Episode 132

Participation Trophies, Harvard’s Council on Academic Freedom, Why Is Dying So Expensive?

Ravi and Rikki start today’s episode with a healthy debate on participation trophies. Are these pointless plastic keepsakes ruining our childrens’ hopes of ever knowing what it truly means to be a winner? Three Republican state senators from North Carolina seem to think so, introducing a bill in the legislature to ban participation trophies in youth sports. Then, the duo sits down with Harvard philosophy professor Ned Hall to talk about the university’s new Council on Academic Freedom – an attempt from more than 100 faculty members to promote free speech and academic freedom on campus. Will this trigger other colleges to promote free expression? Finally, in an Apropos fashion, we end our episode talking about well… the end – death. Even when it’s all said and done, why is dying in the United States so expensive?


Participation Trophies are a Fake Crisis [02:34]

‘Participation Trophies’ Are a Fake Crisis. Here’s the Real Problem for Youth Sports. (The Wall Street Journal, 4/24/23)
North Carolina Seeks to Ban Participation Trophies for Children (Vice, 4/3/23)
Should kids get sports trophies just for showing up? (The Washington Post, 8/19/15)
Should Kids Get A Trophy For Showing Up? (NPR, 8/9/14)
Does sports participation deserve a trophy? Let the parental debate begin! (CNN, 8/18/15)
Participation in Youth Sports is on the Decline. Who’s to Blame? (Healthnews, 1/31/23)
Kids are losing interest in organized sports. Why that matters (Los Angeles Times, 12/6/21)
Team Sports Are on the Decline. And That’s OK. (Outside, 1/27/21)
American Meritocracy Is Killing Youth Sports (The Atlantic, 11/6/18)
Youth sports study: Declining participation, rising costs and unqualified coaches (Washington Post, 9/6/17)

Prof. Ned Hall Interview Re: Free Speech Council [21:02]

More than 70 Harvard Faculty Form Council on Academic Freedom, Co-Led by Steven Pinker (Harvard Crimson, 4/14/23)
New faculty-led organization at Harvard will defend academic freedom (Boston Globe, 4/12/23)
Over 100 Harvard professors form council in fight for free speech amid ‘crisis’ (New York Post, 4/26/23)
Opinion: The welcome pushback against campus wokeness — coming from colleges themselves (CNN, 4/26/23)
Harvard Has a Free Speech Moment (The Wall Street Journal, 4/12/23)
Professor Profile: Ned Hall (The Crimson, 3/12/15)
Edward J Hall (Harvard Philosophy Department)
Scholars Under Fire Database (Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression)
Harvard Free Speech Guidelines (Harvard,1990)
The Moral Center Is Fighting Back on Elite College Campuses (The New York Times, 4/16/23)
Some Cautious Counsel to the Academic Freedom Council (Harvard Crimson, 5/1/23)

Why is Dying so Expensive? [53:44]

How ‘Big Funeral’ Made the Afterlife So Expensive (Wired, 10/1/21)
How to Avoid Being Overcharged for a Funeral (ProPublica, 11/9/22)
Average funeral cost (Bankrate, 8/12/22)
Too Poor to Die: The Rising Cost of Funerals (DiversityInc, 10/5/22)
Funeral Costs Are Driving Families Hit by COVID-19 to Desperate Measures (Time, 12/28/20)
The cost of living is increasing — the cost of dying is too (WILX, 6/14/22)
Funerals can cost a fortune. Here’s how to keep prices in check. (Washington Post, 9/29/22)
Living isn’t the only thing getting more expensive in Britain. Dying is too (Yahoo, 4/14/23)
How to Pay for a Funeral (Investopedia, 3/9/23)
Comparing green funeral options, from composting to natural burial to water cremation (Washington Post, 1/31/23)
Some states offer assistance to families unable to afford funeral costs (CNBC, 1/19/22)
10 Facts Funeral Directors May Not Tell You (Fox, 4/11/13)
The US Funeral Industry Today (US Funerals Online, 3/22/23)
Statistics (National Funeral Directors Association)
Number of funeral homes in the United States from 2004 to 2021 (Statista)NFDA News Releases: Data Shows COVID-19 Impact on Funeral Service is Significant (National Funeral Directors Association, 8/2/22)