Whenever I encounter the following expressions, my mind boggles. I can actually feel my brain starting to warp as it strives to deduce their meaning. I’m not trying to be funny here (when I am, I usually attach a “humor” tag to the post). I truly have no idea what these expressions are supposed to mean and why they are used. Now, let’s try to figure that out together, and maybe my readers can help me.
This is a very puzzling one, folks. Whenever I encounter this expression, it always occurs in a context that signals this “income inequality” as something negative. If it is a negative phenomenon, then there should be a positive alternative attached to it, right? And what would that be? Income equality, I presume. Which, in turn, must mean that the ideal state of affairs is the one where everybody has the same income, right? And this is something that I simply don’t get because even Marx and Lenin never went as far as that. Even they agreed that, for example, people of intellectual professions are entitled to a greater income because they bring the added value of their unpaid studies to their work.
Often, the articles that mention this mysterious income inequality seem to be based on the idea that a significant difference in income between varying groups of population is always bad and a smaller income gap is always good. This makes no sense either since nobody has proven yet that this is the case. I can see why a greater income gap can be good for a country’s economic growth. But a smaller one? Historically, whenever the income gap shortened significantly, that always spelled a much less vibrant economy. If anybody has any proof that I’m mistaken on this subject, I’d be very interested in seeing it.
This is another mysterious one. The only way for people to feel secure in their jobs is to go the Soviet way and remove the threat of anybody being fired altogether. Can anybody guess what happens the moment such a policy is introduced? Yes, people stop working. They come to their places of employment and fritter away the time before going home.
If I had a guarantee that my job was “secure” and that there was no chance of my contract being revoked, do you really think I’d bust my ass to participate in all of those endless activities, initiatives, committees, etc. that now fill my midpoint folder? “Job security” spells a crash into instant scarcity of absolutely everything, from food to services. And here I really don’t want any arguments from people who never lived in a society where everybody’s jobs were secure and, as a result, the stores were empty of any products (I’m not exaggerating here, I mean rows upon rows of empty shelves), the doctors beat up their five-year-old patients during procedures, nurses refused to interrupt their chats to approach patients in excruciating pain, etc.
Also, if somebody is planning to argue that tenure and job security have anything in common, then you need to start following the news. That has not been the case for a while.
This one just bugs me beyond belief. Work is obviously a part of life, right? So how can anybody try to balance a part with the whole? What sense does this make? It annoys me like I can’t tell you when I get asked on institutional surveys whether I am “content with my work-life balance.” Why not abandon this silly bureaucrat-speak and just ask whether I have enough free time or whether I feel overworked? I’m guessing that this is the information the question is trying to elicit.
This is an expression that academics love and I hate. From what I have been able to gather, it refers to the difficulty academic couples face in finding employment in the same geographic area. What I don’t get is why instead of using this extremely clumsy “we have finally solved the two-body problem”, one can’t just say, “N. and I have found jobs in the same town.”
And the way the expression sounds is so stupid, too. Why “two-body”? Why a “problem”? You know this nasty sound of dragging a finger-nail across a chalk-board? That’s what I hear whenever anybody uses this phrase.
Sustainability in the classroom
I understand what sustainable fishing means. It’s when you don’t take out more fish from the sea or whatever than will be able to restore its number through reproduction. Right? What does this have to do with teaching, though?
I’m guessing that there might be some sciences where sustainable teaching is a relevant concept. Possibly the ones that rely upon labs, resources, etc. Why, however, am I hearing this expression thrown around so much in reference to the Humanities?
And don’t think I haven’t tried to figure this one out. I did several online searches about this concept. Every single time, however, I alighted upon a a long and extremely vague disquisition filled with endless bureaucratic verbiage that has no meaning whatsoever.
Are there words and expressions that really bug you? Feel free to share, and we’ll hate them together.