March 8, 2011

The Atlantic's Valley mafia on Chua

The back of the book section of the Atlantic Monthly is dominated by a group of writers -- Benjamin and Christina Schwarz, Caitlin Flanagan, and Sandra Tsing-Loh -- who have lived or worked in the San Fernando Valley, and whose worldviews mutually reflect and reinforce their Valley experience. Thus, I find them more perceptive about current trends in America than the vastly more numerous Boston-NY-DC intellectuals. (Here, for example, is Benjamin Schwarz's lovely review of historian Kevin Starr's Golden Dreams: California in the Age of Abundance: 1950-1963.)  

Not surprisingly, the three ladies all have to have their say on Amy Chua.

Sympathy for the Tiger Moms

The national convulsion over Amy Chua’s parenting has lead people to hate or fear mothers like me. They should feel sorry for us instead.
By Sandra Tsing Loh   Share   

The Ivy Delusion

The real reason the good mothers are so rattled by Amy Chua
By Caitlin Flanagan   Share   

Leave Those Kids Alone

Childhood isn't a springboard to adulthood, but a well of experience.
By Christina Schwarz   Share   
Flanagan, who used to be the college admissions counselor at Harvard-Westlake on Coldwater Canyon (where I vaguely recall there being a couple of student suicides a half decade ago), writes:
The good mothers went to Brown, and they read The Drama of the Gifted Child, and they feel things very deeply, and they love their children in a way that is both complicated and primal, and they will make any sacrifice for them. They know that it takes a lot of time to nurture and guide a child—and also that time is fleeting, and that the bliss of having your kids at home is painfully short-lived—and so most of them have cut back on their professional aspirations in significant ways. The good mothers have certain ideas about how success in life is achieved, and these ideas have been sizzled into their brains by popularizers such as Joseph Campbell and Oprah Winfrey, and they boil down to this: everyone has at least one natural talent (the good mothers call it a “passion”), and creativity, effortless success, and beaucoup dinero flow not from banging your head against the closed door of, say, organic chemistry if you’re not that excited by it, but from dwelling deeply and ecstatically inside the thing that gives you the most pleasure. But you shouldn’t necessarily—or under any circumstances, actually—follow your bliss in a way that keeps you out of Yale. Because Yale is important, too! So important. The good mothers believe that their children should be able to follow their passions all the way to New Haven, Connecticut, and this obdurate belief of theirs is the reason so many of them (Obama voters, Rosa Parks diorama co-creators, gay-rights supporters, champions, in every conceivable way, of racial diversity and tolerance) are suddenly ready to demand restoration of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Because Amy Chua has revealed, in so many blunt and horrifying words, why the good mothers are getting spanked, and why it’s only going to get worse. 

The whole thing is quite fair.

75 comments:

helene edwards said...

Flanagan teaches me a new word: swivet.

SGOTI said...

I just wish Sandra Tsing Loh would get eaten by a tiger. Even a kitchen bitch tiger.

Mitch said...

I can't stand Caitlin Flanagan and that is hands down the finest and most honest thing she's ever written--which must be because she doesn't have an axe to grind. She's right about the kids the process produces (many great, some miserably unhappy), she's right about the competition for the non-preferential spots, and she's right about why the moms are mad.

The fix, of course, is to dump the preferences. But oh, well.

Anonymous said...

Chua went to law school, right?

Kinda...fled the tough, intellectual life, huh?

elvisd said...

Does anything approaching the teaching of citizenship to their children ever enter these people's minds?

Anonymous said...

The Amy Chuas of this world are just raising the next generation of cubicle farm autobots.

Anonymous said...

The question is, do you want your kids to be happy, or to be "successful?" Both, you say. What if you can't have both?

Anonymous said...

It's not so much upper class whites that are aghast at Chua. Most upper class whites send their kids to the State Universities and don't have that much academic inclination anyway. Trust me, as someone that lives in an upper middle class white area, I can tell you that their kids don't think Ivy. Not unless the kid plays lacrosse or does crew.

Chua's detractors aren't WASPs - they're mostly Jewish women. Partly it's because Chua's kids are taking Ivy League spots from their kids. Partly it's also because Chua embodies that overbearing Jewish mother that they grew up and refutes the modern liberal Jewish-American parenting style. Jewish mothers are feeling guilty that they're not preparing their kids to battle with the Tiger cubs.

Another issue with Chua...... She's married to a Jewish guy named Jed Rubenfeld. This continues a pattern of Asian women marrying successful Jewish men - Oliver Stone, Les Mooves (runs CBS), George Soros (hedge fund manager), Woody Allen, Rupert Murdoch. Chua has even commented about how prevalent Asian(female)-Jewish(male) interrmariage has become in their elite academic circles in the northeast.

Asian women are stealing their men and their kids' admission spot at Harvard. No wonder the rage. Being a Jewish woman aint easy no more.

Open immigration policies bring in Mexican labor that hammers working class whites and blacks. Open immigration policies also bring in lots of hyperacademic, grind Asians and Indians who hammer Jews.

Karma is a b****.

Anonymous said...

Over the last 10-15 years, the percentage of Asian-Americans at the Ivy League has only increased slightly. To some extent, even today, there continues to be a quota against them. This is due to a combination of..........

1.) Set aside seats for NAMs
2.) Set asides for wealthy alumni
3.) Asians = boring
4.) Lots of the admission people are Jewish, so they'd rather admit the interesting and quirky Jewish kid than the Asian grind.
5.) A need for athletes on campus

As the NAM and Asian population continue to grow, we'll continue to see more tension due to the zero sum game.

Anonymous said...

There is no fix. Even if the preferential spots were dropped, there'd be enormously tough competition to get in. The Ivys would also lose a lot of rich kids whose parents donate so much and the athletes that bring in prestige.

We can cut back immigration, which would reduce the growth rate of NAM slackers and Tiger kids, but the Ivy League competition is here to stay.

