1. Genius: The Modern View - David Brooks finds out what goes into the making of genius.
...In the view that is now dominant, even Mozart’s early abilities were not the product of some innate spiritual gift. His early compositions were nothing special. They were pastiches of other people’s work. Mozart was a good musician at an early age, but he would not stand out among today’s top child-performers.2. Siddharth Varadarajan - Narendra Modi is unwilling even to apologize for the Gujarat massacres because neither religious India nor political India considers his involvement a liability.
What Mozart had, we now believe, was the same thing Tiger Woods had — the ability to focus for long periods of time and a father intent on improving his skills. Mozart played a lot of piano at a very young age, so he got his 10,000 hours of practice in early and then he built from there...
En passant, he makes some interesting observations on daadi baaba and his oily sanctimoniousness. And finally mentions this chilling piece of news:
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani has written to over 1,000 religious leaders promising to consult them on all government policy matters if he were to lead the next government...Swedish visa, whither art thou?
....Seeking the "support" of religious leaders, Mr. Advani ended the letter with a 'shastang namaskar' ("I greet you while prostrating before you") while promising them a "consultative mechanism" and adding that his government "would like religious establishments to play an important role in inculcating spiritual and patriotic values." He further promised cow protection, security of Ram Sethu, simplification of income tax exemption rules for religious institutions, outlawing of all religious conversion using fraudulent means, promotion of spiritual tourism and not allowing controversies like the one on land for the Amarnath Shrine Board.
3. What Makes Men Stupid - Apparently Robert Jensen thinks the list of things is countably finite. Ha ha. Anyway, a very very interesting account of a class Jensen was teaching in Islamabad follows. Via TheSouthAsianIdea Weblog.
4. Phantasmagoria offers belated Valentine's Day suggestions addressed to ex-es everywhere:
1) If you expect to stay 'friends', remember that there is no such thing. You will always be the ex. Even if you were friends before you were together. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly and civil and kind...
7) Even though as the ex you are entitled to imagine us naked, you don’t have to bring it up. That can be your own little dirty secret. Really. We don’t want to know...