The Year in Toadspotting

Several years ago, my older daughter and I were playing in a creek behind a park near where we live. There’s a path into the woods beyond the creek, and we’d gone down the path a few times before, but it was almost inevitably too buggy to be enjoyable, and we’d always turned back. This time, we started down the path and almost immediately, dozens of tiny toads began hopping across the path, each one complete in its metamorphosis but smaller than a fingernail. You’d see one here, one there, and then they’d be gone, lost in the grass and brush on either side of the path, and then another appears further on down the path.

You could say that that’s what this year in blogging has been about for me, pointing out some things that occur to me, at random or unexpectedly, with little in the way of plan or grand design, and hoping to share them with someone else before they before they are gone. (I for one have not worked out a new ideology in my garage, or found an old one intact when digging up the rosebushes.)

I’d like to say that that’s the true meaning of the blog’s title, though, alas, I came up with the user-id Spotted Toad years before that Spring day with all the toads, when I noticed two disconcerting spots on my arm that soon disappeared. But who is to say that the arrow of causality goes always from past to future, and that the true reasons for what we do are not in the still-to-come, rather than in the already-been? Time is a toad-spotted traitor, who often tricks us with which way it goes.

Rank Title Number of Views
1 Say you don’t need no diamond ring 8392
2 Miles Davis on Prince 2153
3 The Rise and Fall of the Bourgeois Era 1290
4 Why Have Marriage Rates Declined 1063
5 Social Science’s Two Masks 971
6 Middle-Class Kids Aren’t Magic Pixie Dust 883
7 The Voldemort View: Weak, Semi-Strong, and Strong 842
8 Value Added Modeling and Behavioral Genetics 689
9 Scalia and the Battle Royale 653
10 The HR Department’s Perfect Candidate 597
11 When You Say Tomato and Your Sister Says Tomahto 596
12 The Alt-Right and the Underground Man 563
13 Plausible Deniability 533
14 Technocracy Can Only Thrive When It Lies 472
15 Diversity and Student Achievement 469
16 Love and Marriage 464
17 The Committee for Managing the Common Affairs of the Whole Bourgeoisie 453
18 The Race to the Swift and the Merits of Meritocracy 452
19 “Neoliberalism and “The Cathedral” are the Same Damn Thing” 449
20 The Iron Law 435
21 The Other Elephant in the Room 434
22 Rafe Esquith and Atticus Finch 433
23 Poverty is not easy to solve 429
24 Bruenighazi, and Why It’s So Hard for Hillary to Finish Bernie Off 419
25 1215 and All That 405
26 After Labor Day 387
27 “Schools that Work”,387
Dog Days of Summer”
386
28 California Dreamin’ 385
29 Hey Paul Krugman 384
30 The 47% 382
31 Brahe, Kepler, Newton 377
32 Chris Eisgruber and the Inversion of Power 375
33 To Be A Jew 374
34 Tolerance and Freedom 368
35 The Beloved Community and the Bourgeois Society 352
36 Star Wars and Identitarian Power 350
37 Matt Yglesias Argues On Behalf of Trumpism 342
38 The Electric Slide 341
39 The Castle and the Forest Sauvage 335
40 Rationalia’s Rot 335
41 Poverty and Cash Transfers 335
42 Diminishing Returns and its Discontents 330
43 Bannon and Mammon 329
44 Correlates of Middle-Aged White Mortality 328
45 There are Worse Things than Hypocrisy 316
46 The Pennsylvania Desert 314
47 Worthy Children 309
48 One’s Place in the Distribution 309
49 Vengeance on Whom 304
50 Spend the Money 302
51 “All Men are Created Equal is About the Rules of The Game  Not the Quality of the Players”
52 Compared to What 301
53 Hierarchy, McCloskey, and Moldbug 301
54 Manning the Battlements 299
55 The g-loaded Common Core 297
56 Trump and Chetty 296
57 Before and After 283
58 The Interest Rate is a Price, not a Prediction 283
59 The Sociology of Sesame Street 281
60 Why do you wear a mask 280
61 The Power of Rhetorical Radicalism 278
62 On Gawker 278
63 The Joke’s On Us 275
64 Trump Country 275
65 Faust and Mephistopheles 275
66 West Virginia, or the Bad News Takes a Long Time to Arrive 274
67 Class of 2016 Moves on From Hogwarts 274
68 TFA (Doesn’t Quite) Respond to DeVos 272
69 Disaggregating by gender 271
70 Work It 270
71 The Destruction of Merv 269
72 No, the Achievement Gap isn’t About Teachers 269
73 Don’t call it a comeback 268
74 Economic Life is About Choices, Not Just Tasks 268
75 The Pleasures of Socialism 262
76 Gender Identity and Diversity 262
77 Toad’s Corollary 260
78 The Magic Kingdom of Intellectual Property 259
79 Boosting the R-Squared 257
80 Du Bois and Washington, Yesterday and Today 254
81 Some day we’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun 253
82 Bros not Bombs 253
83 America is a rich country, continued 252
84 Two Types of Discipline Problems 251
85 Charles Dodgson Explains American Educational Policy 251
86 An Unhappy Family in an Unhappy Land 250
87 Everyone is Ethnic 250
88 Fools and Charlatans 248
89 The Fundamental Problem in the Political Logic of 2016 Feminism… 247
90 Vegas and Anti-Vegas 247
91 Achilles and the Tortoise Talk About Floss 242
92 Ghost Witch 241
93 Winning Isn’t the Only Thing 239
94 The Political Economy of the Minimum Wage 239
95 All-American High School 238
96 Boys Versus Girls 238
97 You Can’t Get Away from Morality 237
98 KIPP 235
99 The Certainty of Others 233
100 Privilege and Luck 231
101 Vo-Tech 231
102 Rogue One of Many 229
103 Euthyphro and Political Anger 228
104 The Woman Question 228
105 The Cultural Production Function 227
106 Give me your caffeinated, your well-off, your above-average yearning to get ahead 227
107 Two Kinds of Diminishing Returns 227
108 Obama and Teacher Evaluation 227
109 In Praise of HBCUs 227
110 Neoteny as Ashenfelter’s Dip 226
111 Compassion and a Buck Fifty 224
112 Balance of Power 224
113 The Jungle Book 223
114 The Opposite of the End of History 221
