In search of high school

A few days ago, I completed reading In Search of Lost Time. The same day, I got an email that had a list of everyone in my high school class (of 1973). Looking over the list, I saw just 5 names of people I recalled, out of about 650 students. BTW, at least 44 of my classmates are now dead, 30 men and 14 women.

Reading Proust got me thinking about how little I recall of my early life. I’m writing this rather aimless post in the hope of getting feedback—do other people my age recall high school?

Here’s what I recall:

1. I see two Asian names on the list, but I don’t recall them. I’d guess 98% or 99% of my class was white. Today, that high school (Madison West) is 52% white.

2. I recall almost none of my teachers. I don’t recall what went on in class. I do recall there were classes of roughly one hour, and then we would move to a different room (unlike elementary school). I recall English, math, social studies, chemistry, etc. But what happened in class? Was it a lecture, like college? I don’t recall. I recall being endlessly bored, watching the clock slowly edge up to 3:20, when we were released. Most of all, I looked forward to summer vacation.

3. By graduating a semester early, I was able to spend only 2 1/2 years in high school . (9th grade was still junior high school) But not because I was a brilliant student (my GPA was about 3.2). Rather I just wanted to finish up as soon as possible, so I took the final two courses via correspondence courses. (Via the US mail, there was no internet). Then after finishing my in-person classes in January 1973, I worked five days a week in a canning factory to earn money for college. I must have hated school, but I don’t recall why. I wasn’t bullied.

4. I feel like high school must be really different today, due to innovations like computer games. I recall lots of time spent doing nothing–no phone to play with. During my final semester they switched to “open campus”, as the 1970s were among the most decadent period in US history. I’d take off Tuesday and Thursday afternoon when I had no classes and bicycle out into the country for 40 or 50 miles.

5. The 99% white figure probably makes you think it was a very conservative “pre-woke” time and place. But it didn’t seem that way at all. Students would go down to the nearby campus to engage in the frequent protests against the war in Vietnam.

6. On the other hand, politics was not polarized between the two parties. There were no blue and red tribes. The primary national news media were bland evening news shows that were all sort of center left—nothing like Fox or CNN. Sophisticated Madisonians might read the New Yorker, but (AFAIK) almost no one read the NYT. Without the internet I relied on our local paper, along with magazines like Time. (Yet somehow this primitive society put a man on the moon when I was in junior high.)

7. I don’t recall people being obsessed with getting into good colleges. I was accepted at the University of Chicago, but my family decided it was too expensive so I went to the University of Wisconsin, right in my hometown. (I did eventually go to the UC for grad school.) And how did I get accepted to the UC with a 3.2 high school GPA and precisely zero extracurricular activities of any kind? I have no idea.

8. Because the upper Midwest was still pretty rich in the early 1970s, and because the civil rights movement was still in people’s minds, there wasn’t really a coastal vs. interior split in America, it was more north/south. Wisconsin seemed somehow closer to Massachusetts or Washington state than to Alabama or Arkansas. We made fun of southern rednecks. Each time I return to Wisconsin it seems a bit more “southern”, further and further removed from coastal cities. More country music and more confederate flags than before. More Republican.

PS. Proust must have been greatly influenced by Schopenhauer. Consider (from the final volume):

And even a more profound pleasure, like the pleasure which I might have hoped to feel when I was in love with Albertine, was in fact only experienced inversely, through the anguish which I felt when she was not there . . .

PPS. And Knausgaard was clearly influenced by Proust. Both produced long, semi-biographical novels. Both long novels became less novelistic and more like an essay toward the end. Proust has a long discussion of WWI in the final volume, and Knausgaard has a long discussion of the Nazi era. Both also break the “fourth wall” toward the end, commenting on the reception of the earlier volumes. Both end up writing novels about writing novels. About struggling to write novels.

Here Proust defends himself from critics that accuse him of creating amoral characters:

The vulgar reader is wrong to think the author wicked, for in any given, ridiculous aspect [of someone’s personality], the artist sees a beautiful generality; and he no more faults his subject for being ridiculous than a surgeon looks down on a patient for being afflicted with persistent circulation problems.



30 Responses to “In search of high school”

  1. Gravatar of Arilando Arilando
    21. November 2021 at 12:02

    > I’d guess 98% or 99% of my class was white. Today, that high school (Madison West) is 52% white.
    And people stil claim the great replacement isn’t real.

