As I picked up my Reading Ladder after neglecting it since January 2, I noted that each page I read contained a gem. Here are a few:
Soul: describes Lyndon Johnson’s ‘finest hour’ as he took on his native South to exhort them to get on board with the Constitution. Who among Republicans is doing this now?
Marijuana: time perception is distorted. Bad news for driving.
Bell: Murray does not see or want to see that scores on tests depend on motivation to do well and for the people he targets as low-IQ their life circumstances do not permit them to put their all into taking somebody’s test. What if test-takers were paid per point gained, starting at the bottom rung at a dollar a point and escalating up to 50 or 100 dollars per point in the highest range?
Skidelsky: economics arranges itself to accomodate, adhere to and gain from the scientific-rational mode of dealing with the world. This author consistently pushes toward reclaiming economics for the humanities.
Latin: it’s interesting that the word ‘suave’ comes from a word meaning ‘sweet’ because in current slang ‘sweet’ is used for ‘great’ or ‘perfect’ as an exclamation and ‘suave’ refers to behavior, a sensory shift.
Caste: Wilkerson uses her dog-trainer’s advice on alpha dogs to look at the insecure faux alpha male in our political landscape and how his insecurities are destructive.
Seed: the settling of Virginia by both aristocrats and indentured servants is traced to specific counties in England with import for the culture and language brought to this foundational colony.
Icon: the intertwining of church and state in ancient Muscovy tracks all the way to current Russian views on government, a unity of the sacred and profane, of lost Soviet glory and Putin’s strong-man rule replacing Communism and Stalin’s rule replacing the church and the Czar.
Lyons: how we account for discontinuous constituents like ‘call up’ > ‘call him up’.
Branch: how MLK reached out to the rat-pack in Vegas for fund raising! Not so strange: Frank Sinatra had intervened based on his immense popularity in 1956 in the Clinton, TN racial conflict and Sammy Davis, Jr. was active in civil rights issues
Ergativity: a cultural note on the research: the researcher notes that researchers were not present when the children were being recorded so as not to repress their speech. My guess is that in the Kurdish culture (the target of this particular chapter), children are ‘to be seen and not heard.’ I doubt American kids would be intimidated by the presence of a strange adult.
Blowout: a description of Rex Tillerson interacting with Sechin and Putin in setting up the most massive oil deal in history. A scary but able man is King Rex.
Floyd: what the ‘cool jazz’ movement consisted of, its distancing from the Ring Shout traditions of African-American music. (why I never cared for it so much, I guess).
Pluto: the depth of corruption in the Indian economy.
Warmth: Wilkerson, in describing Robert Pershing Foster’s flight to California and Los Angeles in the 50s, sets the stage for The City of Quartz, which describes the breaking up of Los Angeles into ‘towns’ that would enable the city fathers to maintain racial segregation.