March 2, 2012

How can we measure innovation and creativity?

As long as I can remember, the Japanese have been poor-mouthing their lack of creativity and innovation (and, by vague extension, that of East Asians in general). Presumably, they are right, but I've always wondered if there wasn't an element of strategy in this proclivity: "Don't you creative Western geniuses worry about us poor imitative Nipponese. We could never come up with those amazing annual model year changes in sheet metal like Chevy does! We'll just work on our boring little just-in-time manufacturing thingie -- which we totally got from an American, Edward Deming, by the way -- while you Westerners do all your creative wonders."

When commenters get into long debates about whether Asians or Asian-Americans are less creative / innovative than others, I find myself impressed by the certainty with which opinions are offered because I have a hard time coming up with data for, say, this century.

Creativity is clearly something that's terribly important, but it's also extremely hard to measure without the benefit of a long lag time to give historical perspective. 

For example, who was the more significantly creative American information theorist of the 1940s: Claude Shannon or Norbert Wiener? These days, well-informed people would likely say Shannon, who has been getting more famous throughout my lifetime. But if in the 1950s you'd asked an intelligent generalist such as, say, Robert Heinlein, he likely would have said Wiener. (See James Gleick's 2011 book The Information for a current assessment of the Shannon-Wiener rivalry.) Wiener had been famous since his days as a child prodigy (getting his Harvard Ph.D. in math at age 17), and his cybernetic perspective was more immediately appealing to a mechanical engineering-minded era. 

This is not to downplay Wiener, who did lots of other stuff, just that Shannon's work has proven more enduringly influential.

Can historians measure creativity with some degree of objectivity? I think so, for a reason that I outlined in my review of Charles Murray's Human Accomplishment:
Can we trust these data? The scholars upon whom Murray relies have their personal and professional biases, but, ultimately, their need to create coherent narratives explaining who influenced whom means that their books aren’t primarily based on their own opinions but rather on those of their subjects. For example, the best single confirmation of Beethoven’s greatness might be Brahms’s explanation of why he spent decades fussing before finally unveiling his First Symphony: “You have no idea how it feels for someone like me to hear behind him the tramp of a giant like Beethoven.” 
In Paul Johnson’s just-published and immensely readable book Art: A New History, you can see how even this most opinionated of historians must adapt himself to the judgments of artists. Much of the book’s entertainment value stems from Johnson’s heresies, such as his grumpy comment on Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: “No one ever wished the ceiling larger.” Still, Johnson can’t really break free from conventional art history because he can’t avoid writing about those whom subsequent artists emulated. 
For example, Johnson finds Cézanne (who ranks 10th in Murray’s table of 479 significant artists) painfully incompetent at the basics of his craft. Yet, Johnson has to grit his teeth and write about Cézanne at length because he “was in some ways the most influential painter of the late nineteenth century because of his powerful (and to many mysterious) appeal to other painters …”

(Of course, it could all just be a giant conspiracy going on for generations ...)

Anyway, that raises the question of how can we measure trends in creativity and innovation without long lag times? Murray, for example, halted most of his analysis in 1950 to avoid recent fads that won't stand the test of time. 

But, looking back in history, we can see sudden upsurges or declines in particular societies. For example, the traditional English view is that victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 set off a great age of English cultural accomplishment, of which Shakespeare is only the most famous. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but that has long been the standard story.

So, for this problem of measuring 21st Century innovation, I would propose that as an approximation, somebody do a surname analysis of the founders of technology firms that succeeded with initial public offerings of at least some size. This lacks the historical perspective, but it has the advantage that investors put real money down on their bets on what would be a successful and enduring innovation. Anybody want to try this? Or is there something better to measure?

P.S. A commenter kindly points to two papers that provide data on this subject. One by Ola Bengtsson and David H. Hsu looks at 1780 pairs of tech start-up founders and venture capitalists over about a decade centering around about 1998-2007. These are start-ups that at least got VC funding. About 48% of the start-ups are in California and 18% in Massachusetts.

Among founders, a surname analysis shows 3% Chinese and 7% Indian. There may be some miscellaneous Asians that they didn't break out. (Among venture capitalists, they find 4% Chinese and 4% Indian.)

Another analysis came up with 87% of founders white, 12% Asian, 1% black. These are both national surveys. The percent Asian in California is higher according to the second study: 18%.

246 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which despite their overall strategic failure still revolutionized naval warfare in multiple ways, and more importantly made it clear to the entire world.

Anonymous said...

I like your tech IPO idea. I would caution that some IPOs are over-hyped and the public generally knows relatively little about the company when the company first goes public.

So, I would suggest waiting until the company has been public for a few quarters, with the information releases required for a company to be publicly traded having time to be reflected in the market price of the firm.

That would add a lag of a few quarters, but would make the data more accurate for the most recent tech firms.

I would imagine that people of Asian ancestry and/or origin are more innovative than the stereotype suggests.

>>----> Risto

Anonymous said...

Steve I was the main proponent of whites being more creative.

People have already done very similar analysis. “founders of internet companies receiving their first round of venture capital funding between January to June 2010” are 87% white, 12% Asian, including Indian. (Sillicon Valley population is around 20% asian).

http://www.cbinsights.com/blog/venture-capital/venture-capital-human-capital-report

Another papers finds that Indians sirnames are 4% of startups and Chinese 3% (this study includes VC in non-internet)

http://www.management.wharton.upenn.edu/hsu/inc/doc/papers/david-hsu-vc-matching.pdf

Billionare-entreprenurs under 40 are still overwhelmingly white/jewish.

I still think top academic performance is the most pure measure of creativity. In business, you can have one guy be creative, and others founders other talent. But both measures show the same thing, whites are per capita more creative than East Asians. Childhood creativity tests are a third metric showing the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who deals with Asians for any amount of time simply gets that impression after awhile.

Penelope said...

Good question, Steve.

Is there a way to analyze patents?

Japan seems so radically different than China and even the rest of East Asia, though.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which despite their overall strategic failure still revolutionized naval warfare in multiple ways, and more importantly made it clear to the entire world.

Or they could have been imitating the British at Taranto.

AC said...

"When commenters get into long debates about whether Asians or Asian-Americans are less creative / innovative than others, I find myself impressed by the certainty with which opinions are offered because I have a hard time coming up with data"

Ouch, burn!

DaveinHackensack said...

I'm not sure how anyone can seriously suggest the Japanese aren't creative. They may have a less dynamic corporate sector than we do, and be less adept at self-promotion, but in a number of areas they have been ahead of the curve compared to us. When it comes to consumer electronics, for example, Sony was the Apple of the 1980s; its Walkman was that decade's equivalent of the iPod.

Japan also was way ahead of us in developing mobile e-commerce, and today is ahead of us in some types of robotics.

Anonymous said...

"Creativity is clearly something that's terribly important, but it's also extremely hard to measure..."

I think that the best way to measure qualities like creativity, honesty, capacity for hard work, sense of humor, facial attractiveness, niceness, etc. of populations is through polling. Just ask people of various backgrounds from various countries to rate the creativity (or honesty, etc.) of various groups. Throw out self-assessments as unreliable, and work with the rest of the data.

Asian commenters in this part of the blogosphere get offended when the average Asian's creativity level is impugned. Well, a lot of the Westerners who say that NE Asians lag in creativity have no trouble acknowledging that Westerners lag NE Asians in the capacity for hard work. So you can hardly blame these comments concerning creativity on a general Western hostility towards Asians.

There's always bias in people's views of The Other, but there's usually some truth in them too. Acknowledgements against self-interest provide useful info. When Asians (while not being involved in heated arguments with The Other) acknowledge superior Western creativity and originality and when Westerners acknowledge superior East Asian self-control, capacity for hard work, all that eat-bitter stuff, then useful information is generated.

Anonymous said...

The data on group differences in creativity isn't particularly impressive. Richard Lynn considered the personality dimension "openness to experience" a proxy for creative ability, and used this to prove that East Asians are less creative. Lynn's results seemed counter-intuitive to me, as I would think that Germans are relatively more creative than Chinese, but Germany scores slightly lower on openness to experience. I wonder why it seems nobody has attempted to directly assess group differences in creativity with something like the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.

B.B.

Anonymous said...

individual creativity and how technologically advanced a country is are hardly identical.

For one, a country can import innovations from outside (e.g Japanese aviation technology). Every nation does that.

Second, if you have 120 million people it's enough if a few a creative, even if per capita creativity is indeed below average.

Third, you can have incremental improvement of technology.

I don't know why I am forced to explain such basic things.

Anonymous said...

Penelope:

There is a way of analyzing patents:

http://www.oceantomo.com/ratings/industry-analytics/businessweek/top25

The Top 25 Most Innovative Companies (as measured by Patent Value)

Of the Top 25: 13 American, 10 Asian, 2 European

Of the Top 10: 6 (5 Japanese, 1 Korean) Asian, 4 American

>>----> Risto

Anonymous said...

http://books.google.com/books?id=Mt3LhhI3ZwwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=bernard+wong+chinese+in+silicon+valley&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Y11RT8jnIMXciQLe97nKBg&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bernard%20wong%20chinese%20in%20silicon%20valley&f=false

Steve, according to this book by Bernard Wong, 29% of Silicon Valley start-ups between 1995-1998 were headed up by Chinese or Indian immigrants.

Anonymous said...

Creativity and pornography are the same in that we know it when we see it. However, can we predict which individuals will be creative before they actually put their hand to doing something? Probably not.

One measure of creativity might be the number of discernably different solutions a child can come up with to the same simple math or logic problem in a fixed period of time.

Anonymous said...

The Torrance test shows Asians to be being less creative.

Torrance, E.P. (1969). What is honored: Comparative studies of creative achievement and motivation. Journal of Creative Behavior, 3(3), 149-154.

Anonymous said...

It's worth noting that for a brief time, the most prolific inventor of all time was Japanese:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shunpei_Yamazaki

And, a second, crankier version:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshiro_Nakamatsu

My personal impressions is that the Japanese, in contrast, to everyone else everywhere, tend to be much more creative and less inhibited when surrounded by other Japanese.

Anonymous said...

Here's another scary thought. What if Westerners have no advantage in mathematically and spatially loaded areas over East Asians and also have no creativity advantage?

Someone mentioned that modern history wouldn't be drastically different had East Asians never existed. The same thing could've been said about the Jews in the year 1800. In fact, numerous gentile intellectuals of that era routinely dismissed Jewish intellectual ability. See for instance this quote by Immanuel Kant.

"The Jews still cannot claim any true genius, any truly great man. All their talents and skills revolve around stratagems and low cunning ... They are a nation of swindlers."

Anonymous said...

In business, you can have one guy be creative, and others founders other talent.

Steve Jobs proves this as he got lucky with his generals. (And lieutenants and footsoldiers.)

Anything he designed at Apple was a huge failure yet because he was a founder he gets the credit for the success.

Anonymous said...

"The Top 25 Most Innovative Companies (as measured by Patent Value)

Of the Top 25: 13 American, 10 Asian, 2 European

Of the Top 10: 6 (5 Japanese, 1 Korean) Asian, 4 American
"

It's long been known that the technology industry is dominated by America and East Asia and that Europe has a minimal presence.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's like this:

There's creativity and expressivity.

A person can have creativity but not expressivity. This could be due to cultural or biological factors. Suppose a society is very conservative and strict and suppresses/discourages new expressions. Then, even a naturally creative person will suppress his own creativity. If Picasso had tried to do what he did in 18th century, he would have been mocked endlessly and he would have done more conventional stuff.

But it could be biological too. Suppose a person has creativity but is naturally timid and less willing to show off his stuff. He could be afraid of criticism or censure. He might even be afraid of praise as he doesn't know how to deal with attention, even the positive kind.

But if a person is both creative and expressive, and if society is more tolerant of creativity, his creativity will be allowed to express itself. Also, if the person is naturally more open and outgoing, he'll be more willing to share his ideas. He'll handle criticism better and will bask in praise.

It could be East is as innately creative as the West but less expressive for social and/or biological reasons.

As for blacks, some are creative and expressive, but the annoying ones are expressive though not creative. Even when they have nothing to say, they'll just keep saying shit and acting funky just to be expressive. Rap music seems to be mostly expressivity without creativity.

Anonymous said...

This Western/Eastern dichotomy might be said to be parallel to the male/female one. Men are less stable than women but more creative. Women are less creative but more stable. More women go to college than men do, but more men do GREAT stuff.

Anonymous said...

What whites say of Asians, blacks say of whites. Leonard Jeffries said blacks are creative sun people while whites are rational ice people.

To Afro-centrists, white music--even much of classical music--is repressed, uptight, stiff, rigid, and lame. White people had the rational skills to create instruments and technology, but it is the colorfully creative black man who really poured REAL MUSIC with beat, rhythm, and funk from them.

Blacks feel the same way about sports. Rational whites invented stuff like boxing and basketball, but it's the black instinctive creativity that turned those sports into real creative arts of razzle/dazzle instead of slow white boys moving mechanically and predictably.

Anonymous said...

"This Western/Eastern dichotomy might be said to be parallel to the male/female one"

I thought Richard Lynn stated the opposite? According to him, the cognitive profile of East Asians relative to Europeans was like that of men relative to women. Men are significantly higher in math and spatial ability relative to women, while women are supposedly slightly better verbally.

Anonymous said...

"It's long been known that the technology industry is dominated by America and East Asia and that Europe has a minimal presence."

Germans have lately changed their gameplan.

Penelope said...

Thanks for the link and it seems very useful.

If there was a way to look more at individually owned patents, that would be something.

Anonymous said...

"People have already done very similar analysis. “founders of internet companies receiving their first round of venture capital funding between January to June 2010” are 87% white, 12% Asian, including Indian. (Sillicon Valley population is around 20% asian)."