  2. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    21. November 2021 at 13:47

    I can’t comment on Proust (got close to reading him as a young adult but can’t imagine doing so now), but I think about my high school years all the time. I graduated in 1989 and my high school covered grades 8-12 inclusive. I can remember all of my teachers and smatterings of content. Last year, after more than 30 years, I contacted my year 12 economics teacher to tell him that I still thought about his answer to my question about the difference between monetarists and Keynesians. He had said, “Keynesians believe that if the money supply increases, people buy financial assets; monetarists believe people buy real assets.” That was back when the money supply was seen as the operating instrument of monetary policy and a lot of time was spent in high school courses explaining how OMO purchases & sales affected both the money supply and policy interest rates. He of course couldn’t remember any of it. I did well in my final exams, and got into the university and course of my choice. Australians both then and now tend to remain in-state for university and take most vocational courses as undergraduates (I did combined economics and law degrees).
    But none of this is to say I particularly enjoyed school or didn’t get bored. In fact, thinking about it over the last decade, so much of it was clock-watching. But what I lament the most is that I didn’t grow much socially or inter-personally through high school. I was going through some family-personal issues, and partly as a result, didn’t have many friends towards the final years. I mainly focussed on doing well in my exams and moving on to university for a fresh start.
    It wasn’t possible to graduate early because we had external final exams in the end of our academic year in November. But in my last year, I would often not attend school and study at home. On half-price movie days (Tuesdays), I would walk to the local mall to see the latest action blockbusters.
    Coming from an Indian background (although going to an expensive private school), I experienced some racism particularly in my primary school years. But by the mid-late 1980s, that was mostly gone. During university in the early ’90s, I never had problems getting (paid) internships at top-tier law firms and investment banks. My grades were good, but nothing extraordinary. I find myself scoffing now when I hear progressive & young Australians talk about incredibly racist Australia is. I realise there is still strong prejudice against obviously indigenous people and recent migrants from Africa and so on, but 40 years ago I had random people call me the ‘N-word’ just walking down the street.
    For media, we would get the Melbourne broadsheet, and the national paper on the weekends. My dad would get the odd financial-business magazine, although he was a doctor and doubt he read them much. The op-ed writers seemed so authoritative back then. Seeing the range and sophistication of views available to everyone now for free, I wonder what tepid crap it must have been.
    But perhaps because so little was accessible back then, there were lots of simple joys I enjoyed. Playing cricket in summer (when it wasn’t washed-out), the weekly sit-coms I enjoyed, the satisfaction of taping a song I liked from the radio after waiting hours for it to air, the buying of nice clothes I thought would change my life…
    Anyway, better get back to work!

  3. Gravatar of Matthias Matthias
    21. November 2021 at 15:05

    I’m only 35 now. Curiously I remember more people from high school (Gymnasium) than from uni, depsite liking uni and the people there a lot more. High school was rather boring and seemed like an excessive waste of time.

    I went to uni in the late 2000s in Germany. No signs of politics amongst the other people studying math with me. Not so sure about eg the liberal arts students.

  4. Gravatar of David Pinto David Pinto
    21. November 2021 at 15:07

    I have recently discovered that I am the memory person among my friends. I will often say, “Remember when we did this?” and they’ll reply no until I explain the memory in detail. This amazes them.

    I graduated high school in 1978, and while I don’t remember the names of some of my teachers, I certainly remember their faces.

    For example, Freshman year my home room teach was a young woman who taught business courses.

    My biology teacher always took her sick day the last day of the month if she hadn’t used it. She made it a point to indicate that all forms of death were from affixation of cells.

    My geometry teacher was a fire plug shaped many who coached the baseball team and went on to coach at Yale. Great teacher, always open to an off the wall math question.

    Gym teacher was also the basketball coach. Freshman year the varsity won the state championship on a buzzer beater after being down ten points with five minutes to go.

    History teacher (World Civilizations) was an old man who knew his stuff. He started his first lecture saying that he wanted to talk about the calendar, and then went on to a fascinating discussion of how the ancient Egyptians used the calendar and how it evolved from there.

    English teacher was very tough, but broke her leg skiing and missed two months. We disagreed on the value of the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. We did video tape some original plays in that class, which was fun.

