Reading List: College Sports Are Affirmative Action for Rich White Students

As someone who has played, coached, and reffed lacrosse (and a bit of hockey) I’m very aware of the lack of diversity in these sports. However, I hadn’t considered how that translates to the college environment.

Athletes are often held to a lower standard by admissions officers, and in the Ivy League, 65 percent of players are white.

Source: College Sports Are Affirmative Action for Rich White Students

Podcast: David French on “The Great White Culture War” from The Ezra Klein Show

Listen to The Ezra Klein Show episodes free, on demand. David French is a senior writer for National Review and one of the conservatives I read most closely. About a month ago, he published an interesting column responding to some things I had said, and to the broader currents cutting through our politics. “Conservative white Americans look at urban multicultural liberalism and notice an important fact,” he wrote. “Its white elite remains, and continues to enjoy staggering amounts of power and privilege. So when that same white elite applauds the decline of ‘white America,’ what conservatives often hear isn’t a cheer for racial justice but another salvo in our ongoing cultural grudge match, with the victors seeking to elevate black and brown voices while remaining on top themselves.”I asked French to come on the podcast to discuss this idea — and the controversies that motivated it — more deeply, and he quickly accepted. The result is a tricky conversation about very sensitive territory in our politics. It’s about how we talk about race and class and status and gender and sexuality and religion, how we understand and misunderstand each other, how our political identities turn conflicts about one thing into conflicts about all things, why groups that are objectively powerful feel so powerless, and much more. I always appreciate the grace, openness, and intelligence French brings to his writing, and all of that is on full display here too. Recommended books: The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt Coming Apart by Charles Murray The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey. The easiest way to listen to podcasts on your iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, smart speaker – and even in your car. For free. Bonus and ad-free content available with Stitcher Premium.

Source: David French on “The Great White Culture War” from The Ezra Klein Show

The True Man’s World: The Men of Michael Mann – J. Rosenfield

Michael Mann is one of my favorite filmmakers, but I hadn’t thought about this theme in his work before.

If only there were more artists willing to delve into what masculinity really means to the people who are pressured to perform it. Because masculinity is a performance, after all, and one that Mann is perceptive enough to see right through.

Source: The True Man’s World: The Men of Michael Mann – J. Rosenfield – Medium

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of PsychedelicsHow to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall I enjoyed the book. Pollan provides an engaging history of psychedelics and the pioneers who conducted research with them in the 50s and 60s, as well as the researchers who reignited the work in the 21st century. I knew next to nothing about the scientific data regarding the treatment of depression, anxiety, and addiction with psychedelics, and found these sections of the book fascinating.

There were a couple aspects I found less compelling. The first was his detailed description of the neuroscience behind the drugs, although it’s quite possible that I was simply tired when I listened to that chapter. Secondly, I found his decision to experiment with various forms of psychedelics and report on his experiences throughout the book to be rather curious. His conclusion that the efficacy of the drugs is related to letting go of one’s ego during treatment (i.e., the trip) is curious given the out-sized role his own trips play in the narrative. Pollan also admits that the language used to describe the experience, and its lasting impacts, is limited and insufficient. However, that didn’t prevent him from attempting to describe his experiences in great detail.

These are minor critiques, however, and should not detract from what I suspect will be a conversation-changing exploration of the potential benefits of using psychedelics to treat a variety of intractable conditions.

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