The good news is that barely anybody in America wants their kid to go to an Ivy League. If the kid can go to the local university and get an accounting or engineering degree, mum and dad are happy. The Atlantic is full of super wealthy and elite types that don't reflect the regular man on the street. Even among the decently well to do and educated, there's not that much drive to go Ivy.

Anonymous said...

I gotta laugh. America is on the road to steep decline largely due to the left wing Ivy League class running industry and government. How do they think the reputation of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia will weather the decline of the US to a second rate Latin American banana republic. Ans: Their reputations won't survive.

Some day, in about thirty years or so, all US colleges will be a joke and the world will flock to Beijing, Tokyo, and Who-Knows-Where-Else for the most elite university training.

Or maybe we will all just study at home and take tests online to prove how smart we are.

Anonymous said...

If I were raising a child right now, I'd consider getting him sufficiently fluent in at least one foreign language to pursue a BA or MA in a foreign country.

Why all this focus on a handful of American universities?

"The fix, of course, is to dump the preferences. But oh, well."

The preference system in question is as old as the Ivy League. See John Adams.

Besides, you've read Amy Chua's writing. What exactly is it that you think she's good at other than listening to other people's ideas and presenting them as her own? If this is our best and brightest, along with that American bashing, harridan married to Phil Graham, we're in trouble.

Anonymous said...

"The question is, do you want your kids to be happy, or to be "successful?" Both, you say. What if you can't have both?"

Yes, but do you need an Ivy League diploma to be happy and/or successful? College is an exercise more in branding than in education. Aside from the AA dolts and alumni kiddies (Amy Chua's daughters included), Harvard selects a bunch of students who would probably become rich and successful even if they started out life going to night school at Brooklyn Polytechnic while working a day job in a sausage factory.

In many ways Harvard and Princeton is a sad experience for most (except the Ron Unz's and Bill Gates) who enter thinking "I can be anything" and leave feeling like most doors have slammed shut, and they are now on a pre-professional treadmill doing the best they can with far from unique abilities.

Like Amy Chua. And I doubt her daughter will set the world of classical music on fire in her lifetime since her family hasn't been carefully breeding with musicians for four generations, as did the Bachs and the Mozarts. But perhaps Sophia can fulfill her mother's dream of becoming an applied mathematician and pass all the Society of Actuaries exams before age 25.

If Harvard were actually smart, it would become a global institution and open up campuses around the world branding the best and brightest everywhere. Are you ready for The University of Harvard, Shanghai, The University of Harvard, Chistchurch, and The University of Harvard, Kinshasa?

Visualize a trillion dollar endowment.

Thrasymachus said...

"What are you?"

"I'm an assassin, sir."

"You're not an assassin, you're an errand boy, sent by grocers to collect the bill....."

The system produces errand boys, who go about collecting bills with the hope of becoming grocers one day. They either go to Goldman Sachs and ruin the financial system for their masters, or they go to State and ruin the world for their masters.

Anonymous said...

Chua's detractors aren't WASPs - they're mostly Jewish women.

Very perceptive. Note that the Wall Street Journal picked, as the author of their "Western" mothers' rebuttal to Chua, Ayelet Waldman.

Yeah. A leftist, bipolar, child-aborting, kabbalist, criminal defense lawyer and self-proclaimed "bad mother"--so very emblematic of Western Civilization.

Whiskey said...

Rupert Murdoch is the Christian son of a Knighted Father. Just for the record.

Good points on franchising Harvard. But Harvard and Yale and the other top universities in the US are basically an exclusive social network with a university attached. Not the other way around. State U. will teach you everything that Harvard will, and cheaper. You won't work with many Harvard stars anyway unless you are a Grad Student (then you'll do their research).

Very likely the coming trend will be online education and certification. Does the candidate know Accounting, or Finance, or the Law, and is the candidate certified by a trusted outside authority? This is particularly true as labor is picked globally. Sridi Srinigar from Sri Lanka may or may not know anything from his graduation from Sri Lanka U. But if he has a global certification (like the AP exams) you at least know the bottom line skills tested for.

As labor is picked for more than just cheapness (unskilled assembly of low quality manufactured goods), the demand say for the best engineer, or cardiologist, or cancer researcher, or applied materials scientist, will generate a demand for certification just like now there is a gap in bond assessment from the scandal of Moody's, S&P, Fitch, etc.

fish said...

Asian women are stealing their men and their kids' admission spot at Harvard. No wonder the rage. Being a Jewish woman aint easy no more.

Hasn't this particular whine been going on since the 70's? I seem to remember Donahue (crap I'm dating myself) doing the "Yenta" episode where the common lament was that the jews were..literally...on the verge of extinction?

PS: Sandra Tsing Loh...waste of air? How's that tiger mom thing working out for you now? " ...a Los Angeles, California-based writer, actress, performance-artist, pop-culture analyst, and radio commentator." Glad to see that Cal Tech thing was so ...fruitful!

Anonymous said...

People seem to have some odd ideas about the Ivy League. Hey that's okay.

I'm a white gentile man from a working-class stratum who went to Harvard about twenty-odd years ago. (I'm fudging a bit so as to not be identifiable.)

It's probably changed somewhat since my day, but here's what I saw:

-- The libraries and facilities are extraordinary. If you somehow (at age 18 or 19) already know what you want, you can get it.

-- The classes and instructors (I was a history/foreign cultures type) are pretty good, sort of high-rent adequate, but not exactly through the roof (there are of course always exceptions, and I can't speak for the hard sciences. The handful of hard science classes I took were essentially taught by Asian immigrant section leaders with poor English and bad accents whom I could barely understand.)

-- The classes and professors aren't really what you're there for as an undergrad: you're there for the other amazing, mind-blowing Harvard students. Harvard selects for kids who spike at something or anything, and spike hard -- unlike joints like Yale or Stanford who prefer all-around polite smart people.

Harvard undergrads are weird and intense in a way that earns the good side of those adjectives. I learned far more from my fellow students than I did in any class, except in the technical sense -- but in the technical sense they could have just given me a syllabus and a map of the libraries and the results would have been highly similar.

