Blog Archives

Educated and homeless: From Ivy League to life on the streets

Educated and homeless: From Ivy League to life on the streets

Homelessness is defined as a condition in which a person or family lacks a permanent nighttime residence and must instead rely on temporary housing arrangements, or places not regularly intended for human accommodations, like a car, park, or train station. When homelessness is coupled with disability and becomes long-term, it is known as chronic homelessness. […] … learn more→

The decline of the conservative mind

The decline of the conservative mind

These are dark days for conservatives: 7 years of President Obama, gay marriage spreading across the land, health insurance coverage growing every day, and a collection of mediocre Republican candidates that make the words “President Clinton” seem like the future rather than the past. It’s enough to make a conservative blurt out “Jiggery-pokery” and bemoan […] … learn more→

The ex-pimp who remade black culture

The ex-pimp who remade black culture

My search for the story of Robert (Iceberg Slim) Beck — the pimp turned African-American writer of bestselling paperbacks — began long before I knew his name. I grew up in a white working-class area of Seattle back in the days before Microsoft and Starbucks changed everything. My father was an exterminator. Starting at the […] … learn more→

Why equality of opportunity is neither possible nor desirable

Why equality of opportunity is neither possible nor desirable

The dominant Western idea of equality opposes caste systems but not hierarchy. As American political philosopher Richard Arneson says: When equality of opportunity prevails, the assignment of places in the hierarchy is determined by some form of competitive process, and all members of society are eligible to compete on equal terms. This idea is supported […] … learn more→

Do entire troll websites exist?

Do entire troll websites exist?

For the most part, my blog has done pretty good service, and I’ve received much favorable commentary. Only one site has had anything truly negative to say. The site? www.degreeinfo.com. Yes, there’s a whole website dedicated to discussing buying various online college degrees. This is a great idea, and apparently a popular site…but I can’t […] … learn more→

Fight the Pao-er!

Fight the Pao-er!

Playboy once asked author Ray Bradbury why science fiction was the “purview of young men.” His response is worth recalling now that Ellen Pao has resigned as Reddit’s CEO amid a censoring scandal. There are two races of people—men and women—no matter what women’s libbers would have you pretend. The male is motivated by toys […] … learn more→

The dictionary on trial

The dictionary on trial

In a court of law, a dictionary can be a blunt weapon. It provides meanings, to be sure, and context for arguments. But by its very nature, a dictionary rarely cuts to the heart of the matter. This is particularly true when a case turns on the definition of a word, and the word itself […] … learn more→

Love, blog me do. (You know I blog you.)

Love, blog me do. (You know I blog you.)

My husband teases me for skipping past much of the bulk of newspaper editorials to get to the comments. He’s a social scientist, interested in government policies and the social order; I’m a fiction writer, interested in how personalities respond to rhetorical maneuvers. It hasn’t been lost on me that the majority of highly rated […] … learn more→

When I was white

When I was white

Rachel Dolezal’s recent unmasking as a white woman living as black sparked a debate about the legitimacy of “transracial” experience. I cannot speak for Dolezal or anyone else, but I can state for a fact that racial transition is a valid experience, because I have gone through it. While most people would look at this […] … learn more→

Warning: Professional trolls are trolling all over the world

Warning: Professional trolls are trolling all over the world

What if, instead of stirring up trouble for perverse pleasure, Internet trolls were paid and trained to be the creatures of contempt we love to hate? It’s akin to the singular, goat-gobbling monster versus an army of the same with the weapons to match. Think you’ll want to cross that bridge? Neither do the employers […] … learn more→