Clarissa's Blog

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

London

If I am paying for this insanely expensive ticket to the UK (with no guarantee of being reimbursed for the ticket), doesn’t it make sense to stay in London for a couple extra days before heading back? 

I think this is what I should do.

Shitting on Captain Alexandrov

The Russian special ops officers captured in Ukraine are now being abandoned by their government. Putin is saying they had quit their jobs and wandered into Ukraine of their own free will. The officers are swearing they were “just following orders” and that they never quit the special ops.

The whole thing has gotten very bizarre and jokes proliferate. Here is one:

“Russians are filming their own version of “Saving Private Ryan.” It is called “Shitting on Captain Alexandrov.”

Alexandrov’s wife gave an interview saying that her husband was not a member of the Russian armed forces. Alexandrov is shattered by the betrayal.

But this has been a regular occurrence in this war: relatives of the Russian POWs or fallen soldiers sell out their relatives for a modest handout.

The Sabbatical Update

I’ve been on sabbatical for less than 2 weeks but I’ve already derived tons of enjoyment out of it. I’ve settled on a schedule where the Dr Phil Show at 3 pm serves as a demarcation line between the first half of the day that is dedicated to writing and the second part that goes to reading.

It’s a regular work day that is invested 100% into research. And just in under two weeks I have already achieved a lot: finished and submitted the Oxford talk, finished and submitted my chapter to a collection on masculinity, and have gone back to the book.

This is enjoyable on almost a physiological level. I sit surrounded by mountains of books and notebooks and achieve the state of grace. Every week I return a suitcase filled with books to the library and get a new suitcase – full back. This is all good, people.

Too Old

Look no further than the latest example of egregious Hollywood sexism. Indie darling Maggie Gyllenhaal recently told The Wrap that although she’s only 37 she was deemed “too old” to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man

That’s not sexist but simply realistic. 37 is the age when female sexuality becomes explosive. A 55-year-old man, in the vast majority of cases, has no prayer in hell of satisfying her needs. He absolutely needs somebody 15 years younger to be more in tune for his a lot less exuberant sexuality.

The Duggar Scandal

It turns out that there’s been a lot of incest going on among the Duggars. I always considered them creepy but this is much creepier than anybody could have thought.

Snoopy Charity

I’m watching a very tasteless discussion of the Shanesha Taylor case on Dr Phil.

I feel nothing but contempt for people who engage in snoopy charity. By that, I mean the kind of charity that entitles donors to snoop around in the lives of the receivers of charity.

Either donate money to a cause of your choosing or don’t. But if you do, don’t decide that your charitable act entitles you to supervise and police the lives of the people you are trying to help. Charity that conceals the desire to control is no charity at all.

Helping people is not an obligation but refraining from snooping in their lives under the pretext of help is.

And of course those who donated nothing yet still keep opining on what Taylor did with somebody else’s donations are just the lowest of the low.

Through the Eyes of a Stranger: Vehicle Emissions Test

You’ve got to love Americans, people. I just had my very first emissions test done and I’m experiencing a culture shock of massive proportions.

Everything was organized in the most  efficient, reasonable, and caring way possible. There was even a little booth with chairs for me to stay in during the test. A booth! With chairs! The whole test lasted about 90 seconds, yet somebody had thought of placing chairs there for my comfort.

That person who said, “Hey, let’s bring in a couple of chairs for people who are waiting” – I love that human being. I’m not like that and I’m from a culture where nobody is like that. But I can recognize and admire this as a superior way of being.

I had set aside several hours for the emissions test but it just took a few minutes. I was not a driver back in my country but I know drivers. From their stories, I found out that everything that has to do with the governmental supervision of driving is torture. N, who is a very mild and gentle person, still has violent fantasies of subjecting Russian road police to extreme forms of torture. So I assumed the emissions test here in the US would be long and painful.

Instead, I discovered the chairs in a booth that I still can’t get over. I’m very lucky to have experienced the alternative so that now I don’t take such things for granted.

The Biker Gang Massacre

Charles M. Blow this morning explores the media double standard

in reporting on crime committed by whites and blacks. Last Sunday’s gunfight in Waco, TX was between “bikers” or “outlaw motorcycle gangs.” Those terms, Blow writes, evoke the American romance of the Old West and the open road

.

I think everything is simpler. Nobody cares if these biker gangs slaughter each other in huge numbers.

Let’s be honest, is there anybody here who felt emotionally involved with the biker massacre story? Do you know anybody who did? I can’t imagine anybody not belonging to these gangs caring.

What does bother me is that the very crucial discussion of horrible living conditions in West Baltimore is being drowned in a sea of triviality. These facile and empty comparisons with their triumphalist tone serve no purpose. Everybody hates these bikers and wishes they just disappeared. End of story.

In the meanwhile, the problems of East St Louis and West Baltimore remain unchanged.

Subhuman

The owner of the most popular social network in Russia had his business taken away from him and was forced to flee the country in fear for his life.

This happened because he tried to deny the government the right to control the users’ pages on his social network.

But Snowden is still a heeeeeero because only the rights of Americans matter. Everybody else is subhuman.

Reading Touraine

From Alain Touraine’s After the Crisis:

The thirst for consumption has driven the poor to consign the very poor to a position of abject inferiority in order to draw a distinction between them.

I’m not crazy about the book overall, but there are some valuable insights.

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