But undergrad people I worked with in a variety of informal disciplines are now world leaders in their fields (I'm not without a bit of that cachet m'self, chuckle chuckle, but I'm by no means a top leader in my field the way some of my peers have become).

I don't know if I have a particular clear point here; but since folks on this blog seem to obsess a bit about Harvard, I thought I'd contribute some personal data, and if people downthread have questions, I'll try to answer them if I can.

-- d. in c.

Anonymous said...

Chua has professionalized child-rearing into a kind of career. She doesn't raise children but crafts them after a brand called 'Tiger Inc'.

Feminists have long said that women should be tough like men at the workplace. If toughness is good at the workplace, why not at home too?

I wonder how guys feel about this. Most reaction seem to be from the girls, not least cuz Chua is a tiger mom than a tiger dad and because she has two girls. If she had two sons, I wonder how her ideas would have translated into reality. And guys might be more angry with her. Some guys might say she's a castrating bitch. But other guys might say, 'yeah, that's the kind of tough mother a son needs to grow a pair'.

Anonymous said...

Are Italian mothers kangaroo mothers? Their sons never seem to leave the emotional pouch.

Anonymous said...

What is all this 'happiness' shit? No adult should be happy happy happy? We kill and eat animals. How depressing is that? Life lives by devouring other life. Happiness is a fairytale--and even the best fairytales are pretty dark.

Happiness is bullshit. Kids need to learn and grow into adults, and adulthood is about freedom and responsibility. As for happiness, it comes and goes like the weather, and that's the way it should be. Happiness as some kinda goal in life is total bs.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a white gentile man from a working-class stratum who went to Harvard about twenty-odd years ago. (I'm fudging a bit so as to not be identifiable.)"

Wow, add a few more generic details, and we are SURE to find out who you are.

Anonymous said...

Harvard grads would not be as successful if they were placed in sausage factories. Going to Harvard puts one on a career track that opens up the door to high paying work, such as investment banking or consulting. That's the benefit of Harvard. Read Half Sigma's blog for more on this topic of career tracks.

I'll give you a link to read:

http://www.halfsigma.com/2011/03/the-relation-between-iq-education-and-career-tracks.html#comments

Half Sigma found that career track (ie college and job title) predict your future income. After controlling for those two variables, IQ has no correlation with income. IQ is only valuable to the extent that it allows one to go to a high-prestige school and enter a prestigious career.

Studies that show an IQ-income correlation usually don't account for education. When the education variable is controlled for, there's no benefit to a high IQ.

Half Sigma did find that for those without a college degree, low IQ did lead to worse outcomes. However, medium IQ and high IQ people fared equally well.

You're better off being medicore IQ, going to Harvard, and doing i-banking than being a high-IQ sausage maker at a local community college.

Anonymous said...

Ivy League kids aren't that smart anyway.

Researchers recruited Harvard undergrads and Wharton MBAs for a study on financial acumen. In the study, the students were offered the choice of investing in several different S&P 500 index funds - and told they could keep the profit they made. They were told the past returns of the funds and given the fee structure associated with each fund.

Anybody that's taken Finance 101 can tell you to choose the fund with the lowest fee structure, and that past returns don't predict future returns. Yet, the average undergrad and average MBA both selected funds where the fee was about 1 percent higher than neccessary. In the world of finance, that's a heck of a lot of money.

http://moneywatch.bnet.com/investing/blog/fund-watch/are-you-a-smarter-investor-than-a-wharton-mba/538/

You can read about the study in the above link. It just shows you that the "best and the brightest" don't know much of anything. It's especially funny to see the Wharton MBA boys, who are apart of a very prestigious and finance-oriented academic program, fall on their face.

If merit counted, investment banks, private equity groups, and asset management funds would recruit MIT PHDs. They don't..... because all those jobs don't take much in ability or skills or education. It's mostly about impressing clients, who are easily impressed by Wharton MBA or Harvard or Stanford.

Anonymous said...

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1878358,00.html

A Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study found that those that speak out more and speak out confidently, are considered more intelligent and having contributed more.

The study put groups of students together and had them solve math problems. Each member privately gave the researchers their SAT math score before the study commenced. When group members asked to rate each other (anonymously), the highest ratings went to those that did the most talking and talked the most confidently.

I'll quote the rest:

[When Anderson and Kilduff checked the participants' work, however, a lot of pretenders were exposed. Repeatedly, the ones who emerged as leaders and were rated the highest in competence were not the ones who offered the greatest number of correct answers. Nor were they the ones whose SAT scores suggested they'd even be able to. What they did do was offer the most answers — period.

"Dominant individuals behaved in ways that made them appear competent," the researchers write, "above and beyond their actual competence." Troublingly, group members seemed only too willing to follow these underqualified bosses. An overwhelming 94% of the time, the teams used the first answer anyone shouted out — often giving only perfunctory consideration to others that were offered.]

**** BE DOMINANT. Talk a lot, talk confidently. That's how you get to be boss and make money.

This study would suggest that it's not raw ability that matters, but how others perceive your raw ability. If you talk frequently and with confidence, you signal that you are competent (even if you aren't).

Anonymous said...

"The classes and instructors (I was a history/foreign cultures type) are pretty good, sort of high-rent adequate, but not exactly through the roof (there are of course always exceptions, and I can't speak for the hard sciences."

Do lectures have any academic value? All the info is in the book, right? So, why do students have to attend lectures? Why not just stay in your dorm and read the textbook?

It seems like lectures are just an excuse to make it seem like the professor is doing some kind of real work(when he's not doing research and writing books).

Of course, given that many students don't read textbooks, I suppose lectures are a lazy way to absorb knowledge. Also, without lectures, 50% of college students will probably wake up around 1 pm everyday. Its main value seems to be disciplinary than intellectual.

Anonymous said...

"What are you?"

"I'm an assassin, sir."

"You're not an assassin, you're an errand boy, sent by grocers to collect the bill....."

"The system produces errand boys, who go about collecting bills with the hope of becoming grocers one day. They either go to Goldman Sachs and ruin the financial system for their masters, or they go to State and ruin the world for their masters."

