The Quest to Ruin Will Smith

Will Smith made headlines earlier this year at the Academy Awards when he walked on stage and slapped the comedian, Chris Rock, who told a joke about his wife’s hair. Jada Pinkett-Smith, has alopecia, a disease that disproportionately affects women of African descent. Walking onto the Academy Awards stage and slapping a comedian for a joke is indefensible. It is especially bad that it was done by an entertainment industry veteran like Smith. Smith should have had better control over his emotions. With that said, after the incident, Smith has sincerely and publicly apologized to the comedian, condemned his behavior, and been handed a curiously draconian ban, which prevents him from attending the Academy Awards ceremony for a whole decade. However, there are still some people who are insisting that they are going to boycott his movies going forward, including his latest movie, Emancipation. This is simply reflective of how many people wish to aggressively punish rich black celebrities for the slightest mistakes.


Against Inherited Prestige

Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident. — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark recently announced that she is stripping some of her grandchildren of their royal titles. These grandchildren are not in direct line to the Danish throne, and they are being demoted to counts and countess. Her reasoning for this is that they need the space to “shape their own existence.” She later apologized for the decision after her grandchildren expressed outrage and claimed that they “can’t understand why their identity is being taken away from them.” This response by the grandchildren speaks volumes—and not in a good way.


On Nonfiction Books to Avoid

Writing a New York Times bestseller was a delightful experience. But there are many books which are read by few that should be read and reread by many, as well as books bought by many that are hardly worth the ink. — Ron Brackin

While reading books is extremely important for one’s cerebral acuity and intellectual development, every serious nonfiction reader is intimately aware of the fact that not all books are created equal. There are some books that are written to be read, and there are other books that are written because someone merely wants to publish a book. There is a significant difference between the two. The point of the former is that a writer has a thoughtful, novel argument to make on a topic, whereas the point of the latter is that someone wants the clout (and money) that comes from publishing a book—without developing anything of value to add to the subject. Without understanding the difference between books that are written to be read and books that are written for clout, one will waste precious time on useless texts while neglecting more serious and worthwhile reads. Here are the kinds of books that perspicacious readers ought to diligently avoid.


Substack Essay Released — Listening to Audiobooks = Fake Reading

As educators and students have returned (or are shortly returning) to schools, I am releasing one of my earliest Substack essays from 2020: Listening to Audiobooks = Fake Reading. I have even more arguments than the ones that I made in this short piece. If I write about the subject again, I will go into more depth about how the fictitious “learning style” theories have helped to fuel a lot of the intellectual laziness behind the elevation of audiobooks.

The rise in popularity of the audiobook is an interesting 21st century development. However, the audiobook ought to be appreciated for what it is. The audiobook is a medium via which people can obtain information from books without reading. Audiobooks are consumed; they cannot be read. The simple fact of the matter is that listening to someone reading a book can never be considered the same as reading. The insulting pretense that listening to someone read and actually reading are the same demonstrates that the world has been turned upside down.


Three Elements of Mature Thinking

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Modern sociopolitical discourse is stymied by the prevalence of immature thinking. Far too many people believe that earnest zealotry is a substitute for reasoned argument. There are significant elements of mature thinking that must be considered and practiced for there to be discourse that actually creates light as opposed to merely creating heat.

Mature thinkers can accept facts from inconvenient sources

A fact does not cease to be factual simply because one dislikes the source of the fact. Ad hominem dismissals of facts are for people who do not care about truth and do not have the skills to meaningfully address arguments.

Read the rest on Substack!