A sober word from a writer who has offered many insights aver the years, but who is now withdrawing from writing life:
- [T]here is a time for every season under heaven, and I believe I’ve entered a new time and season of my life. I’ve drawn inspiration, as you might imagine, from many public figures in the past (from kings to local town officials), who decided to spend their last years in a monastery, simply learning how to pray and love their fellow monks. I like to think that I’m doing that sort of thing as my life circumstances allow. Naturally, I seek your prayers in these new endeavors.
Mark Galli, “The Omega Edition,” Peripheral Vision (Nov. 4, 2022) [link].
Interesting article mainly about the affirmative action cases (Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina), but also about Chief Justice John Roberts’ ability to lead (or shape or influence) the Supreme Court — Joan Biskupic, “John Roberts shows he still has a grip on the Supreme Court,” CNN (Nov. 1, 2022) [link]:
- The chief justice repeated his enduring view that race should not matter, and he denounced admissions practices that consider students’ race or ethnicity for campus diversity. He suggested that if the court were to uphold the current policies at Harvard University and University of North Carolina, racial affirmative action would never end. “Your position is that race matters because it’s necessary for diversity, which is necessary for the sort of education you want,” he told North Carolina state solicitor general Ryan Park, who was defending the UNC program. “It’s not going to stop mattering at some particular point; you’re always going to have to look at race because you say race matters to give us the necessary diversity.”
For more on the legal arguments presented on October 31, see Amy Howe, “Affirmative action appears in jeopardy after marathon arguments,” SCOTUSblog (Oct. 31, 2022) [link].
I remember reading (in the ’80s) Stephen J. Gould on why there would never be another .400 hitter in baseball (“Complex systems improve when the best performers play by the same rules over extended periods of time. As systems improve, they equilibrate and variation decreases.”), and then Michael Lewis’ Moneyball (2003). Put this article in the same lineage: Derek Thompson, “What Moneyball-for-Everything Has Done to American Culture,” The Atlantic (Oct. 30, 2022) [link]:
- The analytics revolution, which began with the movement known as Moneyball, led to a series of offensive and defensive adjustments that were, let’s say, catastrophically successful. Seeking strikeouts, managers increased the number of pitchers per game and pushed up the average velocity and spin rate per pitcher. Hitters responded by increasing the launch angles of their swings, raising the odds of a home run, but making strikeouts more likely as well. These decisions were all legal, and more important, they were all correct from an analytical and strategic standpoint.
What makes this article a continuation of the arguments (rather than a recapitulation of the idea) is the suggestion that this endemic in our time. Plus, I like the phrase “catastrophically successful.”