PERCEIVED RATIONALITY'S END: Who is Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura?

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2019

And what is the New York Times?:
Who is Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura?

Also, what the heck is the New York Times? And what is the Washington Post?

We'll tackle your first question first. De Freytas-Tamura is a reporter for the Times. Even as we type, her company bio says this:
Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura

Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura was previously based in London, where she covered an eclectic beat< ranging from politics to social issues
spanning Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Previously, she covered Britain's decision to leave the European Union and its political and economic fallout. She has also covered terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, and has written extensively about radicalization and western jihadis. Prior to the Times, she was a business and economics reporter for the BBC. She has also written for the Financial Times.

Born and raised in Paris, she speaks Japanese, French, Spanish and Portuguese. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and earned a master’s degree in financial journalism from City University in London.
Expanding on that information, de Freytas-Tamura graduated from Penn in the class of 2006. Before her years at Penn, she prepped at Lycee International de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, "which is considered to be [France's] best public international school," according to the leading authority.

("The school's main campus [is located] at 2 bis Rue du Fer à Cheval (48°53′44″N 2°3′40″E) in Saint-Germain-en-Laye," according to that same authority, which has left few stones unturned.)

Stating the obvious, de Freytras-Tamura is an experienced journalist. She has worked for three major, upper-end news orgs. She isn't straight out of college.

"During her years in London, Kimiko has grown into an indispensable correspondent, writing about an eclectic mix of topics," two New York Times editors wrote last year. Continuing:

"She has written about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, covered the referendum to repeal the abortion ban in Ireland and explored the nation’s complicated history with the Catholic Church in a searing piece about the legacy of abuse there. She has covered terror attacks in Paris and Brussels, including squeezing herself inside a bomb-making 'factory,' and has written extensively about radicalization and western jihadis."

Judged by the lights of our nation's elites, the reporter in question has an impressive resume, educationally as well as professionally.

Based on her year of graduation from Penn, she would seem to be in her mid-30s, and as such at the top of her game. We make these points for a reason:

Despite her impressive resume, de Freytas-Tamura composed a report in Saturday's New York Times which was built around a truly impressive and obvious bit of illogic.

In hard-copy, the report appeared as the featured report on the first page of the Times' New York section. It makes so little sense, and does so in such an obvious way, that it helps us explore a remarkable aspect of the present age.

We refer to the breakdown in logical conduct currently afflicting our floundering nation's major liberal/progressive elites. Anthropologists say that this rolling breakdown offers a window onto what is now being called "ultimate anthropology" (or "ultimate anthro"), though only in the future.

We offer the standard background:

It's widely said that, at the dawn of the west, Aristotle made his famous remark: "Man [sic] is the rational animal."

It's unclear what Aristotle actually meant by whatever it is that he actually said. But we all know what the remark has been taken to mean, at least in the western world.

We humans are just so smart and so bright, especially those who are "educated!" This comically flattering self-portrait has dominated elite western thought—and this portrait is completely mistaken, top academics now tell us.

These scholars say that, at times of stress, the illusion of rational conduct will almost completely disappear. Within our self-impressed liberal tribe, this process is now well under way, or so these top experts have said.

Because today is Labor Day, we'll only provide this tiny nibble, or hint. Starting tomorrow, we'll explore this ongoing breakdown all week, exploring a range of recent examples of tribal intellectual meltdown.

What becomes of rational conduct at times of high cultural stress? Accepting direction from top anthropologists, we'll start with Saturday morning's report, and with the 229 comments posted by actual humans.

Other examples abound, of course. We'll get to as many of them as we can.

Borrowing from President Lincoln, the task before us may be "more difficult than that which devolved upon General Washington." You see, we subscribe to the New York Times and to the Washington Post!

Tomorrow: Can the puzzlement voiced in that report possibly be real?

36 comments:

  1. "Also, what the heck is the New York Times? And what is the Washington Post?"

    Why, they are two leading propaganda organs of the goebbelsian liberal media, dear Bob. You didn't know that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Martians Are Due On Maplewood.

