Archive for December, 2010

December 6th 2010
Tonight we’re going to party like it’s 1995!

Posted under American history & art & bad language & Gender & GLBTQ & the body & unhappy endings & wankers

Did anyone else flash back to the last time Republicans won big in the midterms under a Democratic president last week?  I sure did when I heard the news that the Republicans once again were targeting a Smithsonian museum exhibition for being offensive to right-wing Republicans.  This article at Inside Higher Ed suggests parallels to the big Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition crisis of 1989, but I was thinking about the manufactured controversy of the planned Enola Gay exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum of 1994-95.  We were just talking about the Enola Gay controversy in my graduate seminar.  Our current graduate students know about this because it’s an important case study in public history, not because they remember it.  After all, most of them were in grade school in 1994-95.  Continue Reading »


December 3rd 2010
Eminently sensible

Posted under American history & jobs & race

I’ve steered away from writing about the job market in my field (what job market is that, you might ask!), so I don’t have much to offer this year, I’m afraid.  But, Inside Higher Ed offers us a thorough and eminently sensible explanation for why a dual-career academic heterosexual couple decided to hang it up shortly after the husband started his first academic job.  “John” sums up all of the problems of his particular position:

Individually speaking, I left the academy because the job was not worth all the sacrifices, which included: relatively low-pay; a heavy 3/4 workload — with five of the seven classes outside of my field; living apart from our family/friend network in an ethnically homogeneous and Bible-belt conservative city; and working in an unsupportive department in a college that was not interested in dealing with diversity/inclusion at the administrative level. Over the course of the year, I eventually arrived at a place where I thought to myself, for low-pay and an O.K. job, I should live somewhere enjoyable and/or near family.

I know what you’re thinking:  with so many strikes against it, it’s kind of amazing that he took the job in the first place!  But, as he writes in the next paragraph, “Yes, the myths about the professoriate being a vocation or calling did implicitly influence my decision. The whole discourse about having a passion for teaching and fighting the good fight proved illusory. I was doing the grunt work for the department. And though I was once enamored with the status of being a professor, I concluded that I was paying a high price for that status.”  Go read the whole thing–both John and his wife have a lot of thoughtful comments about being some of the only brown faces in an overwhelmingly white small town. Continue Reading »


December 2nd 2010
Denver: zero tolerance for misfit toys

Posted under childhood & Dolls & fluff & local news & wankers & weirdness

"They blew him up???"

It’s rough out there for a robot.  Check out this story from the Denver Post this morning:

A robot met its end near Coors Field on Wednesday night when the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad detonated the “suspicious object,” bringing to an end the hours-long standoff between police and the approximately 8-inch-tall figurine.

Denver police spokesman Matt Murray said a citizen called police at 3:27 p.m. to report the presence of the plastic, white, toy robot, cemented to the base of a pillar supporting a footbridge near 20th and Wazee streets. Police closed 20th Street between Blake Street and Chestnut Place but did let a few people past the police tape to retrieve cars parked in nearby lots.

Nobody was allowed within about 100 yards of the robot.

Thank goodness state and local governments got all of that federal grant money after 9/11 to purchase anti-terrorist equipment and beef up their bomb squads!  Continue Reading »


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