Tag: Charles Murray
We spoke with Charles Murray, author of the new book, “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life,” and most famously the still–controversial “The Bell Curve,” on a variety of topics from why Professor Murray has increasingly given up on policy solutions to America’s problems altogether, to grammar, the importance of Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day,” and religion.
We conducted our interview via e-mail, reproduced below with minimal edits and modified to include links.
And in case you missed it, be sure to check out our full review of Murray’s book as well.
Make the pitch to readers young and old for why they should pick up a self-identified curmudgeon’s guide to self-improvement? Did you intend for your book to appeal to an audience beyond ambitious young adults and their parents?
Murray: You have to understand that this book wasn’t planned. It just happened. I started writing tips to [American Enterprise Institute’s] AEI’s young staff, getting some pet peeves off my chest (for example, tip #2, “Don’t use first names with people considerably older than you until asked, and sometimes not even then”) and it grew from there. A lot of the readers told me this was useful stuff and that they were emailing my tips to their friends. So why not make a book out of it? In answer to your question, the book is pretty specific in its target audience: Smart, ambitious 20-somethings, usually with a college degree.
Having read (and thoroughly enjoyed) “Coming Apart,” towards the end you note that those living in super-bubbles should and in a sense have a duty to reassert their values in order to fix the cultural divide. Given the advice in “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead,” is there meant to be any continuity between the two works?
Murray: I didn’t plan it that way, but many of the tips draw directly from my earlier work, and not just “Coming Apart.” The discussion of judgmentalism, using the example of Titian’s “Venus of Urbino,” draws directly from a similar discussion in “Human Accomplishment.” The tip that talks about the cardinal virtues draws directly from a passage in “Real Education.” The discussion of the sources of human happiness draws from “In Pursuit.” Many of the things that in earlier books I discussed in the abstract have found concrete applications in “Curmudgeon’s Guide.”
“I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.” – Walter Sobchak in “The Big Lebowski“
When news broke that the Congressional Budget Office Report indicated that the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs would be lost by 2024 under Obamacare, to a chorus of laughable cheerleading that the “job-locked” would be “liberated” and America could now restore its national “work-life balance,” one man came to mind: Jeffrey Lebowski, properly known as the Dude, or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
For I would submit that the explicit purpose of the progressive agenda is to create a nation of Lebowskis (Dudes) and Julias (Dudettes), or at least a two-class system in which big business and big labor are protected by government in the way that the Mafia protects your friendly local butcher, while Lebowskis and Julias are showered with benefits in exchange for votes.
If I sound cynical it’s because I’ve been watching a lot of “House of Cards” lately (culture matters).
The cruel irony of what happened to Maria Conchita Alonso this past week lies in the following: Here was a woman descended from Communist Cuba, who emigrated to the United States from Communist Venezuela, only to find herself a victim of the more insidious totalitarianism of a monolithic Leftist artistic establishment.
For those unfamiliar, Maria Conchita Alonso is a Cuban-born, Venezuelan-raised actress who had the temerity to endorse a conservative gubernatorial candidate in California. Even worse, in an interview she said she supported candidate Tim Donnelley’s views on immigration, using the term “illegal” to describe immigrants who were here…well…illegally.
The penalty for her thought crime? Alonso was compelled to “resign” from her role in a Spanish-Language version of the “Vagina Monologues” set to run in San Francisco’s Mission District in mid-February.
Eliana Lopez, the producer of the show, and herself a fellow Venezuelan actress, said “We really cannot have her in the show, unfortunately…Of course she has the right to say whatever she wants. But we’re in the middle of Mission. Doing what she is doing is against what we believe.”
Stated differently, here was a Hispanic woman telling another Hispanic woman that her views on Hispanic immigration were too odious to be given sanction by a role in a performance. Apparently not all wise Latina women are born equal.
Maria Conchita Alonso is just the latest in a series of victims of the Left’s fatwa against anyone who does not hew to the party line in recent years.