      They're goners.

      Delete
    2. There you go, making an accusation without evidence. It's "monsters" of unspecified origin, not "Martians," at least not for sure.

      Delete
    3. "Monsters" seemed too harsh. I thought about going with "Zombies", but it's been done.

      Delete
    4. It was on point then and it's pretty much on point now. LINK

      Delete
  2. Somerby spends a lot of time describing the background of a reporter who he admits is well qualified. Then he fills up the rest of his article with that same old nonsense about Aristotle and fake anthropologists. But he never gets around to telling us what exactly he found to be illogical in the article itself.

    I read the article. I can predict that Somerby may play games with the percentages: (1) for the two cities in NJ who share a combined school district, (2) for distinct neighborhoods within those two cities which have different numbers of poor and/or black residents, (3) for individual schools within that district, (4) for who gets tracked into AP versus lower level classes, (5) for who gets to be considered a minority as opposed to being "of color" as opposed to being black. Somerby hints that he might discuss the comments of parents, white and black. Or he might focus on the "hook" used in the headline, the hypocrisy implied by a progressive city that gets upset when its administrators try to implement "integration" in its own schools. That kind of headline is a clear knock on liberals.

    These teases for future articles are probably the laziest writing Somerby does, aside from pretending he is off on a mission of national import (or whatever). He filled a column with vaguely negative complaints about the elitism of a journalist without ever actually criticizing her work, other than calling it illogical without ever citing what she said that made no sense. But Somerby is accountable to no one except us.

    Now it appears to be wrong to go to Penn as an international student, wrong to be French, wrong to be 30? What is our world coming to when the NY Times features writers such as these?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. These teases for future articles are probably the laziest writing Somerby does,….

      Have you asked for your money back? If you don’t get a refund, I suggest you contact the Maryland Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection Division
      http://www.oag.state.md.us
      200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor
      Baltimore, MD 21202
      410-576-6300
      Phone 2:
      888-743-0023 (Toll Free in Maryland)

      aside from pretending he is off on a mission of national import (or whatever).

      You mean he’s not on missions of national import? That’s outright fraud right there. You really need to call the Maryland OCPD.

      But Somerby is accountable to no one except us.

      Who’s “us”? You? Bwahahahaha!
      Oh, wait. You weren’t serious, were you?

      Now it appears to be wrong to go to Penn as an international student, wrong to be French, wrong to be 30?

      Nothing wrong with going to Penn as any kind of student. 30-year olds are just annoying. But it’s always wrong to be French. And that’s not about the eight-decades old collaboration. I haven’t forgiven them for Dreyfus.

      ————
      We hope you enjoyed this example of uncultured impudence and lower middle class ignorance™

      Delete
    2. deadrat, I second your "uncultured impudence." I was thinking much the same thing, just not in such amusing fashion. Why do so many commenters expect Somerby to be someone other than who he is? They can complain, sure. But I think Somerby has the right idea. i.e. pretty much to ignore us all and go about his business by his own lights.

      Delete
    3. No one reads this blog. No one.

      Ever wonder why?

      Delete
  3. An actual liberal writer with a blog might use labor day to write about labor issues and there are plenty of them to write about. What does Somerby choose to write about today?

    "We humans are just so smart and so bright, especially those who are "educated!" This comically flattering self-portrait has dominated elite western thought—and this portrait is completely mistaken, top academics now tell us.

    These scholars say that, at times of stress, the illusion of rational conduct will almost completely disappear. Within our self-impressed liberal tribe, this process is now well under way, or so these top experts have said."

    Somerby continues his attack on intellectuals and academics. He pretends that the entire enterprise of accumulating knowledge and understanding our world is futile because people are not as "logical" as Aristotle once thought them to be (if he ever did).