Assuming those numbers are correct, I'm not sure you can interpret it the way that you and Steve Sailer have. Presumably, anyone anywhere in the United States can easily move to Silicon Valley, so really the point of comparison should be between the nationwide percentage of white Americans versus that of Chinese Americans and Indian Americans. Furthermore, can't an internet company be created anywhere in the country? Subtract out the percentage of white Americans who are Jewish, and you end up with a fairly high degree of over-representation of Chinese and Indian Americans relative to that of white Americans.

Steve Sailer said...

"Steve Jobs proves this as he got lucky with his generals. (And lieutenants and footsoldiers.)"

Over a 35 year stretch -- that's quite a run of luck!

Steve Sailer said...

"Steve, according to this book by Bernard Wong, 29% of Silicon Valley start-ups between 1995-1998 were headed up by Chinese or Indian immigrants."

Okay, anybody want to try to reconcile this with the other two studies showing somewhat lower Asian percentages?

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure, at least in the arts and culture, PERSONALITY is very important to creativity.
A great artist generally has powerful or deeply unique personality. Take Kafka, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Bergman, Scorsese, Welles, Hitchcock, etc. They were all unique personalities with their own way of seeing the world. Personality is the unique jumble of emotions and ego that each person has. Some people have more personality.
A person without much personality can make good movies, like Ron Howard, but they will be eclipsed by artists with powerful personality like Spielberg, Eisenstein, Lang, and other who changed the history of cinema.
Same in music. Imagine if Beethoven was musically talented but without his powerful personality. Imagine Gogh without his unique personality. Personality drives the vision, and it's vision that gives life to talent.

Lucas is a strange case. He seems to have no personality. Yet, he had great vision with THX 1138 and some of STAR WARS. Maybe he has a strong personality inside but a bland one as an outer shell. It seems the shell has hardened over the years, and so his real personality is locked inside and hibernating for good. Will he ever make a film like THX 1138 again? If not, too bad.

Though personality is more important in arts/culture than in science/math where the rules of logic/facts cannot be altered or imagined creatively-ly, I think maybe great scientists and mathematicians too are aided by powerful personality. A powerful personality may be more obsessive--like Einstein sweating at night thinking about what it feels like to travel at the speed of light--or more egotistical or vain(seeking fame as the man who figured out THE TRUTH of the universe). Since no great discovery can be made without some risk and boldness, a scientist with powerful personality will be more competitive, more daring, more bravura. They may be geeky and quiet on the outside but they could be fired up inside.
I think in this sense, Freud was more about personality than psychology.
Or take chess. It's impossible to separate Bobby Fischer's logical genius at chess from his personality as an obsessive who ate, drank, and excreted chess.

Anonymous said...

"Over a 35 year stretch -- that's quite a run of luck!"

Yeah but remember what Nassim Taleb said in the black swan. Start off initially with a large population, and have some mechanism that successively weeds out people randomly, and you end up with a few winners whom everyone retrospectively thinks won because of skill.

Your potential cognitive bias here is that you're ignoring all of the people who fell by the wayside.

Steve Sailer said...

"Presumably, anyone anywhere in the United States can easily move to Silicon Valley, so really the point of comparison should be between the nationwide percentage of white Americans versus that of Chinese Americans and Indian Americans."

Perhaps, but it's also not hugely hard for somebody in China or India who is extremely smart to move to Silicon Valley, so maybe the denominator should be the world's percentage of Chinese and Indians? I'm not being flippant, I just want to point out that the issue of the denominator is an issue.

One purpose of this exercise is to compare it to the National Merit semifinalist percentage for the state of California (about 59% Asian by surname).

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps, but it's also not hugely hard for somebody in China or India who is extremely smart to move to Silicon Valley"

There's definitely the issue of selective immigration to consider. But at the same time, there are something like 3.8 million Chinese Americans compared to 1.34 billion Chinese. So the vast majority of Chinese are still in China. Given how well China does on international competitions like the IMO or the IPhO, I highly doubt that the 3.8 million Chinese Americans represent most of the top portions of the Chinese IQ distribution.

Regarding your second point, I thought getting the relevant visa documents these days was becoming increasingly difficult?

If you look at companies like Google or Nvidia or the likes, what you find is that an increasingly large share of important start-ups these days are founded by immigrants, either Jewish, East Asian, or Indian.

Anonymous said...

"This Western/Eastern dichotomy might be said to be parallel to the male/female one"

"I thought Richard Lynn stated the opposite?"

WHAT??? He don't know nuttin'.

Anonymous said...

"The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which despite their overall strategic failure still revolutionized naval warfare in multiple ways, and more importantly made it clear to the entire world."

Creativity sure can be stupid. Of course, if Japan was lured into attacking Pearl Harbor as some historians say, then it was FDR's diplomacy that was truly creative.

Anonymous said...

Here is another study.

http://archive.sba.gov/advo/research/rs349tot.pdf
(page 54)

94% of high-tech start-ups are white. There is a lot of myths in the media/academia inflating immigrants in the high-tech sector

Anonymous said...

"One purpose of this exercise is to compare it to the National Merit semifinalist percentage for the state of California (about 59% Asian by surname)."

Here's another potentially important point to consider. Because of immigration patterns, the IQ distribution of East Asians may not be normally distributed. In other words, there may simply be more talent at the +2-3 SD range in intellectual ability relative to say the +4 SD range than would be predicted by a normal distribution.

There are already studies showing that the distribution of income amongst Chinese Americans is bimodal.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know why Europe has a such a minimal presence in the technology sector relative to America(and also relative to East Asia, but that difference can perhaps be explained relatively easily)?

I wonder if Jewish Americans give America the edge in technology over Europe? Or are there other factors at play here...

Anonymous said...

"Anyone know why Europe has a such a minimal presence in the technology sector relative to America(and also relative to East Asia, but that difference can perhaps be explained relatively easily)?"

1. Massive social spending on welfare than on higher education.

2. Egalitarianism in college where just about anyone can go.

3. Smart people more interested in culture, arts, philosophy, and etc than in technology.

4. Anti-capitalist ethos which send more people into government than business.

An old AMERICAN INTEREST article on German universities.

Anonymous said...

"Well, a lot of the Westerners who say that NE Asians lag in creativity have no trouble acknowledging that Westerners lag NE Asians in the capacity for hard work."

Even donkeys can do hard work. No one likes being called a donkey.

"One measure of creativity might be the number of discernably different solutions a child can come up with to the same simple math or logic problem in a fixed period of time."

Reminds me of the barometer question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barometer_question


"Men are less stable than women but more creative."

I have often entertained the notion that the reason women are more willing to conform to an outer standard is due to the lack of stability within themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Anyone know why Europe has a such a minimal presence in the technology sector relative to America(and also relative to East Asia, but that difference can perhaps be explained relatively easily)?"

Huh? Europeans are keeping up nicely with or surpassing the US on all fronts, except weapons development. Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

Really? It isn't that much more difficult for Indians/Chinese to come to America than some white guy in Florida?

Being flippant? No. Desperate? Yes!

Anonymous said...

To really get a better picture one would have to separate Jews from the rest of the white population. Jews probably have a very oversized amount of accomplishments to their name.

But that doesn't mean that all white people are capable of this anymore than aggregate Asian data will represent what a Filipino will do.

Anonymous said...

Take away Indian Buddhism, Chinese Confucianism and European science, technology, rationalism and what is left of Japanese culture?

Anonymous said...

"There are already studies showing that the distribution of income amongst Chinese Americans is bimodal."

It's not just White America that's coming apart.

Maya said...

Obviously, just like everyone here, I've no idea if, in general, the East Asians are genetically less inclined to be creative, whatever that means.

However, I did live and teach in East Asia, for a year and a half. In comparison to ours, their culture does, indeed, discourage individuality. Although, it should be noted that both Japan and Korea are free countries with libraries, internet access and physical violence is against the law. People CAN be creative if they choose.

Working in a cram school where, by the very essence of the place, the children had parents who were willing to part with 50% of their salaries to get their children into good universities, I still had creative kids, class clown kids, rebellious kids and non-compliant kids.

There were a couple of "hipster/artsy" parts of the city where i liked to hang out. I was in my earliest 20s and kept sneering at how all their punk band members were dressed as if they followed a strict grooming code of what a punk should look like, or how all the 35-45 club guitarists looked alike as well- slender, long hair and an earring. I sneered the hardest about how all those styles were adopted from the west, and how all these "alternative" people missed the point, especially when a bunch of them adopted names in English like Slash or G-Dragon. But now that I think about it, in a culture where there was only one grooming code acceptable for any type of mainstream employment, these people's chosen styles WERE meaningful signifiers.

There was a fairly large arts university near one of those hipster districts. I'm not an artist or an expert in any way, but some of the designs, photographs and musical pieces did move me. Some of my kids told me that they'd like to move to America, so they could be "free" and do what they want in life. Some bargained with their parents for the right to study Italian, if they do really well in English or guitar if school and tech camp go really well. I kept in touch with quite a few of my Asian students when I went to teach in Western Europe, and one of them secretly started to learn the language of the country where I was staying. She was making progress too for someone who spent 11 hours/day in class and then had homework to complete. Said Inspiration by beauty gave her energy.

In America and during my couple of years in Europe, I met more than several East Asian young artists who won contests and had their work appreciated.

It's hard to be creative, if your society makes you feel that failure isn't an option; that the only ones who don't succeed every time are complete and hopeless losers. Perhaps, those Asians who followed the parent chosen paths into business and engineering, have way too much to lose by the time they reach that point where they have enough skill and know how to make a creative move.

Asians are human beings, and there is definitely passion and creative fire within a good number of them, but how does one measure if they have more or less of it, on average? How does one measure the importance of genetics vs environment when viewing their results? From what I've observed, hipsters aren't that into interracial adoption. All the adopted Asian (and black and native american) people that I know were raised by very Christian, conservatively inclined lower middle class families. That's not exactly an oppressive environment, but it's definitely an upbringing that stresses sensible decision making and family obligations. So looking into adopted Asians wouldn't be a good idea, even if they weren't already, in all likelihood, different from the Asians who weren't put up for adoption. How would one set up an inquiry into the innate Asian creativity?

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia, there are 2 million Jews in Europe, v.s 5 in U.S.

But Europe has 700 million whites, U.S only 200 million.

It is quite an accomplishment by the 200m to beat the 700m.

(a part of explanation is that private elite universities are more common and better funded in America, causing brain drain from Europe).

Maya said...

"I think that the best way to measure qualities like creativity, honesty, capacity for hard work, sense of humor, facial attractiveness, niceness, etc. of populations is through polling. Just ask people of various backgrounds from various countries to rate the creativity (or honesty, etc.) of various groups. Throw out self-assessments as unreliable, and work with the rest of the data."

I don't think it's such a good idea. Most people have no real experience with people of different origins, let alone large groups of different origins or large groups that are good samples of the populations in question. So, most people's opinions would be based on movies, books, opinions of other people or the very small sample of their own experience which might not be representative of the whole.

Dan said...

I think the opportunity and courage to found a startup is partly related to coming from an upper class background, or at least a strongly upper middle class. In that case, the ethnic background you see in startups is about right.

(1) If you are upper class, the bar to success is much higher such that even being a well-paid worker at Goldman Sachs or Microsoft may not count as success.

(2) If you are upper class, you feel secure enough to do things that are very high risk because your quality of life won't be wrecked by being in a startup.

(3) If you are only middle class or lower, that well-paying job at Goldman or Google counts as 'making it.' It is very hard to give up a very nice bird in the hand when you stand to fall farther if the startup fails. That smart Indian with a 250K per year offer from Google is already much more successful than his family back home and he may have a hard time reaching for more.

I have a friend whose family was worth in the tens of millions. He went through his twenties creating one startup after another and one of them was rather successful. He couldn't stay more than a year in a white-collar job working for someone else. It just wasn't exciting or worth it to him. I, by contrast, am more than happy to have my decently-paid upper-middle class Engineering job and found my time with a startup excruciatingly unstable.

Anonymous said...

It should be obvious that the overachieving Jews (a mixed race originally from the middle-east/west-asia) are grossly inflating the white contribution in Silicon Valley. Where are the German-Americans and Irish-Americans who are far far more numerous than Jews? Based on this narrow reasoning one could conclude that they are congenitally challenged in the creativity department.

By the way Steve Jobs, the god of silicon valley, had a Levantine father (Syrian Arab Muslim) and an European mother which makes genetically similar, in a broad sense, to Ashkenazi Jews. Hmmm?

Likewise the iconic genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, to whom Jobs is often compared, was also a similar mix: his mother was a middle-eastern slave.

Maya said...

"Well, a lot of the Westerners who say that NE Asians lag in creativity have no trouble acknowledging that Westerners lag NE Asians in the capacity for hard work."

Interesting. On average, the Asians that I've met in America (and i can safely say, that I've met lots, lots more than an average American would- matter of geography) and in Europe are extremely hard working and driven, when compared with, well, anyone else.

However, that hasn't been my experience in Asia. The workers there seemed to compete in who is seen in the office the most number of hours, but shit didn't get done. Administrative staff, construction workers and everyone else seemed to be on a permanent break with strategies to look busy, in case the boss walks by. A huge chunk of hours that the company men in suits spent away from their families were actually at the bar, where everyone was required to attend, stay as long as the boss and drink no less than the boss. Oftentimes, they'd start in the mid afternoon and stay til midnight or later. Every street, on almost every evening was littered with well dressed, clean shaven men moaning, dry heaving, looking dead and all the rest that goes with it. It seemed that the people who were actually working hard either had their own businesses or had a whip ready to descend upon their back- students and factory workers, for example.

