Yes, We Do

The answer is clearly yes. If people massively didn’t want it, it wouldn’t be happening.

What’s to Prepare?

Talking about preparing for undergraduate classes. Tomorrow, I’m teaching about the civil war in Guatemala in one class and the fate of the regional nationalisms in Spain during the dictatorship of Franco in another. What would the preparation for these classes look like? I know the material. I know enormously more than undergraduates who never came across these topics need to know. I read about these topics constantly as part of my research. I think about them all the time. What’s to prepare?

Professors Not

Professors on social media are getting extremely pissy when people think (or professors assume that people think) that they are choosing online teaching because it’s easier.

But of course it’s easier. For one, all of the service obligations are simply gone thanks to our move online. Service obligations mean academic self-governance and it’s completely gone.

Here’s one example. At this time of year, we always welcome prospective students and their parents to campus. It’s a big multi-day event where we meet the future students, talk to them about our programs, invite them to classes, answer questions, and explain how our programs work. It’s a big time investment but I used to love it because it really helps you get the information out and engage with future students in person.

Now it’s all gone. The admissions office is handling the online version of this activity. Professor’s were told we aren’t needed.

And it’s all like that.

All you need to do is hold your Zoom meetings for 9 hours a week, grade… and that’s it. It’s humanly impossible to spend more than 15 hours a week doing this stuff. With a full-time salary and great benefits, what’s not to like? It’s like a long sabbatical with no need to produce publications at the end.

It’s the truth and I’m not ashamed to say it.

Book Notes: JK Rowling’s Troubled Blood

Yes, this book is the reason why I haven’t been blogging much in the past few days. It’s a thousand pages long and truly impossible to put down. I even got an Audible copy to avoid having to interrupt my reading while I drive.

I’m happy to report that I have finally found the next murder mystery author I’m going to follow. I haven’t had one for a couple of years and have felt deprived.

JK Rowling is very good at this genre. The ending of this behemoth of a novel is one of the most satisfying conclusions to a murder mystery that I’ve seen in years. No loose threads are left, which isn’t easy in a novel that has this many characters. The ending is shocking and unexpected, yet the readers are given every clue needed to solve the mystery.

Even the endless epigraphs from Spenser’s Fairie Queene that seem precious and excessive turn out to make sense.

Everything is so well-thought out that my order-loving brain feels convulsed with pleasure.

There are no transgender characters in the novel, so I have no idea why people are burning the book in protest against some perceived slight to trans rights. It’s not about that at all.

I have already checked out the rest of the series from our public library. I hope the rest of the books aren’t this good because I can’t spend all my time reading.

Or can I?

Enthusiastic Readers

I asked my freshmen in the Hispanic Civ class whether they prefer to learn from the textbook or the novels (we are using both) and they all enthusiastically said the novels.

I’m very happy, obviously. The textbook is fine but these are some of my favorite novels and I’m glad that students are getting it. This is the first time I’m teaching the course this way and it’s working out great.

Against Surrogacy

Brigit is nobody’s child: her biological parents in the U.S. decided not to take her, and her surrogate mother in Ukraine didn’t want her either. Her story highlights the pitfalls of Ukraine’s controversial surrogate adoption industry.

Surrogacy needs to be outlawed. Children are human beings. Nobody is entitled to a child. Nobody should be able to purchase a child.

The Real Scandal

On the subject of SCOTUS nominations, I quit being a Democrat six months after registering to vote as a Democrat because of the disgusting way Democrats were treating the most recent nominee. That was after 20 years of not even considering of being anything but a Democrat.

The ugliness of the SCOTUS nominations goes directly to the heart of what’s wrong with US liberalism. Democrats don’t want to legislate. Their leadership is so much to the left of where the voters are that the only way of achieving the leadership’s goals is to ram through deeply unpopular measures by way of SCOTUS rulings.

The reason why the Democratic leadership is so far to the left of the voters is not because older people like Pelosi, Schumer or Biden believe in the Green New Deal, open borders, women with penises, and all that sort of crazy stuff. It’s because the digital oligarchy that pays the party’s bills demands this kind of thing.

We are constantly in the grip of SCOTUS nomination drama because a tiny digital oligarchy wants stuff that citizens don’t. That’s the real scandal here.

Instead of uniting and standing up to the oligarchy, we are allowing the oligarchs to divide and conquer us by way of spats over truly ridiculous pseudo-issues that the oligarchs feed us through the social media that they possess.

Marital Distance

At the restaurant today, preparations were underway for a beautiful wedding reception. A wonderful view, exquisite flower arrangements, lovely photographs of a loving couple, and… the bride’s and the groom’s seats six feet away from each other.

It doesn’t matter to true love but it’s surely a sign of the times.