    If Somerby had ever taken a class in psychology, he might know that the so-called illogicality of human beings is not a lack of logic but a different kind of logic than that predicted by the formal logic of philosophy and mathematics. People tend to reason probabilistically, in ways related to their experiences in the world and the need to predict outcomes and generalize about them. Their reasoning is at its best when it is unconscious and not when people are asked to consciously estimate frequency of occurrences, because memory distorts such estimates. Human rationality is optimized for the environments and tasks that it performs most frequently, and that does not include logic or math or anything computers do well.

    But Somerby doesn't even read cognitive science, so he has nothing useful to say about human rationality. That doesn't trouble him because his primary purpose with these screeds is to harshly criticize professors and anyone with an education beyond his own gentleman's C (or did he flunk out) at Harvard.

    I would call it ironic that a former teacher would spend so much time denigrating education, but it is just too sad.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. An actual liberal writer with a blog might use labor day to write about labor issues and there are plenty of them to write about.

      Ooh! I’ve got an idea! Why don’t you find a liberal blog that writes about things you approve of?

      He [TDH] pretends that the entire enterprise of accumulating knowledge and understanding our world is futile because people are not as "logical" as Aristotle once thought them to be (if he ever did).

      Who knows what Aristotle thought? But there’s no evidence that he wrote what TDH attributes to him. But I’m pretty sure Ari could instruct you that some X (say for X=TDH’s targets) is not the same as all X (say for X=the entire enterprise of accumulating knowledge).

      You have Somerby’s transcript from Harvard? Tell me what difference that makes to his arguments.

      (Psst! TDH doesn’t denigrate education. Stop making a fool of yourself.)

      ————
      We hope you enjoyed this example of uncultured impudence and lower middle class ignorance™

      Delete
    2. Your response, I'm afraid, could accurately called uncultured and impudent.

      Sarcasm is uncultured and impudent.

      Acquaint yourself with the character and situations of the company with whom you converse before you give loose to your tongue and you could prevent further impetuous responses like this one and the many others responses that reflect your poor breeding and lack of manners and decency.

      I know you have an interest in trying to appear smart and well-bred. It's interesting to watch you try.

      Delete
    3. I was thinking the same thing. How classless and uncultured it is for one to point out how much class and culture they have.

      Delete
    4. They tricked dumbrat again and the fool fell for it. Again.


      Sad.

      Delete
    5. Deadrat never learned to extrapolate one thing from another.

      Delete
  4. I have friends and relatives who live in Maplewood and South Orange. I am heartsick at the efforts of these ignorant integration freaks. They have a situation that works well: integrated communities, integrated schools, good education, good race relations. These integration obsessives are going to screw it up.

    Consider this quote: "In 2014, after the federal Office of Civil Rights found black students significantly underrepresented in advanced classes, the district agreed to hire a consultant to develop solutions." That's appalling. They're pushing for a "solution" where there is no problem. As far as we know, students are placed in classes that properly reflect their level of academic ability. A smaller percentage of blacks are at advanced levels so a smaller percentage of blacks are in advanced classes. Ignoring this obvious reality harms students of every race.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Did the situation work well for Khadijah White? Or don't you care about her?

      "They're pushing for a "solution" where there is no problem."

      The problem is the underrepresentation of black students in advanced classes.

      You can pretend that black students cannot do the work in AP classes, but their later success at the college level belies that. Means on standardized tests don't characterize the upper end of any distribution.

      Either you didn't read the entire article or you are being dishonest, or both. You don't know whether students are being placed properly or not. I trust the Office of Civil Rights before I trust you.

      Your phrase "ignorant integration freaks" gives you away.

      Delete
    2. I'm not quite sure what happened to Ms. White. Was she personally discouraged by a white teacher from taking advanced courses or did people in general dissuade her by telling her that she didn't stand a chance because she is black and because of biased white teachers?

      This statement isn't very clear.

      "Khadijah White, who graduated from Columbia High School in 2000, remembers being told she would not be able to learn the material in a math class, and that she could not get into A.P. classes, including biology, citing bias from white teachers. As a result, she said, she gave up her dream of becoming a forensic investigator.

