Thursday, January 15, 2004

Height

Matthew Yglesias has recently been taking pains to dispel the notion that he's in any way vertically challenged, though, strangely enough, he doesn't bother to actually tell us what his actual height is. From what I can gather from the comments left on both posts, he's about 6' 0" or thereabouts, which, while not lifting him into the ranks of potential NBA-draftees, does put him well above the average American male (who measures about 5 foot 9 inches, a number that seems not to have changed since the late 1960s.)

Unlike most of the other commenters on Matthew's blog, I was far from surprised to learn that he wasn't a diminutive individual, as it seemed obvious to me that anyone with his social background (Movie industry father, high-profile economist uncle, Dalton/Harvard graduate) could be expected to be taller than average. Even in a society as affluent as modern America, the quality of dietary intake between the richest and poorest echelons of society differs enough that this translates into an appreciable height difference. Indeed, as one commenter pointed out, to an average person milling about Harvard yard, the place would likely seem to be populated by a race of giants, so marked would the relationship between social class and physical stature be.

Of course, all of this holds only on average, and for all one knew, it well might have turned out that Matthew was a runt* of a fellow; still, statistically speaking, it would have been a safe bet to make. I'm even willing to bet that the trend holds true for the blogosphere taken as a whole, i.e, that most bloggers, particularly in the English-speaking world, are likely above average in the height stakes when compared to their compatriots as a whole, simply because they are more affluent than average, and social mobility isn't so high in the anglosphere that the correlation between height and adult income has completely broken down. I suspect that things would be rather different if we restricted our attention to Dutch or Swedish bloggers, however.

*No offense intended to anyone reading who isn't a hulking brute!