How Did We Get Here?

I started to read a post but couldn’t get past its opening sentence”

Adjunct professors now make up almost 70 percent of all faculty members in the United States.

If this is true, then it’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy for our entire system of higher education.


P.S. If somebody has data showing that this is not true, I’m waiting to hear from you. I will dedicate a post to your general awesomeness.

My Sister, the Coffee-Hater

My sister hates coffee. My addiction to this beverage mystifies her.

“How do you drink this nasty stuff?” she asks.

Today, she called me from Paris.

“You won’t believe this,” she announced, “but it turns out that I love coffee. I discovered that what we get served in North America under the name of coffee is nothing of the kind. The real coffee, though, rocks.”

I remember when I got back to Montreal from Portugal (the place where they make the best coffee in the world), I couldn’t look at the huge basins of strange brownish stuff we got served as coffee.

And don’t even get me started on tea. If you want actual tea on this continent, you have to brew it yourself. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a chemically tasting stuff from a soggy bag.

When I travel to London in May, I’m planning to find out whether they serve real tea at five o’clock.


Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

Religious fanaticism is defeated in Quebec. Note that the Libertarians, once again, stand on the side of barbarity and religious indoctrination. Because for them, as we well know, it’s all about defending the people’s complete and utter liberty to be bamboozled by fundamentalist brainwashing.

Are you sure you don’t have defiant hair? Because it’s supposed to be a huge danger to your marriage.

Racism hasn’t disappeared and racist terminology still hurts people. And more on the same subject based on the slur that was directed at Jeremy Lin. Two very good posts from different bloggers.

A talented writer and a popular blogger points out the Libertarian hypocrisy on the subject of “rape by the government” legislation. You’d think that Libertarians would rise up in protest when presented with such an egregious violation of individual liberty by the government, right? Well, not really. This is why I insist that North American Libertarians are just religious fundamentalists in a quasi-rational disguise.

The sad reality of women in Japan.

The mistaken belief that “desire” is “supposed” to be spontaneous – like, you’re walking down the street or having lunch and you go, “Hm! Sex please!” – can cause a person to believe that if they have responsive desire they’re BROKEN. And if people believe they’re broken, then you get into medicalization of what is in fact perfectly normal, healthy, functional sexuality.”

Brilliant insights into writing: “The number of days that you go without actually writing something on your project equals the number of hours (one hour for each skipped day) that it will take you to actually write something once you sit down to do it. Five days = five hours at the desk before my brain really engages.” There is more, so do visit the link.

I missed this post when it first came out on February 10, but I’m very glad I have found it since then. This post on the egregiously stupid attitude of both the Republican and the Democratic governments towards the mortgage market is definitely the post of the week: “In 2004, President George W. Bush led the way with a bid to move four million additional US households into home ownership that they could not remotely afford. In 2012, President Barack Obama leads the way to try to limit the return of some or all of those households back into the US rental market where they truly belong.

This is the kind of student every prof lives for.

New York Times pretends that fathers do not exist.

In other words, hegemonic heterosexuality is the vast cultural conspiracy to describe all heterosexual relationships as the unending war between stupid people and crazy people. If that’s really the model of love you want to aspire to, then okay, you have that right. But don’t piss down my neck and tell me it’s raining, and don’t show me toxic relationships and tell me they’re normal.  I reject this model and encourage others to do so as well.” A very impressive post.

The official Spanish-language definition of autism is finally getting changed from its old and egregiously offensive definition to a better one. And who do you think gets all the credit? (Hint: it isn’t autistics.) The post is in English, so click away.

Why creative writing classes are useless.

This post is short but it makes a brilliant observation on what the problem is with the debate on the value of the Humanities education: “It’s missing the distinction between “intellectual pursuits” and “easy majors.” Highly recommended.

There are people who complain instead about the low quality of the food people buy with their EBT cards, like using it at gas stations to buy Doritos and frozen pizzas.  How dare they? people say.  I don’t give my hard-earned money to them so that they can live off junk food!  People have such an attachment to their tax dollars when they see individuals using them in ways that they don’t specifically approve of, but a significantly smaller number seem anywhere near as angry with the way that governmental institutions use their tax dollars.” How very very true. It’s easier for many people to dump on food stamp recipients than to question the real black holes in the federal budget.

If you are (or are planning to be) on the academic job market, do read this detailed and extremely enlightening post on how to prepare a job talk. I only wish I knew all this when I was on the market. After reading the post, I realized how badly I have messed up some of my job talks.

A Dutchman’s observations on the differences between saying good-bye in his culture and in the US.

If you adore turtles as much as I do, make sure you check out this beautiful post with photos of newborn turtles. They are beyond cute. They have belly buttons!

A great strategy for jump-staring your writing.

A beautiful post on when one becomes on adult.

Research is important but taking care of yourself is even more important. I couldn’t agree more with this great post. Physical and mental health comes first, people.

When your husband can’t put a fire in your belly, maybe his career can. A funny interview with Santorum’s wife who “defended her husband’s performance” while loving a talk show host more than her husband. And I really understand her. With a husband like that, even Glen Beck seems like a sex symbol.

When you start following a blog, do you read its entire archive?

Finally, an intelligent analysis of a situation in Russia. Most Western sources have no idea about what is going on in FSU countries. Instead of researching and analyzing, they just make stuff up by the bucketful. The recent celebration of a musical group that was simply trying to make a quick buck as “feminist” is an example of such shoddy reporting. When it comes to more serious issues, Western media comes up with even more egregious stuff. This is why I’m glad to find a post that addresses the current situation in Russia insightfully and correctly.

Some people have such an unhealthy relationship with food, that even slicing a cucumber is too much work for them. So they dream of, get this, prefabricated salads and sliced cucumbers.

And, last, an observation: my blogroll has been populated by very long, gushy, poorly written and excruciatingly boring posts by male, formerly progressive bloggers who are trying to come up with extremely convoluted scenarios of how “pregnancies should not generally be permitted” or should generally be permitted, or whatever. Which is hilarious, given how pregnancies are not something they are ever likely to experience. So if you think that this unhealthy obsession with female reproductive system is limited to Conservatives, you are wrong. The desire to rummage (or verbally masturbate on the subject of rummaging) in women’s uteri is not about politics. It’s about profound psychological issues of folks who like to mask their problems behind pseudo-political and philosophical concerns.