      “I was very much discouraged,” said Dr. White, who lives in Maplewood. She ended up getting a doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and is now an assistant professor of journalism at Rutgers University."

      and

      "At Columbia High School, Ms. White said, “The kids are all in the same building, and they’re still segregated. Who gets to be put in the top levels of the school, versus who gets put in the bottom levels?’’'

      Delete
    3. @12:15 PM - I will respond to several of your comments:

      Did the situation work well for Khadijah White?
      Yes, it did. She has a PhD from an ivy league university. Evidently her basic education served her well.

      problem is the underrepresentation of black students in advanced classes.
      Why is this a problem? Is the underrepresentation of Asians in the National Basketball Assoc. a problem? Various ethnic groups will be over- or under-represented in any body of human beings. (If students were kept out of advanced classed BECAUSE they were black, that WOULD be a problem -- a big problem.)

      their later success at the college level belies that.
      Sorry, that's not true. Blacks are 'way underrepresented in STEM major graduates. In my own field, actuarial societies and insurance companies have been making huge efforts to recruit black actuaries, yet the only a relatively few blacks are completing the examinations. Standford University is creating watered-down physics classes for black students. https://news.stanford.edu/2019/08/14/making-physics-inclusive/

      You can pretend that black students cannot do the work in AP classes
      I never said that. I do think that students, regardless of their race, who are behind in math are unlikely to be able to do AP math.

      Your phrase "ignorant integration freaks" gives you away.
      Yes, bean-counters who know nothing about the reality of educating children are creating policies that hurt children of all races. People who know only how to count numbers of children by race are not racists, but they might as well be. They're harming black children as much as the racists.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. "People who know only how to count numbers of children by race are not racists, but they might as well be."

      I don't know if they are 'racists' (whatever that means) or not, but they sure act like they take the idea of human 'races' seriously, and they feel (or pretend to feel) that some people should be patronized just on account of belonging to one 'race' or another.

      And that's a typical "take up the white man's burden" pattern.

      Delete
    6. 12:15pm, if test results aren't a pretty good predictor for the probability of success in advanced math classes, I'm going back to my alma mater and demand to retake college Algebra II and then get a doctorate in journalism.

      Delete
  5. In honor of Labor Day, and for those who enjoy a good old mordant chuckle.

    Funny how a few decades seems so long ago.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyLE5lr2qJE

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    Replies
    1. Thanks mm. Wonderful decorum. No students shouting speakers down. Nobody called a racist or a fascist. Intelligent, calm debate on the issues.

      Delete
    2. Go fuck yourself, troll boy, you treasonous bastard. I posted that 2 hour debate at 12:02 PM, you responded with your smartass bitchy comment 12 minutes later, and you have determined in that 12 minutes how civil the debate was.

      One thing you can learn from watching this old Firing Line debates, which I periodically do, from the 60's, 70's, 80's and into the 90's is how catastrophically wrong the conservative side has been about virtually everything my entire adult life.

      Fuck off with your "decorum" you treasonous bastard.

      Delete
  6. At times of stress, people run into burning buildings to save each other. They jump into the ocean to save someone swept away by a wave. In times of stress, people take care of each other, banding together and forgetting their differences, to address a common threat.

    People can freeze or panic during the stress of a disaster, but more often they engage in behaviors related to a familiar role. For example, those with medical training will start treating injuries. Those with food service experience will start feeding people. Those who are accountants will start counting heads and organizing resources. Those who work with kids will find ways to comfort the children, locating missing parents, etc. People seek the comfort of performing familiar roles in an unfamiliar situation.

    If people truly lost their minds and became irrational under stress, humans would not have survived under such a wide variety of adverse circumstances to reach our present dominance of the planet. But the logic of survival is not the logic of philosophy/math, which might suggest that persistence in the face of obstacles is unwarranted, self-sacrifice during a disaster to help others makes no sense for the individual but a lot of sense for the species, and so on. Somerby thinks his idea of logic is the only one possible. If he had taken a few more philosophy courses, perhaps done an advanced degree, he might understand things differently and not be making such a fool of himself today, when we should be remembering how much workers contribute to our well-being and figuring out ways to recognize the dignity in all labor, including journalism.