Oh, and while the immigrant Asians and their descendants are some of the most organized people I've ever met, the people in the East Asian country where I worked, lost my college diploma, forgot to register me for health insurance (which almost cost me, but ended up costing them over a $1000) and paid for two lovely 2-day visa runs instead of one (YAY!) because they forgot to give me and my coworker the needed documents the first time around. Oh, and each time, it was a different group of people that f-ed up. From what I learned there, f-ing up due to professional neglect and disorganization is extremely common in that clean, civilized, well-educated East Asian country. On average, they are different over there from the ones we get over here.

Maya said...

"By the way Steve Jobs, the god of silicon valley, had a Levantine father (Syrian Arab Muslim) and an European mother which makes genetically similar, in a broad sense, to Ashkenazi Jews. Hmmm?

Likewise the iconic genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, to whom Jobs is often compared, was also a similar mix: his mother was a middle-eastern slave."

If the Middle Eastern-European offsprings really do possess some magic quality, Europe is about to experience a second Renaissance. Can't wait.

Anonymous said...

"The workers there seemed to compete in who is seen in the office the most number of hours, but shit didn't get done. Administrative staff, construction workers and everyone else seemed to be on a permanent break with strategies to look busy, in case the boss walks by."

Maybe it's because there really isn't much to do, but they all wanna keep their jobs.

Hacienda said...

I believe whites are extremely class driven and materialistically creative to distinguish themselves from blacks. The kernel creativity of whites started centuries ago, nay thousands of years ago in Egypt in the white vs black dichotomy.

White creativity is really no big deal, but for people with small minds, it is a big deal. Peace, out.

Anonymous said...

"Take away Indian Buddhism, Chinese Confucianism and European science, technology, rationalism and what is left of Japanese culture?"

Harakiri and sushi.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who deals with Asians for any amount of time simply gets that impression after awhile.

Definitely. Chinese more so than Japanese, by the way. Book smart, extremely hard working, but no spark.

Anonymous said...

Japanese are world beaters in creative cuisine. Probably second only to the chinese. Check out #1 and #7:

http://www.cracked.com/blog/9-restaurants-designed-to-ruin-your-appetite/

Anonymous said...

Maybe the West, especially America, has an advantage is creative-connectivity or creactivity.

A lot of creative people work with other creative people to produce the super-creative product. Consider that the Beatles were Lennon AND McCartney. And Steve Jobs worked with Wozniak and others. Thus, for super-creativity, the various creativities must connect. A creative person on his own is just one creative person. To produce creative critical mass--or creatical mass--that produces something totally mind-blowing,
various creative minds must come together.

There is something casual and democratic about Americans in how they interact. Take William Holden in BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI. Japanese are strict, the Brits are rigid, but Holden and Americans can schmooze with anyone. Or take THE THIRD MAN. The two American characters are the most accessible in terms of style. Welles is evil and Cotten is decent, but what they have in common is a chumminess missing among Europeans and Britons.
Suppose Jobs and Wozniak had been born in Japan and raised in Japanese manners. Jobs would have been pressured to behave better--and if he didn't,he would have come under pressure not just from parents and teachers but from bullying students who would have whupped his ass. Also, keep in mind that Wozniak was five yrs older than Jobs. But in America, that didn't matter. Jobs spoke freely with Wozniak and won him over with his gameplan. There was a lot of creative-connectivity or creactivity.
But had both been Japanese, Jobs would have deferred to 'older brother type' Wozniak. There would have been a social barrier preventing the full use of creactivity.

Even Americans who are strangers break the ice within seconds of meeting one another and get down to business or talking freely.And college students freely engage with their professors.
Sense of social ease/communication might take longer in Asia where there are more social rules. The ice doesn't break easily and even after broken, there are rules as to who can say what and when. If a younger person acted like Jobs did with Wozniak in Asia, he might be looked down as uncouth, rude, and disrespectful.

There may be barriers between creactivity in Europe too. Continental Europeans have often opined that Americans are crude, vulgar, and childish; and this often means that Americans speak their minds freely and care less about social forms.
This can be good or bad. Among dumb and trashy Americans, that kind of behavior can really be offensive and wild. But among smarter and educated Americans, it can be refreshing, a willingness to engage one-on-one without hang-ups and inhibitions.
Anyway, because of the more democratic spirit of America, creactivity is more lubricated over here than in Europe or in Japan.
Another thing. Europeans may be more into the guru-complex and guru-admiration. Freud didn't want anyone to disagree with him. Marx was the same way. Jung was like that too. Heidegger was difficult too. Men like Sartre and Foucault had loyal sheeping followings. Thus, Europeans revere MASTERS. They are more into the guru. Thus, certain creative people come to hog too much spotlight; instead of engaging them, they are followed and listened to at every turn.
Americans are less into guru-ism. Sure, American like the great visionary or individual, but they don't see him as some god-figure. If a European wants to sit at the feet of some guru, American wants to get to know the guru and exchange ideas with him.

Anonymous said...

"and what is left of Japanese culture?""

Manga and anime! The american nerd culture's preferred distractions.

There is much creativity in these spheres if you're willing to overlook that almost all of them have a high-school in them, and that random infantilization of adults is a common occurrence.

Anonymous said...

I am an artist (representational painting) i can always tell the work of oriental painters - they completely lack creativity, its all done by rote. They often achieve technical proficiency, but miss the big picture.

Its hard to explain or quantify - but even in the paint in the manner, of say, Sargent, it completely lacks emotion and vitality. My guess is they just 'dont' get it'.

Volksverhetzer said...

Who rates highest on the hypothetical technological creativity scale between Northern European and the East-Asians trivially depends on their differences in evolutionary environment since their last common ancestor.

There are basically two ways to solve a problem.Remembering the solution from last time or from a lesson, or coming up with a new solution.

From an evolutionary POV the optimum adaptation would most likely be a combination of the two, where the population would center around some hypothetical mean with a variance.

Where this mean would be, is dependent on the evolutionary environment, for instance the level of technological development and the population density.

If we start with population density, it is not that bold to assume that the lower the density, the more it pays to come up with a good solution yourself, rather than finding somebody that knows how to do it.

As for technological development, the pattern would be that the more tools and stuff your evolutionary environment contained, the higher the potential payoff for using the tools in a new way.

So if it is too hard to find a usable creativity test, one could get help by looking at the EE for the groups by looking at archeology.

One could also look at how the groups invest today in "learning from the best" vs just learning the trade.

It is easy to imagine other forms of creativity also, like solving social problems creatively.(Eks. Getting resources for yourself through trade and cunning or achieving high status)
Following the same logic, it is quite natural that the social competition is the greatest where people live many together in villages contra scattered around on family farms.

Jews are probably the extreme case here, as they have lived in cities for a very long time, and thus been subjugated to the hardest social competition.

Anonymous said...

, Leonardo da Vinci, to whom Jobs is often compared, was also a similar mix: his mother was a middle-eastern slave.
that's 'speculation' right up there with DaVinci Code. Take a look at Boticelli's great muse, Simonetta Vespucci

that will give you some idea what Florentines looked like.

Anonymous White Male said...

Anonymous at 4:06 PM said...

"Men are less stable than women but more creative. Women are less creative but more stable."

You definitely need to define your terms and provide some links. Women? More "stable"? I can think of a number of areas where this is a laughable statement.

And for the person claiming Leonardo da Vinci for the Levantine:

http://www.hebrewhistory.info/factpapers/fp035_davinci.htm

Beware of anthropological and historical scholarship that has developed in the last 2 decades. Too much is at stake and many social "scientists" have no problem with stretching the truth, if it can somehow lessen the influence of "dead White males". Check out that link and others to see how many disparate opinions there are. I'm sure Leonardo's enemies (and there were many) would have made hay with such information in his own time. A time that was much closer to the truth. Also, look at Leonardo's profile. Your racial facial traits become more pronounced with age. What do you see in his self-portraits that indicate anything other than White admixture?

Anonymous said...

I am a math teacher teaching elementary school math. When giving my students problems on basic arithmetic, such as 5+6, I can always tell without looking at the names of my students which ones are East Asian. They solve these problems entirely by rote. There is no creativity at all. My guess is that they just don't get it.

My white students solve these problems by brilliantly deriving the foundational concepts of arithmetic from more basic first principles.

Anonymous said...

Why does everyone use 'Asian" and how did oriental become 'horrible'?

tommy said...

No, I don't think there is any valid way of quantifying creativity at this point, Murray's Human Accomplishment notwithstanding. We really need interval or ratio data and not ordinal data. I don't think creativity is exactly a single thing, either. I'm not convinced that the traits that make for a great filmmaker ordinarily correspond to the traits that make for an innovative mechanical engineer.

I don't believe the abstracting abilities that allow someone to come up with big theoretical "paradigm shifts" are exactly the same as those that allow someone to tinker with a large number of parts or facts to come up with a great incremental improvement in the design of a device or system.

I mean, is it really so hard to imagine that there are people who are innately better mathematicians than Einstein but not such great physical theoreticians? Is it hard to imagine that while Einstein may have been a creative physicist, he probably wouldn't have been as prolific an inventor as Thomas Edison had he set his mind to practical invention? Is it difficult to imagine that the person who first comes up with the idea of a laser may not necessarily be the best person at discovering a cost effective way of developing blue lasers had that person been born a few decades later when red lasers were already in common use?

I don't think creativity involves a vast number of psychological factors. That seems pretty unlikely since evolution doesn't work that way. But a handful of at least semi-independent factors seems likely to me.

Further research into psychometrics and the psychology of problem forming, shaping, and solving should eventually allow us to measure creativity and abstraction in individuals, but we're not there yet. I suspect we will ultimately find there are strong links between creativity and personality as well as g since, after all, we didn't develop different heritable personality factors as a species for no evolutionary purpose.

Anonymous said...

"I am an artist (representational painting) i can always tell the work of oriental painters - they completely lack creativity, its all done by rote. They often achieve technical proficiency, but miss the big picture. "

You can't know much about art or possess much aesthetic acumen then - I find the Chinese ink brush tradition to be the most expressive and innovative in recorded human history. It's not merely mimetic like traditional Western art - it's about more than just making an image which looks like something.

AND the big problem with Chinese art since the late Ming Dynasty was fostering of a lack of technical proficiency by literati artist-scholar like Dong Qichang, who extolled roughness and sloppiness, since they lacked the time to acquire the technical proficiency of professional.

Anonymous said...

Here's a nice way of measuring innovation and creativity which a lot of the more quantitatively inclined and uncultured HBD nerds overlook - opening a few books about history, music or art.

The Japanese throughout the common era have been one of the most prolific and creative people in terms of arts and letters - Lady Murasaki, Sei Shonagon, Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima, Haruki Murakami and Basho are all writers who have been translated into English and exerted tremendous influence upon the Western world of belle-lettres. This is all the more remarkable given how utterly dissimilar Japanese is to English.

Hokusai and Hiroshige were two of the most pivotal influences on late-19th century painting - composition in Asian art was so much more sophisticated and nuanced than the static tableaus that had characterized mimetic Western art up until that point.

How about movies - the definitive modern art form? Akira Kurosawa was probably the greatest film-maker of the 20th century - Yasujiro Ozo's "Tokyo Story" regularly makes number one on lists of greatest film of all time, and Takeshi Kaneshiro is no doubt one of greatest actor-directors alive - Woody Allen is just a trivial, pseudo-cerebral joke next to Kaneshiro.

Their music and culinary traditions are two of the richest in the world.

And though many may deem these areas trivial and meaningless, they nonetheless remain key signifiers of creativity - in the realm of children's cartoon, comic books, animation and computer games, the Japanese are probably the most accomplished and influential per capita nation in the world. A lot of posters may not be of the generation to realize it, but really the key formative cultural influences for children in the West are produced in Japan.

Take a cursory glance at a list of the best computer games ever made - disproportionately Japanese (Mario, Zelda, etc.).

To assert that Asians are in any way lacking in creativity is truly to make a fine spectacle of one's own ignorance.

Anonymous said...


Or they could have been imitating the British at Taranto.

or nelson's daring attack on the Copenhagen harbor

Anonymous said...

"Take away Indian Buddhism, Chinese Confucianism and European science, technology, rationalism and what is left of Japanese culture?"

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Though I suppose they fall under 'European science and technology'.

Anonymous said...

I find the Chinese ink brush tradition to be the most expressive and innovative in recorded human history. I
and you're accusing me of not knowing much about art, sweetheart? You want to compare that with Michelangelo, Sargent, Homer, Raphael, Giotto, or even the anonymous creators of medieval Cathedrals, go ahead..

Anonymous said...

Hokusai and Hiroshige were two of the most pivotal influences on late-19th century painting - composition in Asian art was so much more sophisticated and nuanced than the static tableaus that had characterized mimetic Western art up until that point.
Buttercup, Hokausai was greatly influences, as were all japanese artists, by western prints that had been smuggled in, particularly of rubens.

Anonymous said...

@anon 805 - walk into any of the New York Ateliers and look at the work of Orientals vs. Western students. That's what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

"Their music and culinary traditions are two of the richest in the world."

I don't know, While Japanese music is distinct and special, samisen is to guitar what a mouth missing half its teeth is to a mouth with full set of teeth. And music has been among the weaker elements of Japanese movies.

As for Japanese cuisine, don't be fooled by the presentation. It's over-priced snacks.
And though I like sashimi, how can you call it cooking when it aint cooked?

tommy said...

As long as I can remember, the Japanese have been poor-mouthing their lack of creativity and innovation (and, by vague extension, that of East Asians in general).

But doesn't that again speak to something about the Japanese personality? Could you even imagine Jews bemoaning their lack of creativity or their lack of any desirable mental quality?

I tell you, Steve, if I had millions of dollars to blow on psychological research I would put it toward answering a few broad questions:

1. What correlations exist between intelligence and personality factors? Is there a link between, say, relative differences in verbal and visuospatial IQ and traits that suggest fractiousness or conformity? Do we find such links between individuals or just between populations? (In other words, are such correlations direct or joint at the genetic level?)

