Blog

Why cricket has been a potent vehicle for nationalism in Bangladesh

Garga Chatterjee in Scroll.in:

The rise of the Bangladesh cricket team has been one of the biggest stories of the cricketing word in recent years. The team has evolved from being a pariah to a weak side whose test-playing status was questioned to a scrappy maverick side to occasional giant killers to its present status as a worthy cricketing force. All through this rise, cricket in Bangladesh, as elsewhere in the subcontinent, has been a potent vehicle for nationalism.

Before 1971, cricket was scorned by East Bengalis because it was seen as a game that lighter-skinned sharif elites played. I once heard an anecdote revealing this attitude from a person who was visiting a veteran left-wing trade unionist in Barisal, Bangladesh. The veteran fighter of the masses was irritated by the enthusiasm for cricket among Barisal’s youth. “Amago polapain khyalbe cricket? Cricket khyallbe Hanif Mohammed. (Our boys will play cricket? Cricket is for Hanif Mohammed),” he said. Hanif Mohammed was a legendary cricketer from Jamnagar and then West Pakistan. For the trade unionist, as for many others, cricket and Bengalis were incompatible.

Read more: Why cricket has been a potent vehicle for nationalism in Bangladesh.

Donald Trump 2016: The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter

Matthew Macwilliams in Politico:

Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow.

My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter’s preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.

Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey.

Read more: Donald Trump 2016: The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You’re a Trump Supporter – POLITICO Magazine.

Why Sony Music Can’t Easily Cancel Kesha’s Contract

Polly Mosendz in Bloomberg Business:

Sebert is linked to Sony Music through a music furnishing agreement negotiated by Gottwald’s company, rather than an outright recording contract. The agreement was established four years after she entered a professional relationship with Gottwald’s firm, Kasz Money. “On Jan. 27, 2009, Kasz Money negotiated an agreement with RCA/Jive, a label group of Sony, to furnish Sebert’s recording artist services to Sony,” according to court filings. With Gottwald in the middle, Sebert and Sony Music weren’t negotiating directly, meaning that the company couldn’t drop Sebert if it wanted to. After the success of Kesha’s Animal, a platinum album, she sought to renegotiate her contract. It was Gottwald, not Sony Music, who declined.

Continue reading: Why Sony Music Can’t Easily Cancel Kesha’s Contract

What’s the Point of Moral Outrage?

Jillian Jordan, Paul Bloom, Moshe Hoffman and David Rand in the New York Times:

Our paper helps address an evolutionary mystery: Why would a selfless tendency like moral outrage result from the “selfish” process of evolution? One important piece of the answer is that expressing moral outrage actually does benefit you, in the long run, by improving your reputation.

In our paper, we present both a theoretical model and empirical experiments. The model involves “costly signaling,” the classic example of which is the peacock’s tail. Only healthy male peacocks with high-quality genes can manage to produce extravagant plumages, so these tails — precisely because of how “resource intensive” they are — function as honest advertisements to potential mates of a peacock’s genetic quality.

We argue that the same can be true of punishing others for wrongdoing, which can serve as a signal of trustworthiness. This is because punishing others is often costly — but less so for those people who find it worthwhile to be trustworthy. Consider: Trustworthiness pays off for you if others typically reciprocate your good deeds or reward you for good behavior. This includes being rewarded for promoting moral behavior via punishment.

Continue reading: What’s the Point of Moral Outrage? – The New York Times.

On interviewing Umberto Eco, ‘the most erudite person on earth.’

There’s a species of novel that we call around my house “Big Boy Books,” written by the young geniuses whom publishing is required to discover every five seasons or so. The novels might be too long and their authors might never have met a woman, but they garner attention and reviews because they are so smart. The dispatches launched over the walls of their mighty intellect, mean you, reader, are excluded. I call this the “Literature of Insecurity.”

Eco, from the moment I saw him, was so at ease being the smartest man in the roomthat he forgave us all for having doubted him. He was a one-man force for the Literature of Security. And dude was hella sexy. Unlike those anxious young geniuses, Eco happily explored the erotic ménage a trois among writer, reader and the bed of palimpsest they lie upon . . .

It’s a great lesson: To write is to educate and to entertain. Never to exclude. You wouldn’t think that would even be an issue, but it takes the most secure man in the room, in any room, to make it seem so obvious.

Continue reading: Umberto Eco is remembered by Glen David Gold – LA Times.

Shut Up and Sit Down

Joshua Rothman in the New Yorker:

People who fetishize leadership sometimes find themselves longing for crisis. They yearn for emergency, dreaming of a doomsday to be narrowly averted. Last month, Donald Trump’s campaign released its first official TV advertisement. The ad features a procession of alarming images—the San Bernardino shooters, a crowd at passport control, the flag of Syria’s Al Nusra Front—designed to communicate the idea of a country under siege. But the ad does more than stoke fear; it also excites, because it suggests that we’ve arrived at a moment welcoming to the emergence of a strong and electrifying leader. (Trump, a voice-over explains, will “quickly cut the head off ISIS—and take their oil.”) By making America’s moment of crisis seem as big (or “huge”) as possible, Trump makes himself seem more consequential, too.

via Shut Up and Sit Down – The New Yorker.