115 America has a Gigantic Bourgeoisie 220
116 The Crisis on Campus, Then and Now 219
117 DeVos Isn’t Gonna Gut Public Education 218
118 eBook 218
119 3 Books for the Walter White in All of Us 217
120 Families, not Workers 216
121 Self-Medication 216
122 The Green Beards of Eton 215
123 Everything isn’t Going to Hell Quite Yet 214
124 The Peacock’s Tail 209
125 Limousine Libs 208
126 The Problem is Power 207
127 Farmers, Foragers, and Inferno, Canto V, Over Time 207
128 Stranger Caves 207
129 Free Range Kids 207
130 Vox and Teachers 205
131 The Problem with Moving to Opportunity in One NYC Map 203
132 The Changing Face of Heroin 202
133 Mighty, Maybe Not Whitey 202
134 Conservatism Happens When No One is Paying Attention 202
135 Old and Young 201
136 The Crystal Palace 201
137 #TFA25 200
138 The Two Door Riddle 198
139 Wobbly Table 198
140 The Progressive Ethos in Education 198
141 The Space of Thoughts 197
142 what we talk about when we talk about schools 195
143 If Russia is Really Behind the Hacks… 193
144 Mismatch Under the Mountain 192
145 Causes of the financial crisis 188
146 The Turmoil of Speech About Us 188
147 Trump’s First Inaugural 188
148 Philadelphia Stories 186
149 The Martian Moment 186
150 The Lottery 185
151 The Gelman View 185
152 The State as a Work of Art 184
153 Emma and Jackie 182
154 The Metropole Calleth 180
155 The Open Classroom Door 180
156 Pure and Mixed Strategies 179
157 NEETs 177
158 9/11/2001 176
159 Rolling Stones 175
160 Achilles, the Tortoise, and the Story of the Three Clockworks 175
161 Real American Hero 171
162 Erving Goffman on Alice Goffman 171
163 The Recent Past, the Distant Past, and the Depth of Time 171
164 Happiness 170
165 The Prisoner’s Dilemma of (Not) Attacking Trump 170
166 Black Rocky 170
167 The Outside of the Inner Circle 169
168 When I’m 64 169
169 Bored 168
170 “Cooked!”,167
Black Parents Are Pretty Well Involved in their Kids’ Education”
165
171 The Silver Lining in the Cinderblock Cage 165
172 Don’t Sleep on the Interaction Term 163
173 Where have all the George Kennans Gone 163
174 Toad and I 162
175 The Peaceable Kingdom 160
176 The First Day of School 160
177 Rothstein, Guinier, and the SAT 159
178 General Equilibrium Effects 158
179 A Conversation with the Emergent Global Super-Intelligence of the Internet 158
180 Hamilton and Shared Experience 158
181 Against Unidimensionality 156
182 Higamous, Hogamous, Birth Timing’s Endogenous 156
183 Home Visits 155
184 Obama’s Creed 155
185 Sand City 153
186 Shakespeare’s Prince 153
187 New Lamps For Old 153
188 Cadillacs 153
189 Bad Bets 150
190 Aristotle, Usury, and Land in the 21st Century 149
191 Spies Like Us 149
192 Louis Armstrong and the Spirit of a City 149
193 Trenton Makes, the World Takes 148
194 The Membrane 147
195 Two-Period Model 147
196 Danse Macabre 147
197 The Rainforest and the Salt Marsh 147
198 Tonypandy 146
199 More Than One Thing Can Be True 145
200 The Counterintuitive Counterfactual 145
201 Kindly Bloodsuckers 145
202 A Westeros of One’s Own 144
203 Qualitative and Quantitative 142
204 Brown v. Board Wasn’t a Total Failure 141
205 Having Slain Égalité and Liberté, Harvard Takes Aim at Fraternité 140
206 Open Up the Hood and Check Out the Engine 139
207 Economic Segregation and Economic Mobility 139
208 The Next Ruling Class 139
209 Metro Station Pionerskaya 139
210 Whose Nudge, Who’s Nudged 138
211 Releasers and Superreleasers 136
212 The Tax 135
213 Genetics is a Process 134
214 Intent to Treat 134
215 Give For, Don’t Give Against 133
216 Overstated and Understated Effects 131
217 Monkey Business 131
218 Christmas Entertainments 129
219 Prisoner’s Dilemma of No Principal Reduction 126
220 In the Long Run, Demand Curves Slope Down (or, Sometimes, The Rent is Too Damn Low) 125
221 Why is Tolstoy Modern? 124
222 Family Portraits 123
223 He Didn’t Do Nuthin’ 122
224 Gap Year 122
225 Walton’s Billion Dollars for Charters 121
226 13 Ways of Going on a Field Trip 121
227 With the Laughing Face 119
228 Summer Vacation 116
229 Starting from Scratch 115
230 Cheek by Jowl 114
231 Fade In, Fade Out 113
232 Donald Barthelme’s “The School”,111
Section Sheets”
109
233 The Vine and the Drainpipe 108
234 Interaction Effects 105
235 The Cultural is the Technological 105
236 But What is the Intervention? 105
237 Big Business and Small 104
238 Super Trumpday 102
239 Blackboards without a Blank Slate 101
240 School Lunched 100
241 Model, Mirror, Mentor 100
242 Tips for Teachers 99
243 McCloskey on Trump 98
244 Three Dimensions of Classroom Planning 98
245 Spottedtoad Radio Hour, Episode 1 98
246 Break Time’s Over, Back on Your Heads 96
247 Policy 1965, Policy 2016 96
248 People Want to Work 96
249 Giving Thanks 95
250 Goya Beans and Wild Plants 95
251 Are Higher-Immigration Areas Healthier for Native-Born Americans? 95
252 The Genomic Revolution 95
253 Bugs 94
254 On the Value of Debate, in Theory and in Practice 94
255 Mne Golos Byl (I Heard a Voice) 94
256 Celebrity and Desire 92
257 Film and Political Intention 92
258 Shakespeare, Ranked 89
259 Cutoffs 89
260 Walking While Black 87
261 Candidates are Constituencies 82
262 The Other Bush Brother 81
263 The Rat Temple 81
264 2016 is 1988 81
265 The First Law of Educational Inefficacy 81
266 Keynes, Dickens, Thackeray, Consumption and Debt 79
267 Becoming a Scientist 78
268 Umberto Eco and the Hot Take 77
269 Caucus Predictions 74
270 Spottedtoad Radio Hour, Episode 2 73
271 Microbes Matter 73
272 Agatha Christie’s Middle East 73
273 To Troll a Mockingbird 69
274 The Shape of Things 65
275 Mother’s Day 60
276 Common Descent 60
277 Taking Stock 58
278 Jazz Memorium: Mose Allison 58
279 Bill Evans on Collective Improvisation 58
280 Miles at 90 56
281 Power and Memory 56
282 “Curiouser and Curiouser” 54
283 Virtue and Virtus on the Ides of March” 53
284 The Schoolhouse Self 50
285 Constants 48
286 Seeing and Solitude 42
287 Canto 1 35
288 Duke’s Place 25