2. What correlations exist between both intelligence and personality factors and susceptibility to cognitive biases? Evolution has clearly favored biasing our cognition in some ways. Humans aren't Vulcans and there has to be evolutionary explanations for that.

3. Finally, what correlations exist between all the above traits (intelligence, personality, and susceptibility to cognitive biases) and creative processes?


To assert that Asians are in any way lacking in creativity is truly to make a fine spectacle of one's own ignorance.

Sheesh. And then I give you a list of anecdotal examples to contradict your statements. We could start with the inability of the Japanese or other East Asians to independently develop axiomatic mathematics along the lines of the Greeks.

It may be ignorant, but I'll stand by the assertion that East Asians aren't thinkers of real big ideas, computer games and haiku aside.

Retired Player said...

Anecdotal story here. I dated the daughter of a Japanese business tycoon who started one of the first microchip companies in Japan specializing in manufacturing specialty chips for cell phones (she was studying in the U.S. when I met her). He sold it around 1990 or so to an American conglomerate and then started a company working on developing solar power and then sold that company to another congolmerate and now works as a highly paid consultant and board member.


He use to visit the U.S. frequently when he still had his first company and I asked her why. She said it was to interview engineering students at M.I.T., Cal Tech,and other schools.

I said don't they have engineers in Japan? She said that her father had told her he needed to hire at least a few American engineers (she indicated to me that they were White American engineers he wished to hire), because most of the Japanese engineers he hired, although capable, could't think "outside the box."

It kinda of surprised me, because statements contrary to one's ethnicity are fairly rare even in intimate relations. Though it reminded me of the time I was dating the daughter of a well respected German Jewish scientist who fled Germany in 1933 and came to the U.S. to teach and do research and settled in New York. He had been told by some of his German colleauges who were his friends at the University where he worked that he was going to be targeted for harassment or even possibly physical violence and left for the U.S. almost on the spur of the moment leaving behind many of his relatives.(N.B. in my younger years I had a roving eye for attractive brainy young ladies... Jewish, Japanese, French, Italian, etc. ...they are all great... and fortunatley when I was younger I was blessed with good looks, charm, and a great career that afforded me an opportunity to indulge in these inclinations).

I asked the Jewish young lady if she would have an issue with marrying a Gentile and she said she actually didn't want to marry someone Jewish. Again I was surprised, and asked her why and she said "because they always cause problems where ever they go."

It was only years later I got to understand a little bit of what she was talking about.

In intimate relations you can learn a lot about what some people think about their own group.

Regarding the young Japanese lady who shared her father's views about Whites with me, she is a very creative lady in her own right (though in the arts).

Perhaps she like her father is an outlier who can think outside the box.

dogzma said...

OK, that you are even able to assume that tech has anything to do with creativity underlies a bigger problem: Is creativity the same as innovation or problem solving ability? It's easy to recognize creativity in the visual arts or music but is the term really applicable in tech?

I'm skeptical because I think technology pushing for "state of the art" quality describes a process of refinement and precise replication, almost antithetical to the mess I envision when hearing the word "creative". Producing in hi-tech must necessarily mean maintaining the status quo by making exact replicas of some item that must please those who purchase it by being a high-quality example of whatever they expected it to be.

Anonymous said...

"Takeshi Kaneshiro is no doubt one of greatest actor-directors alive - Woody Allen is just a trivial, pseudo-cerebral joke next to Kaneshiro."

What? He's a good looking kid but no great talent. And when did he DIRECT any movies? IMDB lists him just as an actor.

I think you're confusing him with Takeshi Kitano who is a special kind of actor-director, but I would not compare him with Allen. It's like Apples and Oranges. Allen is the master of wit, Kitano is the master of the absurd.

Anonymous said...

"And though many may deem these areas trivial and meaningless, they nonetheless remain key signifiers of creativity - in the realm of children's cartoon, comic books, animation and computer games, the Japanese are probably the most accomplished and influential per capita nation in the world."

Japanese manga was interesting up to around the 80s, but it's all been cutesy crap since. Traditionally, people who wanted to make movies but didn't get the chance wrote comic books, and some of them were like graphic screenplays. But the thing is they were inspired by something OTHER than comic books. But then a whole generation grew up on nothing but comic books and cartoons, and so the thing got inbred into cutesy/childish crap.

As for anime, the golden age the 80s but it's been shit since the 90s. I can't stand them. Even the great Miyazaki went all wrong since Mononoke Hime.

swimming swan said...

"...composition in Asian art was so much more sophisticated and nuanced than the static tableaus that had characterized mimetic Western art up until that point."

This is hilarious just as the rest of your assertions. Japanese have not taken over the novel-writing nor the film-making industries though they have on occasion achieved in these fields of endeavor. Japanese art is only recognized as Japanese because of following certain conventions. Relinquishing these, it becomes Western art by default.

Anonymous said...

"A great artist generally has powerful or deeply unique personality. Take Kafka, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Bergman, Scorsese, Welles, Hitchcock, etc. "

Why do you think Scorsese has more personality than Lucas? I have seen them interviewed an neither one seemed to have a powerful or distinct personality. They seem to me just normal guys. Do you know these people? You can't tell too much about someone from an interview.

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in this topic might want to read Why Asians are Less Creative than Westerners, by Ng Aik Kwang, 2001. If I recall correctly, he did his dissertation on this (in Australia) and is Chinese (from Singapore?):

http://www.amazon.com/Asians-Less-Creative-than-Westerners/dp/0130404756

His goal is how Asians can make their societies more creative. (He seems to be mostly aiming at an Asian audience.) He treats Asian/Western creative differences as almost a given that Asians will not find controversial. I believe he makes the case for most of the difference being cultural (Confucianism).

His book has interesting (creative?) ideas about creativity in general, but I found it weak on the actual facts of the matter. He does not claim it is written as an academic work, however, but as something that the typical reader (likely Asian) will find approachable.

Anonymous said...

"Why do you think Scorsese has more personality than Lucas? I have seen them interviewed an neither one seemed to have a powerful or distinct personality. They seem to me just normal guys. Do you know these people? You can't tell too much about someone from an interview."

Angel in THE WILD BUNCH: "Ah, you have no eyes." And no ears too.

Scorsese has one of the most distinct personalities in the film community. He's motor-mouth with an opinion on EVERYTHING, a cinematic version of the Joe Pesci character in CASINO.

Also, even without the interviews, Scorsese's artistic style and personality come through so powerfully in his films.
Same with Sam Peckinpah. When you're watching a Peckinpah, you know HE made it.

Anonymous said...

Re:

"I mean, is it really so hard to imagine that there are people who are innately better mathematicians than Einstein but not such great physical theoreticians?"

Trivia Factoid.. Einstein employed a grad student research assistant to work out mathematics (he concentrated on the physics). This bright young fellow (who had worked under Feynman and with Von Neumann at Los Alamos on the bomb) eventually got tired of the drudgery involved and decided to follow the path of Babbage. Being fully aware of the on-going developments in computing, he and another fellow invented... Basic. People often groan about how "bad" Basic is as a language (to modern sensibilities, which is somewhat unfair). I often agree technically but quip, "did you know it was designed by a guy that Einstein hired to do his math?":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_George_Kemeny

Lucius said...

I agree Murray has made some signal contributions to modern debate, but this talking-up his Human Greatness drives me nuts.

I guess I'll have to read the darn thing, but it gets so many talk-ups, I feel like I know the score.

Let's be fair to Paul Johnson, another terrific writer: he's not just compelled to talk about Michelangelo or Cezanne or Poussin (now there he's trashing MY idol) because the weight of history compels him to kinda/sorta acquiesce to their genius-- he discusses them to smash them. His nod to Samuel J. on "Paradise Lost" is just the beginning. He's saying: the Sistine Chapel is High Art Trash. Debunking shouldn't count in favor of the debunkee unless you can feel the writer's weary struggle with the inherent greatness of something they're not quite feeling. Johnson just hates the thing.

I don't know how to read Steve's dry notice of his wife's appalled reaction to Austen slighted for Dreiser, but I hope it telegraphs a fleeting recognition that counting indexes drove Murray off the rails. Austen is a signal influence on G. Eliot, H. James, Forster, possibly an Anxiety-of for Charlotte Bronte, to say nothing of a host of moderns.

Dreiser basically got something into lit about Sister Carrie swinging her haunches (not Zola's "Nana" exactly, but racy for the Americans, so that's an "influence" he had, I guess) and, ahm, "Match Point." I doubt Hemingway lost much sleep about escaping Dreiser's awesome shadow. You'd have to be a Socialist milquetoast from the 30s to think Dreiser counts for anything. But I guess some dudes like that wrote surveys . . . .

It's not as if Murray had an unprecedented method: what do we have another BFI Sight & Sound poll coming up for? Is God Almighty denied the right to say "Vertigo" is better than "Citizen Kane" until a plurality of lecturers at East Anglia say so?

And all the rich people in America do coke and cheat on their spouses, I don't care how they answer some damn survey. Garbage in, garbage out. Replace Harvard's graduating class with U. Penn's, we'd be all better off.

Count the numbers in the index-- I can see how some people think that's so bad it must be good. Social Science over Humanities! But it's so bad it went past good and back to bad again (courtesy E.C.).

One should trust Johnson more on these things, even if he does think Kipling is greater than Milton (or Austen). Which is insane, insane. But that's why he's a joy and a genius.

Abusing tech gurus with a ranking game is another story. Probably just an insomnia treatment, but harmless to the soul (I mean a soul that worries overmuch about them in the first place). Though at least with the "Juptier" and the "Eroica" you can have the thing before you, so to speak. --Now I have to go sharpen a Ticonderoga and compile the definitive Top Ten over a post-midnight cup of Nescafe, I'm all worked up . . . .

Catperson said...

Why does everyone use 'Asian" and how did oriental become 'horrible'?

I think Asian became the popular term because it's less racial, as Asians can be either mongoloid (East Asian) or Caucasoid (south Asian). It's just another example of race denial.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to go into anecdote, just spell out general impression.

Contributions from Japan show up in movies, games, and pop culture. Japanese companies do well in international markets. The cooking is different and good. Tokyo seems like a trendy place dominated by visual arts creativity.

I can't figure out how anyone is convinced that that Japanese aren't creative.

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs designed nothing. He hired design and engineering people, good ones, and had them implement his whims and peccadilloes. Those that were successful stayed and those less so were modified or eliminated in successive releases.

Steve knew what he wanted. And he got it.

many of his ideas were failures. He hated cooling fans and several Apple products so implemented had high failure rates and/or aftermarket fans were often fitted.

Steve thought black and white was okay, which meant that Macintosh got color late, and that NeXT spent millions designing monochrome monitors and CPUs that were quickly obsoleted. And you couldn't convert them to color. They sold very poorly indeed.

Amazingly he did these things again and again. Over a twenty-plus year span.

Anonymous said...

"Or they could have been imitating the British at Taranto."

They still saw that and recognized it before we did.

"Creativity sure can be stupid. Of course, if Japan was lured into attacking Pearl Harbor as some historians say, then it was FDR's diplomacy that was truly creative."

We, that is to say America, were responsible for 80% of Japan's oil imports. By cutting that off we were forcing either war, or Japan to back down in China. Had fleet in being not been obsolete they would have had to back down. So that was more overconfidence on our part than any deliberate attempt to force war, they just didn't play the part American war planners had planned out for them, the bastards.

Anonymous said...

"Scorsese has one of the most distinct personalities in the film community. He's motor-mouth with an opinion on EVERYTHING, a cinematic version of the Joe Pesci character in CASINO."

I recently saw a documentary that Scorsese made on Italian films that influenced him called My Voyage To Italy. I recommend it, especially if you like Scorsese. Although, I bet you have seen it.

Anonymous said...

"Penelope:

There is a way of analyzing patents:

http://www.oceantomo.com/ratings/industry-analytics/businessweek/top25

The Top 25 Most Innovative Companies (as measured by Patent Value)

Of the Top 25: 13 American, 10 Asian, 2 European

Of the Top 10: 6 (5 Japanese, 1 Korean) Asian, 4 American

>>----> Risto"

There is also a cultural/legal difference between Europe and America to take into account.

Our system of "first to invent" is much friendlier to investors and innovators, albeit more bizarre than the system the rest of the world uses for patents, "first to file".

Anonymous said...

"that's 'speculation' right up there with DaVinci Code. Take a look at Boticelli's great muse, Simonetta Vespucci
that will give you some idea what Florentines looked like."

As an Italian I find it funny that foreigners have no idea of Italy's regional ethnicities. Tuscans/Florentines do have a definite, recognizable type, which is stable in history and even recognizable in the Etrurian tombs. Most historical Florentines including artists and politicians of the Renaissance conform to that type (Dante, Leonardo, Galileo, the Medicis). It is swarthier than the European average, and often "Roman nosed". Some ethnic Tuscans almost look Jewish (Roberto Benigni). Genetic studies show that the Tuscans have more Middle Eastern genes than other Italians. Art models clearly aren't a good example of what average Tuscans looked like because of the universal preference for blonde, fair skinned ones.

Antioco Dascalon said...

