In an Alternate Universe Progressives are…

…singing the praises of a diverse Silicon Valley. After all, Asian-Americans are greatly overrepresented there, which is a huge win for diversity when you consider that Asians – stretching from India to Korea – represent roughly half the world’s population. But as occurred to me while watching a Bloomberg TV segment in which Asian-Americans in Silicon Valley were mentioned as merely an afterthought to SV’s “diversity problem,” nobody much cares about this particular form of non-white representation. But it’s massive:

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This gets to another point. Discussions of X race’s representation in X industry to make the point of (an implicitly unjust) racial disparity will often shift from general representation to e.g. representation among the leadership or executive class. And if that manages to make the numbers look OK, then references will be made to a firm’s user base (e.g. Twitter vis-a-vis African-Americans) to suggest bias, if percentages within company/without company aren’t roughly comparable.

I’m not sure if it’s the media’s basically negative orientation or progressives’ at work here. Likely “diversity” doesn’t mean what it appears to mean, taken at face value. One possibility for the prevailing narrative regarding Silicon Valley and diversity is the idea that capitalism and racism go hand-in-hand. While it doesn’t in fact work out this way in an age of globalization, the temptation to link a highly visible and well-heeled industry (or what PandoDaily calls “the new power”) to bigotry is too great for many a left-leaning journalist to resist.

Chris Rock on Israel

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This tweet from Chris Rock shows that the “dual loyalty” crowd doesn’t just encompass gold bugs and fans of Alex Jones. It’ll be interesting to see if and when the somewhat esoteric issue of US support for Israel becomes a big deal for the typical American (or what Mencken derisively referred to as the “booboisie”), for whom celebrity opinion matters much.

UPDATE: This is from a Chris Rock parody account, it turns out. Dar! I fucked up. But I’m keeping the post up as a reminder to be a little more discerning next time.

Flip This House! Or, the Housing Situation Has Flipped.

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A gentrifying Philadelphia neighborhood.

Taking a gander at a new report from demographers at the University of Virginia, we see that city centers are becoming younger, wealthier, and more educated. And it’s not just happening in “cool” cities like San Francisco. The same effect is at work in Charlotte, North Carolina. And while general population growth is still mostly occurring away from the central city, it’s happening at the extreme periphery of metro areas, leaving the modal suburban home the new locale for the poor and working class.

Stereotypes of metropolitan poverty are almost entirely framed by dense older neighborhoods with apartment buildings, housing projects, or row homes. That stereotype is now less accurate than it has ever been as inner-ring suburbs absorb a larger proportion of residents living below the poverty line.

These stereotypes are a product of the 70s, 80s, and first half of the 90s. Back then, America would watch from their TV screens as inner-city LA burned. Now we watch from our smartphones as suburbs like Ferguson, Missouri do the same.

HT Arnold Kling.

On 1994’s PCU, Now vs. Then

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How well has 90s campus culture flick PCU held up since 1994? Pretty well, all-in-all. Though I’m not on campus currently, the media zeitgeist driven mostly by journalism/English majors tells me that what was of concern then is of concern now. Mostly race and sex issues. OTOH environmentalists featured prominently in this film, and they seemed to have taken a back seat lately to the black/white divide and alleged gender discrimination (in Silicon Valley et al.). From the vantage point of 2015, political divides have become easier to grok. Fewer abstract, we-‘re-all-in-this-together problems – of which the Earth dying in the distant future would be a prime example – and more seemingly tribal conflicts that even a caveman could comprehend. Politics has become cruder, more debased. (This even as our understanding of politics has become more sophisticated.)

I noticed in the film too that the Republicans on campus were pitted against the party lovin’ protagonists along with the myriad campus groups deemed politically correct. As if the free speech absolutists and the conservative right were two different groups. But that was then, this is now. I see little distinction between the bro-ey, grow-a-thicker-skin libertarians and the conservative establishment in the current day. As I’ve written before, the libertarian represents the progressive’s most formidable opponent in the second decade of the 21st century, with the decline of the 80’s style Satanists-are-ruining-our-kids religious right.

We’ve come a long way since atheist Frank Zappa squared off with Christians advocating for censorship. In fact atheism is now associated with old white guys like “Islamophobic” Richard Dawkins. That’s its most salient feature, apparently, not the metaphysics. In 1994 you could plausibly paint “PCU” libertarians as something equidistant to the left and right. No longer.