenlightened" parts of the country.

I remember one episode where a Muslim family moves in and the ignorant yahoos led by Homer all think that they're terrorists. Homer used to be an actual character who was dumb/lovable. Now his stupidity makes him a representative for middle America.

I can't stand to watch the show anymore.

KDeRosa said...

A good explanation of the language gap (and the Hart and Risley) can be found in the first six minutes of this video by Zig Engelmann.

Even though hart and Risley suggest that the language gap has an environmental cause, adoption studies like the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study show that it's more complicated than that. In that study, low-SES whites and black children were placed with high-SES college educated white families where you'd think there would have been no language gap. And yet, the adopted kids performed as their genetics would have predicted.

Apparently, even highly educated parents cannot compensate for the learning deficiencies in these kids. And good educators like Engelmann will tell you that it is very difficult to provide instruction to very young children even in a preschool setting.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, RKU, it's more that little wolves naturally grow up to bite things they don't like so their mothers nip then when they're naughty, and little pigeons naturally grow up to coo so their mothers coo over them.

-Frank

SKT said...

I love the fact that Mr. Sailer is a Simpsons fan.

Lloyd G. said...

A few years ago some sociology professor, or 'arts' advocate (or something) put out word that people who listened to Mozart when they're infants grow up to be high-IQ. The obvious solution to our society's problems? Give new mothers Mozart CDs. I wonder if any mothers who weren't college-educated even broke the seals on the jewel cases.
Makin' the world a better place.

Anonymous said...

"Get it right. It's "Dem are" or "Dem be" or, to be truly correct, you omit the verb and say "Dem some". Only an acking-white oreo would say "those are"."

Actually, African American Vernacular is characterized by the omission of the verb 'to be', so it would more accurately be transcribed as "Dayum! Those(or perhaps 'they') some big ol' titties!"

Anonymous said...

He promises it will be like a modern Archie Bunker...

from OO...

Characters who oppose cultural pluralism are portrayed as stupid and bigoted (Lichter et al. 1994, 251), the classic being the Archie Bunker character in Norman Lear's All in the Family television series.

Jewish liberal Norman Lear had created Archie Bunker, who became a beloved icon for millions of television viewers. In an important sense, Archie’s primary role was to usher out the older era of a white, male-dominated America, represented by people like himself, and to instruct this soon-to-be disestablished class in the manners and attitudes befitting a new, multicultural America, one in which blacks could own their own businesses and homosexuals could come out of the closet.Most of all, this new, multicultural America was one in which Jews and all things Jewish had a new-found prominence. “By the end of his twelve years on prime-time television,” the Pearls inform us, “Archie Bunker, America’s best-known bigot, had come to raise a Jewish child in his home, befriend a black Jew, go into business with a Jewish partner, enroll as a member of Temple Beth Shalom, eulogize his close friend at a Jewish funeral, host a Sabbath dinner, participate in a bat mitzvah ceremony, and join a group to fight synagogue vandalism."

ironrailsironweights said...

The isteve staple about the complete ignorance of hispanics by American elites applies massively to the Simpsons. The crown of contemporary social satire and all it's got for hispanics is Bumblebee Man.Also Dr. Nick Riviera.

Peter

Lucius Vorenus said...

Kevin Michael Grace: I remember reading the Nielsen ratings in USA Today when Seinfeld was the No. 1 rated show in America. Among black viewers it was rated something like No. 82.Well, if nothing else, then at least the Black folk of America can proudly proclaim that they have good taste in television.

Or at least that they don't have bad taste in television.

Slampo said...

Black kids younger than 12, particularly males, love The Simpsons, as do whites, Asians, Hispanics and whoever. The appeal is universal, although it begins to fade during adolescence. Exposure to the show definitely helps build vocabulary, and the smarter kids will begin to pick up on the cultural subtleties. BUT knowing how to pronounce a word and toss it around in conversation doesn't necessarily translate to recognizing it on paper or being able to put it there, which is of course important (in a narrow sense) because success on standardized testing does indeed have a lot to do with mastering vocabulary---not just the "vocabulary of testing" professional educators yak about but just plain vocabulary. A far-below-grade-level test I saw recently for 4th graders asked which reading passage showed that a certain animal was "fierce." All but one or two of the test takers failed to recognize the word as printed, although when asked later most of them could pretty much tell you what "fierce," which apparently has some street currency, meant. Obviously, the spelling should be changed to "feerce." Or "feerse." This shit's too hard!

