Tinotopia (Logo)
TinotopiaLog → Cultural Note Archives
  • Monday 26 December 2005 : Protecting Us From Ourselves, Part 943

    Whoopi Goldberg’s disclaimer on the new Looney Tunes collection gets Tino thinking about the Root Cause of everything that annoys him.

  • Wednesday 14 December 2005 : Hooker Doll

    Available at K-Mart.

  • Tuesday 11 October 2005 : A Trip To The Mall

    Tino goes to the mall, and finds it an unrewarding experience.

  • Saturday 01 October 2005 : Shoot To Kill, Men!

    The Brady Campaign doesn’t like Florida’s gun laws.

  • Monday 05 September 2005 : Insight From The Courtland Milloy Column
    Today’s Courtland Milloy column, of all things, puts forth a good point of view on the debacle in New Orleans. The column is largely the story of one Michael K. Brackett Sr, a poor, presumably black man from Washington, DC. Michael K. Brackett Sr. was standing outside his apartment in Southeast Washington on Saturday, taking a break after hours of...
  • Friday 05 August 2005 : Amateurism
    Paul Graham has something to say about professionalism vs. amateurism, which goes nicely with my comments in May. I suspect professionalism was always overrated— not just in the literal sense of working for money, but also connotations like formality and detachment. Inconceivable as it would have seemed in, say, 1970, I think professionalism was largely a fashion, driven by conditions...
  • Friday 27 May 2005 : Hazards Of Creeping Professionalism

    We over-use and over-venerate the term 'professional'. The resulting societal attitude is not helping.

  • Thursday 14 April 2005 : Victoria’s Secret: Men Are Dogs

    Annoying, crude anti-male sexism still appears to be a growing trend. This time, it's courtesy of Victoria's Secret.

  • Wednesday 23 March 2005 : Superstardom And Business

    Superstars often behave like spoiled children.

  • Thursday 17 March 2005 : Argument and Media

    Over 2300 words, ultimately about the nature of the online media and how what people write online isn't as much of a Window Into Their Souls as you might think it is.

  • Wednesday 02 March 2005 : Pain Was Too Good For Him?

    Why is the idea of women doing violence to men seen as so amusing and sophisticated?

  • Monday 03 January 2005 : Dr. Pepper’s Baby and Child Care

    A Dr. Pepper ad, ‘Nanny 911’ on Fox TV, and bratty kids. No real conclusion, just some observations.

  • Thursday 16 December 2004 : Why I Do Not Respect The Right

    It’s not as if the GOP isn’t just as annoying as the Democrats.

  • Thursday 09 December 2004 : Why I Do Not Respect The Left

    I've about had it with BoingBoing; my blood pressure can't take it. The Boingers are pretty plugged in and good at finding interesting things, but too, too much of their stuff recently is just mean-spirited leftist whingeing, when it isn't outright leftist threats or racism.

  • Saturday 25 September 2004 : DC Culture In A Nutshell

    DC Activism explained in two sentences

  • Thursday 03 June 2004 : Bill Cosby Speaks, Update

    Bill Cosby’s remarks on the state of the black ‘community’ have finally produced some responses. Tino provides a recording of his speech.

  • Saturday 22 May 2004 : Bill Cosby Lets Some Truth Slip Out

    Bill Cosby lets some truth slip out at a recent dinner and points out that the black community deserves at least some of the credit for its own current state; the NAACP, of course, disagrees.

  • Monday 03 May 2004 : Neologism: Extreme Dummy

    Extreme Dummies: people who cannot be helped by foundational instruction like that found in the ‘Dummies’ books

  • Friday 02 April 2004 : Culture Pays

    Different cultural values lead to different outcomes. Who knew?

  • Friday 02 April 2004 : Old People’s Foibles, Courtesy, and the Boomers

    We allow old people to do a lot of things that inconvenience the rest of us, but we’re going to have to stop this practice as the number of old people grows.

  • Monday 08 March 2004 : Spalding Gray 1941-2004

    Spalding Gray played a small part in True Stories.

