Doping, Blade Running, and Wheelchair Basketball

Andrew Sullivan criticizes Jeremy Rozansky’s condemnation of steroid use by claiming that steroid use is perhaps less morally arbitrary than genetic inheritance of athletic ability. I agree with Sullivan that there is no question that part of any person’s athletic ability is not due to choices she actually made, and is indeed morally arbitrary. But,…

My Three Sons

Forgive me for not having an upshot with this post. It’s just a jumble of thoughts about the relationship that my sons have with each other, a topic I wrote about briefly once before. Someone recently sent me the book Far From the Tree, about parents who raise children who are quite different from they…

What I Wish My Students Knew

There was a really wonderful and moving article in the New York Times the other day about how for poor students, getting to college is only the beginning of the battle. They often fail to thrive at college, and end up leaving early with giant debts. One ex-student discussed in the article dropped out and…

The Specific Problem of Hipster Irony

In the New York Times’s ongoing philosophy column, The Stone, Christy Wampole informs us “How to Live Without Irony.” Actually, the more accurate headline would be “Why We Should Live Without Hipster Irony.” Her plea is mostly convincing,  if familiar. Her upshot is that irony is a self-defense mechanism that protects one from criticism. If one is sincere, one…

When You Can’t Score an Autism Diagnosis

This is part of a series I’m writing on being the parent of a child with severe multiple disabilities at Blinded Trials. A couple of months ago, a mother of a child with the same rare genetic syndrome as my middle son made an interesting post on Facebook. (Many of the syndrome parents are Facebook…

An Emerging Staten Island Narrative

Staten Island is getting upset. Staten Island is a borough that has an uneasy relationship with the rest of New York City’s boroughs under the best of circumstances. It has felt treated like a literal and figurative dumping ground for the other boroughs’ garbage (at one point, 650 tons of garbage per day were dumped…

Let’s Not Demand an Apology from Ann Coulter

Although I like my “job” (grad student and lecturer in philosophy) enormously, it has its downsides. Ann Coulter’s “job” has many advantages over mine: she makes a lot more money, people likely treat her with some small amount of respect due to fame, she has book contracts. My “job,” however, has one significant advantage. When…

Nassau County is Not an Obama Love-fest

I have heard it suggested, in our own backyard and countless times on Twitter, that Obama had a homefield advantage because the debate was in New York. Thus, he got softball questions. Please set conspiracy theories to rest. The debate was not just in New York. It was in Nassau County, New York. The accent so many…

What’s the Matter with New York?

Two months ago, which is, like, 49 months in blog-months, Kevin Drum suggested there was a very good essay to be written called “Why People Hate Liberals.” This is not that essay. But it reminded me that there’s something that irritates me quite a lot about liberals. And I say this as a full-fledged card-carrying pretty-much-liberalish-certainly-more-left-than-rightist. That…

Is It Okay to Ogle Hotties, Male and Female?

In the comments on my post on the hollowness of Seventeen magazine’s promise to avoid Photoshopping, beloved readers Tod and Will brought up some related points. Tod asks: How do we collectively, and also women specifically, square the desire to have women be portrayed more realistically in the media, at the same time we see the applause for male…