    Was in band was well, marched in the fall, concerts in the spring. Our stadium standards were Spooky and the theme from Watermelon Man.

    During sophomore and senior years we had race riots at our school.

    Our school was nationally famous for executing perfect fire drills. This supposedly was due to a strict no-tolerance of talking during drills, but it was also a point of pride among the students. Upper classmen would make it very clear to freshmen that no one talked during the drills.

  5. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    21. November 2021 at 20:35

    Arilando, My daughter is half Asian. I guess I need to hang my head in shame. What can I say other than that I’m sorry?

    Rajat, I would have hated Proust as a young adult, but now I love his novel.

    Interesting comments on Australia. On the media, in America the average quality is perhaps about the same, but the variance has increased dramatically.

    Matthias, I wonder how much you’ll recall at age 66.

    David, Interesting stories; you certainly have more of a memory than I do.

  6. Gravatar of Brian Brian
    21. November 2021 at 21:06

    I am about 9 years younger than you. I remember many names of students but not always their last names. I remember many teachers’ names. I am probably worse than average for remembering faces and I have probably always been this way. I remember what the lessons were like and what the rooms looked like and whether the rooms were sunny or north facing. I remember one student was “radicalized” one morning and was blocking non-whites from the main entrance. I later learned men from one of the northern states, probably Idaho or Montana but not Washington, crossed the border to promote their racial cause. A teacher informed us that earlier in the morning Mister J, a tall World War 2 veteran went out to confront them. The police would be on their way if necessary Mister J warned. I remember Chemistry 11 and 12, Physics 11 and 12, Algebra 11 and 12 and Geometry 12 and social studies and electronics had something to teach. Earlier classes had built an electric car but the teacher didn’t seem to have any plans for further development so it just occupied space. Many subjects were boring and easy or both. French was hard to learn starting at grade 8 given that we had 7 other subjects but it was still possible to get a good grade. In math we had speed factoring drills because somebody at the university level spotted a general deficiency. At university a friend would later remark that it was inefficient because it turned out to be not that important. I wish I had taken Economics and Law in high school but there was nobody in my life to say these were important. There was no political atmosphere in high school. We had to read Orwell’s 1984 but discussions of anything we read didn’t seem to lead to any impression. The guidance counsellor was a veteran and walked with a limp. He was a kind man and I could have used guidance but I didn’t know at the time what to ask. I remember the south east corner of the campus contained a big mound of soil and for the entire 5 years (in this 8 to 12 high school) it seemed a bulldozer would move it about but it didn’t look like anything was being accomplished. I remember Mister L a gym teacher had an Oregon T-shirt and he assigned us to run a loop that included a nearby lake. Usually he would not partipate but this time he did and I remember looking back to see he had to stop and walk. I remember realizing that I found poems hard to remember word for word. Everything else seemed doable. I remember the guitar lessons and the Australian man teaching it and the morbid words to the song he had us play. I was impressed when band class performed “Theme from Shaft”.

  7. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    22. November 2021 at 00:14


    Weird. I’m almost your age, and I remember nearly everything about high school including the fact we used slide rules in science class.

    Junior high I remember well too. We had race riots, police in the halls (and parked in front of our house at night.) We got taught CRT. I had fantastic teachers and great friends (especially in 9th grade.) Students still got a paddled for misbehavior which made for wonderful entertainment.

    And I’m sure I can remember every teacher and every classmate from Elementary School.

    I remember a lot less about college even though I do remember having a pretty good time and remember being a liberal back then. Started college as a Computer Science major, switched to Econ and then ended up as Japanese Lit major. Graduated in 3 years because of high school AP credits. Accounting was the most interesting course I took. Remember Midnight Movies. And I remember thinking how great it was to be done with school when I graduated.

  8. Gravatar of David S David S
    22. November 2021 at 04:37

    I have vivid memories of parts of high school, but your post makes me wonder what I’ll forget over the next 20 years. Mostly, I feel like many things were unresolved, which I suppose is appropriate. I recently found out that my 10th grade English teacher passed away.

    I travel back home frequently and it’s depressing to see how the school has physically deteriorated. Despite that visible decline, the region of New Hampshire I grew up in seems to have changed very little.

