Jewish Guilt, Exhibit A

Last week, I finally watched the Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones. Several of the main characters died.

Then, for a change of pace, I turned on The Good Wife, which I never watch. One of the main characters died.

If the Mother dies tonight on How I Met Your Mother, it will be all my fault.

Creative Differences

So you're interviewing Evangeline Lilly for Access Hollywood, and she says this:

For the record, when I took this job, in 2011, I made one stipulation. That’s it. I just said… I swear to God, I said, ‘I will not do this film if you will not guarantee me one thing. You have to guarantee me there will be no love triangle.’ And there wasn’t. For the whole time I shot. For a year of shooting there was no love triangle...And then, I came back for reshoots in 2012 and they were like, ‘Well, we made a couple of alterations to some scenes and we added a couple more scenes. And all of a sudden manifested a love triangle before my very eyes and the film was shot and I’m in and there’s no getting out and there was no escaping it.

If you're the interviewer, do you really want your follow-up question to be, "Which of the two guys was the hottest?"

But Evangeline Lily gets bonus points for quoting Kimya Dawson.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town and He is Pissed

Our country makes me sad:

Two thoughts:

(1.) I hope no one ever does a poll to determine my race.

(2.) When I tried to Google "Megyn Kelly," the search engine said, "Do you mean 'Megyn Kelly feet'?" This tells us something important about our country, but I have no idea what it is.

The Paperless Society

According to the business section of today's New York Times, "Efforts to Reimagine the Reading Experience Have Failed to Catch On," and that's true, except for blogs, Facebook, Tumblr, and just about everything else on the Internet.

Surveys, Part II

Over the past year, if you've been reading the news, you've probably seen a series of polls about Congress. Americans like Congress less than they like head lice, traffic jams, hemorrhoids, or Nickelback. (They did like Congress better than Lindsay Lohan.)

It's a funny anecdote, but it's also kind of perplexing. I mean, who would commission a poll like this? Are there social scientists, or even politicians, sitting in their office saying, "Quick! I need a chart that compares Congress to Genghis Khan"?

The survey was conducted by an organization called Public Policy Polling. They tend to lean to the left, and they tend to favor the Democrats. According to Wikipedia, they've done surveys on "the approval rating of God" and "whether Republican voters believe President Obama would be eligible to enter heaven in the event of the Rapture." They've been the subject of a certain amount of controversy, and some people question their poll results. So as far as I can tell, the main point of the survey was to get people to write news stories saying that Congress is less popular than cockroaches or Donald Trump.

The most interesting thing about the news stories is how few of them provide background information about Public Policy Polling. They just present the survey data with no critical analysis or context of any kind. That's the kind of news report we get these days: amusing anecdotes and sensationalized talking points. The reporters probably said, "It's a goofy filler story. We don't need to provide context," and they're probably right. I just wish I could be sure they would provide context when they're writing about our health care system.

Surveys, Part I

There was a study that got a lot of attention, about a month ago. It said that reading literary fiction helps people become more empathetic.

A few weeks later, a very large number of people who write and illustrate books for children got together and sent a letter to President Obama, in protest against standardized testing.

That gave me an idea.

I think we should get rid of standardized testing. Instead, we should follow up on the scientists' study and find a way to test for empathy.