In This Issue
Week of 3/18/2019
Vol. 24 Issue 9
- Divided We Fail
- Chinese Students
- Women and Power
- Gender and Politics
- Rich vs. Poor
- Anger and PC
- The Patterns of War
- Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces?
Quotes of the Week
- The Gordon Chang Interview
- The INVNT/IP Digest
“I have learned to see the world through patterns. Among other things, this means that, generally, I am not very good at understanding what others may (or may not) be seeing.
The patterns I work to observe are often fairly well-defined. With country leaders, for example, I ignore their talk and watch only their actions. This rule is extensible to almost everything I find of interest, with the sole exception of speech itself. Sometimes, what people are talking about is itself the interesting pattern, regardless of its truth or utility. In the most arcane case of this exception, there is the pattern set of how they talk, something of which many observers seem unaware.
As an example of the latter, young women and girls (especially, though not exclusively) in the US often practice vocal fry, which itself would appear to have arisen from what was once called Valley-speak, now called uptalk or upspeak, for its rising inflection at sentence end. If you have no idea what the former term refers to, look it up, and suddenly you’ll find this made-up form of speaking everywhere. More interesting, academic studies on its effect indicate that it connotes power among peers, and messages just the opposite to older men.
This week, I thought it would be useful to our members to discuss how the United States looks, not through the lens of an often-misled media, but through one of patterns. The results can be boring or shocking, and are likely to make others uncomfortable; after all, one purpose of modern mass media is to put us all to sleep – and then sell us things – rather than to upset us and wake us up.
I’ve often been told by friends that they appreciate this, saying, for example, “You were the first person to see what China was really doing, and now everyone sees it.” I think part of what they mean is that when I first wrote about some pattern discovery, such as China’s real national business model, neither they nor many others believed it. Years later, they’re surprised that it came out so clearly. By the same token, most people may disagree with what they read here, but perhaps years from now, they will have the same deja vu experience.
Here, then, in relative black and white, warts and all, are a few of the patterns that I’ve seen in the US: