Wal-Mart Edu


Marc Bousquet has an interesting response to Obamba’s initiative to pump some money into higher ed, in particular community colleges.  The short of Bousquet’s concerns, which I think is warranted, revolve–for one– around the consequences of the top-down organization of cc’s:

Louisville fails for the same reason many community colleges fail: they put cheap, permanently temporary teachers (students, retirees, moonlighters, folks willing to work for status) in the front lines of first-year courses, and then–desperate to armor-plate the curriculum against the uneven preparation of the faculty–convert the tenure stream into supervisors of the temps.  The bribe for the tenured overclass includes being freed to teach only the fraction of students who get through the obstacle course of the first year or two.

But this suckiness is what Obama and Duncan like about community colleges and enterprise universities like the U of L.  Not the low graduation rates–they’ll pull at their chins thoughtfully and agree with you there.

What they like–no, love–is the organization of community colleges, the top-down control of curriculum, the tenured management and the disposable teachers. That’s perfect! Community colleges regularly fire union officials and anyone else who gets in their way. Continue reading

Virilio in [Obama’s] America


More musings on the economic state of things–this time from the perspective of Virilio.  In a sort of (maybe) interesting article –with the inexplicable title “City of Transformation: Virilio in Obama’s America”– Arthur and Marilouise Kroker ask if “we are beyond Speed and Politics:”

Economists are quoted as saying the financial crisis effects “everyone on earth.” Is this Virilio’s “global accident?” Quite certainly it is panic finance: that moment when the credit mechanisms necessary for capitalist liquidity slam shut, a time made to measure for Virilio’s brilliant theory of bunker archeology, with each bank its own toxic bunker of junk assets, each banker a born again socialist. For example, always vigilant automatic circuit breakers working in the darkness of night recently prevented a global plunge of the futures market. Allan Greenspan throws up his hands, exclaiming “I’m in shocked disbelief.” Continue reading

Jacques-Alain Miller on Sarah Palin


From the Lacanian Ink website, here’s Jacques-Alain Miller (for what it’s worth) discussing Sarah Palin, castration and a new race of political women:

The choice of Sarah Palin is a sign of the times. In politics, the feminine enunciation is hence called to dominate. But be careful! It’s no longer about women who play elbows, modeling themselves on the men. We are entering an era of postfeminist women, women who, without bargaining, are ready to kill the political men. The transition was perfectly visible during Hillary’s campaign: she began playing the commander in chief and, since that didn’t work, what did she do? She sent a subliminal message, one that said something like: “Obama? He’s got nothing in the pants.” And she immediately took it back, but it was too late. Sarah Palin is not only picking up where she left off but, being younger by fifteen years, she is otherwise ferocious, slinging feminine sarcasm like a natural; she overtly castrates her male adversaries (and with such frank jubilation!) and their only recourse is to remain silent: they have no idea how to attack a woman who uses her femininity to ridicule them and reduce them to impotence. For the moment, a woman who plays the “castration” card is invincible. Continue reading