Links: Fighting over “fiction,” self esteem, Mike Tyson on medieval history, Instagram socialists, and more!

* “Why We Fight Over Fiction.” We might say we’re very rarely fighting over just fiction. Social ideas with potential status and reproductive consequences get people worked up.

* “Political lying as tribal signaling: It’s like getting a tattoo to prove you’re in a gang.”

* “ How the Self-Esteem Craze Took Over America.” We live still with its legacy. Every complex social issue or ailment has a solution that is simple, easy to understand, and wrong. How the preceding sentence applies to ideas today is left as an exercise to the reader.

* “And this world’s a fickle measure,” on Mike Tyson on medieval history.

* “Ian Fleming Explains How to Write a Thriller.”

* Mushrooming in Ukraine.

* Why New York’s mob mythology endures.

* “The rise and fall of the Oxford School of fantasy literature.” Would fantasy have exploded as it did, and taken more or less the path it has, without Tolkien and Lewis? Were the conditions ripe for fantasy, like a scientific discovery that would have happened in that time frame even without the specific discoverer? Or, without Tolkien and Lewis, would fantasy not really exist as it does, or as it has? I’m inclined a bit more towards the former, given the popularity of magic and supernatural tales throughout human history, but the counterfactual question is by its nature open.

* Applied Divinity Studies is going on hiatus already, sadly. Read the footnotes.

* “Reinventing Racism—A Review.” I remember back when the dream was to judge a person based on the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

* Related to the immediately above, “Race and Social Panic at Haverford: A Case Study in Educational Dysfunction.” I’m also curious what level of debt the average and median Haverford student graduates with; Haverford’s website lists comprehensive tuition and fees for 2020-21 as $75,966.

* Why Big-City Dominance Creates Some Incentive Problems for Democrats. The best line: “Instagram socialists are highly educated, but not necessarily high-earning, urbanites who shop like capitalists and post like Marxists and frequently do so in adjacent tabs.”

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