Charles "Bell Curve" Murray's Insults Aren't Just an Article - They're a Whole Book

codergrrl's picture

I'd like to meet this guy. Like, late at night on Frankford Avenue. Yeah, I'd like to meet him.

"Je Suis Prest"

KingDingAling's picture

Wow. It's almost impossible to comment on this guy without breaking every rule of decency Dan has set up for this site. I only hope this doucher gets caught in a dark alley with a bunch of us lazy, god ignoring, no degree havin', misanthropes and the ability to walk is a privilege he no longer can partake in.

When the king speaks, fishtown.us would be wise to listen.

Lauraska's picture

Ugh...what I hate about this guy is that he takes perfectly legitimate statistics and illegitimateizes them. His numbers are no different than anyone else's. It's his explanations for what caused the changes in those statistics over time that are whack. He's a bootstrapper to the extreme and a religious zealot. I don't know why anyone listens to him.

And he really thinks that middle and upper middle class people are more moral and better parents simply because of their incomes?? Clearly he didn't see what I saw as a kid growing up in a fancy suburb in NJ. Neglect and abuse don't pay attention to checking account balances.

th's picture

Lauraska wrote:
Neglect and abuse don't pay attention to checking account balances.

No, but big checking accounts make it easier to hide - at least from statistics.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Lauraska's picture

th wrote:
Lauraska wrote:
Neglect and abuse don't pay attention to checking account balances.

No, but big checking accounts make it easier to hide - at least from statistics.

Yup. When I worked in child welfare in Brooklyn, I actually pursued a case against a well-to-do couple. The husband had shaken the baby, who now had permanent delays as a result, and the wife was covering for him. They had the nerve to tell me that the case should be dropped because they were, "College educated people who don't live in the projects." I think I went to town on them during the trial just because of that remark. I believe dear old dad is currently in jail and mommy dearest lost her job as a city school teacher because you can't have a neglect finding against you and be an educator. So much for those college educations and what not.

codergrrl's picture

See..."Hedda Nussbaum/Joel Steinberg"

"Je Suis Prest"

KingDingAling's picture

Lauraska wrote:
Ugh...what I hate about this guy is that he takes perfectly legitimate statistics and illegitimateizes them. His numbers are no different than anyone else's. It's his explanations for what caused the changes in those statistics over time that are whack.

This is exactly the same thing Glenn Beck would do. He'd present completely legitimate facts and then the conclusion he would draw would be that "its obviously proof of the zionist regime raising class warfare on us god fearing folk." Lunatics cut from the same cloth.

When the king speaks, fishtown.us would be wise to listen.

codergrrl's picture

Statistics can be skewed in either direction. Happens everyday.

"Je Suis Prest"

jbette01's picture

I have been fighting comments about this on Twitter for a month now.

Thought you guys might be interested to know that Ken Milano is featured in the book: http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2012/02/13/fishtown-wrong-america/

It is very difficult to tell from the article how his comments were interpreted.

codergrrl's picture

Did this guy just sift through data, or did he actually come and live here with us heathens?

"Je Suis Prest"

Leo's picture

codergrrl wrote:
Statistics can be skewed in either direction. Happens everyday.

The are three types of lies. Lies, dammed lies, and statistics.
-Mark Twain

Mulvihill & Rushie LLC
The Fishtown Lawyers
Criminal Defense • Civil Trials
www.FishtownLaw.com
215.385.5291

roma258's picture

Like I said in the earlier post about this guy, any commentary on the supposed decline of Fishtown's working class that completely ignores factory closings in Fishtown and Kensington (without anything else taking their place) is basically worthless.

Lauraska's picture

codergrrl wrote:
See..."Hedda Nussbaum/Joel Steinberg"

Exactly, except the couple in my story was actually black. And you know what? I sort of felt like that made it even worse. I knew when they were talking about being educated and not living in the projects in Brooklyn that they were trying to say they had some how elevated themselves beyond other people of their skin color and were therefore better and more likely to be exempt. Either way, it was disgusting and I thoroughly enjoyed nailing them to the proverbial wall at every court appearance.

jbette01's picture

codergrrl wrote:
Did this guy just sift through data, or did he actually come and live here with us heathens?

From what I understand, there is no data in the book that pertains specifically to Fishtown. We were simply used an an 'example' neighborhood to represent his data. There is some indication that he did come here and take a tour with Ken Milano.

I actually think this comment sums it up well --

"What Charles Murray is conveniently ignoring is that Fishtown’s still got it much, much, MUCH better than, say, Tioga. Take the real Fishtown vs. the real Tioga. Any fancy new restaurants coming in? How’s the housing market? How much is rent? Vacancy rate going down? Any talk of investment in basic infrastructure around Tioga like the discussion of improving Girard Avenue? No? Shocking!"

dan

Poor individual choices and social injustices form a destructive feedback loop.
Too much modern political analysis downplays one or the other.

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

sdm's picture

jbette01 wrote:
I have been fighting comments about this on Twitter for a month now.

Let the idiots think what they want. A twitter comment or two is not going to change their minds. Fighting on the Internet is less productive than swimming against the current.

Neatly chiseled, well groomed, drop dead handsome face.

Southbounddown's picture

Who cares. In a couple weeks everyone will have forgotten this book and no one will care.