Before we can measure creativity, we must first define it. Is it identical to originality/innovation? Lateral-thinking? As a first attempt, I would say that original + good = creative, that is, one can easily do something no one else has done before, but it is probably going to be terrible. The real trick is to do something original that improves on what had been done before. Creativity means creating something worthwhile, not just creating something, full stop.
Next, is creativity always a good thing? That is, can one have too much? I would say that Italy is the most creative country in the world by many measures as it is the capital of the fashion industry and the most exotic cars are designed and built there. What engineering is to Switzerland, design is to Italy. But, is creative Italy really better off than less creative Austria?
I would also guess that this is mainly a cultural, not genetic phenomenon. The Greeks were highly creative and the Spanish, Russians, Dutch etc all had their moments of intense creativity. There seems to be a golden age (as discussed in Human Achievement) in many societies.
I think Asians bristle at being called less creative because it is such a human, innately positive trait. But, if put differently, I think that it is trivially true. Is it the case that East Asian cultures put a greater premium on learning and mastering traditional techniques? Is it true that Eastern Asians are taught to have greater reverence for the past, for elders, for old methods and solutions? I think that these things are obviously true and if so, it is clear that the West is more future-oriented and less tied to the past and therefore more interested in creating something new than preserving that which is old.

Jacob Roberson said...

Penelope said...

Thanks for the link and it seems very useful.

If there was a way to look more at individually owned patents, that would be something.

3/2/12 4:13 PM


Off the top of my head: Japan has the highest rate of patent-holding in the world. (Sailer's premise seemed goofy at first. But answering this I'm thinking "maybe." ;)

dearieme said...

"The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which ... revolutionized naval warfare". No, it showed was that Japan had learned from the Battle of Taranto and the USA hadn't.

dogzma said...

"Lateral-thinking? As a first attempt, I would say that original + good = creative, that is, one can easily do something no one else has done before, but it is probably going to be terrible. The real trick is to do something original that improves on what had been done before."

Improving on something is more innovation than creation. I'd say creativity is in fact making something original and being somewhat prolific at generating ideas, good or ?. Ideas before their time don't necessarily get recognized as good. And relatively bad ideas often get implemented without taking time to consider more options. In fact, I'd keep innovation, problem solving and creativity separate though they certainly overlap.

Anonymous said...

"It may be ignorant, but I'll stand by the assertion that East Asians aren't thinkers of real big ideas, computer games and haiku aside."

Well, if the integrity of your self-esteem is contingent upon delusion, then go ahead.

Anonymous said...

"This is hilarious just as the rest of your assertions. Japanese have not taken over the novel-writing nor the film-making industries though they have on occasion achieved in these fields of endeavor."

Well, why would they - your logical leap is pretty defective. To have made outstanding achievements in particular genre doesn't mean they necessarily take it over - have the French and Russians taken over the English novel? Dumb assertion pal.

Anonymous said...

"I and you're accusing me of not knowing much about art, sweetheart? You want to compare that with Michelangelo, Sargent, Homer, Raphael, Giotto, or even the anonymous creators of medieval Cathedrals, go ahead.."

Sure, I totally would. I think Asian brush art possesses far more grace and beauty - the sense of composition in Chinese art was way more advanced than its Western counterparts during the Middle Ages. You just dropped a bunch of names, indicating that you're just stuck in a narrow groove of thinking, and consider the only worthwhile form of art mimetic and imitative.

Care to put your money where your mouth is and attach a link to some of your works so the rest of us may critique them?

Anonymous said...

"Buttercup, Hokausai was greatly influences, as were all japanese artists, by western prints that had been smuggled in, particularly of rubens"

Buttercup and Sweetheart? Wow, you must be hurt to resort to such cheap and condescending rubrics.

Solid citation for the influence of Rubens upon Japanese print art please, otherwise you're just full it. Influence of Japanese prints on Van Gogh, Gauguin and others, and I can provide you with a plethora.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which despite their overall strategic failure still revolutionized naval warfare in multiple ways, and more importantly made it clear to the entire world.

But that attack was likely influenced by Taranto raid by the British on the Italian navy.

So who are the innovators now?

Anonymous said...

Im a bit unhappy with this idea of a 'technology' company.

Google may be a technology company now, it wasnt really when it started. It was one search engine amongst many, not hugely better either as I remember. I was quite happy with Alta Vista.

On the net, in many fields, There Can Be Only One. If Google's backers had deeper pockets, enough to outlive the opposition, to offer an edge they could win. Is it really technology that played a part in their victory?

On a thread the other day someone offered Youtube as an example of a tech start up. Well, there were, and are, other video hosting sites. What other than luck (and then being part of Google) was Youtube's great advantage? Again, what part did tech actually play? The real battle, creating the net & web, hardware and software had already been done.

Anonymous said...

"Japanese art is only recognized as Japanese because of following certain conventions. Relinquishing these, it becomes Western art by default."

Uh, I thought it was recognized as being Japanese because it's made by people in Japan?

Akira Kurosawa had a huge influence upon modern film conventions - following your logic I might as well argue the Star Wars movies are Asian.

Anonymous said...

"Or they could have been imitating the British at Taranto."

They still saw that and recognized it before we did.


Are we talking about American innovation or white innovation?

Anonymous said...

"I asked the Jewish young lady if she would have an issue with marrying a Gentile and she said she actually didn't want to marry someone Jewish. Again I was surprised, and asked her why and she said 'because they always cause problems where ever they go.' "

And especially in their private relationships. You didn't notice?

Anonymous said...

I would be completely leary of using modern patents for any social science purpose, without exceptional qualification and study. Much of the US position in patents reflects accidents of law that enabled patent trolling to be a profitable business, not so in the rest of the world. In many places and in the past software, for instance, was considered akin to mathematics and was thus not patentable. In the US today it's the exact opposite. The number of patents held by large multinationals often reflects the amount of money they put into their patent program (awards to inventors and the size of their legal department). This budget often reflects the regions in which the company operates and modern fiduciary requirements that reflect various laws and regulations. It also varies by industry. Heck, it might well be that US companies have so many patents simply because the US has so many lawyers....

Anonymous said...

"We, that is to say America, were responsible for 80% of Japan's oil imports. By cutting that off we were forcing either war, or Japan to back down in China. Had fleet in being not been obsolete they would have had to back down."

Embargo was morally just given Japan using the oil to commit massive horrors in China. If anything, US should have cut off the oil and steel shipments much earlier.
US offer to Japan was also very generous: keep Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. Manchuria alone is bigger than Japan and filled with raw materials. Japan should have taken the deal.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo da Vinci having an Arab mother is reaching, no one really knows.

There is the evidence of his fingerprint but I dont know how credible that is, how do they know its his fingerprint? It apparently has configuration only seen in people with Arab ancestry. His mum might have been only have partly Arab ancestry, it might not be his fingerprint at all.

Anonymous said...

@As an Italian...
buttercup, obviously Simonetta was the epitome of beauty - but you can find 'roman noses' among the English, and come on sweetheart, Florentines are white.. take a look at these portraits and tell me they are 'swarthy' :
http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2011/the-renaissance-portrait-from-donatello-to-bellini

Anonymous said...

Hi, there might be interesting data on this topic in a newer book by Ng Aik Kwang,Liberating the Creative Spirit in Asian Students, 2004:


Liberating the Creative Spirit in Asian Students


http://www.amazon.com/Liberating-Creative-Spirit-Asian-Students/dp/9812446435/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1

From the "Book Description":

"... based on the latest scientific research and finding on creativity. The reader will gain a good and solid understanding of creativity."

"... enhance the creativity of Asian students."

Anonymous said...

I like your tech IPO idea.



I don't think that the founding of Pets dot com was a great example of innovation and creativity. The great majority of tech IPO's are examples of too much money chasing too few investment opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Creativity is clearly something that's terribly important, but it's also extremely hard to measure without the benefit of a long lag time to give historical perspective.


I don't think the time lag needs to be immense, but it does need to be about fifty years or so.

Focusing on computer-related IPO's in the US over the last twenty years is bound to give a distorted view of reality.

And I'm not so sure that creativity (here meaning, again, computer field related creativity) is quite as important as some people make it out to be.

Anonymous said...

It's no wonder that the British underclass went wild and crazy and rejected tradition. The most disgusting thing about the privileged folks in the UK was less their snobbery and stuffiness as their hypocritical nastiness and sadism feigning as civility. The privileged bastards were putting on a superior air to mask their utter vileness, contempt, arrogance, and assholiness.
They were using mock sympathy(as with Baldwin) and disingenuous empiricism to put people down.
Imagine if someone weighed the effect of trench warfare in WWI as, well, 'one guy got bayoneted to death', but 'another guy no longer stuttered after shock of battle'? He'd be both a mental and moral midget.
An asshole is an asshole, and we meet them everyday, and we see them for what they are, and that's that. But an asshole who puts on airs of learning, civility, and erudition while emotionally enjoying kicking people in the shin are insufferable, and Johnson is that kind of punk. With Buchanan, you know he's a pitbull, like the John Wayne character in THE SEARCHERS. Even when he's offensive, you know where he stands.(Buchanan was truly offensive with stuff like UNNECESSARY WAR, a work of Johnsonian logic where he tries to rationalize his pathological Germanocentrism bordering on apologia for Hitler on fair-minded reading of history.) This is why people like Morris Dees and Abe Foxman are especially disgusting. Tim Wise too. They are vile hateful Jewish assholes but always put on airs of being wonderfully tolerant people on the side of justice.

Johnson's BIRTH OF THE MODERN has a section of demented moral logic where it tries to blame the Chinese for the opium addiction. Since massive numbers of Hindus didn't become addicts, the fault must have been with the Chinese!! Granted, the Chinese are far from entirely blameless, but Johnson's logic is like that of Mexican drug cartels. "We not criminals. We only supplying what the Gringo wants."
Later Johnson accuses Chinese patriots of 'xenophobia' for protesting against Japanese colonialism. His vileness knows no bounds.

Anyway, the rule is "if you hate some people, just say it. Don't try to mask your hatred or contempt as concern or sympathy or jolly good manners, which is foul." If Johnson doesn't like Negroes, he ought say so instead of pretending to care because of his pinkish skin. That is worse than a straight out insult with the n-word. After being snubbed and insulted in this manner by privileged upper crust Britons, we know why so many English blokes were angry.

Anonymous said...

"Is God Almighty denied the right to say "Vertigo" is better than "Citizen Kane" until a plurality of lecturers at East Anglia say so?"

I think VERTIGO or THE GODFATHER might take first place this year.

Anonymous said...

Here's another scary thought. What if Westerners have no advantage in mathematically and spatially loaded areas over East Asians and also have no creativity advantage?


Someone mentioned that modern history wouldn't be drastically different had East Asians never existed. The same thing could've been said about the Jews in the year 1800. In fact, numerous gentile intellectuals of that era routinely dismissed Jewish intellectual ability



You have laid put all the right facts, and then jumped to the wrong conclusion.

"Intellectual ability" or "creative ability" is not something which is permanently inherent to any group of people. Jews in fact used to be very unexceptional, in terms of intellect and creativity.

Prior to and after the Golden Age of the Greeks, they were not intellectual or creative. Prior to and after the Scottish Enlightenment, the Scots were not noted for their intellect or creativity.

Westerners clearly do have a creativity advantage over East Asians, at present. We do not have a good understanding of why that is so - we do know it is poorly related to mere IQ - and it is certainly quite possible that in the future Europeans will revert to a Dark Age and that East Asians will be the creative ones. But nothing in our current understanding of the human mind mandates that this happen.

Anonymous said...

The Top 25 Most Innovative Companies (as measured by Patent Value)

Of the Top 25: 13 American, 10 Asian, 2 European

Of the Top 10: 6 (5 Japanese, 1 Korean) Asian, 4 American

----------

With Asian companies, it's mostly micro-innovative patents, not the groundbreaking stuff.

Jim Bowery said...

Where would an Isaac Newton or Charles Darwin show up?

For that matter where would a John Bardeen, William Shockley or Walter Brattain show up?

One might then ask: Why aren't we experiencing any such profound advances anymore?

Is there such a thing as a measure of negative innovation? I mean, if there is an etiology of loss of innovation -- as clearly has happened to the US since the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 has had its effect on the United Staes -- how would one measure its primary contributions and their contributors?

Anonymous said...

"As long as I can remember, the Japanese have been poor-mouthing their lack of creativity and innovation (and, by vague extension, that of East Asians in general)."

This wasn't really the case in the 1980s. Japan seems to swing from wild optimism to deep pessimism. In the 80s, many Japanese, top to bottom, took great pride in their economic prowess and innovative edge. They loudly claimed that their management style was better, their schools were better, their products were better, and etc.
But ever since the stock market and real estate bubble popped, Japan got a splash of cold water and has gotten into a real big funk. In some ways, it's worse now than after WWII. WWII was horrible but forced Japan to really open a new chapter.
But following the bubble collapse in the late 80s and early 90s, Japan still had enough money to keep the status quo out of fear of having to make real changes. And so, Japan is dying slowly.

Anonymous said...

Is whim on the side of creativity or conformity?

Anonymous said...

it should be obvious that the overachieving Jews (a mixed race originally from the middle-east/west-asia) are grossly inflating the white contribution in Silicon Valley.


The Jews in Silicon Vally are not a "mixed race".

In the 12th century Norman knights took over England and Ireland. Among the Normans who settled in Ireland were the Fitzgerald's. Today, just under a thousand years later, the Fitzgerald's are Irish - indeed, Fitzgerald is a quintessentially Irish surname. I've known a number of Fitz's, and they all looked like posterchildren for Irishness: red hair, freckles, the works.

Perhaps eight hundred years ago European Jews could fairly be described as being "mixed race". Today they are as European as George W Bush.

The Anglo-Saxons are also originally from the Middle East.

Anonymous said...

@ anon italian
here's dante sweetheart:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dante-alighieri.jpg
swarthy?

Anonymous said...

Subtract out the percentage of white Americans who are Jewish, and you end up with a fairly high degree of over-representation of Chinese and Indian Americans relative to that of white Americans.



Isn't that a bit like saying "subtract out the percentage of Asians who are Indians or Chinese and you end up with a tremendous over representation of people of European origin"?

Gene Berman said...