 

9 thoughts on “The Year in Toadspotting

  1. Do you know why there is such a big differential between most popular, and least popular posts? I’ve been following this blog using an RSS feed since about february, and so I read almost every post, but where are the 8,000 people who read “Say you don’t need no diamond ring” coming from?

    Also, have a good new year, Mr. Toad!

    Like

    1. That one was shared by Marginal Revolution (Tyler Cowen presumably had read it after his colleague Garrett Jones shared it on Twitter.) The Miles Davis on Prince one was just lucky timing (I posted it on Twitter shortly after Prince’s death, since I remembered the passage from Miles Davis’s autobiography, and it got shared on Facebook a fair amount before some real journalists posted their own versions of the same quotes.) The rest of the more popular posts got shared somewhere or other at some point, while the least popular posts were usually from the first part of the year. One or two were purely from the caprices of Google’s search algorithm. And a good new year to you as well- thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. I don’t have anything insightful to say, but I enjoy your ‘blog and read it faithfully. I have especially enjoyed your writings about your experiences as a teacher and all your obscure but highly pertinent literature quotations. Merry Christmas and here’s to another year of spotting toads.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have anything insightful to say either, other than that I don’t think those differences in view counts reflect substantial variation in quality. I’ve read not all of your 2016 posts but a fair amount of them, especially between August and November, and some of my favorite are not very highly ranked. How do you feel about that? Are there any posts you’re particularly fond of, and do they rank high in terms of views? Happy new year!

    Like

  4. I’ve been spamming your altright and the underground Man article to every normie I encounter who doesn’t get it. I’m imagining I’ve contributed about, oh, five views.

    You’re welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

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