The Correct Words

what you meant to say…

We’re bonded by a common language.  So here are a few words you’ve been using wrong:

Anti-social

What you meant to say is “asocial”.  Anti-social is sociopathy; it’s a mental condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong, and ignores the feelings of others.  Asocial means lacking motivation for social interaction.  George McFly was asocial.  Biff Tannen was anti-social.

Prolific

You probably meant to say “prominent.”  Prolific means plentiful…as in large numbers or quantities.  Prominent means important, famous, or widely and popularly known.  Bunnies are prolific.  Bugs Bunny is prominent.

Nice

Ladies, what you meant to say is “Thanks.  You seem like a good person, and I hope in no uncertain terms you misconstrue my gratitude and acknowledgement of your overall decency as any minute sexual attraction in you or even the most minuscule desire to closen our passerby interaction beyond mere cordial strangers.”  Nice is characterized by great accuracy, precision, skill, or delicacy.  A Michelin star assortment of sushi is nice.  I am a good person.

The Beauty Premium

Markus M. Mobius and Tanya S. Rosenblat researched the effect of an employee’s physical attractiveness to their wage – simply coined, “the beauty premium.”  Here’s their abstract:

     We decompose the beauty premium in an experimental labor market where ‘employers’ determine wages of ‘workers’ who perform a maze-solving task. This task requires a true skill which we show to be unaffected by physical attractiveness.  We find a sizable beauty premium and can identify three transmission channels.  (1) Physically-attractive workers are more confident and higher confidence increase wages.  (2) For a given level of confidence, physically-attractive workers are (wrongly) considered more able by employers.  (3) Controlling for worker confidence, physically-attractive workers have oral skills (such as communication and social skills) that raise their wages when they interact with employers.  Our methodology can be adopted to study the sources of discriminatory pay differentials in other settings.

To establish a common understanding, “what makes someone beautiful?”  The most common and simplistic objective definition of beauty is facial symmetry.  A centered and straight vertical line down one’s forehead to chin should evenly intersect the mid-point between the eyes, tip of nose, and lips.  And with the left and right halves of the face divided, each half should be an exact mirrored copy of the other half.  A beautiful face is symmetrical – centered and mirrored.

Mobius & Rosenblat differed in their approach to measuring or scaling for facial beauty.  Rather than quantify and baseline against rulered ratios for a person’s facial symmetry, they had 50 evaluators rate a person’s headshot on a scale from 1 to 5 (plain to above average beautiful).  This qualitative method for rating a person’s “hot or not-ness” is vulnerable to cultural bias and preference.  Since their baseline is an unreliable measure for the common and objective definition of facial beauty, what did they actually study if it wasn’t beauty?

Attractiveness.

Beauty is a flower to a human.  It’s neat even at a distance.  Attractiveness is a flower to a bee.  It’s inviting and draws one in.  Mobius & Rosenblat’s “beauty premium” only determines that attractiveness is synonymous with confidence; and high degrees of confidence can lead to increased wages.

We have a confidence premium…with a problem.

David Dunning and Justin Kruger’s Nobel Prize winning research on confidence discovered a strong correlation between overconfidence and incompetence.  People who are not skilled in a particular area tend to overestimate their competence, whereas people with developed skill and training tend to underestimate their level of competence.  Quoting Charles Darwin, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

An ignoramus is ignorant of their ignorance.  Dunning & Kruger argue that “when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it.”

As we sensualize and empower confidence, we also erode empathy.  Jeremy Hogeveen, Michael Inzlicht, and Sukhvinder S. Obhi studied how people primed to be powerful demonstrate lowered activation in the human mirror system.  The powerful show reduced levels of even mentally mirroring other people’s actions, a key indication of empathy.  They lose the ability to imagine life in another person’s shoes.  Powerful individuals ignore “peripheral” information in social settings, thereby diminishing the ability to empathize as well as deteriorating social intelligence.

We think confidence is attractive.  Yet, confidence is led by incompetence.  We enrich and empower confident individuals.  And this power reduces their empathy and social intelligence.

Here in lies our cultural slide.