King of the Hill, BTW,has always taken a stiffer approach to characterization than The Simpsons and often goes out of its way to show that a character isn't necessarily ennobled by the mere fact of his ethnicity or sexual orientation. Hank's nasty, grasping Cambodian neighbor, Khan (sp?), for instance, is the kind of Asian immigrant---one kind of Asian immigrant, at least---you never see much in the mainstream media but with whom those of us in the real world are familiar. (The Sopranos was good about this, too, on occasion.)

Lucius Vorenus said...

Danindc: Keep up the Simpsons observations- and I agree that show went downhill big time in 2001-2002- I think they now have woman writers or something. Gotten really liberal, feminist, GOP is the devil, etc. It is barely watcheable now- really, really unfunny. They've even made Homer unlikeable- something I never thought possible.

EXACTLY the same thing has happened to Southpark.

Just as happened to Dis-ney and will eventually happen to every earthly institution.

All good things must come to an end, Neo.

Lucius Vorenus said...

michael farris: No, Maneesha, you're not as pretty as Amanda. That's because of your African ancestory. And you'll never be very smart either. But work hard and listen to the white folks and you might be able to get a job as a maid someday.

That parody doesn't work for the same reason that the Onion parody doesn't work - some truths are just too painful [and too obvious] to be funny.

Half Sigma said...

"So, the conventional wisdom insists, what we must do is take poor children away from their homes each day from age one upward and put them in day care staffed by college trained professionals from age one onward, who will mentally stimulate them by speaking with large vocabularies."

Of course, if you tell a liberal that poor people are lousy parents, the liberal will get all pissed at you.

Truth said...

Shouldn't it be Mouf?

"As for blacks liking the Simpsons, I can only say that the Africans I knew in China loved the show, but they liked Beavis and Butthead even more."

Beavis and Butthead was a very intelligent well written show.

"(affecting the voice of a constipated Yalie)...(affecting a voice that could punch through concrete)"

Thanks for that explanation, no one would have had any idea that you were stereotyping without it.

"I can just envision a day care center run by Sailer:"

Oh don't you think that's being highly unfair to Sailer, you guys don't understand Steve-O like I do; he'd tell her she could be a maid or a fast food cook.

Half Sigma said...

Kevin Michael Grace:

"White people be all (affecting the voice of a constipated Yalie), "Oh dear, the Dow Jones has just lost 70 points!"

You need to watch the Broadway musical Avenue Q.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-TA57L0kuc

Anonymous said...

The whole neo-Marxian idea of indoctrinating kids from an early age is (par for the course) completely unrealistic. Young kids have extremely strong preferences and won't relent on them.

"This is boring!"

"That's a girl's toy! I'm a boy! I don't play with girl's toys!"

"I want to watch Sponge Bob!" "Here honey, watch this nice educational program." "I want to watch Sponge Bob!" [repeat 10x]

"She looks funny!"

"Are we going to be a family forever?"

"Is he the good guy or the bad guy?"

It always seems to me that adults end up appeasing the kids' tastes more than anything else. If the adult is really sneaky and lucky, they might have some small input or modification on TV programs, foods, etc. The whole notion that adults are imposing gender roles and other social patterns on kids is completely backwards.

A crazy man once said to be like little children and you can enter the Kingdom. But they killed him, so who knows if it was good advice.

josh said...