Children are awful dogs

th's picture

From my dad:
I think he over plays the virtues of the rich but he seems to forget it is easier to be “virtuous “ in the sense that he describes if you are rich. Of course major failings that he seems to ignore are the cardinal sins of greed and gluttony manifested in overconsumption and a life devoted to accumulation.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Frank Jones's picture

If you say the plight of the poor is the fault of bad morals then you don't have to do anything to help them. Except maybe some self righteous lecturing.

stein wrote:
It is nice to be so privileged that you can be oblivious to a pretty popular stereotype in the canon of racism.

george's picture

Murray slaps a pseudo-intellectual varnish on base-level racism and classism. I imagine it's both lucrative and puts him in demand by those on the right who want such ideas to have the heft of academic and factual basis, regardless of how manufactured it is. I'd put him in the same camp as the Intelligent Designers and Ayn Rand cultists (many of whom it seems have never even read her).

dan

Okay, George - I understand (and agree with) your criticism of logical positivists, both genuine and psuedo, but don't quite get the beef with ID folk. I understand the part about trying to give academic heft when it's not there, but I don't see the ID folk trying to justify racism and classism. (not saying there's absolutely zero overlap, but I don't see it significantly - heck, I think I saw it more with socio-biologists than with ID folks.)

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

snailgem's picture

whoa, what's up with this (from the article): "Fishtown, and the broader neighborhood of Kensington of which it is a part"?

dan

snailgem wrote:
whoa, what's up with this (from the article): "Fishtown, and the broader neighborhood of Kensington of which it is a part"?

that part's accurate, if not popular

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

stein's picture

dan wrote:
Okay, George - I understand (and agree with) your criticism of logical positivists, both genuine and psuedo, but don't quite get the beef with ID folk. I understand the part about trying to give academic heft when it's not there, but I don't see the ID folk trying to justify racism and classism. (not saying there's absolutely zero overlap, but I don't see it significantly - heck, I think I saw it more with socio-biologists than with ID folks.)

It's pseudo-intellectual varnish. Full stop

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

george's picture

dan wrote:
Okay, George - I understand (and agree with) your criticism of logical positivists, both genuine and psuedo, but don't quite get the beef with ID folk. I understand the part about trying to give academic heft when it's not there, but I don't see the ID folk trying to justify racism and classism. (not saying there's absolutely zero overlap, but I don't see it significantly - heck, I think I saw it more with socio-biologists than with ID folks.)

Perhaps I was clumsy in the wording but I wasn't suggesting ID folks share the same racist and classist tent, only that they also crave the same kind of academic 'legitimacy' for their beliefs.

And there's plenty of money to be made being the person who provides it, too.

snailgem's picture

"s it useful to make generalizations about whole classes of people? We all know the reasons why it’s not—they stoke prejudice, crush nuance, distort reality, are unkind and unfair. But just as it was wrong for a generation of liberals to reject Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s notorious 1965 report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” it would be a mistake to dismiss the subject of Murray’s new book simply because it insults half of the Americans who weren’t already tarred by “The Bell Curve.” Murray has a talent for raising important questions on the way to arriving at invidious answers."

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/02/poor-white-and-republican.html

dan

george wrote:
dan wrote:
Okay, George - I understand (and agree with) your criticism of logical positivists, both genuine and psuedo, but don't quite get the beef with ID folk. I understand the part about trying to give academic heft when it's not there, but I don't see the ID folk trying to justify racism and classism. (not saying there's absolutely zero overlap, but I don't see it significantly - heck, I think I saw it more with socio-biologists than with ID folks.)

Perhaps I was clumsy in the wording but I wasn't suggesting ID folks share the same racist and classist tent, only that they also crave the same kind of academic 'legitimacy' for their beliefs.

And there's plenty of money to be made being the person who provides it, too.

gotcha

Godwin was basically a Nazi.

stein's picture

from the same newyorker article:

Quote:
Jobs and values are intertwined: when one starts to go, the other is likely to go with it, and the circle becomes truly vicious.

I'd find this more convincing if there were an example of a town/neighborhood/population where the values went first, and then the jobs left. The transition from bourgeois values is part of a positive feedback loop that makes things worse in areas who have already been ravaged by job losses, but let us not pretend that the two are equal.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

snailgem's picture

by "values go first" you mean when one becomes upwardly mobile and part of corporate welfare? ;----)

th's picture

stein wrote:
from the same newyorker article:

Quote:
Jobs and values are intertwined: when one starts to go, the other is likely to go with it, and the circle becomes truly vicious.

Didn't Jesus quit his job as a carpenter and become homeless?

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

stein's picture

Wandering ascetics/mystics/whatevers were pretty common back in the day, and have modern day analogues (revival preachers, for one). Its a movement from the construction industry to the service industry, but its not joblessness.

Besides, individuals from all sorts of neighborhoods drop out of life (generally with bong/pipe/syringe/pillbottle in hand) despite rosy economic futures, but that isn't the same as a whole neighborhood (or at least enough of a neighborhood to affect the rest of it) doing the same.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

camera215's picture

The current issue of Time has an article about Murray and his new book. Unfortunately, only a preview is available online, so you have to buy the issue if you're interested http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2111250,00.html

Catphilly's picture

just curious ... has anyone left a review on Amazon? this will affect the sales of the book ...

dan

Interesting that he lives in Burkittsville, Maryland - the setting of The Blair Witch Project.

Godwin was basically a Nazi.