Author: Bo Winegard and Ben Winegard

A Tale of Two Bell Curves

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic” ~ John F. Kennedy 1962 To paraphrase Mark Twain, an infamous book is one that people castigate but do not read. Perhaps no modern work better fits this description than The Bell Curve by political scientist Charles Murray and the late psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein. Published in 1994, the book is a sprawling (872 pages) but surprisingly entertaining analysis of the increasing importance of cognitive ability in the United States. It also included two chapters that addressed well-known racial differences in IQ scores (chapters 13-14). After a few cautious and thoughtful reviews, the book was excoriated by academics and popular science writers alike. A kind of grotesque mythology grew around it. It was depicted as a tome of racial antipathy; a thinly veiled expression of its authors’ bigotry; an epic scientific fraud, full of slipshod scholarship and outright lies. As hostile reviews piled up, the real Bell Curve, a sober and judiciously argued …

The Rise of Donald Trump

I. Since early February, Donald J. Trump, a brash and boorish businessman with a spotted past and tenuous fidelity to American conservatism, has dominated the Republican primaries, winning victories across states as disparate as Vermont, Hawaii, and Alabama. His opponents and much of the GOP establishment argue that he is vulgar, ignorant, and xenophobic—a comically stupid and coarse would-be Fascist who has no place in American politics. But to his many fervent supporters, these criticisms are at best irrelevant; at worst, they demonstrate the supercilious despair of the establishment and add to Trump’s outsider appeal. In the face of such denunciations from the powers that be, Trump keeps winning. At the ballot box—winning. On television—winning. In Twitter battles—winning. And the polls suggest he will keep winning so long as his rivals remain divided. To some, his rise is evidence of the racism that hides beneath the veneer of polite society in America. Certainly, he has voiced some disconcerting opinions; and he has aroused the support of some unsavory political figures. Quite possibly he is, in …

The Kids Are All Right

Loudly chomping on a stick of gum, Emily finished the last few words of her barely comprehensible text message: “BTW..that shit was cray. WTF!! : )” She laughed, and slid back into her seat to listen. The professor droned on about some dead playwright named Shakespeare. Who cares? The monotone began to recede as she opened her laptop and checked her Instagram, eagerly eyeing the number of “likes” her latest selfie had obtained. One thousand and twenty two! This thrilled her. However, her cheer temporarily soured as she remembered that her BMW was in the shop. How unfair. Now she had to ride home with her roommate Rebecca, a nerd who would force her to listen to pretentious “indie” bands on the drive home. Ugh. Her aged, out of touch, and pedantic professor finally ceased speaking of something called Hamlet and dismissed the class. Excitedly, Emily stood up, pulled down her pink “I love me” shirt, and walked out of the classroom. As she entered the hall, she quickly turned up the volume of her …