I always thought the Simpsons was boring and didnt like/watch it much tho I did laugh at the clever lines...til i came across Family Guy. This show is LOL funny and it made the Simpsons totally unwatchable for me.I cringe at that crummy show!Ya see,Lisa is sooo bright and she's good too,and Bart is deep down a good kid,and they all love each other etc ad nauseum! The Family Guy is there to make people(well,guys mainly)laugh.And,like a Navy Seal sharpshooter,its always on target! Speaking of the pirates,I now hear that the pirate problem will NOT be resolved until Somalia is "stabilized",and turned into a nice country.(I guess hiring paid killers to uhm,kill the pirates will never work. )Now we have to go to Somalia and take their kids out and teach them A)To talk good,B)The obiquitous "Anger Management",& C)"Conflict Resolution"...the white mans burden is a wearisome one!

Ronduck said...

Matt G. said...

This probably had to do with the viewer demographics of the FOX network circa 1990. Most of the shows were black or black oriented.Even Married with Children? How many Black shows have a lead that scored four touchdowns in one game?

Anonymous said...

I never thought Fox circa 1990 was black, just extraordinarily trashy.

WB and UPN (when they existed) were often regarded as "black." -We Black- and -U Po Negro- were the snarky acronyms "back in the day."

Anonymous said...

Stevie shut yo mouf!

Rohan Swee said...

Josh: Speaking of the pirates,I now hear that the pirate problem will NOT be resolved until Somalia is "stabilized",and turned into a nice country.(I guess hiring paid killers to uhm,kill the pirates will never work. )Now we have to go to Somalia and take their kids out and teach them A)To talk good,B)The obiquitous "Anger Management",& C)"Conflict Resolution"...the white mans burden is a wearisome one!Why am I getting the sinking feeling that "stabilizing" Somalia is going to involve dumping half its population on Dubuque?

Eric said...

Hey, wait a minute... wasn't Chef black too? I mean, granted, he's gone now. But he was there for a few seasons.

Eric said...

Mmmmmm. Oh yeah, that was South Park.

rob said...

So the language gappers have decided that an effect of intelligence differences is the cause. Smart people have large vocabularies. If everyone had large vocabularies, we'd all be smart. Sadly, smart kids just tend to pick up new words with little effort.

How long will it take before they realize that smart people know more math too?

Drilling vocabulary doesn't seem to work very well. Dimmer kids never learn it or forget it fast. People who try to incorporate drilled vocabulary into every speech tend to do it badly.

Haven't lots of people noticed that black professionals are particularly likely misuse words that they think they know?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Actually, African American Vernacular is characterized by the omission of the verb 'to be'
Dat what I sed, fool.

.
so it would more accurately be transcribed as "Dayum! Those(or perhaps 'they') some big ol' titties!".

Nah, mang. DEM, as in "Dem some big ol' tittays"

Truth said...

"Nah, mang. DEM, as in "Dem some big ol' tittays"

It might be time for some of you to go to your local community college to get a refresher ebonics course, I think your certifications ran out right about the time "good times" went on hiatus. What we have here is "Honk-ebonics"

Big Bill said...

Mike Farris, you eally ought to take a statistics course. Women are shorter than men. Are ALL women shorter than ALL men? Of course not. On average, women are shorter than men. Nonetheless only a moron would tell a 6' tall woman she is shorter than a 2"6" male midget.

One can never know how an individual will turn out. One can only calculate the odds. And with larger and larger population sizes the results are almost a certainty.

Anonymous said...

"I always thought the Simpsons was boring and didnt like/watch it much tho I did laugh at the clever lines...til i came across Family Guy. This show is LOL funny and it made the Simpsons totally unwatchable for me"

Some episodes of Family Guy are unwatchable for me. Talk about unrepentant SWPL leftism. Gag.

-Vanilla Thunder

James Kabala said...

Michael Farris: What a pointless ad hominem attack from usually one of the more thoughtful and intelligent commenters.

"'By the end of his twelve years on prime-time television,' the Pearls inform us, 'Archie Bunker, America’s best-known bigot, had come to raise a Jewish child in his home, befriend a black Jew, go into business with a Jewish partner, enroll as a member of Temple Beth Shalom, eulogize his close friend at a Jewish funeral, host a Sabbath dinner, participate in a bat mitzvah ceremony, and join a group to fight synagogue vandalism.'"

