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Weaselology Entry for Today - "High Quality"

Crossposted over at
Might be a good idea to have a Weasology Handbook. To his credit yesterday Chris Hayes on his show "UP" signaled a problem with the words "high quality" as in "high quality charter schools" after one of his guests, Darrell Bradford of something called "Better Education For Kids" praised some charters in Chicago. Yeh, of course high quality charter schools are just great, Chris laughed. Who doesn't love "high quality" anything? So he was right to warn us about this phrase. But he let the phrase "high quality pre-school education" be defined by his guests without real analysis*. As defined by most of his guests this morning, high quality preschool education was about learning...get this..."persistence, "discipline" and my favorite, "finishing things." The professor (and to my chagrin a woman) also emphasized how spongy little brains are at 4 years old. Ugh.

My psychological type in Myers/Briggs Jungian land is an ENTP (extroverted intuitive thinking perceiver). Didn't discover this until I was around 42. Much to my relief, my type just doesn't finish things. Once we mostly master something, we move on. We are notorious for not completing things like degrees and we rarely put the degrees we do achieve up on the wall. We move from project to project. My former husband was quite kind but used to lament the many different piles of dirt and stones around our cabin of projects I had started and then grown bored with. I didn't finish my dissertation for my Ph.D in theater and film. Ran off to New York instead. My friend and I wrote a whole book about what it was like for two Hollywood New York movie agents to fly the coop; her moving to Italy and me moving to Montana. We got through many drafts and then both of us started other projects. What a relief to discover that it is just my nature to not always finish things. I do finish making dinner. I finish most books although I am simultaneously reading 5 books right now (four non-fiction and one fiction). I'm pretty loyal and probably should have finished one marriage sooner than I did. If I do finish, I often make a strong finish. But nobody really knows if I will finish or take a turn and jump over the fence and run away.

So I would have dreaded being taught to finish, to be persistent, to be disciplined at 4 years old. Come on, let me be a kid wuddya? As it was I hated grammar school with all that obedience business and pledging allegiance to this and that and sitting in hard seats in straight rows. This is preparation for what Scott Adams calls "the cubicle farm". Talk about drones. This is drone making not human being making. My solutions always involve having kids' parents have meaningful work with 35 hour work weeks so they can spend time with their 4 year olds. But, hey, I'm an escapee and not to be trusted.

* as opposed to most analysis especially in business as defined by Scott Adams in "Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel": "The word 'analysis' is formed by the root word 'anal' and the ancient Greek word 'ysis' meaning 'to pull numbers from'" .

Note: Also to his credit, in the second link above in his "Now we know"segment at the end of the show points out the use by the president of "our wives, mothers, and daughters" in his SOTU speech this week. A petition on the "We the people" page at have taken his speech writers to task for using this phrase that defines women in their relationships to other people. They call it "reductive, misogynist, and alienating". Sounds like the men folk are talking about their women folk instead of talking about women and men.

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Submitted by lambert on

Somewhere in the last decade or so, the country I knew, and its culture, when completely off the rails. Heaven help the four-year-olds this charter weasel gets her hands on!

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

I can actually give the Myers/Briggs. I took a 40 hour course to get my certification. Yes, I completed that course. Isabel Myers has much to say about children's education and that there is a no one size fits all. Her book is "Gifts Differing". It is from a Bible verse that says, "we are all of one body with gifts differing." We are all part of one great team of humanity with different gifts. We need each other to fulfill or know ourselves. It just seems like a no brainer to understand and love our differences not to be afraid of them. However much of Jung and Myers and her mother's work has been used to make good "teams" in corporate cubicles. But she and her mother got into this in detail to try and understand why in the world people would engage in world war when "we are all one body".
We went really went off the rails with the coup of 2000 and the full onslaught of the Shock Doctrine. That's my guess. It started wobbling on the rails after 1972 with the beginning of the end of the working class. ("Stayin' Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class").
Take heart though. The word "commons" is cropping up more and more. Yesterday on Mike Feder's radio show he had on David Bollier who edited the book "Wealth of the Commons".

Submitted by lambert on

I took the test years and years ago, and used to be evenly balanced between feeling and thinking. Twenty years later, I've swung over to thinking. The page:

Cassius (Julius Caesar)
Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
Gandalf the Grey (J. R. R. Tolkein's Middle Earth books)
Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' nemesis
Horatio Hornblower
Ensign Ro (Star Trek--the Next Generation)
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Hamlet)
George Smiley, John le Carre's master spy
Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs)

All fictional heroes of mine (and except for Smiley, from when I was a teenager, i.e., defining myself to myself).

