Clarissa's Blog

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

North Dakota Protests

From my newsfeed, I got the impression that the protesters were a bunch of weirdos. All that the million and one sources in my feed mention about the protesters is that they are “defending sacred ancestral sites”, and it’s hard to take this concept seriously.

But then I finally saw a representative of the Standing Rock Sioux on TV and he explained that the protests are about preserving water from being contaminated by the pipeline. That is, the protest is important and reasonable and the protesters are not kooks but people who should be supported in their good fight. I Google photos of the protest, and sure enough, people are standing with placards that say “Clean water!” 

It’s almost like there is a conspiracy to shit on the protest and make it sound like a bunch of weirdos being extra special weird.

One should always go to the source and not trust retellings – that’s the lesson here. I almost condemned people who defend an issue I care the most about because I trusted retelling. 

Thursday Link Encyclopedia 

Ukrainian hackers take revenge on Putin.

Kenan Malik is great, as usual. This time he’s great on reactions to Brexit.

Yale Record found a fantastic way to not endorse Hillary Clinton . 

We manufacture our own reality every day. But many people don’t want to own up to their responsibility for shaping their reality, so they project it onto the world. Here is an example. It’s curious how an author who is not a complete idiot is managing not to understand that her story is insane.

When Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton talk about trade they each appear to envision the same target audience: a 50-year-old auto worker in Michigan or Ohio hoping his job will last until retirement.” True. And so damn boring.

Bureaucratic sex creep

If you are one of the few people in the country who haven’t ‘t seen the brilliant “Please reelect Gerald” ad, you totally got to. It rules. 

If you are still not tired of the screeds by wilting flower feminists who pout that men don’t manage their lives for them, here is one.

Austria”s Supreme Court frees a child rapist because the raped 10- year-old couldn’t prove he didn’t consent to sex

A bald hedgehog. The text is in Russian but see the touching photos  

David Duke and his buddy Assange.

And in Montana,  a whole family of circus freaks defends a father who raped his little daughter.

Facebook exploits children while parents stand vapidly by.

What if Donald Trump were gay?

The Famous Oily Legs

Now that the election had been decided, people are back to optical illusions and all kinds of Twitter fun.

In case you haven’t seen it, here is the notorious image for those who want to make their legs look really oily. Why? Because the election has been decided and it’s time to unwind.

Stein, Clueless As Usual


I hope the dumb bint doesn’t approach any Hondurans to inform them that she “cares about them as people of color.”

The degree of condescension from this proud carrier of a white woman’s burden is impressive.

The Gauge of Speaker Success

As a public speaker, what I love the most are people with cell phones who spend the first 10 minutes of my talk furiously texting or Facebooking. I especially love those who turn their backs to the speaker because they want to do their Facebooking or tweeting while facing their friends in the back row.

I’m not being sarcastic, I really love such folks because they are the perfect gauge of how successful my talk is. If the talk is good, they start dropping their phones like ripe pears within the first few minutes. Sometimes, the phones actually drop to the floor. This is very enjoyable.

Effortless Teaching

When future teachers with no experience of teaching come to observe my classes, they always exclaim at the end, “I thought that teaching was hard but it’s so easy! I had no idea how easy it is!”

And I always think, “My dear friend, if only you knew that the hardest part is precisely making it look this effortless.”

It looks so easy only because there is a ton of preparation, a structure and a lot of hard work which ensure that everything flows into everything else and that students ask the questions I need them to ask exactly when I want them to. 

When Is the Election?

November 9th? WTF, November 9th? I thought it was supposed to be November 4.

On November 9th I will be alone! In Houston! Nobody to celebrate with ! We made family plans based on it being on November 4th. People are driving in from across the border to join the festivities! WTF!

Wrapping Mummies

I was surprised to see the following statement in Klara’s daily daycare report:

​I practiced using my fingers to trace the letter M for Mummy!

 Since when do they use the British “Mummy”, I wondered.

Then I saw the following and was even more confused:

I explored photographs of mummies. I communicated about what they are wrapped in!

Why would mommies be wrapped in anything? I wondered.

But then I saw the attached photo of Klara trying to wrap a doll into toilet paper and realized that the mummies in question are the ones you find in crypts and tombs.

An Incredible Country

This is an incredible, incredible country, people. I was standing next to my car in a parking lot, answering an email. A car slowed down and drove into the perking lot from the road. It stopped next to me and a window rolled down. An older lady looked out and told me that my skirt was beautiful and I looked amazing. And then she drove off. The woman drove out of her way with the sole purpose of saying something nice to a complete stranger.

This kind of thing happens all the time. Before I learned to drive and had to walk everywhere, people would always stop to offer rides. And in all the years I was a pedestrian, not a single driver made an effort to splash me with dirty rain water head to foot! Not a single one. To the contrary, drivers always slowed down to make sure they didn’t splash me.

I’m from a country where splashing pedestrians on purpose is a national pastime. Drivers go out of their way to ensure that pedestrians suffer the greatest damage possible. Just because they can.

Easy to Stand Out

When I first worked on committee X as a regular committee member 7 years ago, I couldn’t understand why the committee chair loved me so much. He kept showering me with exuberant praise that I felt was undeserved and kept telling my departmental Chair how amazing I was.

It’s only when I started chairing committee X that I figured out why I’d made such a huge impression back in 2009. I did everything I was asked, showed up on time, didn’t lose paperwork, and my grandmothers did not succumb to horrible misfortunes right when the paperwork was due.

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