  9. Gravatar of Michael D Sandifer Michael D Sandifer
    22. November 2021 at 09:21

    Confederate flags in Wisconsin? I didn’t anticipate that level of ridiculousness.

  10. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. November 2021 at 09:39

    I suppose we remember things that interest us, and since high school bored me I didn’t remember much. I do recall that WWII still loomed large in people’s imagination; it wasn’t that far back in history. It seems to me that there was a general consensus among teachers that communism and nationalism were evil. I’m not sure that consensus still holds today.

  11. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    22. November 2021 at 11:25

    Just on modern media, the ‘average quality’ (and I’m not sure how one could weight and measure that) might matter to the broader society in some way, but it doesn’t matter much to me as a consumer. The resources available to someone who wants to inform themselves and debate with informed and interesting people on blogs and social media, etc, are now amazing and mostly free. Journalists who used to be the leading lights of publications like the Economist and NYT, costing as much as a couple of good restaurant meals a year for a column or two a week are now just names in a sea of (frequently better-informed) academics, think-tankers and smart laypeople.

  12. Gravatar of Rajat Rajat
    22. November 2021 at 11:47

    Oh, and I have to take a dig at the FT. What am I paying for? Wine-time columns by Rana Foroohar? I only sometimes read Janan Ganesh but it’s an expensive way to indulge in the meanderings of a middle-aged over-educated single ‘British Asian’ man (as they call it in the UK).

  13. Gravatar of Pemakin Pemakin
    22. November 2021 at 12:09

    I think I have the answer to 7. I was accepted UC a little after you with a slightly higher (3.4) GPA and did attend. The College was smaller, largely unknown outside of deep academic circles and much less competitive than it is today. Something like 40% of applicants accepted.

  14. Gravatar of Todd Kreider Todd Kreider
    22. November 2021 at 13:15

    Scott wrote: ” It seems to me that there was a general consensus among teachers that communism and nationalism were evil. I’m not sure that consensus still holds today.”

    Conservative pundit Bob Novak called Madison “The Kremlin on the lake”.

  15. Gravatar of Student Student
    22. November 2021 at 13:43

    Younger than you but yes. I loved hs.

  16. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    22. November 2021 at 20:19

    “Looking over the list, I saw just 5 names of people I recalled, out of about 650 students.”

    “I recall almost none of my teachers.”

    I’m just a bit younger, not much.

    I still have 3 friends from my high school class, one of whom I hear from all the time, plus a couple more I might hear from occasionally (whether I like it or not), plus I hear about some of the others now and then.

    And I remember the teachers pretty well – especially the really good or really bad ones.

    I like the idea of someone who loves diaristic novels but doesn’t remember the details of his own life. It’s prettty obvious that Knausgaard remembers all that stuff. Perhaps in a way that’s part of his appeal?

  17. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    22. November 2021 at 20:29

    “I recall being endlessly bored, watching the clock slowly edge up to 3:20, when we were released.”

    This was kind of the point of making friends. Yeah, some of the classes had minuscule amounts of content, so without people to talk to it would have really been awful.

  18. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    22. November 2021 at 20:38

    “I feel like high school must be really different today, due to innovations like computer games. I recall lots of time spent doing nothing….”

    I think a big change is they make them do tons of homework now. Back in the 70’s in my left coast high school, I did almost none – college was a shock, as the profs expected you to actually work!

    But as I say they do tons of homework now, but (in my view) a lot of it isn’t “real” content – classes are just designed to keep the students busy.

  19. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    22. November 2021 at 20:45

    ” And how did I get accepted to the UC with a 3.2 high school GPA and precisely zero extracurricular activities of any kind? I have no idea.”

    I got accepted into the one place I applied to with a 3.0 GPA and roughly the same “activities” level because of my SAT scores. That would seem like the obvious thing.

  20. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. November 2021 at 15:42

    “It seems to me that there was a general consensus among teachers that communism and nationalism were evil.”

    We had a lot of communist teachers back then. Maybe even more than today. So I assume your place was indeed really rural and conservative.

  21. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    24. November 2021 at 08:13

    You were obviously bored by HS—-and if not highly anti-social ——certainly an extreme loner. Maybe you had friends outside of HS. I was in college when you were in HS——I went to a Catholic HS——one had to apply—-and I viewed it as liberal——but was almost all white. My HS football coach was an out and out blatant racist——yet the Marianist Brothers were not in the least. I generally liked HS—-but went thru bizarre internal times.

