Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Toxic Femininity

The Oregon shooter’s mother filled his head with her outlandish ideas about guns, involved him in her obsession with firearms, took him to the range, taught him to shoot, surrounded him with guns, and channeled her rage through him.

And now he’s dead, together with several other people, while she’s alive, playing a victim, and free to look for another “toxic male” to channel her rage.

This is not only toxic, it’s highly effective. And has everybody hugely duped.

P.S. And the same process occurred in Adam Lanza’s conditioning into crime by his mother.

Is Rubio a Serious Candidate?

The NYTIMES reports that Marco Rubio is emerging as the Republicans’ most serious candidate.

I can just imagine Putin grinning and baring his teeth as he prepares to snap this earnest little boy in half. There are rumors that Putin likes little boys in a way that is not hugely healthy.

Chimney Sweep

I just hired a chimney sweep. If somebody had told me 20 years ago that I’d be hiring chimney sweeps, I’d be weirded out.

This is totally rad.

Texting Students

Colleagues keep writing in Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Ed that they are switching to text messaging as the main way of communicating with students.

It’s true that students resist email with everything they have. Many come to college with zero experience in this area and no understanding of how email-writing works. However, I believe we are doing students a disservice when we refuse to teach them this important skill. Does anybody really believe that students’ chances of success in life are maximized by not knowing how to write an email?

Yes, forcing students into new experiences is hard. But hey, when was teaching ever supposed to be easy? Besides, letting students into the more private world of one’s cell phone with the extremely casual tone of text-messaging blurs the lines between formal and informal communication for young people who already have trouble knowing what’s appropriate and what isn’t in a professional setting.

Another Project

I’m completely crazy, people. I have undertaken yet another project. I’m at a stage where I have actually started getting invitations to write things for publication, and I can’t say no because the whole thing is so new and flattering. I get this feeling of, what if I say no, and then nobody ever offers any opportunity ever again, etc.

It’s like when one is young and gets one’s very first offers of dates and feels compelled to take them because who knows, they might be the very last offers ever. Some of us even end up married based on this logic and then go, “What the hell did I just do?” after realizing that there are literally billions of better possibilities out there.

Besides, I just received some devastating personal news (not about myself but about somebody who really matters to me), and I’m trying to drown out the horrible news by taking on new projects.

Gun Control

There are stupid arguments on both sides of the deeply boring gun control discussion. Here we discussed such a stupid argument advanced by the opponents of gun control.

The proponents are not much better, though. Time and again, they roll out the “what about other countries” argument which is not an argument at all. Which other country with a population of 350 million, an insanely high standard of living, and at the forefront of the greatest societal transformation since the 18th century can they possibly have in mind? Or is it, yet again, the Switzerland fallacy?

Mass shootings keep ocurring, and every time they do, everybody rolls out the same tired mantras that haven’t managed to solve anything. Do people not want actually to address the issue? Why not at least try to look for a fresher approach instead of fantasizing about Switzerland?


You know what I discovered? The hand-written letter was a lot more profound than any email I ever wrote. The writing is much slower and leaves a lot of space to think about what one wants to say.

And you know what else? N and I were in a long-distance relationship for 2,5 years. Before the advent of email, for people of our social class this would have meant a rich epistolary tradition developing between us. Instead, all we have is a bunch of stilted emails.

Better Late

And now Obama is finally sending non-lethal weaponry to Ukraine. Non-lethal weapons mean, specifically, anti-artillery radars AN/TPQ-36.

Here is what they look like:


If Ukraine had gotten them sooner, the number of casualties could have been reduced by up to 70%.

The fighting that would make these radars useful is over for now, but it’s not like anybody expects the Russians to settle down for good.

As a gesture of good will, this goes a long way. Thank you, Americans.

Monday Link Encyclopedia

I normally don’t like this fellow, but in this post he’s absolutely right: Liberals confirmed every nasty stereotype of themselves in the Kim Davis debacle. And this was written before the disgraceful “Has the Pope met her?” hullabaloo.

This author is not my cup of tea either but this article of his is surprisingly insightful: “In the febrile environment of social media, this cult of sentimental humanitarianism frequently manifests in virtue-signalling and policing and in immense waves of collective emotion. Declaring definitively, yet thoughtlessly, upon issues of labyrinthine complexity, it regularly appears to involve a narcissistic preoccupation with our own caring, not least relative to the supposedly inadequate caring of others. The simplistic vision that would cast fiendishly knotty social and political problems as if they were parable scenes for us to re-enact for our moral self-validation is bankrupt.

What a happy, sheltered reality is that where people can fight over how to name their baby.

One of my colleagues told me the other day that s/he has switched to multiple choice exams in most of his/her lit courses and has students do only minimal writing, most of which s/he doesn’t respond to or grade.” I will do the same thing. It isn’t teaching, it’s bullshit. But if my health insurance is taken away  (which represents an enormous and entirely undeserved pay cut), I will be cutting down the services that I provide.

A refugee riot in Germany. Once again, I have to repeat: refugees are human beings. Not puppies, not dolls. They are people.

My anxiety is way better than your anxiety! Do people even notice how insane an anxiety contest sounds?

I can even understand some of Carson’s unease about electing Muslims to the Presidency. But then, I’m uneasy whenever a man (or maybe someday a woman) of God is elected to the Presidency, regardless of their faith.” Hear, hear! I prefer politicians to keep their religious beliefs as far out of my life as possible. I don’t get why job interviews for some state jobs prevent the prospective employers from asking about the candidate’s religion why other state jobs allow a candidate to persecute the employers with his or her boring religious convictions.

A young woman is being prosecuted for manslaughter just because.  .  . she sent some text messages.

Poly, schmoly. In my country, we call it “Wake up, honey, your husband found himself a mistress and doesn’t know how better to kick you to the curb.”

Americans are Powerful & Safe; So why do they feel Like Victims?” Answer: precisely because they are so safe. It titillates the jaded palates.

And hey, doomsterism and despair are wildly profitable.

A novelist quits a teaching job over a loyalty oath.

So ironically the Russian Federation and its ex-Communist president is taking a conservative position here, of trying to prop up the status quo, which the US views itself as a radical democratizer a ala Thomas Paine.” I hate it when people use words without ascertaining their meaning. What can possibly be “ironic” about this state of affairs? Is anyone still unaware of the deeply conservative nature of Soviet Communism since the early times of Stalin?

Of all the weird things to do, pumping a 14-year-old full of hormones is one of the more extreme. With a mommy like that, who needs enemies?

I had no idea people still needed persuading that the Rosenbergs were guilty.

Jewish Studies are dying.

Going Back

Just like I went back to buying paper books and using a wristwatch, I’m back to writing paper letters.


I used to be a great letter writer. People loved my letters. And then that all died in favor of stupid emailing.

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