For all Lear's smugness, he and his writers made Archie three-dimensional and always allowed him to get in some good zingers and one-liners among the overtly bigoted or absurdly blusterly stuff. Although I am not an expert on the show's chronology, I suspect that most of the character-neutering events described above happened in the show's disastrous final 4-5 seasons, when the other three main actors left and eventually the show was renamed.

Lear also claimed he based Bunker on his own father (who was obviously not biased against Jews, but was against blacks). Perhaps that is why Archie was always more likable than the British original was (or is said to have been - I've never seen it).

Reg Cæsar said...

As a language mentor, Risley was good, but Wriothesley was better.


Ya see,Lisa is sooo bright and she's good too,and Bart is deep down a good kid,and they all love each other etc ad nauseum! --Josh

The Simpson females were always too goody-goody, which is why the show was best watched in tandem with Married With Children on the original Fox schedule. The Bundy women were more than venal enough for balance. (Not that the men were saints, but they were so incompetent it didn't matter.)

James Kabala said...

"I've never seen it."

I should clarify that I meant to say I've never seen the British original - otherwise the rest of my statement was nonsensical!

MacSweeney said...

I've got to echo other sentiments that The Simpsons is unwatchable now. The movie was surprisingly good for some reason, they obviously got different writers for it. It couldn't have been THAT good though, because despite my vague recollection of it being fairly funny, I can't recall a single line of dialogue or scene except for the ending. Contrast this with my near photographic account of classic Simpsons episodes.

King of the Hill is definitely underrated, its best episodes rival even the best Simpsons episodes. It, however, has also fallen victim to new episodes being pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

"So the language gappers have decided that an effect of intelligence differences is the cause. Smart people have large vocabularies. If everyone had large vocabularies, we'd all be smart. Sadly, smart kids just tend to pick up new words with little effort."

I agree, it's largely just a cargo cult mentality.

"Haven't lots of people noticed that black professionals are particularly likely misuse words that they think they know?"

I've noticed that and it really makes me cringe. Am I allowed to use the word "uppity" on here?

Anonymous said...

Truth continues to rise in my estimation. Good crack about Good Times.

ben tillman said...

"Honk-ebonics"Ha ha -- nice one.

Anonymous said...

Truth continues to rise in my estimation. Good crack about Good Times..
I agree, but I must note that he didn't give us the correct, updated Ebonics version of the sentence, either. I'm a little disappointed.

BTW, back in The Simpsons' heyday (about 1992) I was in El Paso on business, and surfed across a local Spanish-language station airing the "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish" episode, where Homer thinks he's going to die from eating improperly prepared fugu.

Hearing the Japanese restaurant workers speaking in Mexican-tinged
Spanish was rather surreal - as was hearing the same actor do the Larry King celebrity voice cameo at the end (which kinda kills the joke, IYAM).

Anonymous said...

ben tillman said...
"Honk-ebonics"Ha ha -- nice one.

Yeah, once in a blue moon, Troof can knock out a good one.

clem said...

My favorite minor character was always Professor Frink....Ha, misread that as "minority character," and then started to wonder:

Are geeks finally a recognized "oppressed minority" too?

Anonymous said...

SWPL elite don't, as a rule, know anything about Hispanics, but Salma Hayeck recently guest stared on 30 Rock in a surprisingly perfect pitch account of Hispanic culture. If the writers there can get it right, maybe the elites are beginning to realize...

Lucius Vorenus said...

Reg Cæsar: As a language mentor, Risley was good, but Wriothesley was better.

Wow - and here I thought I knew a thing or two - but even I had never heard of Prince Tudor theory.

rob said...

Oooh, I have fun game. Let's convince the gappers that on average, higher IQ people know about Star Trek than lower IQ people. Ghetto schools will drill the prime directive into all those little minds.

Svigor said...

What we have here is "Honk-ebonics"Ahahahahahahaaa!

For once I'm actually laughing with you. Actually, if memory serves this might be the second time. Nice one.

Svigor said...

For all Lear's smugness, he and his writers made Archie three-dimensional and always allowed him to get in some good zingers and one-liners among the overtly bigoted or absurdly blusterly stuff.I wonder if anyone's ever coated a poison pill in chocolate?