  • Friday 05 March 2004 : Darwinian Education

    Is the U.S. education system really that bad? Is it possible that its apparent dysfunction actually serves a purpose?

  • Thursday 04 March 2004 : Seeing Vandals as Idiots

    A real-world example of scorn, rather than horror, for wrongdoers.

  • Monday 05 January 2004 : Headlines

    An interesting juxtaposition of headlines on the front page of today's Washington Post

  • Tuesday 09 December 2003 : Christmas Movies
    I just love Christmas. As I said not long ago, I love every aspect of the holiday. And Christmas movies are, for me, a big part of Christmas. It's almost impossible to make a bad Christmas movie. A lot of people, apparently, get all stressed out around the holidays because they feel that their real experiences can't possibly live up...
  • Tuesday 02 December 2003 : Celebrity

    Paris Hilton is the beneficiary of a masterful PR campaign. The 'news' media fails to see it for what it is, though.

  • Sunday 09 November 2003 : McJobs and McMansions

    McDonald's is upset at the inclusion of 'McJob' in the new edition of the Mirriam-Webster dictionary. Tino manages to extract from this a rant partially about urban planning and Marxism.

  • Saturday 27 September 2003 : The NY Times reviews “Duplex”

    Even the movie reviews in the New York Times are examples of knee-jerk pinkoism

  • Thursday 11 September 2003 : The Battle Hymn of the Republic
    We need less Amazing Grace and more Battle Hymn of the Republic, is all I have to say. C-SPAN has the National Prayer Service from September 2001 available online here. Fast-forward to 1:51:00 for the Battle Hymn of the Republic, at a reasonable tempo -- it's a call to arms, not a dirge -- and with the fifth verse ("As...
  • Monday 14 July 2003 : Public Assistance
    Last week, NPR's All Things Considered ran a story about Catherine "Coco" Means, a woman who has recently moved from a housing project in Chicago into section-8 subsidized housing. The narration is entirely by Coco herself. Aquanique is 6 years old. My baby girl, she is one years old. And her name is Unique. I got another one on the...
  • Wednesday 18 June 2003 : And Another Thing
    And another thing about those BBC polls: one of them asks people whether they see the United States as 'arrogant', 'humble', or 'neither'. The problem with this is that 'arrogant' and 'humble' are not opposites. The opposite of 'arrogant' is 'deferential', and the opposite of 'humble' is 'proud'. Americans are in fact very proud, and not very deferential, particularly as...
  • Wednesday 18 June 2003 : What the World Thinks of America

    Tino examines and criticizes a BBC survey on what the world thinks of the United States.

  • Wednesday 18 June 2003 : The Greatest American

    Tino's comments on the results of a BBC poll on the greatest American of all time

  • Tuesday 10 June 2003 : Converting Ability into Currency
    In Slate, Rob Walker is complaining about Reebok's use of 3-year-old Mark Walker (no relation) in its ads. The young Mr. Walker appears to have an unusual ability to perform basketball-related acts: In one clip the child, who seems to be in a basement, clutches a basketball, rears back, and hurls it over his head with both hands into a...
  • Friday 06 June 2003 : Teen Drinking and Ordnung
    I really have to start resisting the temptation to write about some of the things I see in the news. Some of these stories are so absurd in themselves that I don't have much to add. Let's see, though. Today's New York Times tells that story about the prom at Scarsdale High School. The headline says that limos are banned...
  • Tuesday 03 June 2003 : Roadside Memorials
    There has been a fair amount of commentary lately about the practice of erecting unofficial roadside memorials to people killed in traffic accidents. Families of victims want these things to be permanent, and state and local governments see them as distractions for the drivers who are still living. In Wisconsin, the families claim that the state is being pressured by...
  • Tuesday 27 May 2003 : Trauma, Victim Culture, and Science
    Last November, while commenting on the scandal surrounding the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests, I discussed the motivations of various sexual-abuse 'survivors' groups. I said, in part: Why is it so much worse to be diddled than to be struck? They're both violations of the person, but while one bruise fades in short order, another bruises the soul...
  • Thursday 08 May 2003 : Politics, Entertainers, and Art
    The Clash have long been one of my favorite bands, even though they were an overtly political group that championed theories that I believe to be diametrically wrong. That they came out of the mess of 1970s Britain does not give them a pass; but their music was great, and it's certainly worth listening to, whatever their politics. I have...
  • Tuesday 06 May 2003 : The Purpose of Recess
    Joanne Jacobs, in her excellent education-centric weblog, today points out a column in the Bucks County Courier Times about the soon-to-be-implemented recess regime in the Neshiminy (PA) School District. The headline is "Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Hans Blix", and the new recess policy is described thusly: "Peaceful Playground" will be adopted by the district's eight...
  • Saturday 03 May 2003 : Smith College and Gender