Confidence is not a virtue or principle.  Confidence is conceit.  The magnetic virtue in us is courage – acting in principle despite fear, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.  We mistake confidence for courage and end ourselves seduced by those who are destined to grow unaware of their own incompetence, base their socialization on shallow stereotyping of groups rather than seek individuating information about new partners, and lack the ability to take the visual, cognitive, and emotional perspectives of others.

 

References:
Why Beauty Matters – Markus M. Mobius and Tanya S. Rosenblat (2005)

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments – Justin Kruger and David Dunning (1999)

Power Changes How the Brain Responds to Others – Jeremy Hogeveen, Michael Inzlicht, and Sukhvinder S. Obhi (2014)

You Marched. Now Run.

I see a plethora of posts of varying political opinions…as if we’re all dying to convince each other to change ideals. Convictions never flip. You each are strong. We all are proud.
 
Know this – you are not represented. Marching in solidarity changes nothing. Our elected officials no longer respect public opinion. The seated don’t care about popular sentiment. Fads wane.
 
Be the change you want to see in the world.
 
Rhetoric and public demonstration does not sway incumbents. Don’t just march. Stand. We carve a better world by standing out from the crowd, not simply within it.
 
New candidates seek to garner the will of the people. Incumbents vie for financial contributions from those of influence.
 
So, run.
 
Accountability and integrity only comes from competition. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We birth a better nation from having tremendous amounts of competitors thirsty to overtake a seat at the table. Be the voice.  Weaken money in politics. Introduce a new fragility and show the world that no old authority, no tenured incumbent, no CEO, and no financial heavyweight can hold a seat against competition. Run.

This Ole Bottle

Cheers.

After a poetically emasculating work day, I like to pick up a few bottles of Trader Joe’s finest cheap wines.  A nice musky sub-ten dollar vino sanding the palette is among life’s best ways to rejuvenate the once strapping hairs surrounding male nipples.

I typically buy a Cotillion Pinot Noir for its playful label illustrating Animal Farm’s night of Eyes Wide Shut.

But…tonight…this ole bottle, never hath I gandered, leapt out at me…

Toad Hollow.  Just look at that toad!  He’s trampling grape vines in a velvet red vest while peering through tears of the lightest vino…with his pinky out.  It could only further transcend if his cane were also a mid-century sheathed sword.  A must buy.  The toad looked too pretentious to pass on.

Even…my goodness…even the vineyard is named after gold (famously the most pompous of metals).  It’s also from the RUSSIAN River Valley.  There could be no more poignant way to don the inauguration of 2017 than with this gaudy sardonic noir.

The back label rambles on to describe Pinot Noir as “the diva of the reds who loves to sleep late and awaken slowly as the sun gently warms her flesh.”  Sun.  Gently warms.  HER.  Flesh.  Pissshhh.  We all know that of all the alcohols…whisky is the lady – strong, warming, and beautifully complex.  Wine’s a man – overcrowded, boastful about reputation, better with age, yet most often a disappointment.

What kind of ostentatious wine even has the audacity to tell me to “Please recycle”?  Bitch, you get me drunk.  Don’t get me sloshed and then preach about Mother Nature, yo.  You’z less than ten dollars.  Know your place.

I go to uncork and again the toad greets me embossed at the cap.  I get it already.  You gold.  Cool cane bro.

Slow with care, I gradually raise the cork out the top and AGAIN…Don Toad vandalizes my retina.  For fuck’s sake…

The anticipation of taste becomes overwhelming.  I can’t wait to point my nose in the clouds then sip, slurp, and swirl the hype down this ole gullet.  One raise above the brow, one long sensual introduction at the nose, and…tastes like shit.

Will I ever buy this tawdry diva again?  Meh.  We’ll see if it’s appropriate again in another four years.

I Got Hacked.

Joke’s on you, sir hacker.

My site looks weird because I got hacked.  But the joke’s on you, genius sir/madam hacker of presumably exquisite sociability and stunning appearance. (please don’t attack me again)

I don’t write anymore. You’re wasting your time with this website like I wasted mine.

The dream’s over.

Once upon decades ago, I wrote. I was read by thousands, plagiarized by dozens, and heralded as a literary lord by my dog. But now… My dog has been taken. My life has grayed corporate. And no one even reads my emails.

So, let us do each other a favor, thee ravishing hacker. Move on. Latch thyself to another whose dreams rise. Be like my life’s beautiful women. Ignore me.