‘Half of you will pass’: my old high school’s pre-exam morale booster

I made some lifetime friends when I was at Napier’s Tamatea High School in the late 1970s. I caught up with one of them a week or two back and had a bit of a chat about those days, a time when ‘the word’ was ‘Grease’ and few knew that Becker and Fagan had named … More ‘Half of you will pass’: my old high school’s pre-exam morale booster

Life, the universe, and why people abuse each other over how to classify it

One of the ways humans understand the world is by classifying it – finding categories into which everything slots. This style of thinking has always been around, but it became something of an art form during the Age of Reason, and is still with us today. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the … More Life, the universe, and why people abuse each other over how to classify it

The dangers of being a good Samaritan when society is dysfunctional

Back when I was a kid at intermediate school (‘junior high’ in US parlance) there was an incident involving a trestle table at the back of the class, on which had been placed a lot of craft works. Adjacent to the trestle was a large cupboard in which all the coats and bags were stored, … More The dangers of being a good Samaritan when society is dysfunctional

Social panics – when the stupid becomes the normal

I am always intrigued by the way that, every so often, western society is seized with a ‘social panic’ in which some recent and usually small-scale event becomes evidence of a supposedly deep-seated problem that is going to bring society crashing down in ruin. The archetype, for me, is New Zealand’s Elbe Milk Bar scandal … More Social panics – when the stupid becomes the normal