    It is most surprising that even with a list of names you could only recall 5 students——I cannot conceive of being that unaware. Obsession with college was also not there——maybe because everyone went—-and out of 360 seniors—-most were fed to Catholic colleges (the top 5%-10% went to Ivy types).

    I did not apply to college. I would have been drafted——but was remarkably stupid as it did not cross my mind. I went thru periods of depression (I did not even know what it was) before anyone knew such a thing existed.

    I fake applied —-tricked my parents and Guidance Counselor that I had ——playing both against each other—-so applications were sent in a month late purposely—- once I was caught.——to only Ivies. Rejected outright of course.

    I was fortunate. -my fairly traditional values and strict father must have realized I had a problem—-as when I cursed them all out when caught——the reaction was simply calm with no explanation from me required. —-Just let it go.

    One month later I discovered I was going to play football at D3 school—Hobart and William Smith College. (Played one year). I had never heard of the school. I almost failed out Freshman year——-should have by rule——depression was severe.

    But got better—-up and down. I also liked college—-with the exception of freshman year and a drug induced psychotic break in late sophomore year—-that almost took me down——literally saved in the short run by a classmate who I barely knew—-took almost 6 months to fully recover—-went to Rochester U—-to see their shrinks——got out of there fast. I felt like a lab rat—-in and out in 4 hours. They truly freaked me out. —-By senior year I was happy and normal. In reality.

    Re: memory of classmates. At age 45, Our family went on vacation in Spring Lake NJ. I got an extreme case of food poisoning——-was hospitalized for a day—-and was absurdly sick for a week. My family needed to get home—-I was unable to move—-recall not caring if I died—-only time ever. I was alone for 5 days.

    I played a memory game. See if I could remember all 50 kids by full name in my 8th grade class—-just by memory alone. I was able to. What was interesting is I could easily get the first 5-10. Then a wall starts——but gradually I could see all their faces——then their names. I was definitely amazed I could do it.

    I wrote this——because I find your story remarkable. Despite my off and on nuttiness, I always had many friends——and were real friends. One irony—-is the last school I was at was Columbia MBA—-550 in my class—-I probably would also remember 5. Have not tested it—-but that’s the current number in my brain—counting my wife!

  22. Gravatar of jayne jayne
    27. November 2021 at 12:08

    “…I don’t recall people being obsessed with getting into good colleges. I was accepted at the University of Chicago, but my family decided it was too expensive so I went to the University of Wisconsin, right in my hometown. (I did eventually go to the UC for grad school.) And how did I get accepted to the UC with a 3.2 high school GPA and precisely zero extracurricular activities of any kind? I have no idea…”

    I do believe that this admission now reveals the obvious.
    Nobody should find it surprising that a 3.2 lacks the intelligence necessary to obtain anything other than a qualification in the social sciences. You couldn’t cut it in Physics, Biology, technology, mathematics, or any of the hard sciences.

    And since you have no business acumen whatsoever, and were an extremely ugly kid who was often picked on by anyone with even an inkling of social intelligence – something you lacked in your youth and still lack today – you instead chose to hide in the confines of the academy, in a profession that requires no more brain power than getting a Ph.D. in film studies.

    And so here we are. Forty years later, you are running the economy into the ground, blinded by your ambition for power and your general lack of awareness.

    Sorry to burst that bubble, but your Marxist utilitarian libtards will fail. Your IQ is much too low for a global take over. But do keep trying. I love prosecuting criminals.

  23. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    27. November 2021 at 12:39

    anon/portly, I agree that homework has increased, and that much of it is a waste of time.

    Christian, You said:

    “So I assume your place was indeed really rural and conservative.”

    No, a quite liberal city of 200,000

    Jayne, You said:

    “And so here we are. Forty years later, you are running the economy into the ground, blinded by your ambition for power and your general lack of awareness.”

    Yes, and a pretty major impact for a loser like me, wouldn’t you agree?

    “And since you have no business acumen whatsoever”

    Yes. Which makes it even more impressive that I’ve become rich!

  24. Gravatar of rinat rinat
    27. November 2021 at 16:32

    Sumner’s ignorance is once again truly baffling. Take a look at what he says here:

    “I don’t recall people being obsessed with getting into good colleges.”