Back in the early '70s, I had occasion to do some research on magnetic alloys (such as the Alnicos) that were later crucial to development of radar (magnetron, thryatron, travelling wave tubes, and backward-wave oscillators). At that time, I was surprised to find much original research (and publication) to be Japanese and, more surprisingly, to have been done as long ago as the 1880s).

In the '50s, I read a book titled "Yankee Hobo in the Orient."
The author, a journeyman printer by trade, had trained himself, over a period of months, to subsist on an Asian-type diet and then got a berth as an able-bodied seaman on a Japanese freighter that wouldn't hit Japan again for several months (giving him an opportunity to pick up some of the language). In the book, he remarks on the numerous respects (including even crew comfort) in which that ship is superior (and in innovative ways) to any others with which he was familiar.

Incidentally, Steve--you must be familiar with Gardena-a town totally enclosed by LA. The only time I was there--in the '70s--I noticed that the Mitsubishi Bank there had a cornerstone complete with the "3 diamonds" logo and the date: 1870.

Anonymous said...

To really get a better picture one would have to separate Jews from the rest of the white population. Jews probably have a very oversized amount of accomplishments to their name.


Yes and no.

If you take all the new-Jewish-white inventions and accomplishments and discoveries over the last five hundred years, the result far, far exceeds anything which Jewish whites alone have managed. And of course it also far exceeds anything which Asians have managed.

That's not to say that "whites" or even "non-Jewish whites" are an undifferentiated mass. That great body of white accomplishment was mainly the work of northern Europeans, of Germans and Anglo-Saxons in particular.

Of course the same distribution is true of Asians, and of Indians and Chinese. The ones currently here in the US making high incomes and working in high IQ professions are not remotely representative of the typical Asian, Indian, or Chinese person.

And the same is true of Jews. In spite of what the typical reader of this blog seems to think, the average Jew does not solve a complicated problem in quantum mechanics before breakfast each morning.

Matt said...

"The Top 25 Most Innovative Companies (as measured by Patent Value)

Of the Top 25: 13 American, 10 Asian, 2 European

Of the Top 10: 6 (5 Japanese, 1 Korean) Asian, 4 American"


As a metric, this would probably favour those nations which can get together a few large companies over those with many small companies (because you're measuring patent value of each company, not of all companies "in" [whatever that means in an age where most innovative companies are multinatcos] each economy).

I can't imagine that would change things too much, but still...

Spike Gomes said...

While this is a fine and dandy subject on which I have quite a few opinions about, I'll mostly keep it to short trenchant observations.

1. Akira Kurosawa, Yukio Mishima and Haruki Murakami are probably the most well known Japanese artists outside Japan. They were also criticized (even as a self-criticism in the case of Mishima) as being far to Western in style and outlook.

2. Ignoring all the rather middle-aged Aspie sturm und drang about the Renaissance development of linear perspective and anatomically correct draftsmanship being the ultimate developmental apex of the visual arts from which Asia can only copy poorly and which various barbarians in Europe starting with the Impressionists have ruined; I'd like to point out one thing. Asians can be creative enough to make awesome dramas, gripping graphic novels, and fairly complex if often derivative music... but have any of you heard of a great, or even internationally passable Asian comedian, even in the West?

When I was living in Japan, it was entertaining to watch Japanese comedy, not because it was good, but because it was so bad. I'm not talking untranslatable cultural experience. It all seemed to be unfunny Laurel and Hardy comedy get-ups sans visual gags or decent slapstick with the same 5-10 gags hammered repeatedly. The only serviceable jokes were groaner puns and the occasional absurdist zen-style joke.

My off the cuff opinion: East Asians can hold their own with the West in regards to creativity in narrative and visual arts, particularly in the pop fields, but also in the serious stuff. They are technically proficient in music, but not too innovative there. But three old Jewish comedians from the Borscht Belt could out-funny 1.5 billion of 'em.

Steve Sailer said...

Jackie Chan.

Anonymous said...

Remember the tale of the ant and the grasshopper?

CreANTivity is for making stuff to use.
GRASSeativity is for making stuff to enjoy.
Germans are CreANTS. Italians are GRASSeats.

Germans make great cars, Italians make great cheese.

I know these puns and syllogisms are awful but I'm an addict of such stuff.

Difference Maker said...

There are basically two ways to solve a problem.Remembering the solution from last time or from a lesson, or coming up with a new solution.

From an evolutionary POV the optimum adaptation would most likely be a combination of the two, where the population would center around some hypothetical mean with a variance.


East Asians seem to get a substantial portion of their genes from the Arctic, where the penalty for "doing it wrong" is death, at the hands of merciless Nature.

Jews are probably the extreme case here, as they have lived in cities for a very long time, and thus been subjugated to the hardest social competition.

Yes.. jews are more adapted to the problems of civilization than whites.


My white students solve these problems by brilliantly deriving the foundational concepts of arithmetic from more basic first principles.

When I was a child I often thought of novel ways to approach these problems, but the schoolteachers, bless their hearts, were not interested. Hmm, indeed, now that I think of it I was even able to solve special puzzle physics problems in the textbook in high school, despite massive sleep deprivation.

Anonymous said...

Could you even imagine Jews bemoaning their lack of creativity or their lack of any desirable mental quality?

Yes, and it's trivial to find examples.

Japanese manga was interesting up to around the 80s, but it's all been cutesy crap since. Traditionally, people who wanted to make movies but didn't get the chance wrote comic books, and some of them were like graphic screenplays. But the thing is they were inspired by something OTHER than comic books. But then a whole generation grew up on nothing but comic books and cartoons, and so the thing got inbred into cutesy/childish crap.

As for anime, the golden age the 80s but it's been shit since the 90s. I can't stand them. Even the great Miyazaki went all wrong since Mononoke Hime.


There are a few good creators still, but this articulates the dynamic sooo well.

From creating a movie with much more of a possible visual space than is possible in a movie (at least without imposing costs that limit your narrative), and without the constraint that it be child friendly (as in the West) or of the American comic book culture (superhero comics... please) to an obsession with familiarity and cuteness and marketability.

Spike Gomes said...

You got me there, Steve, though in my defense, I mostly remember him from his earlier movies, where the slapstick was balanced by awesome stunts and dramatic plotlines. Haven't seen his American films, so I don't know how funny he is in purely comedic roles.

Okay, but other than him? I can think of more Mestizo comedians than Asian.

Also, now that I think of it, wouldn't a Marx Brothers movie with younger Jackie Chan in it be something great? Goes to show you where my mind goes when it comes to hypotheticals.

Steve Sailer said...

How about Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai? Japan's most famous actor in Japan's most famous movie plays the comic relief character.

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, it only dawned on American me a few years ago that the Battle of Taranto was Pearl Harbor in 1940.

Anonymous said...

sweethearts: side note about Paul Johnson - his father was an art instructor and realist artist - he told his son not to go into the trade because the modernists were killing it- but Johnson still does watercolors- particularly church interiors, if i recall correctly, in his spare time and is pretty good.

The comments by the oriental posters here - that oriental art is somehow superior to western, would be laughable, except that, in our PC age, it probably gets traction.

Anonymous said...

@anon 3/3/12 8:13 AM
Obvious he's anti-oriental and racist!

here's another racist:
"Book - Can Asians Think?"
http://mahbubani.net/book1.html

yet oriental posters here are trying to convince us that wood block prints are on par with the sistine chapel, Chartres, the parthenon, Madame X, one of Rembrants haunting self portraits, the David, Bellini... pathetic and laughable..

Propeller Island said...

For that matter where would a John Bardeen, William Shockley or Walter Brattain show up?

One might then ask: Why aren't we experiencing any such profound advances anymore?


How do you know we aren't? It took decades after the invention of transistor (even if you don't count Lilienfeld or Heil) until it began to influence the lives of common people. For all we know, stuff is invented now that we won't be aware of until 2030 or later.

October said...

I would be tempted to argue that there is a difference between wanting to actively encourage creative behavior in individuals (in a school setting for example) and simply refraining from stifling spontaneous individual creativity. The second option might be all that is needed to encourage creative flourishing at a social scale. The first option seems less promising (can you really "teach" creativity to individuals of lesser than average creativity? are schoolteachers for example really the best qualified as a group to do it?).

My impression has always been that remarkably creative Asian artists have been even more individualistic (or at least quirky) than their Western counterparts. This might simply be a false impression (collective Asian idiosyncrasies coming off as individual flights of fancy to a Western audience). But it could be that in order to flourish and create, a Takeshi Kitano had to be such a kick-ass "nail" that society couldn't hammer him down. The treshhold for creative expression would be higher in other words - only exceptionally individualistic artists would (paradoxically) flourish in a collectivistic system.

One also has to distinguish between easily identifiable feats of individual creativity and collective creativity in the sense of small sparks of invention (more than simple refinements) that coalesce. Collective creativity doesn't rely on strong-minded individuality but depends on the free and rapid exchange of ideas and innovations.

Having studied and worked in Europe, I find the comments of @Anonymous on guru-worship over there spot-on. Interestingly, here Europe seems to favour individual creativity in many intellectual domains while egalitarian North America goes a more collective route in many academic disciplines. The trouble is, I'd be hard-pressed to name a really "genius"-level European intellectual born after the war; the only thing that exists over there now are minor gurus and self-styled "masters" who stifle the collective exchange (and hence production) of ideas.

Anonymous said...

My off the cuff opinion: East Asians can hold their own with the West in regards to creativity in narrative and visual arts, particularly in the pop fields, but also in the serious stuff. They are technically proficient in music, but not too innovative there. But three old Jewish comedians from the Borscht Belt could out-funny 1.5 billion of 'em.



Even more so than high art, humor is subjective. I've never found that Borscht Belt comedian humor to be very funny. But I watch a fair amount of Japanese and Chinese films (with English subtitles) and they can be funny at times. Korean flicks are impenetrably alien to me though. It's like they were made on a different planet.

Anonymous said...

Johnson's BIRTH OF THE MODERN has a section of demented moral logic where it tries to blame the Chinese for the opium addiction.......Later Johnson accuses Chinese patriots of 'xenophobia' for protesting against Japanese colonialism. His vileness knows no bounds.

I concluded Paul Johnson had to be a morally repugnant, psuedo intellectual S.O.B. without needing to read his books when I learned that he was the neocons favorite historian.

Anonymous said...

A few million african-americans have produced far more creative geniuses in music in just a century than the vastly more numerous east asians have in millennia.

Ortu Kan said...

Anonymous wrote: Perhaps eight hundred years ago European Jews could fairly be described as being "mixed race". Today they are as European as George W Bush.

You are beyond all doubt incorrect.

It seems like you accord a great deal of weight to phenotypic impressions -- do Ashkenazim "look White" to you, is that it? Surely you'd say the same of the light-eyed blondes of the Chitral; in meeting a Bougainville Islander I guess you'd think yourself face-to-face with someone obviously closely akin to Sub-Saharan blacks. Now have a look at what the genomic data say about them -- and likewise about the European Jews.

Your British Isles examples are only weakly relevant. Consider intensity of endogamy.

The Anglo-Saxons are also originally from the Middle East.

Do tell.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps eight hundred years ago European Jews could fairly be described as being "mixed race". Today they are as European as George W Bush.

By your logic gypsies must be racially European too.

tommy said...

Random hypothesis:

I suggest that visuospatial IQ may be related to calculation and astute observation. It is related to the following lines of inquiry: "I observe X and it is Y", "I saw X and therefore Y" or "I observed X and therefore I ought to do Y." It can also be extended to multiple components: "I observe A, B, C and it is/therefore (I ought to do) Y." A person with a high visuospatial IQ can synthesize many such components in their analysis. It's reliable, lends itself to formality and incrementalism, and is rather derivative.

I suggest that verbal-analytical IQ may be related to analogical reasoning. It is related to the following lines of inquiry: "How is X like (or not like) Y?" When applied to a number of cases it becomes abstraction: "How are A, B, and C like X?" "What is the unifying characteristic of A, B, and C?" The ability to tease out such characteristics is typical of a person with a high verbal-analytical IQ. Analogical reasoning is powerful and creative, and lends itself to significant insights, but is sometimes an unreliable and misleading tool.

Spike Gomes said...

I guess what I mean by "comedic" is a "comedic persona" as opposed to someone who is able to act out a comedic scene or write a funny novel or manga (like Natsume Soseki). Even Chan, while naturally goofy would pale besides someone like Chris Farley when it comes to physical humor.

But like the other person said, humor is far too subjective to extract a metric from (though if you were to do it, I would like the unit of measurement to be the rubber chicken).

Interesting fact: Mifune was a Methodist and born and raised in Manchuria, both of which served to make him an outsider in Japanese society.

Anonymous said...

Rational whites invented stuff like boxing and basketball, but it's the black instinctive creativity that turned those sports into real creative arts of razzle/dazzle instead of slow white boys moving mechanically and predictably.

Yeah it is kind of funny to watch basketball games from the pre-civil rights era.

In music, sports, oratory, literature people with African ancestry are the great creative over-achievers, surpassing not just east Asians but Europeans as well.

Steve Sailer said...

Tommy: Interesting. Anybody ever look at the ethnic effect of removing Analogy questions from the SAT?

Anonymous said...

Subtract out the percentage of white Americans who are Jewish, and you end up with a fairly high degree of over-representation of Chinese and Indian Americans relative to that of white Americans.






Instead os subtracting the number of so-called whites who are Jewish, why not add in all the caucasoids who are not European like Arabs and south Asians and add in all the mongoloids who are not East Asian like arctic people and Amerindians, and then have a total macro-race per capita accomplishment comparison. It's easy to make one's race look good if you define your race narrowly enough to only include the most accomplished ethnic groups.