WHAT? YOU MEAN GOLDMAN SACHS ISN'T MADE UP OF ASSASSINS?

Anonymous said...

"I gotta laugh. America is on the road to steep decline largely due to the left wing Ivy League class running industry and government. How do they think the reputation of Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia will weather the decline of the US to a second rate Latin American banana republic. Ans: Their reputations won't survive."

This may be true, but I don't the American Right--as defined by Sarah Palin, Pat Robertson, Sean Hannity, etc--offers much in the way of counter-solution either.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know if I have a particular clear point here; but since folks on this blog seem to obsess a bit about Harvard, I thought I'd contribute some personal data, and if people downthread have questions, I'll try to answer them if I can."

Yeah, what was in the special sauce at Elsie's?

Anonymous said...

"Chua has professionalized child-rearing into a kind of career. She doesn't raise children but crafts them after a brand called 'Tiger Inc'. "

Do you get the feeling that being a law professor at Yale might not really be all that hard, leaving three or four hours a day to micromanage your kids activities?

Anonymous said...

Small universities are targeting Jewish students.

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/10/11/2741222/small-rural-colleges-cater-to-growing-jewish-populations

On one hand, Jewish high school seniors who tend to prefer large, urban universities are finding it more difficult to gain acceptance into those schools and are turning to smaller, rural schools, or colleges without large Jewish populations. These schools rush to accommodate them.

The reverse is also taking place: Schools large and small with few Jewish students are actively working to recruit more by building Jewish student centers and creating kosher dining options as part of a “build it and they will come” recruitment strategy.

Admissions officers and deans at these schools rarely say they are actively recruiting Jewish students; instead they say they are looking to “increase diversity.” But off the record, many admit that Jewish students bring certain assets, from leadership skills and good academic records, while they are on campus to a propensity for donating to the school once they graduate.


Universities aren't stupid. They know that Jewish people have a lot of money and lots of connections. They also know that Jewish kids are likely to go on to become entrapranuers (Zuckerberg of Facebook), Wall Street bankers, or leading scientists. Targeting Jewish students therefore is a strategy to bring high-impact people into the organization.

Universities don't target Asians in the same way, despite Asians being academically even a little better, because the perception is that Asians are grinds. Good at plugging away, but not especially likely to do much else.

Even when univerisites admit NAMs and athletes, that makes sense too. A really bright NAM is likely to go on to do big things, due to AA, so might as well recruit him to your school and enjoy the money/prestige that he later on generates. As long as the NAM proportion isn't too high, you're good.

Athletes tend to rise in the world of business and finance due to their connections, looks, and cool factor. Makes sense to bring them in too.

University admission policies are not random. They're methodically thought out, if not spelled out for the public. When universities discriminate against Asians and discriminate in favor of the favorite groups (Jews, gentile athletes, bright NAMs), they're being rational. Though they're not being very fair.

Steve Sailer said...

"Do you get the feeling that being a law professor at Yale might not really be all that hard?"

Her husband's second mystery novel is just out, and Yale Law School prof Stephen Carter regularly churns out detective novels as well.

Anonymous said...

Posted at The Atlantic:

The UK's elite universities, Oxford and Cambridge, take in 6000 undergrads each year from an 18-year-old population of the entire UK of 800,000, or 0.75%. Japan's Todai and Kyodai take 8k of 1.2 million 18-year-olds or 0.66%. It goes similarly in the rest of the developed world except that small countries like Canada and Ireland take a much larger fraction into elite schools.

If you can make it to the top 1% in ability and you want the challenge of working with the top minds in your country and generation, you can have it. Except in America.

Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford take in under 6,000 students of 4.5 million. That's 0.13% or almost one out of one thousand. Half of those are legacies, racial preferences, athletes, and the rest of the non-academic automatic admits. In America, one out of two-thousand students get the opportunity that one out of one-hundred can expect in the rest of the developed world.

The difference is that our elite universities are private institutions. Harvard could expand to be twice the size of Todai or Cambridge and abolish all tuition and still make more off its endowment each year than it could ever spend. But it's a private institution run for the benefit of private interests. Harvard, like Y, P, and S has no interest in serving the public. That's why their admission procedures are not meritocratic, bigoted against asian citizens, corruptable with large cash donations, driven by athletics and family connections over academics, and - most of all - secret arcana hidden from public scrutiny.

The best bet for improving the situation is nationalization. Each of those elite institutions can run only with special privileges they enjoy against the tax code, civil rights laws, antitrust laws, and our original common law. Most of their operating funding comes from the federal government and its grants programs. I say, put an end to them as they are. We could use a few good national universities; let's have them.

Anonymous said...

"As the NAM and Asian population continue to grow, we'll continue to see more tension due to the zero sum game."

No, we won't. I'm Asian with the sky-high SAT, elite schooling and all that. And I've come across 6 blacks that were bitter about my Asian academic success. No, hold on. That's not true. Those 6 blacks were black teachers I've had and come to think of it, they on the whole very positive toward my academics.

WOW. Imagine that. Blacks aren't the spiteful people that you think they are. At least toward light-skinned people who AREN'T WHITE. LOL.

Mitch said...

The preference system in question is as old as the Ivy League. See John Adams.

We've had racial preferences for a couple hundred years? Really? And I'm not sure what the rest of your comment means, as it doesn't make much sense.

While Asians will always be overrepresented, the last 10-15 years has seen an overreliance on GPA. Asians do slightly better on tests, but kill on GPAs compared to whites. The GPA emphasis came about because of achievement gaps in test scores.


I know more than a few non-legacy kids getting into really top schools with solid but not stupendous SAT scores (mid 600s) and a 4.5 GPA. But I know far more kids with 2200+ SAT scores and 3.8 GPAs who aren't even considered for top schools. Colleges have to pretend that GPA is more important than test scores, or they can't justify affirmative action (and in California and Michigan, they can only defy the law so far before they get sued).