    ReplyDelete
  7. David in Cal wrote:
    “Standford University is creating watered-down physics classes for black students. https://news.stanford.edu/2019/08/14/making-physics-inclusive/”

    Either he is straight out lying, or couldn’t pass a middle-school reading comprehension test. There is not a single word in the linked article that even remotely suggests a watering down of the material or standards in any Physics course. What’s more troubling, however, is that either no other commenter has read the article or, if anyone has, they understood it. And this is not the first time for such laziness/stupidity or utter lack of intellectual integrity among the commenters on this blog.

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    1. David is a lying sack of shit racist prick. We take that as a given.

      Delete
    2. SadSac writes

      Either he [David in Cal] is straight out lying, or couldn’t pass a middle-school reading comprehension test.

      David in Cal is an idiot, indeed this commentariat’s Village Idiot. Reasonable people do not ascribe agency to idiots. He’s not lying; he’s incapable of comprehending anything beyond the right-wing nonsense that he swallows whole and regurgitates here.

      What’s more troubling, however, is that either no other commenter has read the article or, if anyone has, they understood it. And this is not the first time for such laziness/stupidity or utter lack of intellectual integrity among the commenters on this blog.

      I take it you mean that if anyone has [read the article], then they failed to understand it, and I also take it you deduce the laziness, stupidity, and lack of intellectual integrity of this commentariat from the failure of anyone to gainsay David in Cal. Now I can’t argue with your deduction: laziness, stupidity, and lack of integrity are practically the hallmark of this commentary section, something easily found by reading the comments here. But they’re not the reason nobody responds (substantively) to David in Cal. Nobody responds to him because it’s a waste of time.

      Here, I’ll show you. A brief tour through the Stanford U web site finds that Physics 94SI is a one-credit course not required for the major. No physics major graduates from Stanford without completing a specified set of required three-credit courses. The existence of Physics 94SI in no way dilutes the course of study.

      But isn’t Physics 94SI “easier than Einstein's Theory of General Relativity?” David in Cal snarks. And so it is, but GR is not a requirement for a bachelor’s degree in physics. The mathematics required (tensor analysis) probably excludes most undergraduates. Stanford teaches GR in Physics 262, but that’s not even required at the doctoral level unless your research area is astrophysics and gravitation.

      Now I knew the upshot of this investigation before I wasted time confirming that yes, David in Cal is still an idiot.

      ————
      We hope you enjoyed this example of uncultured impudence and lower middle class ignorance™

      Delete
    3. “laziness, stupidity, and lack of integrity are practically the hallmark of this commentary section, something easily found by reading the comments here.”

      Should say “by reading ALL of the comments, as in EVERY LAST ONE, as in INCLUDING THE ONE AT 1:45 AM here.”

      Delete
    4. Oh, dear. ALL CAPS. Is someone triggered? Or just trolling?

      How about the one @4:51A?

      Or 9:12A?

      Delete
    5. deadrat - Yes, Physics 94SI is only 1 credit and not required for the physics major. Nevertheless, it is an example of a watered-down physics course created for blacks:
      1. It's officially a physics course.
      2. It was created for black students
      3. It is easier than the regular physics courses.

      Delete
    6. Get a load of treasonous bastard DinC making another list. David is so very fond of his lists.

      The wretched bitter old man who votes religiously for the party that rejects science, whining over a course at Stanford "created for black students", so he says.

      Go fuck yourself David, come back when you whine about all those classrooms around the country teaching "creationism" as an alternative version of biology. Who are these classes created for, you dumb fuck? Future republican Senators?

      Delete
  8. Yes, SadSac that description doesn't say "watered down", but that is indeed what it means. Academic bullshit is like a foreign language or a code that needs to be de-coded. See https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13615

    Or, consider Physics 94SI: Diverse Perspectives in Physics: A seminar course, also initiated by Meyer and Patel, where physics faculty members from diverse backgrounds share the story of their lives and careers.

    That's a physics course? It's easier than Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete