Funfem Versus Radfem

How come people don’t realize that classifying feminists as sex-positive and not sex-positive is a profoundly anti-feminist act in itself? You are reducing feminist activists and thinkers to sex, for Pete’s sake.

And then the same people start whining about how they are sexualized and objectified by some mysterious all-powerful entity when they are incapable of seeing a woman without classifying her in terms of her completely irrelevant attitude to sex.

This is a response to the jerkwad who called me “a sex-positive feminist.” You know who you are. Jerkwad.

And there was also another idiot a while ago who referred to me as “funfem.” I wish all those miserable creatures who can’t function without assigning stupid labels to people in order to make the universe more understandable would just go stuff themselves.

Paulo Freire Is the Enemy of the People (Says Arizona)

Arizona’s persecution of its Spanish-speaking populations and everything that has to do with Hispanic Studies has progressed to the point where books are now banned in Tucson schools:

The list of removed books includes the 20-year-old textbook “Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years,” which features an essay by Tucson author Leslie Silko. . . Other banned books include “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” by famed Brazilian educator Paulo Freire and “Occupied America: A History of Chicanos” by Rodolfo Acuña, two books often singled out by Arizona state superintendent of public instruction John Huppenthal, who campaigned in 2010 on the promise to “stop la raza.” Huppenthal, who once lectured state educators that he based his own school principles for children on corporate management schemes of the Fortune 500, compared Mexican-American studies to Hitler Jugend indoctrination last fall.

When you get to the point where you ban Paulo Freire and Rethinking Columbus, there is no hope for you. I always thought that schools were places that promoted learning and reading, that they fostered the culture of appreciating the written word. And now books are banned? And such brilliant books, too?

I say, let’s not stop there. Let’s start burning books that offer the world-view that a Fortune 500-inspired bureaucrat finds incompatible with his limited vision of reality.

Jeez, people. This cannot be happening in a place that wants to call itself civilized.

My gratitude goes to reader PAF who sent in this information.

A Mystery

“I didn’t do well in the first part of this course sequence,” a student tells me. “I have no idea why I got such a low grade, though.”

“Who was your instructor in that course?” I ask.

“Oh, it was. . . erm. . . some woman, I guess?” the student wonders aloud. “Oh, I remember. I think it was some Latin chick. Or not?”

“Which chapters in the textbook did you cover?”

“Chapters? Erm. . . like. . . I don’t know. A few of them? I have no idea.”

“Did you attend the conversations hours?”

“The. . . what? I’m not sure.”

“Did you complete all of your lab work?”

“Was there lab work? I’m not sure I remember.”

“You missed the first week of this semester. Was there a reason for that?”

“Oh, I forgot when the semester was supposed to begin. I thought it was this week.”

Yes, it’s a complete mystery why this student didn’t do well in the course.


A colleague who read my CV just said to me that I have “oodles of publications.” This made me very happy even though there is a a chance he was just trying to be encouraging in view of my midpoint tenure review stress.

My noodle has produced an oodle of publications.

I’m a little hyper because I had an unexpected class observation by the Chair today. The good thing is that I always have tons of original activities prepared, so the class went well. And the students this semester are fantastic. Very motivated, hard-working, intelligent. And they appreciate it that I only speak Spanish in class, unlike some groups I’ve had who’d throw tantrums every time I tried to teach them Spanish by speaking Spanish.

A Message to an Undergrad from a Real College Professor

Dear Undergrad,

you know what the most crucial part of transforming from a child into an adult is? It’s realizing that, from now on, you and only you will be responsible for where your life goes. Gone are the times when you were surrounded by a group of adults who were cheering you on and catching you every time you fell. It’s all up to you now.

If you are fortunate enough to be a university student, you need to know that the only person deeply invested in ensuring that you get the best value for your money is you. As a university prof, I do all I can to help my students succeed. Ultimately, though, it’s their job to get as much as they can out of their studies.

The other day, I stumbled across a post that contained the following statements:

I think its hilarious when students write their papers the night before and get top marks. Only because I’ve done this. It’s the ultimate best when teachers warn you to start the project or essay months before and say that you’ll fail otherwise. Challenge accepted. Most of my teachers told our class that if we used wikipedia they would be able to tell, and it would be wrong. Welp, I used wikipedia in almost every paper, and guess what? They couldn’t tell, and I was right. Sign of brilliance.

 This blogger is very proud of having cheated her profs. In reality, however, the person she really scammed is herself. Her profs are doing great in their lives. They have well-paid cushy jobs, lots of free time, a highly respected social status. And they got all that by being serious about their studies and their work. They can offer their students suggestions on how to do well but they can’t (and don’t really want to) stuff this knowledge down anybody’s throat by force.
I’m sure that there have been students who managed to get plagiarized papers they had copied off Wikipedia by me. But who is the real loser in this situation? I went home at the end of the day to my great life, my comfortable lifestyle, my research, my travels. They are the ones who were left with less knowledge and less skills they could have possessed had they taken their studies more seriously. They were the ones who had to go out into an hospitable job market and compete for employment with graduates who had been serious about their work in college.
The cheaters, in the meanwhile, were left with memories of scamming themselves out of an education they paid for as the only mark of their brilliance.
And that’s kind of pathetic.

An Ethical Dilemma in Hiring

I found this really curious dilemma at Thoreau’s blog and decided to borrow part of it.

The dilemma is as follows. You have two candidates applying for the same position. Are you more likely to choose one of them based on the information provided below?

  • Applicant 1 indicates in her research plan that because of unique equipment needs she will require a very large start-up package, more than twice what would be normal for your field and your type of institution, in order to successfully carry out her research program.  However, it is likely that this research program could involve more students than most other applicants.
  • Applicant 2 indicates in her research plan that she would require a normal-sized start-up package.  However, during the interview, she informs you, of her own accord, that she cannot accept the job unless you also hire her husband into a similar position.  The cost of hiring Applicant 2 and her husband would be about the same as the cost of hiring Applicant 1.  The number of students involved in their programs combined might be slightly large than the number who could work in Applicant 1’s lab.

I would have no interest whatsoever in hiring Applicant 2, to be honest. This is a person who thinks that her place of employment exists to solve her non-work-related issues. This is never a good sign. She supports nepotism, which is bound to manifest itself in a variety of other aspects of her work.

It is not acceptable for an employer to pry into a candidate’s personal life. Questions like, “Are you married? Are you planning to? Are you planning to get pregnant within the next five years? Is your partner male or female?” are completely off-limits to an employer, which is just as it should be.

However, this should go both ways. If an employer isn’t entitled to bring the applicant’s personal life into the equation, I think the applicant should also abstain from making their private issues part of the discussion.

All of these reasons would make me lose interest in candidate 2 very fast.

What do you think?