    Smith college wants to have it both ways, at the same time barring men but taking care not to offens transgender students by using feminine pronouns in its student government documents. This exposes the central incoherence of the Smith worldview.

  • Monday 28 April 2003 : Jerry Springer

    Hillbilly Love Triangle. Need I say more?

  • Monday 31 March 2003 : Conflict Resolution
    A rather disorganized story in the Washington Post today examines the non-violent conflict-resolution education programs that have been popular for kids over the last decade as one of the roots of widespread opposition to the war among young people. For a decade, our children have been taught at school to use their words, not their fists, to settle a score...
  • Monday 10 February 2003 : Academic Cheating

    An examination of the possible causes of academic cheating.

  • Wednesday 29 January 2003 : Wealth, Class, and Success
    I have come across a discussion of why American blacks and whites of the same income levels do not succeed (go to college, get good grades, get good jobs, etc.) at the same rates. Apparently a Yale sociologist has written a book in which he shows a correlation between parental wealth (i.e., household net worth) and achievement that does not...
  • Monday 27 January 2003 : Teaching Timidity To Kids

    The disappearance or weakening of social roles in our society is at least partly to blame for today's extreme and unhealthy anxiety about children's safety.

  • Wednesday 22 January 2003 : Applause?
    I'm watching George Bush on TV, giving a speech. He says: "In my judgement, in my considered judgement, there is a real risk to our friends and allies in Iraq." Clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap. What the hell are these people applauding? They're an invited audience, so we can be certain they're not from the Workers World Party and happy that there's a risk...
  • Monday 20 January 2003 : Expect More Of This

    Overly-emotional awards acceptance speeches by celebrities seem to be quite the thing.

  • Wednesday 15 January 2003 : These Kids Today Redux

    School discipline and order in lower-class neighborhoods seems to be nonexistent, by intent.

  • Monday 16 December 2002 : Kids With Stupid Names, Part II

    Having a made-up first name makes it harder to get a job. Who'd have thunk it?

  • Monday 16 December 2002 : News Flash: People Responsible For Own Lives

    William Raspberry points out the biggest problem with race politics in America today.

  • Monday 11 November 2002 : Morality and ‘Zero-Tolerance’

    The ethics of zero-tolerance policies, especially as proposed to be practiced by the Catholic church.

