Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Weekend Rest


You know, I said I had requested Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior from the library. But I was mistaken. It was Kevin who requested it from my card. I couldn’t remember where I had heard the book mentioned, so I knew I recognized the title but was puzzled about what context it was in. So it turns out that it was because Kevin was reading me the review of the book from his Wall Street Journal.

That was how I ended up reading it before he even knew it had arrived. It is a breezy, smart book, very interesting to read. Lots of studies and anecdotes — like an extended feature glossy-magazine article. But it made its point very well. The psychology of sway is convincing; you see it all around you. Since I am not planning to write much more than that right now, you can look at a blog review here.

Oh, I forgot — I was going to say one more thing — while reading it I kept thinking about what Dorothy Sayers said, and thinking that to some extent the goal of education is to rid Sway from some of its swaying power:

Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfortunate, that today, when the proportion of literacy throughout Western Europe is higher than it has ever been, people should have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of and unimagined? Do you put this down to the mere mechanical fact that the press and the radio and so on have made propaganda much easier to distribute over a wide area? Or do you sometimes have an uneasy suspicion that the product of modern educational methods is less good than he or she might be at disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible?….

Sean got to sleep in today, and so did the rest of us. That was nice.

I have read that school buses rides are often the worst part of school, and we have some anecdotal evidence of that, since Sean mentioned there was some foul language and teasing going on particularly during the late-bus ride. And there are some little LITTLE kids on there — the bus that comes up here also stops by the elementary school before it goes to the high school. And it takes about 2 hours to get from the top of the route to the bottom. Not a great situation. They say it usually settles in after the first few days, when kids are too bored/sleep deprived/preoccupied with school soap operas/ whatever to expend all that energy.

I got a bunch of books from the library today:


We are all getting tired of turning on the Olympics and finding only beach volleyball. Nothing personal against beaches or volleyballers — we DO live in California, after all — but there are other things to show, after all. Haven’t gotten to see fencing, for instance. Maybe because it’s not as interesting to viewers to watch players who are covered from face to toe to foil-tip.

Everyone has been spending too much time in front of screens, including me. My older boys have been playing Travian, and now Kevin is going to join their server. In that way it will be a relief to start up a schedule again, no matter how light.

Aidan has been talking a lot about dentistry recently, for some reason (maybe because of the recent orca-dentist trip) and keeps saying such reassuring things as, “I had to get all Kieron’s teeth out today.”