Reacting to a story about Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Annie Lowrey reflects on “the ‘glass cliff,’ a relative of the ‘glass ceiling’ that holds back businesswomen, the ‘glass closet’ that stifles the ambitions of gay executives, the brick walls facing many managers of color, and the ‘glass elevator’ that helps so, so many white bros up to the top”:
The term comes courtesy of two psychologists, Michelle K. Ryan of the University of Exeter and S. Alexander Haslam of the University of Queensland. In a pioneering study published a decade ago, they found that women were often promoted to board positions after a company had started faltering. Women weren’t picked to lead companies on an upswing, in other words. They were promoted to help manage turbulence and decline.
As Carl Bialik’s chart shows, Cuban baseball players are on the rise here in the US, and now with the thaw in US/Cuba relations, many are wondering about the implications for their shared national pastime:
Baseball has long been the most popular sport in Cuba and the island has long been a hotbed of baseball talent. Cubans have been playing professional baseball in the United States for nearly 150 years and even the embargo hasn’t stopped star Cuban players like Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox from coming to the U.S. to play in the major leagues. But the embargo has meant that players who come to the United States have had to defect and suffer all sorts of risks to escape out of the country—including falling prey to smuggling rings.
But reforming the current, broken system will be complicated:
My project for the holidays is clearly going to have to be reading as much as possible by and about Éric Zemmour, author of a bestselling French book about that nation’s decline, which we covered earlier this week. Elisabeth Zerofsky has more on Le Suicide Français and its significance:
Once Zemmour has identified the source of the rot at the center of everything, it is easy for him to unpack each successive social and legal development that whittled away at France’s glory. The legalization of abortion was a “collective suicide,” because the demographic heft of the French children who were never to be born amounted to “lost power, gone forever more.” The emergence of “triumphant homosexuality” is tied to “the decisive evolution of capitalism,” because Western capitalism has an insatiable need for consumerism, and “the homosexual universe, especially the male one, embodies the temple of unbridled pleasure, sexuality without restraint, hedonism without limit.” The sexual revolution led to a “feminine Bovaryism that is sanctified as a supreme value in relations between the sexes.” The normalization of divorce revealed the “paradoxical destiny of feminists to accomplish the dream of absolute irresponsibility, for which they railed against generations of predatory males.”
Perhaps the most persuasive argument from skeptics of Obama’s historic opening with Cuba is that he didn’t extract enough concessions on democratization from the Castro regime. That’s the reason why Yoani Sánchez isn’t celebrating just yet:
What we have yet to hear is a public timeline that commits the Cuban government to a series of gestures in support of democratization and respect for differences. We must take advantage of these announcements to extract a public promise from the government, which must include, at a minimum four consensus points that civil society has been developing in recent months: The release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience; the end of political repression; the ratification of the United Nations covenants on Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the consequent adjustment of domestic laws; and the recognition of Cuban civil society within and outside the island.
Extracting these commitments would begin the dismantling of totalitarianism. As long as steps of this magnitude are not taken, many of us will continue to believe that the day we have longed for is still far off. So, we will keep the flags tucked away, keep the corks in the bottles, and continue to press for the final coming of D-Day.
Morrissey wonders why Obama didn’t demand more reforms:
I live in the very small town of Pendleton, SC, which means I see Lindsey Graham on the reg. We both frequently go to 1826, a tiny little restaurant in the center of town (it was built in 1826 – clever, no?) I am a stand-up comedian. My dad was my comedic mentor from the get, even though he was a special agent with the IRS and therefore his stand-up was constrained to toasts and such … the man is a brilliant comic. We are all loud, very, very loud Irish Catholics, with zero ability to whisper.
The first time I saw Butters in town, he was seated very close to me in the Pendleton Cafe and I didn’t yet know he lived in town. I said, in a very loud voice in that very loud restaurant, “That man looks like Lindsey Graham. That IS Lindsey Graham. Oh, my gosh! They put so much make-up on him on TV!” I turned to my dining companions, all of whom stared at me with their mouths wide open. I said, in the same voice, “Did I say that in a normal voice?” And then I realized Butters was sort of cringing, and I was mortified. MORTIFIED.