  • Monday 26 August 2002 : Achievement, Schools, and Culture
    An article in the Miami Herald not long ago points out the obvious: kids in schools run by the U.S. military outperform kids in ordinary public schools. The Department of Defense spends a bit more per pupil on education than the average public school system, but achieves better results than even the highest-spending public systems -- despite the fact that...
  • Wednesday 07 August 2002 : High School
    An excellent op-ed column in today's USA Today: But if the goal of education is nurturing independent minds, spending more time in the current system is not the way to do it. Consider the all-American high school. You're warehoused with 1,000 other students, herded like cows in the hallways, forced to move like Pavlov's dog with each bell. After Columbine...
  • Thursday 25 July 2002 : ‘Diversity’ and ‘race’
    The Washington Post recently ran a seriesabout 'the camouflage company town', that is, life on a military base. One story, on the front page, was headlined "Acceptance Amid the Diversity". The story told of the multiracial utopia that is Andrews Air Force Base, in the Maryland suburbs just outside Washington, D.C. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Arthur Rivers, who is...
  • Tuesday 02 July 2002 : The Pledge of Allegiance
    I have never liked the Pledge of Allegiance. It's not the concept that bothers me -- in a nation of immigrants, it's probably a good idea to drill some kind of common nationalism into everyone -- but the Pledge itself. Most obvious is the fact that it's a pledge of allegiance to the flag. The flag is nothing but a...
  • Tuesday 02 July 2002 : Schools ‘crisis’
    A recent Washington Post editorial on the whole school-voucher kerfuffle begins: The failure of many public school systems around the country to offer any semblance of an education to millions of children is not a matter of serious dispute. Wealthy and middle-class people have an out: private schools or a move to a jurisdiction with better public schools. It appears...
  • Monday 24 June 2002 : Hazards of Product Placement
    Minority Report, which I saw the other day, shows us something of the future of product placement. Hardly a scene in the movie doesn't contain someone's logo or name. Almost all product placement is cheesy, and the product placement in Minority Report is no exception. As I understand it, product placement is supposed to show the sponsor's product or name...
  • Wednesday 29 May 2002 : Rationality Not Dead Yet
    The California State Assembly has voted down a bill that would have banned public schools from naming their sports teams after Indian tribles. Of course, the idiots are going to make another try: Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, immediately moved for reconsideration. [...] Goldberg contends that use of tribal names by public schools is offensive and contrary to the state's...
  • Thursday 23 May 2002 : Junk Food and School Lunch
    Perhaps uncharactersitically, I think this is not entirely a bad thing. When I was a wee tot, school was a radically different place from the rest of the world. There was no commerce other than the occasional book fair. The food in the school cafeteria was its own cuisine, rarely found anywhere else. The school lunch -- priced at $0.30...
  • Tuesday 14 May 2002 : Gun Control, TV, and the British
    Foreigners -- and by that I mean people who live outside the United States -- often complain that Americans don't know anything about other cultures, i.e. the cultures of the foreigners. This is probably true. The chief sources for the knowledge of the average American about the world outside the USA are: grandpa's stories from his adventures in the War;...
  • Tuesday 14 May 2002 : Wal-Mart, Reston Town Center, and ‘upscale’ housing
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A11533-2002May13.html In today's Washington Post, there's a story about people living in a fancy neighborhood who are upset that Wal-Mart plans to build a store near them. The story reads: Fearing thousands more cars each day on their roads and 24-hour noise and light pollution, residents say they feel betrayed by a developer who promised them a Reston Town Center...
  • Thursday 02 May 2002 : Anti-Sprawl Note
    In an article in USA Today about tightening state finances chipping away at "anti-sprawl" funds, an Illinois state senator is quoted: "In this kind of economy, it's hard to argue that things that enhance the quality of life should take precedence over spending on human services and education," says Republican state Sen. Steven Rauschenberger [...] Yahhh. Never mind that 'sprawl'...
  • Thursday 02 May 2002 : Causes of American Obesity
    The Guardian runs a column today that looks at the causes behind Americans' tendency to be, well, fatter than people from almost everywhere else on Earth. Because of its British perspective, it hits upon what I think is a major cause, one usually neglected in American assessments: For a start, in some parts of the country, Americans have eliminated not...
  • Tuesday 26 March 2002 : B.C. Schoolgirl Bully Convicted
    A teen bully whose victim committed suicide has been convicted of "uttering threats" and "criminal harassment". During the trial, one of the accused testified that she had beaten up Dawn-Marie Wesley. The other accused teen admitted calling the victim and saying, "You're dead." That undoubtedly constitutes a threat, and criminal harassment, and kids certainly deserve the same protection of the...
  • Friday 22 March 2002 : Kids With Stupid Names
    The best predicate for stupid people, I've found, is stupid parents. Now, there are always exceptions, but in general, stupid people tend to have stupid parents. That's how you get stupid; you grow up in a house with the TV always on, and where you're never taught to have any curiosity about anything. Anyway. Fortunately, stupid parents are doing us...
  • Thursday 21 March 2002 : The Wheels of Industry
    The business pages lately have been filled with tales of woe, or of impending woe. Enron, Global Crossing, HP, XM Radio, the music industry, and many others are having their share of woe right now. The remarkable thing is that the financial press, and presumably the financial and business community in general, sees all this as happening in a vacuum,...
  • Monday 18 March 2002 : Nibbling at the Margins
    American culture, these days, seems to prefer to attack problems at the margins, thus obtaining marginal results (if those) at great cost, both in money and in liberty. One interesting example of this is a move by CopyMax (OfficeMax’s in-store copy shop) to notify law enforcement of “suspicious” requests for copying and printing services. The sign posted at CopyMax says...
  • Tuesday 12 March 2002 : War On Fat Proceeds Apace
    A Reuters story reports on a UCLA study that shows that being fat is more harmful to one’s health than smoking. In terms of dollar amounts, the study found that obesity raised healthcare costs by an average of $395 a year, while smoking increased costs by $230 and heavy drinking is associated with a $150 annual increase. So, in dollar...
  • Tuesday 12 March 2002 : Fuel-Efficiency, Economics, and You
    The other day, I ran across a discussion of car fuel-efficiency and the need for more cars like the Honda Insight, a hybrid car that gets 68 mpg by using an electric motor/generator to replace some of the engine’s power when it makes the greatest difference for fuel consumption. And people were using the words efficiency and economy pretty interchangeably....
  • Wednesday 06 March 2002 : Not Thinking of the Children
    So, children are our “most precious cargo”, and the entire focus of our society, and the future, and all this other stuff. So why is it that a lot of people choose to live somewhere where children aren’t allowed? Could it be that all this focus on children, to the detriment of everyone else, is proving burdensome?...
  • Wednesday 06 March 2002 : Won’t Somebody Stop Thinking of the Children?
    Yesterday, as I was trundling off to the Safeway, I was stopped by a school bus going the other way on a small neighborhood street. The bus followed what is, these days, the standard procedure. To begin with, it’s a 40-foot-long vehicle that’s painted bright orange and carrying a flashing strobe light on the roof. As it began to slow...
  • Tuesday 05 March 2002 : American TV and Prudery, Revisited
    I am, as I’ve said here before, mystified by the prudery of American TV. I don’t necessarily have a problem with editing things for broadcast television; prime-time broadcast TV should be something you can watch with your grandmother without feeling squeamish. What I don’t understand or approve of is strange editing for seemingly no purpose. The Smoking Gun has an...
  • Monday 04 March 2002 : High-School Research, and Plagiarism
    Background: a high-school teacher in Kansas City has resigned following the school board’s meddling in her grading of 28 10th-graders who plagiarised material for an assigned research paper. The Kansas City Star has an account that includes this: Woolley [the parent of an involved ‘A student’] said she believes the district needs to do a better job of educating students...
  • Monday 04 March 2002 : Lileks on Nursing Homes
    James Lileks' Bleat for today is an emotionally-draining account of a visit to a nursing home. In it, though, he says: I don’t get it. If I designed a nursing home, I’d stock the library with old movies and copies of old mags, pipe swing and 30s jazz through the speakers, put up photos of Bogart and Bacall, and let...
  • Friday 08 February 2002 : Corporate ‘Naming Rights’
    According to this New York Times article, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is making noises about selling naming rights in city parks to large companies eager to have their name before the public. (Since the Times would rather get a buck out of you than actually be the paper of record, you'll now have to read the article here.) I...
  • Tuesday 05 February 2002 : Tino Speaks on Britney Spears’ Superbowl Ads
    Unintended consequences department: Britney Spears is, under the makeup and clothes and hair, a very plain-looking girl. There’s nothing special about her body, and her face is bland. Britney’s got very good stylists, though, and the combination of their skill and her twenty years of age allows her (them) to usually pull it off rather convincingly. When the stylists’ mission...
  • Tuesday 29 January 2002 : Pundit Finance Reform
    You can hardly read anything these days without hearing how some TV or print commentator has been taking large amounts of money from Enron over the past few years. The assumption, like with similar bribes — let’s be honest here, for a moment, campaign contribution and the like are bribes — to politicians, is that the commentators will favor Enron...
  • Wednesday 23 January 2002 : “Minorities” and Language

