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September 23, 2018


This book may have some explanatory insight into tiger moms, helicopter parenting, free-range parenting and other approaches to parenting.

"In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers celebrated cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand takes us on an epic journey through human cultures, offering a startling new view of the world and ourselves. With a mix of brilliantly conceived studies and surprising on-the-ground discoveries, she shows that much of the diversity in the way we think and act derives from a key difference—how tightly or loosely we adhere to social norms

"Why are clocks in Germany so accurate while those in Brazil are frequently wrong? Why do New Zealand’s women have the highest number of sexual partners? Why are “Red” and “Blue” States really so divided? Why was the Daimler-Chrysler merger ill-fated from the start? Why is the driver of a Jaguar more likely to run a red light than the driver of a plumber’s van? Why does one spouse prize running a “tight ship” while the other refuses to “sweat the small stuff?”"
Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World

I don't even know where to start.

Let's just say we may soon be seeing "requiem for a power couple," not just for a tiger mom. And for that matter, I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being more than one power couple, the way things are going. HTF can people be so smart and still be so dumb.

I'm all for encouraging children to excel . . at whatever they have a particular talent for or interest in. But what the book describes isn't encouraging excellence, it's child abuse. And far worse, IMHO, than someone who give a child a swat on the butt to emphasize a piece of discipline.

Also I'm underwhelmed by the testimonial from the sister. But then, I'm aware of Stockholm Syndrome.

A counter to tiger moms.

"We've needlessly turned parenting into an unpleasant chore. Parents invest more time and money in their kids than ever, but the shocking lesson of twin and adoption research is that upbringing is much less important than genetics in the long run. These revelations have surprising implications for how we parent and how we spend time with our kids. The big lesson: Mold your kids less and enjoy your life more. Your kids will still turn out fine."
Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think

The excessive elevation of particular positive moral attributes (preseverance and success for example) above all others is simply not healthy.

The blindness towards individual autonomy is curiously similar to that discussed in the previous thread.

Imo a perfect recipe to rise monsters, both if 'successful' and if not. I see a high likelihood that the kids will treat their own the same horrible way or that something snaps one day and the worm turns. Not to forget the numerous cases of Wunderkinder turning on themselves. For an (in)famous historical case take Moritz Schreber and the fate of his sons
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moritz_Schreber (the English wiki entry leaves out most of the horrid details though). And the guy was actually well-meaning and not just out to prove how successful a father he was.

(I'm now curious how excerpts get chosen in general and how her's was chosen in particular. If she chose it, it says a lot more than if someone at WSJ did)

"Of course, then after all the backlash, Chua went on record to say that the book is much more nuanced, that she hadn't seen the excerpt before it ran, that she had no say in the title of the article, "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior." Really? She's a law professor — I hardly think she just let all that happen without her permission."
Tiger Mothers and Selfish Fathers: Does Parenting Matter?

"Bryan Caplan: I'm wondering why genes play so little part in your story. You mention them a few times, but there isn't much about how your kids are the children of law professors and best-selling authors, and this might have something to do with their success.

Amy Chua: My book isn't about success or biology. It's just a memoir. I was raised by really strict Chinese immigrant parents and I tried to do the same with my two daughters. It worked in some ways, and not in others."
Is strict parenting better for children?

I realize that article titling is generally up to the editor, my question is how the _excerpts_ of books are selected. Is that done by the editor or by the author and is there any consultation?

HTF can people be so smart and still be so dumb.

Game, set, and match.

What I take away from all we've learned about Ms Chua is that she is a toxic, status-hungry liar. Who inflicts her own weird issues on her kids.

The piano story is, as far as I can see, straight up abuse. She calls it "good parenting". Something is wrong with that woman.

Game, set, and match.


In case my comment was too obscure, part of what I meant was: how can someone be such a complete jerk, and also so oblivious that she decided to write a book bragging about it...? No doubt she made a lot of money from the book(s), though, so that probably makes it all okay.

I don't know what to think about how excerpts are chosen. I do know Amy Chua is not someone whose advice I would seek, with the same general feeling that I wouldn't want to have dinner with Dracula.

