So I’m sitting in the arm-chair with the computer in my lap, grading students’ homeworks, and writing down the grades in the grade book. I’m old-fashioned, so my grade book is made of paper, and I enter the grades with a pen. This is a lot more convenient than any automated grade-entering system because even after moving from one university to another, then to another, then to one more, etc., I still have all the grades from all the courses I ever taught. When, for instance, a student from back at Cornell asked me for a recommendation letter to Law School, I looked at the grade book and immediately remembered who he was.
Besides, pen and paper feel more sturdy and comforting. I know, I’m so last century, but it is how it is.
So as I’m writing down the grades, my pens keep disappearing. I have to put a pen down to tap on the keys, but when I try to pick it up, it is not there. I get another pen, but it also disappears. And I’m too lost in work to investigate what happened to the pens.
Then, the doorbell rings. I open the door and discover the postman with a package. He brings me packages every two or three days, so I know him well. Usually, he is a very normal person but today he is staring at my chest in a very obvious way.
“What’s wrong with him?” I wonder. “Why this sudden interest in my chest?”
Then I look down and realize that there is at least a dozen pens of different colors sticking from my cleavage. This is where I was placing the pens as I was working. The look on my face when I see the pens is probably very startled because the postman looks uncomfortable and tries to get away faster than usual.
The 80-hour meme is this currently fashionable insistence that college profs work 80-hour weeks. People defend the meme by saying that it puts paid to the supposedly existing belief that academics don’t work.
The reason why the 80-hour meme bothers me so much is that it normalizes 80-hour work weeks (with no overtime, by the way.) Suddenly, it is as if everybody were supposed to work 80 hours a week and needed to prove that they were, indeed, doing it.
But, folks, that is patently cuckoo. If people work this insane amount of hours, they will get depressed and flip out. This is not normal. Let’s stop pretending like it is. Let’s instead change our approach to “No, I don’t work more than the 40 hours per week that I get paid for, and this is the only healthy way of living. And if you do work 80 hours without even getting paid overtime, you should stop.”
If the popularity of the meme keeps growing, I can easily imagine an administrator demanding to know why we are not on campus 80 hours a week.
A new study reveals that babies who share a bed with a parent are up to five times more likely to die of SIDS – even if mom and dad follow all other infant safe sleep recommendations.
Led by Dr. Robert Carpenter at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the research team concluded that even when parents aim to co-sleep responsibly, eliminating unsafe practices such as smoking and alcohol or drug use, the risk of SIDS soars.
Calling this the “largest study of SIDS risk factors ever reported,” the researchers presented some very startling statistics:
Babies younger than 3 months old are 5 times more likely to die of SIDS if they co-sleep
Nine out of 10 SIDS deaths that involved sleeping with a parent or caregiver would not have occurred in the absence of bed-sharing
22.2% of babies who died from SIDS had been sleeping with a parent or caregiver at the time of their death
I know this won’t convince anybody to kick the habit, but I’m posting the link as a form of public service.
Please kindly spare me any defense of this practice. I’m not interested. I’m sure there are tons of spaces where it can be celebrated at length. I have never in my life visited any of your blogs and left any comments. Please give me the same consideration and leave your Spiel off my blog. Thank you!
Daily, I thank God in my prayers for growing up in an environment where it never occurred to anybody to visit any religious services or take me to visit them.
I wish people could stop saying in voices that drip with compassion, “It’s OK, you can try for a girl the next time around.” Sometimes, they continue in voices that betray how little they believe in what they are saying, “Boys can be good, too. . .”
I’m staring, horrified, on everything I need to do before leaving office today.
Don’t worry, I’m just being coy. I like being in demand.
It really is. I’m noticing that the percentage of students who cannot process the message that “Iberian Muslims did not force anybody to practice Islam. To the contrary, they fostered an environment of religious tolerance. They liberated the peninsula’s Jews from slavery and did not persecute them for practicing Judaism” is growing.
The message is delivered very clearly in the lectures abd in the textbook. Yet I’m alarmed by the growing number of people who hear what I say (and read what the textbook says) and transform it into “Iberian Muslims forced everybody to practice Islam. They enslaved the Jews and killed everybody who didn’t convert to Islam.”
Every year I get more students with this particular hearing problem. This year, I also got 2 students who interpret a mile-long list of what the Muslims contributed to the culture of Medieval Europe (sciences, architecture, philosophy, engineering, etc) as “The Muslims contributed nothing but torture and death.” This never happened to me before, and I’m traumatized.
It’s scary when you say something and people hear the exact opposite.
Blogger Z wrote a post suggesting that the latest anti-academia darling Rebecca Schuman “has taken a certain amount of abuse lately” and that Schuman’s assault on academia is “brave.”
Z is one of my favorite bloggers but this is a position I find very confusing. I have written about the disgust Schuman’s position makes me feel but, unlike Schuman’s excretions, my pro-academia pieces have never been picked up by CHE, Slate, or anywhere else. Still, Schuman’s Douthat-like rants are “brave” while my defense of how I make my living is “abusive.”
So here is a response I wrote:
What abuse has she taken exactly? Her piece is being published in places where neither you nor I will ever be invited and the absolute majority of comments is 100% positive. A couple of people dared to express disagreement on blogs with the readership which is a fraction of those in the places where she is cheered and celebrated. Is that abuse? Are we just supposed to shut up and meekly accept really offensive accusations? She insults an entire profession and then she is the one abused just because a few people try to defend themselves?
Her point of view – which is that the academia is a place of worthless suckups who do nothing of value and just spout incomprehensible verbiage – is completely mainstream. I see it expressed in the media at least once a week. She is only the most recent contributor to the meme that academia is a cult. We constantly hear this position expressed by people who warn Americans against sending their wholesome kids to this den of Derrida-spouting latte-chugging Marxist-worshipping brainwashers.
Since Schuman has obviously decided to leave academia, she is now trying to make a career in a different field. I suspect these publications are part of her career-switching move. I’m sure she will be very successful because she is hitting the sweetest spots of the very conservative mainstream media. If Murdoch hears of her, he will be in love.
Schuman will now move on to make good money bashing academics, while we will sit here, hearing about our jobs being denigrated and ridiculed, and with no single mainstream publication willing to publish what we have to say in self-defense.
By the way, when was the last time you saw articles praising the work of college profs anywhere but on obscure little blogs like mine?
The University of Minnesota at Duluth has fired Rod Raymond as wellness director over numerous charges that he denies, The Duluth News Tribune reported. During the last four years, two students filed sexual harassment complaints against Raymond and he was facing other, unspecified charges.
First of all, what the heck is a “wellness director”? Do people not realize how idiotic the title sounds? And what is this university doing, hiring all kinds of completely useless people who have nothing whatsoever to do on campus but molest students?
. . . or stay deathly silent as they always do when there are especially egregious governmental intrusions into the private lives of citizens:
Citing a morals clause in the woman’s divorce decree, a Texas judge has ruled that she cannot live with her new female partner and still retain custody of her children. The clause is common in divorce cases in Texas and other states. It prevents a divorced parent from having a romantic partner spend the night while children are in the home.
I wonder, is the reason why the US Libertarians are so indifferent to the governmental intrusion into the people’s sex lives that they have none of their own? Or none they find valuable enough to protect from said intrusion?