    The whole "minority" thing has got completely out of hand. A Boston Globe story seems to have been written for the specific purpose of pointing out the problems.

  • Monday 21 January 2002 : Terrorism, America, and Community
    An article in The Times describes an anti-terrorism training class in Miami: When Trevor Sealy decides to sacrifice his 18-month-old daughter’s life in the hope of saving everyone else on board a hijacked plane, he is greeted with wild applause. “That’s right, God bless,” says Nelson Ricardo, aiming to soothe the 31-year-old private investigator. It was Ricardo who had egged...
  • Monday 21 January 2002 : American TV and Prudery

    TV networks cut or electronically blur “sexual” content in movies, while running ads for phone sex lines during the same film. Tino is left scratching his head.

  • Monday 21 January 2002 : Racism in America

    Class, not race, is the most-important factor in American life. This should be good news, since class mobility is relatively easy in America, while you can’t change your “race”. Unfortunately, the country persists in thinking that people are discriminated against because of the color of their skin, and not because of their lack of middle-class values.

  • Monday 21 January 2002 : More Goldberg
    I don’t usually post two things from the same source twice in a row, but Jonah Goldberg is on a roll. He echoes some things I said a while back, but in better language: Whether or not you buy that, the fact remains that calling folks “people of color” is at least no better than calling them “colored.” Indeed, the...
  • Monday 21 January 2002 : Factual Correctness
    Jonah Goldberg is by turns asinine and brilliant. One of his recent columns, on the whole New York firefighter statue issue, falls well on the “brilliant” side of the line. He says, in part: Remember that black fireman’s declaration: “I think the artistic expression of diversity would supersede any concern over factual correctness.” “Factual correctness”! I just think that’s brilliant,...
  • Monday 21 January 2002 : Manuary
    I am not sure that this article is not entirely satirical. On its face, it’s a bitingly satirical article about a “Men’s History Month” allegedly held at a high school in Vallejo, CA. One of the students quoted as criticizing it, though, is named “Samantha Ofeira-Tuitamaiaumailuantin Fatiula”. Interesting concept, though. If we’re going to have a month in which we...
  • Thursday 10 January 2002 : Employment practices as a cause of sprawl

    Constant corporate restructuring is one of the causes of suburban sprawl in the USA.

  • Friday 21 December 2001 : United States of Europe

    The EU is ultimately doomed to irrelevance or tyrrany.

  • Friday 21 December 2001 : Another argument for ‘hidden law’
    In the Telegraph Mary Kenny points out that things are being made illegal because it’s impossible, in today’s cultural climate, to simply say that they are rude and to expect that to do any good. See another post from November that touches on the same subject....
  • Monday 17 December 2001 : War on Fat

    The day is fast approaching when people will be constrained, 'for their own good', from eating in ways that the nagging classes consider to be unhealthy.

  • Wednesday 28 November 2001 : Expenses of identifying WTC dead
    In her article in today’s Guardian headlined The hierarchy of death, Anne Karpf complains that too much money is being spent on identifying the dead in the rubble of the World Trade Center. Her first paragraph: They say death is a great leveller. They’re wrong. Inequality pursues us after life too. Consider Ground Zero. While international attention has shifted to...
  • Monday 26 November 2001 : Gun article on page C1 of The Washington Post
    The article discusses the merits of the M-4 vs. the M-16 vs. the AK-47 vs. the AK-74. In the Style section, no less. While Style is always in style, it would now appear that guns are as well — quite a change from the Post’s usual position on the things....
  • Monday 19 November 2001 : American Schools In Crisis!
    The other night, I heard a PSA on the radio in which the announcer urged the listeners to get involved in their local public schools. American schools, he said, were dangerously underfunded and out-of-date, and needed community support if the United States was not to slip behind other nations. This is hardly cause for comment, except at the time I...
  • Wednesday 28 March 2001 : Modern American Religion

    Vintage Tino! Tino is not comfortable with constant (and seemingly insincere) public professions of religious faith.