    — Of course people were not obsessed in the 1960’s. Your generation, living off the backs of the greatest generation, had the option to work for yourself, a mom and pop store, or a good paying union job. Today, you cannot start a company without VC funding because the barriers to entry that your socialist generation established, which was done in an effort to monopolize industry, are much too high. Your economic policies led to centralization of industry. Now people’s choices consist of Amazon, Google, the government, academy or Apple. And if you haven’t noticed, they tend to hire from the best schools.

    “More country music and more confederate flags than before. More Republican.”

    — Sumner tries to subtlety imply that all republicans are racist. Not only factually untrue, but it’s appalling propaganda which he no doubt receives from CNN or the NYT. For someone who grew up in the 1960’s, he also fails to recollect that the entire confederate waving south were democrats! But for historical purposes, a class he no doubt failed, we shall also mention that for many the confederate flag symbolized southern heritage and southern pride: i.e, states rights. And unlike Sumner, I travel frequently, and I can assure you that I’ve seen ZERO confederate flags in the state of Wisconsin. Indeed, Sumner no longer lives there and hasn’t since his youth.

    “Sophisticated Madisonians might read the New Yorker”

    –The arrogance of socialists like Sumner are again on full display. In Sumner’s narrow and intolerant view, intellectuals all conform into one group, they all think the same, and they all read the same thing. There is no individuality or self expression, just uniformity across the aboard; except many of us intellectuals don’t find the “New Yorker” to be very “intellectual”. This is a psychological disorder known as megalomania. He wants to believe he’s better than you. It’s what gives him his trivial satisfaction, because he’s unable to find it elsewhere. Those farmers and factory workers must be “losers” and “bottom-feeders”, not intellectuals like him. There views and opinions and hardships, and what they read, that it’s all for plebes.

    “The 99% white figure probably makes you think it was a very conservative “pre-woke” time and place. But it didn’t seem that way at all. Students would go down to the nearby campus to engage in the frequent protests against the war in Vietnam.”

    — Again, Sumner fails history. He tries to imply here that only conservatives wanted to fight in Vietnam and the good Americans were democrats protesting at the nearby campuses. Not true. Both Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy (the latter a prime mover in the 68 election) both favored defending South Vietnam. Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, all sought peace. But it was the North (Sumner’s commies) who didn’t want to come to the negotiating table. And why do you think that is Sumner? Did it ever occur to you that this is because they were WINNING. Winners don’t like to come to the table. Why would Ho Chi Minh negotiate when he knew he was going to win. When he knew that American radicals on college campuses were totally opposed, and that those radicals through violence and protest would turn America away from supporting the South’s fight for autonomy. The truth is that moderate wings of the parties were united; it was the ultra radical wing which was the socialist wing of the democratic party. That party was on college campuses, sitting behind a desk, calling for the abandonment of south Vietnam, calling for the destruction of property, establishment of communes, and so forth. They are slightly better than the “woke”, because at the very least those radicals supported free speech. But they were just as nasty, and intolerant of others.

    The South Vietnamese, many of whom spent 10 years in a reeducation camp following the war, and the millions of Vietnamese who live under CCP style tyranny in Vietnam today, are not impressed with your 1960’s college radicals. In fact, there is nothing they detest more.

    Travel to Vietnam. Ask people. You might learn something.

    Or you can keep sitting behind a desk trying to revise history to fit your creepy totalitarian narrative.

  25. Gravatar of harry harry
    28. November 2021 at 04:46

    I do wonder whether Scott reported anyone to the FBI because they didn’t agree with his party line, or perhaps criticized the government.

    One of Sumner’s liberal journalists named Molly Jong-Fast says democrats should …try to “deprogram” their conservative relatives during Thanksgiving dinner or failing that, “report them to the FBI.”

    She also goes on to say that Biden “needs and enemy”.

    Is this what those “intellectual” newspapers discuss?

    Sounds like every totalitarian I’ve ever met.

  26. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    29. November 2021 at 22:09

    “anon/portly, I agree that homework has increased, and that much of it is a waste of time.”

    This is just speculating, but I think maybe it goes hand-in-hand with the grade inflation. Everyone gets an A, but that they at least have to do a certain amount of work, is (I suspect) the implicit deal….