What is needed is an objective analysis of (1) how many races there are, and (2) who belongs to each one. Jensen performed such an analysis you using PC analysis in the book "The g Factor". He found only 6 human races: negroids (including bushmen) caucasoids (including East Indians) Mongoloids, austaloids, Amerindians (including arctic people), and southeast Asians (including pacific islanders) It's tempting to lump Amerindians in with mongoloids and southeast Asians
in with australoids to get only 4 races. It's also tempting to lump australoids into either the Caucasoid or mongoloid category and get only 3 races.

Anonymous said...

In music, sports, oratory, literature people with African ancestry are the great creative over-achievers, surpassing not just east Asians but Europeans as well.


With the possible exception of sports, none of this is remotely true.

Anonymous said...

By your logic gypsies must be racially European too.


Duh.

You need to get over this fixation you have with declaring everybody you don't like "not European". The world is not that simple. There are bad Europeans and good non-Europeans as well as the other way around. Stop using European to mean "people I like".

Catperson said...

A few million african-americans have produced far more creative geniuses in music in just a century than the vastly more numerous east asians have in millennia.

According to rushton, east Asians are more mentally stable than whites who are more mentally stable than blacks.

Other research and anecdotal stereotypes suggest a link between creativity and madness.


Creativity = high IQ + low mental stability

Blacks probably have too little IQ to achieve much creativity outside the arts and Easst Asians probably have too much mental stability to produce much creativity outside the sciences. Whites probably have the optimum balance for creative output.

Anonymous said...

ever since the stock market and real estate bubble popped, Japan got a splash of cold water and has gotten into a real big funk........Japan is dying slowly.

Japan is fading for sure. It's all about China now. Even South Korea with only a third of Japan's population has more reason to be optimistic of the future than Japan. Samsung has already beaten Sony at its own game. Korean pop culture has many fans in east and south-east while the Japanese are not well-liked by anyone, except perhaps by the Taiwanese. On the other hand the Japanese are much admired by westerners who hang out at sites like Stormfront. Unfortunately for the Japanese their biggest admirers are themselves fading.

Anonymous said...

According to rushton, east Asians are more mentally stable than whites who are more mentally stable than blacks.

The most insane country in the world, North Korea, is located in East Asia.

Anonymous said...

A few million african-americans have produced far more creative geniuses in music in just a century than the vastly more numerous east asians have in millennia.


No.

They may have produced more music which you as an American are familiar with. (Though even there I suspect that a lot of what you think of as black music was written by whites)

That's not the same thing as having "more creative geniuses" though.

Catperson said...

Perhaps eight hundred years ago European Jews could fairly be described as being "mixed race". Today they are as European as George W Bush.

Whites and African Americans have lived in the Americas for centuries. I guess they're American Indians now.

tommy said...

Tommy: Interesting. Anybody ever look at the ethnic effect of removing Analogy questions from the SAT?

I don't know, but I can recall reading other research suggesting that Jews have a high verbal IQ relative to their visuospatial IQ and that Asians have a higher visuospatial IQ relative to their verbal IQ. I also remember that analogies are commonly used on intelligence and education tests as a proxy for verbal IQ. I elaborate a little further on my hypothesis here.

Catperson said...

If you made a list of the 100 most popular songs in America, African Americans would be dramatically overrepresented among those who composed them.

Anonymous said...

Whites and African Americans have lived in the Americas for centuries. I guess they're American Indians now.


Indians? Don't be silly.

They are native Americans though. That's why we call ourselves, you know, Americans.

Anonymous said...

"My off the cuff opinion: East Asians can hold their own with the West in regards to creativity in narrative and visual arts, particularly in the pop fields, but also in the serious stuff. They are technically proficient in music, but not too innovative there. But three old Jewish comedians from the Borscht Belt could out-funny 1.5 billion of 'em."

I'd be more inclined to take this opinion seriously if I knew that Gomes knew both Japanese and Mandarin, and were better able to properly assess the comedic output of these cultures.

Wong Jing, Stephen Chow and Takeshi Kitano aren't three of the best comic directors alive? Familiar with their works Spike?

Anonymous said...

If you made a list of the 100 most popular songs in America, African Americans would be dramatically overrepresented among those who composed them.


You are in the habit of making nonsensical statements. Most popular among who? In what time period? Today? Over the last ten years? Over the last century? And how do you measure what songs are "most popular"?

If you do make a list of the most popular songs in America, it still won't prove that Americans (let alone black Americans) are better at writing music than Asians.

TGGP said...

Greg Cochran on Paul Johnson.

Anonymous said...

As regards comedy, "Journey to the West", written by Wu Cheng'en during the Ming Dynasty, is alongside Chaucer one of very few pre-modern humourist works that still stands up today - a far better and funnier picaresque novel than "Don Quixote."

Steve Sailer said...

It's not hard to find objective lists of popular songs that can then be subjected to surname analysis of the songwriters.

Here's BMI's top 100 songs of the 20th Century based on most radio and TV plays. ASCAP probably has published something similar:

http://archer2000.tripod.com/sbs/awardsbmi.html

tommy said...

Do the Japanese daydream less than whites?

Anonymous said...

Rolling Stone magazines list of 100 greatest artists shows how heavily disproportional is the accomplishment of blacks in the field of music:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-artists-of-all-time-19691231

Almost all the great genres of modern western music, from jazz to hip hop is the product of black creative musical genius.

Beethoven, the greatest composer of classical European music, was described by his contemporaries as having brown skin, crinkly hair, flat nose etc.. In America he would have been forced to drink from the black fountains during the Jim Crow era:

Anonymous said...

The following link provides the evidence for Beethoven's African ancestry:

http://open.salon.com/blog/ronp01/2009/09/27/the_african_heritage_of_ludwig_van_beethoven

tommy said...

Page 10 of this report:

Camara and Schmidt (1999) also found that Asian American students’ test performance was nearly identical to that of white students, with two exceptions: (1) Asian American students scored about one-quarter standard deviation unit lower than white students on the SAT verbal section, and (2) Asian American students scored nearly one-half a standard deviation unit higher than white students on the GRE Quantitative test.

One problem, of course, is that these analyses don't distinguish East, South, and Southeast Asians. I'm concerned with East Asians only. Filipinos, Cambodians, Tamils, and Punjabis a different time please.

Anonymous said...

"I still think top academic performance is the most pure measure of creativity."

I don't think that's remotely true. I'd expect high IQ to be a neccessary component but i don't think it's anywhere near sufficient.

I also think the kind of traits that make up the neccessary x factor component to go alongside high IQ are very likely to be "bad" traits like obsession, disaggreableness, stubborn contrariness etc.

If Orientals *became* less innovative - they were ahead for a very long time - then i'd say it was a result of sanding down disagreeable traits to make their society run smoother in other regards and that had unintended consequences.

If so they could probably fix it by rounding up all their aspies and a load of hookers for support personnel, putting them together in their own city and start a breeding program for cantankerous obsessives.

.
"Japan is dying slowly."

Japan is fine. They're keeping their head down to avoid American (sic) pressure to allow their nation to be destroyed by opening the borders. When the American golem-construct collapses and is no longer a threat they'll bounce back.

Anonymous said...

@the anonymous who calls me "sweetheart" and "buttercup"

I'm the "Italian" who posted about the Florentines - did I say that the Florentines aren't White? I didn't. They obviously are White. Roman nosed ones. "Swarthier than the European average". Please read carefully the posts of others and don't call me "sweetheart" - you're not my lover.

Spike Gomes said...

To Anonymous:

Know Japanese, lived there for awhile, my degree is in a related branch. So, yes, I would say I am a bit acquainted with Japanese culture.

Don't know Mandarin, though I don't know why it matters when you tossed out two Cantonese directors, though I will say I'm not directly knowledgeable about their works.

My thoughts: So what? Yeah, Beat can be funny, but when you watch him live on TV, other than trenchant remarks and one-liners, he's more about subverting the tough guy image. Granted he's way above your average Manzai, but that's a low bar, and England alone produces such darkly witty ironic comedians by the dozens. If anything I (and much of Japan) appreciate him for the underlying seriousness of his work with a lack of seriousness about himself. In other words I see him closer to a comedic Kurosawa than a Buster Keaton, a Benny Hill or a Cantinflas, namely someone who can make people laugh with minimal explanation of the set-up.

Yes, I'm quite aware the above is arising from the varying differences in what one regards as "funny".

My main point remains, I'm sure the both of us could come up with a long list of of creative, innovative and influential novelists, painters, poets, directors and visual artists, (as much as many here would say they're derivative of stuff from Europe, but in that case wouldn't all Western artists be derivative of their own artistic history as well?) but the amount of comedic geniuses, and to a lesser extent innovative musical geniuses are lacking (as much as I love Enka, the stuff ain't universal music) from East Asia.

But hell, that's okay, they're still hitting pretty good in what they do, enough that I was willing to waste years learning it. I mean all *my* people got to contribute to the world was the ukulele, steel guitar and an awesome cover of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

Oh, and football players, but that's not really global.

Anonymous said...

Japan is fading for sure. It's all about China now. Even South Korea with only a third of Japan's population has more reason to be optimistic of the future than Japan. Samsung has already beaten Sony at its own game.

Japan has reached its potential. China is reaching its - but that does not mean that Japan is fading or that China will reach the same level as Japan or the West.

All the *action* is in China right now, and that makes for exciting news stories, but that says very little about what will happen in the long term. People forget that the basis of the Chinese *miracle* is to 1) Start from an extremely low base 2) Lease out its labor cheaply to Western and Japanese companies.

At the end of the day, that is an extremely unimpressive - almost dispiriting - perspective from which to view China. China - the country of scholarly mandarins - essentially provides brute physical labor. Its quite amusing to see how the superficial glamour generated by this dynamic misleads thoughtless people into the most rash and intemperate predictions about Chinas future.

I feel like shouting *for Gods sake, all they are doing is providing cheap physical labor! And of course they are growing fast, look at where they started from!*

Yet people WILL have their excitement, and no sense of proportion or sanity of perspective will cheat them out of it.

Anonymous said...

The greatest poet in tha Arabic language and the father of chivalry...

The greatest poet in the Russian language, dubbed the Russian Shakespeare and considered the father of the modern russian language....

The greatest writer of Brazil and considered the greatest writer in the Portuguese language by many...

The most popular writer of all time in the French language, author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo...

What did these creative geniuses have in common? They all had African ancestry.

They are respectively:

Antar bin Shaddad
Alexander Pushkin
Machado de Assis
Alexandre Dumas

Anonymous said...

"Almost all the great genres of modern western music, from jazz to hip hop is the product of black creative musical genius."

Does this mean you believe in racial differences and that blacks are racially SUPERIOR in music?
How is this difference from saying whites have higher IQ for problem solving stuff?

Anonymous said...

"http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-artists-of-all-time-19691231
Almost all the great genres of modern western music, from jazz to hip hop is the product of black creative musical genius."

Or does this mean Rolling Stone list is 'racist' and 'exclusionary' and won't honor music that hasn't been influenced by blacks? If every album on the list is black-influenced, where is the wonderful diversity? Where is polka-influenced stuff? Or, are you and Rolling Stone prejudiced against Polacks?

elysse said...

Sure, I totally would. I think Asian brush art possesses far more grace and beauty - the sense of composition in Chinese art was way more advanced than its Western counterparts during the Middle Ages. You just dropped a bunch of names, indicating that you're just stuck in a narrow groove of thinking, and consider the only worthwhile form of art mimetic and imitative."

I don't care to argue which is better or more "creative"; however, I think it was Kenneth Clark's series many yrs ago on art (European of course) that taught me how utterly unique the European expression was. They were the ONLY ones to draw/paint in perspective. Art from even the most accomplished cultures such as Egypt, India, Persia, does not have that quality of perspective. It was totally unique.
OTOH, maybe there are aspects of composition in Chinese painting that are also totally unique. What is true, even as a lay person and not an art historian, is that no one portrayed the human face and form as obsesively as the Europeans. Sunni Muslims (not so much the Shia Persians) forbade drawing people, which the Asians simply did not seem too interested in perfecting portraiture, though they did paint people in various culturally signifigant scenarios.
Certainly there is creativity in all people, but there is a certain "spark" i see in Europeans, and maybe also other Caucasoids, that I just don't see in others. A creativity that actually leads to the stars, literally and metaphorically.
But then again, maybe I just don't recognize the unique creativity of, say, the Chinese.
btw, the Japanese were the most amazing carvers of miniatures in existence, except maybe for the Armenians who could carve elephants in the hols of needles. The Japanese carved complex figures in materials extremely hard to work with, and they did so with non-mechanical tools. The faces of some of these figures exude personality and feeling they are meant to exemplify, but maybe not so much individuality.

dalton said...

I swallowed that "African ancestry" of Beethoven after a Jewish guy told me so back in the 70s. I then read an account of the ways & means that rumor got to be, that so thoroughly debunked it, I gave it no more thought. The guy also told me that Atlanteans didn't look European, as if he knew. Interesting and early encounter with the desire of (some, not all) Jewish persons to diminish the European achievement and assign as many high-achievers as possible perhaps, to a non-Euro background; even if the African ancestry were true, he was so overwhelmingly European genetically and culturally, that he wouldn't make it into the black history month series, because it is just too European achievements are just too uncomfortably titanic (in more ways than one) for most non-Euros to deal with. Even whites are embarrassed by their own accomplishments and turn white geniuses into blacks for the purpose of stroking black egos, I guess, which they seem to think are fragile. To wit: Morgan Freeeman playing two white scientists rolled into one black man. Great example of people shrinking in embarrassment at what whites achieve in most areas compared to blacks.\
The musical achievements of blacks are considered impressive by most people, but they are using instruments and and a forum entirely European. African music sounds nothing like what black Americans have done. Actually, African music, esp in Mali is infinitely better, often extraordinarily melodious and lovely.
Back to Beethoven. I saw the death mask of Beethoven and there was nothing negroid about the features at all. Olive complexions are pretty common among central and southern Europeans, even southern Germans.

creature comfort said...