So do away with affirmative action preferences (and hopefully tweak legacy admits to some extent) and that should stop the obsession with GPA. Or at least mitigate it.

Ben said...

Thank you, Steve, for the kind words.

Ben Schwarz

Anonymous said...

Hey! as a Berkeley boy myself, I resent your claim of Flanagan for the San Fernando Valley. She grew up in Berkeley, her dad taught there, here writing is full of Berkeley references. She's ours, I tellya! dave.s.

SFG said...

Jewish women invented the modern feminist movement, and now wonder why there's so much intermarriage.

Auf wiedersehn, scheissefrauen!

Anonymous said...

The instruction at Harvard is good, but it isn't any better than the instruction at the top public schools like Berkeley, UCLA, and W&M. The Ivies really are nothing more than "branding" and a chance to hobnob with the future movers & shakers.

Anonymous said...

West Coast - East Coast Representin!!
Bitch ass punk who you be about??!!

slumber_j said...

@d. in c.

I was at Harvard at about the same time--yikes--and have made pretty similar arguments here before. And been pissed on for it, by the way. No homo.

Anyway: you're right. The whole point is to get to know your fellow undergraduates--and in my case, to marry two of them. (Sequentially: no Winning.) As someone pointed out to me while denigrating that view, a lot of them are boring. But as you correctly indicate, a *lot* of them aren't.

In other news, a very good friend of mine is a very good friend of Cait Flanagan. Apparently she and Tsing Loh are very friendly too, and they've bizarrely pitched a Tiger-mom-themed sitcom. Successfully. The pilot will be made, I'm told. Look for it.

Ian Lewis said...

In her article she says that the Road to Nowhere is "Rutgers". That is pretty interesting since Rutgers (the main campus, in New Brunswick, which is what she is referencing) is not that easy to get into. It definitely is not as difficult to get into as, say, Princeton, but she is revealing an assumption of hers that, well, anybody can get into Rutgers.

Rutgers actually has a fairly good reputation in New Jersey, which is a state that is consistently ranked in the top 3 for school spending in K-12.

charlotte said...

"WOW. Imagine that. Blacks aren't the spiteful people that you think they are. At least toward light-skinned people who AREN'T WHITE. LOL."

Have you ever read anything on this blog?
Anyway, IF you're all that (you are oddly unconvincing), aren't you the smug one. And they wonder why we are less than elated about all these "people of color" immigrants.
As Seinfeld said about children, "they're here to replace us."

Truth said...

"PS: Sandra Tsing Loh...waste of air? How's that tiger mom thing working out for you now? " ...a Los Angeles, California-based writer, actress, performance-artist, pop-culture analyst, and radio commentator." Glad to see that Cal Tech thing was so ...fruitful!"

Guess what; she's making a lot more money than a research chemist from Merck.

Truth said...

"(I'm fudging a bit so as to not be identifiable.)"

Dude, I almost got you. All I needed was your astrological sign!

Will said...

My experience as a professor and student taught me that rankings of colleges matter much less than the cavernous gap between selective and non-selective institutions. Selective institutions, especially selective and highly selective liberal arts colleges, have a critical mass of bright, curious, intellectually engaged students who set a tone. Other places lack that, especially when a critical mass of their students just roll in from high school without much idea of what they really want. Non-selective places get students who would do well at Harvard or any other highly selective place, but there are never enough of them in a single class. So they're stuck with the stupid or indifferent or just the poorly educated and never get much chance for real growth. Stultifying anti-intellectualism is the default position in most of US higher education. Which is one of several big reasons why you want your children to go somewhere selective. It's not all the same.

Anonymous said...

WOW. Imagine that. Blacks aren't the spiteful people that you think they are. At least toward light-skinned people who AREN'T WHITE. LOL.

Why should blacks be spiteful towards Asians, anyway? Asians are one of the few ethnic groups that did the blacks no wrong.

Anonymous said...

"Chua's detractors aren't WASPs - they're mostly Jewish women."

At last, American Jews feel the painful effects of mass immigration and discover that electing a new people is a double edged sword. Maybe this is the pivot point for our nation on this issue as Jews are unlikely to be as accommodating and compliant as WASPs in giving up their supremacy in the halls of money and power.

But they better form a consensus soon before Chinese immigrants eat their kosher lunch.

keypusher said...

"Do you get the feeling that being a law professor at Yale might not really be all that hard?"

Her husband's second mystery novel is just out, and Yale Law School prof Stephen Carter regularly churns out detective novels as well.


From what I can tell, being a law professor at a top school isn't difficult at all. What's difficult is getting the job in the first place.

Most jobs that are very hard to get are very demanding also. That's what makes being a law professor so wonderful.

Anonymous said...

"WOW. Imagine that. Blacks aren't the spiteful people that you think they are. At least toward light-skinned people who AREN'T WHITE. LOL."

Blacks are jazzy and con-man-ish. They say they love you but they could be hiding a knife behind their backs. It's like Italians. In GOODFELLAS, Tommy thinks he's gonna be 'made' but is shot in the back of the head.
It's like Jesse Jackson, working as a waiter, would be nice to white folks when serving them but would be spitting in their foods in the kitchen. And Italians do the same, like in the scene in CASINO where the brother of the Pesci character spits into the sandwiches before giving them to the cops.

Anonymous said...

TIGER MOTHER already made into a movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NeMIF6sCqQ

Anonymous said...

What parents need is a dogistic approach to raising kids. There is no single method for all kids, like there is no single way for all dogs. Of course, there are some general rules that apply to all, but each kid, like each dog, needs special kinds of care.

If a dog is shy and timid, you gotta encourage it to be more outgoing and playful. If the dog is hyper and crazy, you gotta try to calm it down. If the dog is lazy, you gotta force it to exercise. If it's overly aggressive, you gotta teach it to behave better and not bite people. There is no single approach for all dogs.
Similarly, different kids have not only different intelligence but different personalities.
And this goes for races too.

