Archive for the ‘fun’ Category
The official history of Japanese food in the United States says that Americans didn’t get a taste of raw fish and vinegared rice until the late 1960s, when groovy Hollywood stars and trendy Buddhist humbugs began turning the squares onto the best thing since sliced bologna: sushi.
But that’s wrong. The truth is that two generation earlier, in the first two decades of the 20th century, Americans knew all about Japanese food and enjoyed it so much that labor unions and American restaurant owners conspired to run the Japanese out of business and out of the country. Worse, these angry agents of change were mostly successful in that effort, launching a thirty-year-long campaign of hysteria, intimidation and misinformation, one that ended in 1924 with the passage of the Japanese Exclusion and Labor Act.
And, xenophobia rears its ugly head:
On May 20, 1907, however, things blew up. A group of union men caught four of their fellow unionists eating at the ten-cent Horseshoe Restaurant at 1213 Folsom Street. Beatings were handed out to the two men who were foolish enough to exit the restaurant through the front door. A crowd of Barbary Coast hoodlums, who had gathered to watch, turned it into a genuine donnybrook, rushing into the restaurant armed with crowbars, bats, fist and feet, bashing everyone and everything inside.
When the police declined an invitation to become involved, the fun spread to a Japanese bathhouse across the street. The demonstrations resumed again the next night, with less vigor, and four more nights after that, until the police, led by the Japanese counsel, Kazuo Matsubara, stood watch at the edge of Japantown.
Thus, began the decline of Japanese food in America. The story of the first sushi in America is worth reading as well.
What are the most commented on posts in the blog’s history? According to WordPress, they are:
- The critical realism affair. Technically, Kieran’s critical realism post only got 122 comments, but taken together, the three CR posts got about 160 comments. That was the hardest blogging I ever loved.
- Should I stop teaching post-modernism? (144 comments)
- Elizabeth Berman’s inequality in the skies. (101 comments)
- GRE scores are valid. Sorry, guys. (99 comments).
- You know who in Texas. (74 comments)
- Brayden and Eszter’s book on online reputation. (74 comments)
- How I pick grad students. (63 comments)
- Is academia meritocratic? (63 comments)
- Steve Vaisey on how to theorize motivation. (58 comments)
- World Cup Survey. (57 comments)
Great mix of serious debate on issues ranging from social theory to stratification to social psychology to teaching. Other contenders: Brayden thinks Gladwell is sometimes really, really wrong (54); what has been accomplished with math soc? (51); Kieran discovers that me and one of my PhD students gamed his soc rankings (54); Gabriel Rossman’s infamous “assumptions” post (50); Chris Martin on White privilege (46); a discussion of Jessica Collette’s impostor syndrome research (47); and Chris Winship discusses the ASA amicus brief in the Walmart case (44).
Here in the non-Buffalo part of upstate New York, we just got our first big snow dump of the year. Okay, it was seven inches, not sixty, but enough to create that Winter Wonderland effect. Fortunately for us, my family’s not traveling till Saturday, so we’re not stuck in an airport or behind an accident on the interstate, but watching from our cozy living room.
Last year, we were living in central New Jersey. It’s only 3 1/2 hours to the south, but what a world of difference in terms of weather. 2013-14 was one of the ten snowiest winters in NJ, but it was still a bit less snowy than an average winter in Albany. (And Albany only gets two-thirds the snow of Buffalo, and just over half that of Syracuse.)
The big difference, of course, is that Albany is prepared for 60 inches of snow a year. Central New Jersey is not.
So, you know, we did all the things that northerners do when faced with the obvious weakness of those in more southerly climes — mostly mock them for closing things down at the first indication of snow. Of course, we realize that that’s just compensating for the fact that we live somewhere with six months of winter, but we’ll take what we can get.
Anyway, there was a map going around last winter that showed the inches of snow at which school is typically canceled in various places in the U.S. (It originally came from an awesome sounding Reddit called MapPorn.)
Some of you are attending the Academy of Management meetings this weekend in Philadelphia. As always, AOM is chock-full of parties, receptions, business meetings, and a few interesting panels as well. Here are a few of the panels that I think are worth seeing:
Habitus: Theoretical Foundations and Operationalization for Organization and Management Theory (including talks by John Mohr, Klaus Weber, & Marc Ventresca), Saturday at 11:45
Symbolic Management in the 21st Century (w/ Mike Pfarrer, Mae McDonnell, Jonathan Bundy, and myself), Monday at 9:45
Affinities of Language, Cultural Tool Kits, Institutional Logics: Advancing Strategies of Action (w/ Pat Thornton, Mary Ann Glynn, Steve Vaisey, Omar Lizardo, and Willie Ocasio), Monday at 11:30
The More the Merrier: Integrating Civil Society and the State in Innovation Research (including Huggy Rao, Bogdan Vasi, Sarah Soule, Jeff York, Chuck Eesley, and Shon Hiatt), Monday at 3
Where Do Capabilities Come From? (w/ Teppo Felin, Jay Barney, Michael Jacobides, and Todd Zenger), Monday at 4:45
The Manifestations of Social Class in Organizational Life (including a talk by my colleague Lauren Rivera), Tuesday at 9:45
And if you missed the OMT party last night, don’t worry, there’s another one Monday at 7:30 in room 204 of the Convention Center. There will be free drinks!
Over at Scatterplot, Jeremy’s been writing about his life gamification experiment, which involves giving himself points for various activities he’d like to be doing more of. I find this sort of thing totally compelling and have to admit I’m now giving myself all sorts of points in my head. (Finish unpacking one box — 5 points! Send an email I’ve been procrastinating on — 5 points!) Although not in 100 million years could I get my husband to play along with me, even for brunch, of which he is fond.
Anyway, the game brought to mind this post from Stephen Wolfram, in which Wolfram presents a bunch of data from the last 25 years of his life. Here, for example, are all the emails he’s sent since 1989. (Note the sharp time shift in 2002, when he stopped being completely nocturnal.) He’s also got keystroke data, times of calendar events, time on the phone, and physical activity.
Fascinating to read about, but perhaps not terribly healthy to pursue in practice. Although in Wolfram’s case, it sounds like he was mostly just collecting the data, not using it to guide his day-to-day decisions. Others become more obsessive. I don’t know if David Sedaris has really been spending nine hours a day walking the English countryside, a slave to his Fitbit, or if he’s taking poetic license, but it’s a heck of an image.
Clearly there are a lot of people into this sort of thing. In fact, there is a whole Quantified Self movement, complete with conferences and meet-up groups. One obvious take on this is that we’re all becoming perfect neoliberal subjects, rational, entrepreneurial and self-disciplined.
For me, though, what is fun and appealing as a choice — and I do think it’s a choice — becomes repellent and dehumanizing when someone pushes it on me. So while I’ll happily track my work hours and tally my steps just because I like to — and yes, I realize that’s kind of weird — I hate the idea of judging tenure cases based on points for various kinds of publications, and am uneasy with UPS’s use of data to ding drivers who back up too frequently.
It’s possible that I’m being inconsistent here. But really, I think it’s authority I have the problem with, not quantification.