    I really liked this post, tbh. First of all I agree with the central mystery, wtf did happen in high school classes?

    I think since HS teachers couldn’t really lecture all day long, they broke things up with worksheets, readings, bits of lecture, maybe even some class discussion. Really anything and everything to kill time. And again since the content was so minimal, it’s all hard to remember now.

    I do remember Sophomore and Junior year math really well, but the teacher was outstanding and the content was at times extremely interesting.

    But even the other teachers that I liked – I had a couple of “cool” if nothing else English teachers – I’m not sure what they did, really. (Well, except for the day one of them played VU’s “The Gift,” there was that).

    I had an interesting convo over Thanksgiving with someone who also doesn’t remember many of their HS classmates – one difference between him and me seems to be that I went all the way from K through 12 with a larger number of the same people, some of whom were from my general neighborhood. Also from 7 through 12 with the same people, mostly, in math. Throw in joining up with a group of friends during my Junior year, where many of them are still friends, and that’s 40 or 50 people I can remember pretty well, right there.

    I think only recognizing 5 names from HS is pretty extreme, but so what? Maybe it shows a disinclination for the trivial. A focus on things that are more important? Is it better to be able to remember the names of people you haven’t seen or really even thought about in 45 years, or better to have forgotten them?

    The same friend who I mentioned above, who doesn’t remember so many of his classmates, also endorsed the “bored out of his mind every day” thing. I think HS was easier on someone like me who doesn’t get bored too easily, but maybe that was because my HS was actually more “enabling” with respect to things like just letting you read or goof off, I don’t think it was overall too “hardass” where I was. Though I certainly remember the “Senior year can’t end soon enough, so that we can go to college next year” thing.

  27. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. November 2021 at 22:54

    anon/portly, I wish I could say that I spent my time reading good books (as I presume Tyler Cowen must have done.) Sadly, I just wasted my time.

  28. Gravatar of ankh ankh
    30. November 2021 at 13:34

    In America, you can now be publicly convicted of a crime before trial. The media can destroy your reputation for political purposes, make up stories, and ignore data that doesn’t fit their narrative.

    You then go to Trial, the data is reviewed by a jury, and you are found innocent.

    After being found innocent, the U.S. media makes up more lies, claims you are guilty, and somehow you get banned from a University.

    You guys in America do realize that this is the beginning of Marxism, right? This is the very playbook they like to use!

    *Guilty regardless of facts
    *legal system controlled by mob
    *intimidate and physically attack those who speak out, so that they self censor. If you cannot physically attack them, you can try other means to silence such as book bans, media bans, etc, etc.
    *media omits and suppresses data.
    *talk of the “greater good”, “majority benefit”, and how everything should be determined by “experts”. Govt must always be trusted.
    *label one party as “domestic terrorists”.
    *use the subjective term “hate speech” and “political correctness” as the mechanism to curtail free speech.
    *brainwash children in school; convince them they are “activists” and “social justice warriors”.
    *turn families against each other

    That is just step 1.
    Step 2 is a civil war.
    step 3 is totalitarianism, because the right cannot be the left in a civil war. The left will have the CCP and most of Western Europe – which is already totalitarian – on their side.

    RU won’t get involved because they don’t care.
    And eastern Europe is too weak to come to the aid of the conservative party. Conservatives will flee to eastern Europe and RU as they look to safeguard their liberty from the globalist tyrants.

    When the conservatives are defeated than southeast Asia will also be defeated. The conservatives and libertarians are the only party standing up for freedom and liberty worldwide. Once they collapse, CCP will move on SK, TH, JP, PH, VN, LA, MN, etc.

    RU will continue to protect Eastern Europe from the globalist thugs.

  29. Gravatar of anon/portly anon/portly
    2. December 2021 at 19:49

    “anon/portly, I wish I could say that I spent my time reading good books”

    Here are the authors that I think I read the most during Jr. High and High School – at least 4 or 5 titles by each:

    Allen Drury
    Leon Uris
    Robert Heinlein
    Kurt Vonnegut
    Alistair MacLean

    TC may have read good books, I just read whatever was around, basically.

  30. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. December 2021 at 09:12

    ankh, You said:

    “RU will continue to protect Eastern Europe”

    Yes, just as China will protect Taiwan.

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