To echo the sentiments of those before me, thank you so much for continuing this discussion. It has been one year since my rape. I have made a conscious decision not to report the incident and I don’t regret that decision for a minute.
I was 100% sober and many years removed from university. It was about three weeks into a new romance with someone in the same professional field. Earlier in the evening we had engaged in consensual sex. This time, though, he stood up and said “my turn” before forcing me to perform oral sex. I violently tried to pull back but he yanked my hair so hard that each time I tried to fight him he grabbed even harder to the point where there were clumps on my sheets. Paralyzed with fear, my body went limp as he eventually finished.
I rushed to my bathroom, sat on the floor and choked down sobs in my for what felt like hours.
Here is one of the most spectacular shifts in public opinion in our lifetime.
What explains this?
Don’t ask the psychologist and social scientists who study political opinion. They don’t know.
One family of influential theories says that our political opinions are “motivated” by certain deep-seated emotional needs. According to one version, the “system justification theory” of Jon Jost, variation in the need to justify the status quo distribution of goods and power in society determines whether one has a broadly liberal or conservative worldview. In other versions of the needs-based theory, our opinions are said to be fixed by the degree to which we are or are not dominated by a need to preserve comforting illusions, or, alternatively, the need to manage uncertainty and fear.
A related line of inquiry posits that variations in political opinion arise from ingrained differences in personality and moral sensibility. Jonathan Haidt’s “moral foundations theory” is probably the best-known. Variation on the six foundations of the moral sense explains whether you have a liberal, conservative, or libertarian cast of mind. All these theories imply that our “values” and corresponding political views reflect idiosyncrasies of personality more than material interests. Indeed, the current consensus view among political psychologists and public-opinion researchers is that, contrary to older tradition in economics and political science, self-interest explains very little about our political alignments and commitments.
What is often overlooked is that both old-fashioned self-interest theories and new-fangled personality-based theories of political opinion are pretty much useless in accounting for the sort of sea change in opinion captured by the chart above. Was there a wild change in people’s interests between 1996 and now? No. Did the distribution of personality types in the American population undergo a rapid transformation. No. It’s a lot simpler than that. People changed their minds.
But this story is far bigger than the threat to the First Amendment. And the vituperation being aimed at Sony for canceling the film’s release — coming from both the left and the right — is a sideshow that misses a bigger point. Before Sony capitulated, every major movie theater chain in the country had pulled out of showing The Interview. TheWall Street Journal reported that the nation’s largest cable company, Comcast, would have refused to show the film— and no doubt would have been joined in this veto by all the other cable and satellite providers if Sony had considered such a distribution alternative. So if Sony canceled a film that couldn’t be shown anyway, was that a cancellation or just a certification of reality? If Sony is a coward, they all are.
Dish alum Katie Zavadski graciously watched Putin’s annual three-hour press conference (yes, the above video is a trailer for a press conference) so the rest of us don’t have to:
Putin denied accusations that he is inciting a major international conflict in Ukraine, accusing the West — particularly the U.S. — of being in a pot-calling-the-kettle-black situation. “Our budget is $50 billion — the Pentagon budget is 10 times higher. Does anyone listen to us at all? Does anyone have a dialogue with us? No,” he said. “All we hear is ‘mind your own business.’ In the Ukrainian crisis I believe we are right and our Western partners are wrong.” …
But weighing most heavily on the minds of everyone in attendance was the ruble’s recent downward spiral. At the Wednesday low, one U.S. dollar was buying 79 rubles, though the free-fall appears to have stabilized. For some, Tuesday’s value drop called to mind a similar incident 20 years ago, now known as Black Tuesday. He attributed a significant portion of these ongoing economic woes to Western sanctions, introduced in part because of his annexation of Crimea. But the president also told Russians not to worry, assuring them that the economy would rebound. (Indeed, the ruble was up to 61 to a dollar during his address.) “Our economy will overcome the current situation. How much time will be needed for that? Under the most unfavorable circumstances I think it will take about two years,” he said.