Generally, black kids are hyper and aggressive, so the last thing you wanna do is encourage them to be wild and funky(since it comes so naturally to them). Life is about balance, and since blacks are naturally funky, they must be socially counter-funkized.
But if another race of kids tend to be withdrawn and quiet, they need to be encouraged--even pressured--to speak out more and be more expressive.
The problem with liberals is that they fail to understand how liberalism affects different communities. 'Letting it hang loose' may indeed have been helpful advice to overly anal and repressive wasps in the 1950s, but it was the last thing the black community needed to hear since they were already into 'let the good times roll' mode. If wasps needed to 'take it bit more easily', blacks needed the opposite advice: 'take things a bit more soberly'. But instead, liberals encouraged blacks to be even funkier than they already were. And all hell broke loose.

Kids also must be made to do stuff they don't wanna for two main reasons. Much of life is about doing stuff you don't wanna do, so kids might as well get some pratice. Also, since most of life is about specializing in one area, education should be about broadening one's general knowledge as much as possible. A Ph.D candidate in organic chemistry won't have much time for much else. So, if he or she's to be a well-rounded person, he or she must read/learn stuff about history, art, music, psychology, literature, etc, etc in middle school and highschool. For this reason, kids must be made to learn stuff they don't have natural interest in. If a kid loves computers and is allowed to study ONLY COMPUTERS, he may become an expert and make a lot of money down the line, but he will be an impoverished person when it comes to general knowledge of the world. Too many parents allow their kids to 'follow their bliss',and kids grow up knowing/loving only pop music and pop movies. They were never forced to learn or try something else.

Anonymous said...

From Flanagan's article:

"Elite-college admissions offices drive professional-class parents crazy because in many respects they do not operate as meritocracies. Consider, for example, those students admitted via one of the two programs that stand as strange mirror opposites: those that give preferential treatment to the sons and daughters of alumni, and those that extend it to the children of unrepresented minorities. The latter practice suggests that generations of injustice and prejudice can be redressed by admission to a fancy college, the former that generations of inclusion and privilege demand their own special prize; the two philosophies would seem to cancel one another out, but each has its place in the larger system."

This being the case, shouldn't someone found a university that is PURELY meritocratic, thus attracting all the smart kids who didn't get into Harvard or Yale due to the Charybdis and Scylla of Legacy and Affirmative Action.
Free market dynamics is screaming for such a university.

Anonymous said...

"Shouldn't someone found a university that is PURELY meritocratic..."

It already exists. It's called Caltech.

Dog of Justice said...

"This being the case, shouldn't someone found a university that is PURELY meritocratic, thus attracting all the smart kids who didn't get into Harvard or Yale due to the Charybdis and Scylla of Legacy and Affirmative Action.
Free market dynamics is screaming for such a university."

Sandra Tsing Loh went to such a university. Her commentary:

"Harangued by my own Tiger Dad, I grew up believing in crack math skills and followed—at least initially—a stereotypical Chinese path of acing my tests; getting into the world’s most prestigious science university, Caltech (early admission, no less); majoring in the hardest, most rarefied subject, physics … And then what? Almost 50 years old now, some 30 years after graduation, I look at my Caltech classmates and conclude that math whizzes do not take over the world. The true geniuses—the artists of the scientific world—may be unlocking the mysteries of the universe, but the run-of-the-mill really smart overachievers like me? They’re likely to end up in high-class drone work, perfecting new types of crossword-puzzle-oriented screen savers or perhaps (really) tweaking the computer system that controls the flow in beer guns at Applebee’s."

Anonymous said...

"It already exists. It's called Caltech."


But that's only for math geeks. I mean a meritocollege or meritocademy for all subjects.

Bob said...

""Shouldn't someone found a university that is PURELY meritocratic..."

The big money from legacy admits means more resources for the non-legacies. Seems fair to me. If you don't like it, nobody is forcing you to go such colleges.

Bob said...

"Asian women are stealing their men and their kids' admission spot at Harvard. No wonder the rage. Being a Jewish woman aint easy no more."

No, the reason that many Jewish men look elsewhere is that Jewish women are delaying marriage and childbirth for the same reasons that other high-IQ women do.

A Jewish woman wanting a Jewish husband can find one easily via jdate or many IRL singles events.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if most of the anger with Chua comes from liberals or conservatives? Maybe liberals. It kinda reminds me of the controversy in the 90s when some white kid in Singapore got sentenced to be whipped in the ass with a bamboo rod. A bunch of white liberals shrieked foul while a good number of white conservatives said sonny boy had it coming--and we could use such disciplining in the states.
On the other hand, conservatives may dislike Chua more cuz she represents the alien or yellow threat. White liberals may be more pissed at her cultural values than with her racial makeup. OTOH, white liberals have a problem with yellow folks cuz the yellos don't fall into the liberal paradigm of white guilt and conscience. White liberals prefer to be rich and privileged people looking down on and lending a helping hand to poor negroes and Hispanics. When yellos compete with white liberals--by means that aren't very liberal--, white liberals feel threatened.

Another factor in this equation may be prussianism. Surveying the 19th and 20th century, the greatest source of white evil was defined as prussianism. It was blamed for Bismarck's wars, WWI, and WWII. Though Hitler and many of his cohorts were not of Prussian origin, many historians and social intellectuals explained WWII as the culmination of mindless Prussian discipline-ism, militarism, conformism, ruthless-ism, control-freakism, repressive-ism, goose-step-ism.

We can still find critique of Prussianism and its related cultural ideologies in movies such as FANNY AND ALEXANDER(evil Lutheran minister), the recent film WHITE RIBBON(by self-hating white man Haneke), and EVIL(a damn good Swedish film which locates social evil in the stern asshole father figure and social hierarchy): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tCFvaJo9aE

Ingmar Bergman's first film TORMENT works in the same vein.

The recent book IRON KINGDOM by Christopher clark counters the simplistic myth that Prussia was all about cold discipline and inhuman repression, but the evil brand had stuck to prussianism. After WWII, Allied Powers tried to de-prussianize Germany. For one thing, much of what was once Prussia was given to Poland. Culturally, Germans tried to be more bohemian-and-viennese-like.
Anyway, Prussianism took on two meanings. There was the literal meaning of prussian history and culture, but it also came to mean any kind of authoritarian mentality in the West. So, the Frankfurt School's critique of the paranoid authoritarian mentality in America was an attempt to root out prussianesque subconsciousness from the American conservative soul. But, prussianism had meaning beyond the cultural. It also had racial meaning. Prussianism was equated with Nazism and racism. Thus, even stuff like FATHER KNOWS BEST and BRADY BUNCH came to be hated by liberals. It didn't matter that the parental figures in those programs were supportive, loving, and forgiving. They were TOO WHITE. So, by the 80s, the favorite American TV family was the Cosby family--where three of the kids looked mulatto. And FAMILY TIES had a blonde woman married to some Jewish-looking guy.
So, it seemed it was the end of prussianism.

But, if white Europeans made films like EVIL, FANNY AND ALEXANDER, TORMENT, and CRIMSON RIVERS(a movie about a secret Nazi college in the mountains), Asians seem to have a different mindset. One of the most popular Japanese cult films was FIGHTING ELEGY, a film about the nobility of the fighting spirit. If the point of EVIL is violence must be used morally against violence, the point of FIGHTING ELEGY is the fighting spirit makes the man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4Hy7WJtnI8

Anonymous said...

Now the problem for liberals... If Amy Chua were Birgitta Krautenmurderhaller, her book could be dismissed as BLITZKRIEG OF THE NAZI BITCH FROM HELL. It could be easily and roundly mocked and attacked as the return of evil Nazi Psychology, indeed something more odious than GERMANY ABOLISHES ITSELF. But Chua isn't white. According to liberalism, all evil is supposed to originate/emanate from conservative white authoritarian mentality or prussianism. Indeed, even though Italian-Americans have been more criminally-oriented than Anglo- and German-Americans, they are treated with more sympathy by the media since they are ethnic, rowdy, colorful, etc. The are less prussianistic, racially or culturally. Indeed, to a liberal(especially a jewish one), a solid law-abiding anglo-american conservative white male who never committed a crime is scarier--more prussianist--than a criminal Mexican or Italian-American. Indeed, mafia is much loved by Hollywood--and even Italian-
Americans take pride in stuff like the GODFATHER movies.

Liberals see in Amy Chua--and also in the Japanese in the 80s--the return of prussianism in another form. There is the authoritarian and anti-liberal method of raising kids, gaining power, and accumulating wealth. There is the nakedly iron ambition and ruthlessness. (Though liberal Jews work like crazy and are quite ruthless in climbing the ladder, they make movies which tell us that the point of life is 'take it easy', as in all those highschool movies where teachers are bad, parents are uncool, and the greatest thing in life is to party!)

And though Chua's kids are racially mixed, rise of China is seen as rise of mono-racial Asian form of prussianism.
Indeed, there has been much debate about the rise of China as the demonstration that democratic capitalism may NOT be the best or most effective way to develop an economy and grow national power. Counter-western-liberal arguments didn't matter in the past cuz the West was obviously far richer and more powerful than the non-West. But many western liberals fear that China may become the first non-democratic(or anti- or non-liberal)nation to surpass the West. Liberals fear that the conclusion drawn from such a future may strike a blow at liberal values in the West as well. It's like the world is back to the 1930s when the two fastest growing economies were Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia, thus challenging the democratic capitalist West as the wave of the future. Indeed, one wonders how history might have played out if Hitler hadn't invaded Russia, and if Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had cooperated as mutual authoritarian counter-powers of the democratic capitalist West.

If China becomes the new superpower through a 'tiger race' authoritarianism, there may be calls for similar authoritarianism in the West as well, which will lead to the fall liberalism and the re-rise of prussianism in the West. So, to liberals, Amy Chua is the Iron Dragon Mom. She is this:

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

Anonymous said...

"But they [The Jews] better form a consensus soon before Chinese immigrants eat their kosher lunch."

Does the average ISteve reader believe the average Jew is a gigantic 100 foot tall superman with an average IQ of 300, knows the codes to the bomb, has his private key to Fort Knox? Does the ISteve reader believe the Jew pulls all the strings in New York, L.A., Washington with a tug of his pinky while drinking the most expensive wines, off-handedly extemporizing the funniest jokes with his Jew inner circle?

If you believe this, this is all true. Because I've seen this with my own eyes. The Jews aren't God's Chosen for nothing.

Anonymous said...

I'm Asian with the sky-high SAT, elite schooling and all that. ... Blacks aren't the spiteful people that you think they are. At least toward light-skinned people who AREN'T WHITE. LOL.

You should hear what they say about you when you're not around. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

"Does the average ISteve reader believe the average Jew is a gigantic 100 foot tall superman with an average IQ of 300, knows the codes to the bomb, has his private key to Fort Knox? Does the ISteve reader believe the Jew pulls all the strings in New York, L.A., Washington with a tug of his pinky while drinking the most expensive wines, off-handedly extemporizing the funniest jokes with his Jew inner circle?"

No, the amazing thing is that Jews are 5 ft 9 in schlmiels who can do all those things.

Anonymous said...

Is Amy Chua the most loathed and controversial Asian woman since Yoko Ono?

Anonymous said...

"If China becomes the new superpower through a 'tiger race' authoritarianism, there may be calls for similar authoritarianism in the West as well, which will lead to the fall liberalism and the re-rise of prussianism in the West."

This isn't going to happen. You can get your kids to consume and remember large amounts of information in humane, fun ways. I suspect Pocahantus's parenting style included making a game of the work until his kids starting expanding their knowledge exponentially on their own. Cracking the whip and making threats is gonna get you a couple of glitchy generations who end up suicidal or medicated. Sorry, it's the way we are wired. The process needs to be positive in nature. The child needs to be moving towards greater understanding or ability not away from nasty, mean mom or dad.

Anonymous said...

"You should hear what they say about you when you're not around. Seriously."

