Things Glen Found Interesting, Volume 376

My favorite line from this week: “Men bond by insulting each other and not really meaning it; women bond by complimenting each other and not really meaning it.”

On Fridays I share articles/resources about broad cultural, societal and theological issues. Be sure to see the explanation and disclaimers at the bottom. I welcome your suggestions. If you read something fascinating please pass it my way.

This, volume 376, is an automorphic number because when raised to a power it ends in itself. 3762 = 141376. It continues: 3763 = 53157376 and so on. 37615 = 424441337012461701988020381601157349376 and so on.

Things Glen Found Interesting

  1. The Male-Warrior Hypothesis (Rob Henderson, Substack): “…young human males often address each other with abusive insults. The ritual tests the strength of the friendship. If lighthearted verbal quips do not damage the relationship, then the bonds are likely relatively strong. In contrast, women and girls seldom insult their friends, and often work extra hard to praise them to avoid any signs of hostility. Men bond by insulting each other and not really meaning it; women bond by complimenting each other and not really meaning it.”
    • This article is engrossing even if you already know the gist.
  2. The Fever Is Breaking (David Brooks, New York Times): “The single most important result of this election was the triumph of the normies. Establishmentarian, practical leaders who are not always screaming angrily at you did phenomenally well, on right and left: Mike DeWine in Ohio, Josh Shapiro in Pennsylvania. Workmanlike incumbents from John Thune in South Dakota to Ron Wyden in Oregon had successful nights. Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin had the quotation that summarized the election: ‘Boring wins.’ ”
    • Related (in that it is about politics): 3 Principles for Settling Political Spats in the Church (Daniel K. Williams, Christianity Today): “Any attempt to make society more moral through legislation will inevitably be selective and incomplete and may offer mixed results. Which major political party in the United States is committed to addressing the problems of divorce, gambling addictions, marital infidelity, and alcohol abuse? Which party will do the most to protect the poor from being exploited through payday loans? Which party will fight against the pornography industry? If you haven’t seen any political ads this election season that address any of these issues, perhaps that’s a sign of the moral selectivity in our current partisan politics.”
    • The author is a history professor at the University of West Georgia. Emphasis in original.
  3. A Tradition of Anti-Traditionalists (Mark Bauerlein, First Things): “All the talk in the humanities back then turned on ‘opening up the canon’ and breaking up the dominance of Dead White Males—less John Dryden and more Aphra Behn, more diversity and fewer idols—but in the theory area, these figures were as canonical as the saints.… What this bias has produced is two generations of college teachers who don’t realize their bias. They got a narrow education that they trusted was the broadest one. They genuinely don’t know that another critical tradition besides the progressive/transgressive one exists.” This essay is a bullseye.
    • Related: An Existential Threat to Doing Good Science (Luana Maroja, Bari Weiss’s Substack): “The restriction of academic freedom comes in two forms: what we teach and what we research. Let’s start with teaching. I need to emphasize that this is not hypothetical. The censorious, fearful climate is already affecting the content of what we teach.”
    • There’s a Stanford connection in this second article, btw. The article is an adaptation of a speech given at a private conference at Stanford quite recently.
  4. Contra Resident Contrarian On Unfalsifiable Internal States (Scott Alexander, Astral Codex Ten): “But in the stories these people told me, it was more about — they found that this effort was producing something unexpected, and developing new personality aspects that they needed, so they kept going. If you take one step towards Darth Vader, he will take two steps toward you (sorry if I am sounding like a Sith youth pastor).”
    • This is absolutely fascinating and the excerpt does not do it any justice. Recommended.
  5. New Endorsements for College Athletes Resurface an Old Concern: Sex Sells (Kurt Streeter, New York Times): “Haley Jones, an All-America guard at Stanford and a candidate for the Player of the Year Award, said she didn’t want to play up sex appeal. Her endorsement income is driven by a social media image that portrays her as a lighthearted student-athlete without an overtly provocative tone.”
    • Interesting in its own right, also a stronger Stanford angle than I expected.
  6. It’s Always a ‘Negative World’ for Christianity (David French, The Dispatch): “One of [the] core conservative Christian critiques of American culture is that America is growing ever-more hostile to the authentic Christian faith. We’ve left a friendly and hospitable past, and now we’re confronting a hostile future.… But this analysis is fundamentally wrong. It’s dangerously wrong. It’s wrong not because the present moment is particularly hospitable to the Christian faith, but because it fundamentally misunderstands both American history and American Christendom, and it fundamentally misunderstands the permanent countercultural reality of authentic Christianity.”
  7. Paywalls or Constant Intrusive Ads: Pick One (Freddie deBoer, Substack): “And I also want to say, if you’re annoyed that you can’t get past a paywall — tough. Because an era of rising paywalls is absolutely necessary if you want writing to survive as a profession, and if you want good journalism and analysis to endure.”

Less Serious Things Which Also Interested/Amused Glen

Things Glen Found Interesting A While Ago

Every week I’ll highlight an older link still worth your consideration. This week we have The Small World Network of College Classes: Implications for Epidemic Spread on a University Campus (Weeden & Cornwell, Sociological Science): “If one chose a given student at random, that student is likely to attend class with a student who, in turn, attends class with any other randomly chosen student. Put differently, although it is unlikely that any two randomly chosen students would be enrolled in the same course, it is highly likely that they would be enrolled in different courses that both include the same third party.“

The authors, professors at Cornell, were curious about the potential for disease spread among undergrads at their school. Taking this in a completely different direction: the average student at Stanford is likely only one or two steps away from Chi Alpha. WOW! Invite your friends! From volume 246

Why Do You Send This Email?

In the time of King David, the tribe of Issachar produced shrewd warriors “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chron 12:32). In a similar way, we need to become wise people whose faith interacts with the world. I pray this email gives you greater insight, so that you may continue the tradition of Issachar.


Chi Alpha is not a partisan organization. To paraphrase another minister: we are not about the donkey’s agenda and we are not about the elephant’s agenda — we are about the Lamb’s agenda. Having said that, I read widely (in part because I believe we should aspire to pass the ideological Turing test and in part because I do not believe I can fairly say “I agree” or “I disagree” until I can say “I understand”) and may at times share articles that have a strong partisan bias simply because I find the article stimulating. The upshot: you should not assume I agree with everything an author says in an article I mention, much less things the author has said in other articles (although if I strongly disagree with something in the article I’ll usually mention it). And to the extent you can discern my opinions, please understand that they are my own and not necessarily those of Chi Alpha or any other organization I may be perceived to represent. Also, remember that I’m not reporting news — I’m giving you a selection of things I found interesting. There’s a lot happening in the world that’s not making an appearance here because I haven’t found stimulating articles written about it. If this was forwarded to you and you want to receive future emails, sign up here. You can also view the archives.

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