'" you made a list of the 100 most popular songs in America, African Americans would be dramatically overrepresented among those who composed them."

Actually a great many songs sung by blacks during the 20th century were written by whites. I'm always seeing obits for the composuer of some "black" song or other, and find out the author was white. Often Jewish. Blacks themselves admitted that they wrote romantic songs during the 50s & 60s to appeal to whites. Some of them were certainly very good, but many came out of a tradition of learning musical instruments, learning to read music, singing in choirs. Not so much nowadays. The ghastly noise they mostly produce in the last couple decades has got to be some of the lowest and ugliest "music" ever produced in the history of civilized countries.

Kylie said...

"A few million african-americans have produced far more creative geniuses in music in just a century than the vastly more numerous east asians have in millennia."

I see someone is channeling the spirit of John Henrik Clarke, with predictably hilarious results.

Steve Sailer said...

"cantankerous obsessives"

Indeed.

I'd be living in a mud hut if it weren't for a whole bunch of cantankerous obsessives down through the ages.

Anonymous said...

I feel like shouting *for Gods sake, all they are doing is providing cheap physical labor!

Refrain from shouting that nonsense, it will just make you look foolish and ignorant. You obviously have no idea what's going on.

Anyone with a clue knows that, barring something unforeseen, China will be the colossus of the 21st century.

Anonymous said...

"The following link provides the evidence for Beethoven's African ancestry:
http://open.salon.com/blog/ronp01/2009/09/27/the_african_heritage_of_ludwig_van_beethoven "

“His somewhat flat broad nose and rather wide mouth, his small piercing eyes and swarthy [dark] complexion, pockmarked into the bargain, gave him a strong resemblance to a mulatto.”

------------

I must say... he looked rather like Orson Welles. I wonder if Welles was Negro too. He did direct black Macbeth, fell in love with Brazil, and played Othello.

Anonymous said...

They should do a DNA test on Beethoven's hair to find out for sure.

Anonymous said...

"Why does everyone use 'Asian" and how did oriental become 'horrible'?"

Eddie Said's book ORIENTALISM.

Anonymous said...

Pretty interesting essay.

Anonymous said...

Besides in music the east Asians are also lacking in philosophical creativity. Their high philosophy/spirituality is buddhist, imported from India.

On the other hand they have been world leaders in inventions until the modern technological age that was birthed in Europe. I expect China to become the world leader in technological innovation again pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

Beethoven was a black man. Specifically, his mother was a Moor, that group of Muslim Northern Africans who conquered parts of Europe--making Spain their capital--for some 800 years.



Even if we assume that Beethoven's mother was a Moor - or more properly, descended over many generations from Moors - there is one big problem here: Moors were not blacks. They were North African Arabs and Berbers. As such they were darker skinned than Northern Europeans, but they were and are genetically distinct from sub-Saharan Africans, aka "blacks".

The notion that the Moors were just like West Africans, and therefore just like modern African Americans, is unhistorical claptrap. Yasser Arafat would count as a Moore. Joe Louis would not.

dalton said...

"They should do a DNA test on Beethoven's hair to find out for sure."

only way. Should be sent as an anonymous. Any "evidence" I've seen so far is unconvincing; and there is nothing less sub-Saharan African than Beethoven on a concert stage in early 19th century central Europe. Any black ancestry (if true) would be about as meaningful as any white ancestry in Louis Armstrong. The black -- actually Ethiopian -- ancestry of Pushkin is undisputed. I don't know about Arabic literature, but I do known that they did not take blacks seriously in any intellectual endeavor, so the achievements of some partially black writers, was never enough to change their minds on the subject. In general.

However, the achievements of persons of partially black ancestry are nothing to sneeze at. Once the genetic contribution skews towards non-Subsaharan black, the potential increases simply because the average intelligence increaes, and intelligence is necessary for high level achievements. Again, speaking in large scale statistics.

Anonymous said...

One problem, of course, is that these analyses don't distinguish East, South, and Southeast Asians. I'm concerned with East Asians only. Filipinos, Cambodians, Tamils, and Punjabis a different time please



That's an odd complaint, since the report also fails to distinguish different groups of whites from one another.

The logical compliment to Chinese and Tamils and Vietnamese would be Germans and Greeks and Poles, not "whites".

Anonymous said...

On the other hand they have been world leaders in inventions until the modern technological age that was birthed in Europe.


People keep saying that. There's scant evidence that it's true though. Where's the Chinese equivalent to the Greece of the Golden Age, or even to Roman engineering? The best you can say for China is that for a few centuries between the fall of Rome and the recovery of civilization in Europe, it was more advanced than most European countries. It was never the creative powerhouse some are making it out to be though.

Kylie said...

"Rolling Stone magazines[sic] list of 100 greatest artists shows how heavily disproportional is the accomplishment of blacks in the field of music:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-artists-of-all-time-19691231"


Rolling Stone? You might as well cite Wikipedia as an authoritative source.

"Almost all the great genres of modern western music, from jazz to hip hop is the product of black creative musical genius."

This is one of the funniest--and wrongest--things I've ever read, not least because of the phrase "black creative musical genius". A kind editor would urge you to substitue something a bit closer to reality, such as "blacks' imitative ability" and would certainly discourage you from claiming that jazz and hip-hop were "great genres".

"Beethoven, the greatest composer of classical European music, was described by his contemporaries as having brown skin, crinkly hair, flat nose etc.."

But of course. He was the son of Nefertiti and Hannibal, which meant in addition to the aforementioned features, he also had a long neck and a fondness for elephants.

"In America he would have been forced to drink from the black fountains during the Jim Crow era"

I think your Wayback Machine needs a tune-up. Jim Crow occurred long after Beethoven's death. Or is this more of your creative rewriting of history to suit your agenda and in honor of your mentor, John Henrik Clarke?

swimming swan said...

"I'd be living in a mud hut if it weren't for a whole bunch of cantankerous obsessives down through the ages."

Hmmpf! I'd at least be living in a sod house. Loser!

Anonymous said...

Solid citation for the influence of Rubens upon Japanese print art please
coming from an orietnal who made a baseless assertion that japanese prints were superior to western painting?

http://andreas.com/hokusai.html
Dutch merchants smuggled their goods into Japan. These wares were often wrapped in paper that had been illustrated with these etchings. For Hokusai and other artists, the thrown-away wrappers were more interesting than the imports.

Hokusai learned from Dutch and French pastoral landscapes with their perspective, shading, and realistic shadows and turned them into Japanese landscapes. More importantly, he introduced the serenity of nature and the unity of man and his surroundings into Japanese popular art. Instead of shoguns, samurai, and their geishas, which were the common topics of Japanese illustrative art at the time, Hokusai placed the common man into his woodblocks, moving the emphasis away from the aristocrats and to the rest of humanity. In The Great Wave, tiny humans are tossed around under giant waves, while enormous Mt. Fuji is a hill in the distance.
moron.

Anonymous said...

Hokusai started out as a art student of woodblocks and paintings. During the 600-year Shogun period, Japan had sealed itself off from the rest of the world. Contact with Western culture was forbidden. Nevertheless, Hokusai discovered and studied the European copper-plate engravings that were being smuggled into the country. Here he learned about shading, coloring, realism, and landscape perspective. He introduced all of these elements into woodblock and ukiyo-e art and thus revolutionized and invigorated Japanese art.

Anonymous said...

Here's BMI's top 100 songs of the 20th Century based on most radio and TV plays. ASCAP probably has published something similar


http://archer2000.tripod.com/sbs/awardsbmi.html


I want through the whole list carefully. There are two songs by a white and black team. Twelve by black songwriters. The rest by white songwriters.

That's pretty much exactly what we'd expect to see based on the black share of the population. Blacks are not absent from the list, nor are they heavily overrepresented.

Claims of exceptional black musical genius are not supported.

Some of the songs are associated with famous black singers but were actually written by white songwriters. This is the case with "Georgia on My Mind", "I Will Always Love You", and "Killing Me Softly with His Song".

Anonymous said...

It's not hard to find objective lists of popular songs that can then be subjected to surname analysis of the songwriters.


I did the list for the black/white breakdown. I didn't bother to do any further surname analysis.

I've never been impressed by the highly elastic rules used in deciding whether somebody is "Jewish" or not. The way it works in practice is that a person with one Jewish parent - either one will do - is declared to be "Jewish". End of story.

On the one hand the logic seems to be that we have to describe everybody with a surname of"Cohen" or "Weinstien" as Jewish. On the other hand, Jewish law says that Jewishness passes through the mother, not the father.

So if we look up Harrison Ford (Irish father, Jewish mother) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Jewish father, German mother) we discover that Wikipedia has put them both into the category of "Jewish actors"! But not, of course, into "Irish actors" or "German actors".


This sort of grade inflation is why I take all clams of "Jewish" accomplishment with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

.As such they were darker skinned than Northern Europeans,
berbers can as fair as europeans

look at the amazigh (berber) girls here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfzJJadT8gw

Moor= Subsarahan black is (yet another) ridiculous pc myth.

Anonymous said...

Golden ages of China:

Tang (the highest peak of Caucasoid influence in China, the most dramatic entry of Central Asia into the culture-consciousness of the East ... a part-Turkic ruling house that even spoke Turki ... Sogdian and Tocharian merchants and tradesmen ... Aryan Buddhism ... a new dynamism of music and plastic arts and poetry -- see Li Bo! ... Central Asians in positions of military prominence (with a destructive rebellion led by the half-Sogdian, half-Tujue An Lushan -- ROKHSHAN!), and the state in critical alliance with them ... it's significant that the greatest portion of Chinese culture and customs preserved in Japan came from this era -- the Japanese deviate from other East Asians in a non-Mongoloid direction because of their Jomon ancestry, the Jomon-Ainu being East Eurasia's morphological and psychological analogue to the European Caucasoids, and so were especially receptive to the mixed forms being extruded by China)

Song ("The Age of Confucian Rule", an era of invention and refinement)

And the greatest martial success and territorial expansion of course under the rule of Mongols (Yuan) or Manchus (Qing) or Turkis (various dynasties, in the mixed origins of the founders) or other northerners

Anonymous said...

I want through the whole list carefully. There are two songs by a white and black team. Twelve by black songwriters. The rest by white songwriters.

That's pretty much exactly what we'd expect to see based on the black share of the population. Blacks are not absent from the list, nor are they heavily overrepresented.

Claims of exceptional black musical genius are not supported.



As if song-writing defines musical genius.

By the way, do you know how many of the the white songwriters in that list were Jewish? Highly disproportional.

Anyone who questions the amazing musical creativity of
blacks is in deep denial. These are probably the same sort of people who run around claiming that the ancient Egyptians were white, the ancient aryans were blonds, the Chinese civilization was founded by white tocharians and other such laughable nonsense. Here are some of the genres of American music that are credited to creative black genius:

Gospel
Blues
R&B
Soul
Jazz
Barbershop
Rock & Roll
Techno
Hip Hop

Even Country Music and Hill Billy music has black influences.

And even in European classical music blacks have left an indelible mark. The greatest and most influential composer of that genre, Beethoven, would be considered a black man in America.

Denying the achievements of others is not an honorable thing to do.

Anonymous said...

"Embargo was morally just given Japan using the oil to commit massive horrors in China. If anything, US should have cut off the oil and steel shipments much earlier.
US offer to Japan was also very generous: keep Manchuria, Korea, and Taiwan. Manchuria alone is bigger than Japan and filled with raw materials. Japan should have taken the deal."

Hence back down in China.


"The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which ... revolutionized naval warfare". No, it showed was that Japan had learned from the Battle of Taranto and the USA hadn't.
...
The Japanese did pull off pearl harbor, which despite their overall strategic failure still revolutionized naval warfare in multiple ways, and more importantly made it clear to the entire world.

"But that attack was likely influenced by Taranto raid by the British on the Italian navy.

So who are the innovators now?
...
"Or they could have been imitating the British at Taranto."

They still saw that and recognized it before we did.

Are we talking about American innovation or white innovation?
"

Now I can derail this sucker, if the British were truly on their game regarding air power then Repulse and Prince of Wales wouldn't be at the bottom of the ocean.

Anonymous said...

"Moors were not blacks."

Many weren't but some were.

Anonymous said...

People keep saying that. There's scant evidence that it's true though. Where's the Chinese equivalent to the Greece of the Golden Age, or even to Roman engineering?

Yeah right, the Great Wall of China is vastly inferior to Hadrian's Wall. ;)

The Great Wall is not only one of the Seven Wonders of the world it is also one of the great feats of engineering.

Anyone who insists that there is "scant evidence" of Chinese inventions exposes himself as a complete ignoramus. There really is no excuse for such ignorance in the age of the Internet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Chinese_inventions

Anonymous said...

Yeah right, the Great Wall of China is vastly inferior to Hadrian's Wall. ;)


Chinese engineering was vastly inferior to Roman engineering of the same period. That's no excuse for not knowing that, with or without the bloody internet.

Saying "the Great Wall was bigger than Hadrians Wall, so nyah nyah!" does not bespeak a mind over-endowed with intelligence.



Anyone who insists that there is "scant evidence" of Chinese inventions exposes himself as a complete ignoramus.


The complete ignoramus is the person (and this would be you, wouldn't it?) who thinks that what was said was "there is scant evidence of Chinese inventions".

If you consulted that internet thingy and looked at this page, you would see that was was said was that there is "scant evidence" that the Chinese "have been world leaders in inventions until the modern technological age that was birthed in Europe".

The notion that the Chinese invented the concept of the "wall" is one I'm going to let pass without further comment.

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