I know. It's all on the net. It's juvenile.

Anonymous said...

"This isn't going to happen. You can get your kids to consume and remember large amounts of information in humane,"

Tiger parenting is trivial and has little to do with anything. But,
I think you could argue, quite reasoably China is already a superpower. If you expand your notions away from the usual bookkeeping, institional "gang-tackle" ideas of power. If power means the ability to do things more powerfully, then the US is more powerful. But if it also means the ability to do things others can't, and the ability NOT to do things others must, then China is a superpower and the US a weakling.

David said...

My problem with the Tiger Mom meme floated down at us from the top of the mainstream is this: it appears of a piece with the "Waiting for Superman," practice 10,000 hours, et al. campaign to Close the Gap through Commitment to Willpower.

I mean, what's next? Christian Science in schools?

In a time of economic trouble and tea partiers, the mo' expenditure schtick, while it still has its loud and crabby adherents, is heard less. What we're getting at full volume these days is the Willpower schtick instead.

Goal of the Goody-Goodies: everyone must be in the top percentile of brain power and erudition.

Means to that goal which are less popular for the nonce: spend more billions to get smaller classrooms, individualized instruction, more computers, etc.

Means to that goal which are more popular for the nonce: find teachers of superhuman will ("Waiting for Superman") / make students practice 10,000 hours, don't let them out of the house, i.e., force them to exercise willpower (Tiger Mom).

No discussion of more realistic goals, including vocational training. That would be racist. For realism of any kind, as we know, is always racist, or otherwise objectionable.

"The truth," H.L. Mencken said in 1940, "to the majority of mankind, is indistinguishable from a headache."

Americans think they can solve any problem by applying money or willpower to it. Stepping back and better defining the problem, including swallowing bitter realities, they're less good at.

Side Dog said...

Another factor in this equation may be prussianism. Surveying the 19th and 20th century, the greatest source of white evil was defined as prussianism. It was blamed for Bismarck's wars, WWI, and WWII. Though Hitler and many of his cohorts were not of Prussian origin, many historians and social intellectuals explained WWII as the culmination of mindless Prussian discipline-ism, militarism, conformism, ruthless-ism, control-freakism, repressive-ism, goose-step-ism.

"Prussianism", more accurately Bismarckism or Wilhelmism, was the German version of Victorianism.

1) The Nazis were NOT Wilhelmists any more than they were Catholics. Most of the leading Nazis were Bavarian not Prussian, and Hitler was from Austria. The younger Nazis were very anti-Wilhelmist, and tolerated Willemism only because it was so deeply ingrained in the older generations.

2) Indeed, the new generation of Germans loathed Wilhelm and Wilhelmism for helping lose the last war. The "real" cause was the Versailles back-stab, of course. But having to stand ramrod straight and eat "blockade mutton" for four years only to lose the war kinda makes ya lose some respect for the old ways.

3) Wilhelmism was loaded with what would now be called political correctness and affirmative action. It forced ethnic Germans, through shame, guilt, and an appeal to honor; to tolerate Jews, Poles, Slavs, Catholics, Turks, Greeks. A backlash was inevitable, which the Nazis rode to power.

4) The Nazi style of fascism differed both from Wilhelmism, and Euro-Catholic clerical fascism (Mussolini, Franco, Horthy). Nazism was organic fascism.

5) Given the organic nature of Nazism, meant a love of nature, return to pagan values, wolf-pack discipline rather than anything stiffly formal. Nazism was ruthless but in an organic way, like getting the job done but being happy about it rather than goose-stepping in precise formation. Nazism meant fighting and dying for the Aryan race rather than God, king, and country.

6) Both wartime Allied propagandists and Hollywood liked to confuse the point, by falsely depiting Nazis as super-Wilhelmist rather than organic. It was easy to have Germans became robotic humanoids, rather than the less convenient truth.

7) It was the communists - not the Nazis - who grabbed onto the worst of Wilhelmism. This applies even to the modern post-new-left brand of "progressives" who may be hip on the outside, but Prussian and Wilhelmist at the core. It is in the realm of the mind where leftists have "mindless Prussian discipline-ism, militarism, conformism, ruthless-ism, control-freakism, repressive-ism, goose-step-ism".

8) Educators are a prime example. Read anything by Gatto or Holt to see the Prussian influence on modern education, and factory schooling.

Anonymous said...

"It was the communists - not the Nazis - who grabbed onto the worst of Wilhelmism."

Prussianism turned into Russianism?

Anonymous said...

Sandra Tsing Loh is only 1/2 Chinese, and her daughters are 1/4, btw.

Svigor said...

Another issue with Chua...... She's married to a Jewish guy named Jed Rubenfeld. This continues a pattern of Asian women marrying successful Jewish men - Oliver Stone, Les Mooves (runs CBS), George Soros (hedge fund manager), Woody Allen, Rupert Murdoch. Chua has even commented about how prevalent Asian(female)-Jewish(male) interrmariage has become in their elite academic circles in the northeast.

We know how Ashkenazi-Americans love to navel-gaze. So, what's their rate of interracial marriage?

Anyone have a clue? Or are we suddenly reduced to pretending Stone, Moonves, Soros, and Allen represent a trend?

Svigor said...

her family hasn't been carefully breeding with musicians for four generations, as did the Bachs and the Mozarts.

Come again?

Svigor said...

But they better form a consensus soon before Chinese immigrants eat their kosher lunch.

I doubt east Asians as rivals for Ashkenaz-Americans. Too passive, not smart enough. They are quite numerous, though, which can make the latter harder to suss out. And they're very conscientious.

David said...

Anecdote alert.

Every on-the-make Asian woman I've met - at least from the Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino categories - was politically incorrect about one thing: they all proclaimed, loudly, that they wanted to find a Jew for a husband, and weren't shy about giving their reasons to anyone who might listen. In every case hearing this was like hearing an audio of Mein Kampf with added sounds of enthusiastic cash register janglings. (In one case, it was a mom describing her ambition for her two daughters' someday nuptials.)