I know there's a case to be made that Meyers-Briggs is claptrap on a par with astrology, but with hits out of the blue like the above, it's hard to ignore. The whole page is good:

INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be "slacking," including superiors, will lose their respect -- and will generally be made aware of this [yep]; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers [yep]. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

Corrente is my system, which I'm trying to figure out how to scale up.

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Submitted by jjmtacoma on

Chiming in... INTJ too. I understand there aren't many of us. I don't think I have ever been close to an "F" but sometimes have tested closer to the "E" or the "P" at different times.

I take on WAY too many projects and tend to follow through the most important (to me) sacrificing other less important "things" along the way. I barely cook real food lately...

I LOVE systems - any system. I also don't mind having opinions that differ from the main stream, conventional "wisdom".

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

It is the most useful tool that I've found. People have been dividing up psychological or personality types for thousands of years by observation. They have usually divided into 4 types. e.g. Plato's Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, Rational. Jung expanded on this and published his "Psychological Types". Katherine Briggs continued to work on his theories and her daughter starting constructing some sort of test to put Jung's theory to practical use in work placement which became the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator. All of this including Jung's work grew out of a real desire to understand someone close to them who "preferred" to use their minds a different way. What started out as a work placement tool became a tool to understand personal relationships in general. It turns into a way to understand oneself in order to understand others and live in the world with peace and grace. "Love thy neighbor as thyself." First you must understand/love yourself in order to love your neighbor.
I enjoy other tools like the Eneagram, but the MBTI comes from a positive place rather than working from dysfunction. As my teacher said, "We all label each other, why not have fun with it and understand what is behind the labels such as "flaky" or "judgmental".
And yes, the intuitives are a small bunch. The INTJ's even smaller composed of about 2% of the population.

Submitted by lambert on

I agree. For whatever reason, it may be the nature of the actual questions, I never got the sense of being "force fit" into any of the categories with MB.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Believe me, the worst part of the course was statistics. I hated statistics in college and still do. But the type indicator has gone through exhaustive self corrections to try and eliminate bias in the "test". They prefer "indicator" to "test" because it is the taker of the test that indicates what they are. What they prefer based on opposites. What people do with the tool is something else, but Myers did not pull this out of her butt.

The criticism I encounter the most when I start talking about the theory of opposites is that people say, "Oh, I'm both." Of course, everybody wants to be both if they don't think about it. "I'm a thinker and a feeler." "I sometimes like crowds and sometimes don't." But that's not what this is about. It is what you prefer. It's like being left handed or right handed. It's just easier to do it with my right hand, but if I have to I can use my left.
I found it so much more freeing, yes Libertarians, freeing to be myself. This is what I came into the world as. My operating system. But if I am to be a mature person, I develop my opposites, my less preferred functions; my software as it were that develops my character. Jung calls this process "individuation".
When I was a talent agent I urged my young actors to go into an audition being themselves. "Be the best darn orange. They may be looking for a banana. But you might change their mind and they will say to themselves, "Never thought of an orange. So much more interesting than a banana. Maybe that's the way to go." I learned this the hard way as an actor often trying to be somebody I wasn't.
Later when I finally took the MBTI, I think I gamed the test to be a "F" instead of a "T". I guess I had been called a hard ass one too many times and wanted to be known for my empathy and what I thought was goodness. But something clicked and I retook the test as objectively as I could, and I scored a "T" and have scored that ever since and been so much happier. I am a hard ass for my clients. I am a hard ass when it comes to justice for all. But I know now how to soften my observations. I listen more before coming up with them. I work at it.
Sorry, I could go on and on. I love this stuff.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

on this, including the President's own words just days ago. Very similar jargon.

This is all in keeping with the Charles Murray (co-author of the infamous The Bell Jar) concept in his fairly recent book entitled, "Coming Apart."



Jessica Yogini's picture
Submitted by Jessica Yogini on

"I know there's a case to be made that Meyers-Briggs is claptrap on a par with astrology, "

A lot of classification systems give useful information about some people, but none (that I know of) work for everyone. There is always some percentage of people who don't fit in the schema. But if we are too attached to the classification system, we apply it anyway. At that point, it turns into anal-ysis as Dilbert defines it. Except it is attributes rather than numbers that are pulled. Pushed too.
My favorite of them is the enneagram.
And another good one is simple: There are three kinds of people. Those who can count and those who can't.