My opinion of McWhorter is usually along the lines of pre-bloggingheads Glenn Loury (a linguist light-weight out of his depth in the issues he discusses, similar to the way I feel about another Loury partner, Josh Cohen). But I agree with him on some particular points he makes in that diavlog. Obama’s ability to give inspiring speeches to big crowds does not mean he has the social abilities of a cordial backroom backslapper, and those abilities may be necessary for a modern politico to be effective. But nevertheless, if the general picture of the economy was better pundits (such as McWhorter himself) would not be writing about the particular details that crippled the Obama presidency.

On a completely different note, Frances Woolley in a comment at WCI refers to a paper which indicates “families consisting of two adults+a late teens daughter have three decision makers, while families consisting of two adults+a late teens son have two decision-makers”. Speculation why follows. On an only somewhat related note, there’s a guest-post at the Monkey Cage critiquing the recent paper on gendered use of agentive/communal language for recommendations in academic hiring. Perhaps Econ Journal Watch should start imperializing other disciplines.

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