Archive for April, 2010

April 20th 2010
Holiday snaps, part I

Posted under bad language & fluff & Gender & unhappy endings

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some of the most interesting things I saw on my spring vacation (at last)!  Here are two:

For those of you who read this language, I can only ask, “well, is it, punk?  (For those of you who don’t, I can translate loosely:  Is our work valued the same?, and underneath is says To eliminate the wage gap between women and men, and directs readers to this website.)  Apparently in this country, they haven’t yet closed the wage gap between men and women, and the government presumes that the citizenry would like to do something about it!  Sacre bleu!  Continue Reading »


April 20th 2010
The Donald: still unaccredited

Posted under fluff & students & wankers

Via Inside Higher Ed, we learn that “Trump University,” the “Donald Trump creation that offers courses for those who want to emulate the real estate guru, has been ordered by New York State officials to stop calling itself a university.”  (Full story here:  “‘Use of the word ‘university’ by your corporation is misleading and violates New York Education Law and the Rules of the Board of Regents,’ wrote Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education Joseph Frey.”)

Well, you can see why he thought it was OK to call his program a “university.”  After all, he probably calls that stuff on his head “hair.”


April 19th 2010
Late April watching and waiting

Posted under American history & captivity & jobs & local news & students & unhappy endings

Stanley Fish reminds us that today is the fifteenth annivarsary of the Oklahoma City bombings, and that April 19 is significant to domestic terrorists for many reasons, but most of all because it was also the day of the invasion and burning of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas in 1993:

For those who fear government and hold fiercely to the motto of New Hampshire — “Live Free or Die” — April 19 is both a holy and an unholy day; unholy because it marks the naked exercise of state power (at least in the case of Waco and before that of Ruby Ridge), and holy because it serves as a rallying cry for those who wish to “take back” their country from the socialists, communists and one-worlders who, they believe, have hijacked it. Blogger Eric Boehlert declares on that “April 19th remains an almost mythical date among dedicated government haters.”

For the government, April 19 is a day to worry about. When F.B.I. agents arrested nine members of the Christian militia known as the Hutaree in late March, they acted because of information indicating that the group was planning an attack on police officers sometime in April. The betting is that the date they had in mind was April 19. Continue Reading »


April 18th 2010
The blame game

Posted under American history & childhood & Gender & unhappy endings & women's history

Susan Scarf Merrell offers some interesting insights into the case of the little boy returned to Russia last week when his American mother decided that she couldn’t parent him any longer.  Merrell is the author of a book about a troubled adoption:

When I set out to write my 2001 novel, A Member of the Family, I wanted to find an answer to one simple question: What kind of mother could give back a child she had sworn to love? In researching the novel, I met many families struggling to do better than survive, families that wanted to compensate for the early life tragedies that had beset the children they now called their own. Whether the child’s scars were psychological or physical, a question of malnutrition or attachment disorder or serious mental illness, these families were committed, no matter the cost of endurance to their other members.Through these conversations, I did eventually construct a portrait of a fictional family that adopted a child, did their best to raise him, but ultimately sank under the pressure and released him into the foster care system. I let my characters live out their tale. Like any novelist, I had done my homework and built my fictional case.

Because I was publishing a piece of fiction, I was unprepared for what followed. After the book was released, I was shocked to open my local paper to find a letter from a neighbor, an adoptive parent, stating that she would never read a book like mine and hoped nobody else would either. I was accused of a variety of odd things in the months following publication, of constructing a damning portrait of a fellow villager—someone I had never heard of, or met—and of fictionalizing and justifying my own behavior with my own children. Continue Reading »


April 17th 2010
Honesty: honestly?

Posted under jobs & students

As you climb the ladder of success, don't let the boys look up your dress!

Notorious, Ph.D. hosted a “listening session” at her blog this week in which she asked, “What do you wish we were doing/not doing with respect to our grad students?,” among other questions, and asked students to weigh in and faculty-types to stand down.  She summarizes the results in this follow-up post, and then asks faculty-types to respond.  Honesty is what the students want–honesty about their work, their talents (or lack thereof), and honesty about their job prospects. 

Of course, there may be such a thing as too much honesty.  “Honesty” can of course feel very aggressive, and can be used as a cover for aggression.  Female Science Professor also has a post up about grad student culture, and the degree to which grad students talk about research and even collaborate.  She credits a conversation with a fellow grad student with perhaps saving her career: Continue Reading »


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