I read this and couldn’t help but think of this year’s Eastern APA meeting. However, it’s probably better to be fair and simply substitute ‘academics’ for ‘busy man of affairs.’
Of all the ridiculous things it seems to me the most ridiculous is to be a busy man of affairs, prompt to meals and to work… Who could not help laughing at these hustlers? What do they accomplish? Are they not like the housewife, when her house was on fire, who in her excitement saved the fire-extinguisher? What more do they save from the great fire of life?” (Either/Or)
Hertzberg’s column in this week’s New Yorker caught my attention, if only for the idiotic ramblings of Glenn Beck and company:
Today’s conservative soccer scolds are not so good-natured. Their complaints are variations on the theme of un-Americanness. “I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much,” Glenn Beck, the Fox News star, proclaimed. (Also, “Barack Obama’s policies are the World Cup.”) What really bugs “silly leftist critics,” the Washington Times editorialized, is that “the most popular sports in America—football, baseball, and basketball—originated here in the Land of the Free.” At the Web site of the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen, formerly a speechwriter for George W. Bush, wrote, “Soccer is a socialist sport.” Also, “Soccer is collectivist.” Also, “Perhaps in the age of President Obama, soccer will finally catch on in America. But I suspect that socializing Americans’ taste in sports may be a tougher task than socializing our healthcare system.” And then there’s G. Gordon Liddy. Soccer, Liddy informed his radio listeners, comes from Latin America, and first we have to get into this term, the Hispanics. That would indicate Spanish language, and yes, these people in Latin America speak Spanish. That is because conquistadores who came over from Spain—you know, tall Caucasians, not very many of them—conquered the Indians, and the Indians adopted the language of their conquerors. But what we call Hispanics now really are South American Indians. And this game, I think, originated with the South American Indians, and instead of a ball they used to use the head, the decapitated head, of an enemy warrior. Liddy’s guest, a conservative “media critic” named Dan Gainor, responded cautiously (“soccer is such a basic game, you can probably trace its origins back a couple of different ways”), while allowing that “the whole Hispanic issue” is among the reasons “the left” is “pushing it in schools around the country.”
While much of Taylor’s vision for the university in the NY Times last year rubbed me, and many others, the wrong way with its defense of free market ideology (see here and here), I do agree with this:
“Peer review and specialization are the worst things for creativity. They completely militate against working outside very narrow parameters,” he says. “Somebody could do something very, very well, but what that something is might not be worth doing.”
I teach on Mondays and Wednesdays this semester, I am on campus all day, I have a morning class, an afternoon class and a late afternoon class. I have two breaks between classes that I attempt to fill with productive activity. More often than not I fail to do so.
I rise early in the morning, I creep around trying to minimize noise despite the explicit permission to disregard such efforts. I was raised to be quiet when others are sleeping. I make coffee (two cups, French press, cream, no sugar), I read a bit, I look out of my window, I think about my classes, I think that it is about time I should be leaving the house, I get distracted, I am going to be late. I bike to the train station, I join my fellow travelers on the platform, I recognize faces, I move slighty to the left to be right at the door when the train comes, I board the train. Continue reading →
Well, at least Mikhail, that is. NY Times blog links to PE–kudos to you Mikhail. Your post is listed under the Editor’s selection (not choice, however). Do the NY Times blogs still count as the Gray Lady? Plus, this should finally give you the American bourgeois legitimation you crave so much my crusty Kantian friend! I mean, I’m just happy when they offer me a chance to pay for a full years subscription to the NYT!
On some recent doctoral program cuts at Emory and Columbia:
But graduates students also act as teaching assistants, doing a great deal of time-consuming classroom work (and grading) that professors themselves are thus not compelled to do. In all sorts of courses, especially in their freshman and sophomore years, undergraduates may find themselves being instructed more often by a 25-year-old doctoral candidate than by the university’s full-time faculty members, who, of course, already have their doctorates (and one or two books to their credit, too). It is an odd, upside-down arrangement, but it has an economic logic: By providing cheap labor, graduate students save college administrations millions of dollars each year in salary costs.
So why the cuts? Well, the calculations work out differently for different schools. For instance, universities in lower tiers might not have to do as much because they can get away with having a higher percentage of classes taught by graduate students. But some of the schools making doctoral cuts this year gave compassion as their reason. Catherine R. Stimson, the dean of Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University, was quoted in Inside Higher Ed: Given the state of the academic job market, she asked, referring to would-be doctoral candidates: “Is it fair to bring them in?” Continue reading →
But I don’t want to smack him around. At least I don’t think so. Really. Regardless, this is an interesting story, perhaps as a lesson on how not to pick a fight, but it raises some interesting questions. So, while shopping for shoes on Hamra Street in Beirut (Hamra is a rather cosmopolitan district in Beirut), Christopher Hitchens managed to get his ass kicked by members of the Syrian Socialist National Party last month. Why? For defacing a SSNP sign. The logo of the SSNP looks eerily like a swastika. Michael Totten (who was with Hitchens) describes it:
The Syrian Social Nationalist Party flags had been taken down, but a commemorative marker was still there. It was made of metal and plastic and had the semi-permanence of an official “No Parking” sign. SSNP member Khaled Alwan shot two Israeli soldiers with a pistol in 1982 after they settled their bill at the now-defunct Wimpy café on that corner, and the sign marked the spot…Christopher wanted to pull down their marker, but couldn’t. He stuck to his principles, though, and before I could stop him he scribbled “No, no, F*** the SSNP” in the bottom-right corner with a black felt-tipped pen. I blinked several times. Was he really insulting the Syrian Social Nationalist Party while they might be watching? Neither Christopher nor Jonathan seemed to sense what was coming, but my own danger signals went haywire.
An angry young man shot across Hamra Street as though he’d been fired out of a cannon. “Hey!” he yelled as he pointed with one hand and speed-dialed for backup on his phone with the other. Continue reading →