2. Sorority entry consultants. Crazy, and also a little bit sad. "Grant often starts workshops asking the crowd who’s spoken to their best friend today. “Nine out of ten girls will raise their hands,” she says. “Then I ask who’s spoken to them in person.” Crickets. As a result, says Grant, conversational nuances are getting lost. “Families don’t eat dinner at the same time,” she says. “The social niceties you need to have mastered are gone. ..." Brooke Howard, a consultant at the Midwest-based Go Greek Girl, says she spends hours helping girls learn how to have conversations they just don’t know how to have anymore." I earlier linked to a story about how you can pay vast sums of money to be taught how to talk to your children; it seems you pay slightly smaller sums of money to be taught how to talk to your friends. That, and how to get into one of these houses.
3. Somewhat longer, here is John Lanchester arguing Against Civilisation. "Jared Diamond called the Neolithic Revolution “the worst mistake in human history.” The startling thing about this claim is that, among historians of the era, it isn’t very controversial." It seems that modern scholarship tells us that there was once a time when humans lived happy and egalitarian lives in a world of abundance, but we made a horrible mistake - which seems to be bound up with acquiring knowledge (in the form of writing) - and ever since then we have been condemned to hard labour. The story sounds familiar, but doesn't a snake come into it somewhere?