Joan Crawford and Pete Rose's Dad come to mind.


However, I loved having a kid myself, and he loved being ours, and still does.

Is that Brian "Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money" Caplan ?


The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money

This Be The Verse: By Philip Larkin

When I originally saw this post's heading, I wondered if Amy Chua had died (I know she is in hospital with some unspecified serious illness). In fact, I have quite a lot to say about the Tiger Mom-ish tendencies of Chinese mothers, since some of my best friends etc etc. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to do so now. If this thread is still alive towards the end of this week, I'll try to do it then, or perhaps come back to it later.

Chua is kind of sick. That triple package has been repeatedly debunked. It's garbage. Granted, she has a great media shtick. It confirms certain nasty people's nasty prejudices. It sells books and media. A lot of those people read the WSJ, so she's a star there.

It's a kind of sadistic pornography, and not the harmless kind with whips, chains and consensual partners. Supposedly Nelson Rockefeller grew up with parents who asked for a Christmas gift list so that they could tell their child what he wasn't going to get. Some people get off on doing nasty things to children.

I don't usually comment on older threads, but Lithwick and Matthews report about Jed Rubenfield is interesting for this thread in relation to what it reports about his wife Chua.


I read the article at lj's link last night. I think it's also fascinating in what it reveals about the vast number of ways in which predators (for lack of a better word) can be creepy, and the difficulty of addressing some of the less direct, less physical-assault-like versions.

You just wonder what the heck possesses a guy like Rubenfield to do that stuff he was doing. He's at the top of the world: good-looking, in a powerful role at a powerful institution, with a gorgeous wife with whom he has published hot-selling books. And he has to prey on his students in subtle, creepy ways...why?

I'm sure I don't even need to make explicit any psychoanalytical BS about how insecure and messed up even the most on-top-of-the-world-seeming people can be.

You just wonder what the heck possesses a guy like Rubenfield to do that stuff he was doing.

I think the broader question is Why do bullies bully others? Because that's essentially what this behavior is.

Fascinating piece lj, which I hadn't seen. (Parenthetically, I note that the article also uses "refute" in what I consider to be the incorrect way!) I think the reason why guys like that do this kind of thing, despite the success and the gorgeous wife, is because it titillates them to sexually embarass a young girl, and gives them a sense of power - which also fits with what wj says. Whether they would follow through if a girl went along with it is open to question (probably, in my opinion, although if a girl owned it and did more than go along with it, if she acted like a predator in return they might well turn tail and head for the hills because of the role reversal. An appealing thought, but unlikely in the case of a young undergraduate). An attractive cousin of mine, when an undergraduate in the 50s, was sitting knitting in a lecture once when the professor, pointing her out and hoping to embarass her, said "Of course, knitting is known to be a substitute for masturbation." He picked the wrong girl; she had survived horrific things in the war, and said calmly "Professor, when I masturbate I masturbate, and when I knit I knit". But very few young women, even now probably, would have the courage and confidence to say that to a professor.

"Professor, when I masturbate I masturbate, and when I knit I knit".

That's priceless!. John Jay worthy.

She could have added that men, generally speaking, are ALWAYS masturbating, instead of sticking to the knitting at hand, as a description of the phenomenon of workplace sexual harassment.

If only Dickens had put those words into Madame Defarge's mouth.

I'll plop this in here, the reason I have fixated on the phrase 'psychoanalytic bs' is because any kind of discussion of why people do the things they do, which is probably going to be the main topic of conversation, (especially in a communication situation where we might never meet face to face) can be dismissed easily as 'psychoanalytic bs' and using it is simply a way to delegitimise any point that is made without actually addressing it.

About bullying, I have a lot to saw, as it surfaces a lot here.



Because of the Western emphasis on individuality, standing up when you are bullied or standing up for someone else when they are being bullied becomes a test of worth in a way that doesn't easily obtain here. But I feel that the social context of bullying is often missed. That's why it is important to understand any and all power differentials which can mask the ability of the person bullied (and the people witnessing the bullying) to take action.

Dear Count, nothing equals John Jay. It is a magnificent formulation, and something of a comfort to be reminded of in dark times!

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