A Collection of Links on Tenure

People, stop inundating me with emails saying that I haven’t offered a convincing argument in defense of tenure. I’ve written many posts on the subject over the years, OK? If you’ve missed them and / or can’t use the search function of the blog, that’s not my fault.

Here are links to some of my posts on tenure:





While searching for posts on tenure, I have also alighted on this great post on people who condemn literary criticism. It’s an old post but it’s still good.

Saturday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

This humorless, dead-earnest feminism that denounces even the mild criticism of some talentless dime-a-dozen singer as “sexist” is beyond annoying.

Finally! Life without parole is ruled an unconstitutional punishment for minors.

A very powerful response to people who keep chirping “rape is not about sex” like trained parrots.

Great news from Germany! “A court in Germany has ruled that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm. The court said that a child’s right to physical integrity trumps religious and parental rights.”

This analysis of the Texas Republican Party platform made my hair stand on end.

A very interesting post on Justice Scalia.

I commiserate with the suffering of this fellow caffeine addict.

What I find very disturbing about these stories of people who supposedly raised great children and now share the wisdom of how they got there is that nobody ever consults the actual “great children” on how happy they are as a result of this parenting. The author of the linked post has heard from his friend that the friend’s daughters feel no resentment against their parents. How can anybody know that without asking the daughters themselves? So many people are in  a hurry to declare themselves amazing parents without waiting to see if their children share that opinion. Even though the only people who can judge the quality of parenting are the children subjected to said parenting.

Why are Americans more religious tan Europeans?

Why are all bloggers called Clarissa so similar? 🙂

“Men have long been the predominant sources for the news media on issues such as the economy, politics and the military. And a new analysis of campaign coverage found that women aren’t even the principal news source on a topic they would presumably know best: women’s issues. . . Michael Howe, a spokesman for 4th Estate, said his group’s findings suggest that reporters might have “an unconscious bias” when it comes to selecting people who offer expertise and opinions about the news.” Another explanation is that it’s much easier to get American men to offer opinions than American women. In class, I have to work very hard to pry an opinion about anything from women. They tend to feel very uncertain and apologetic about the possibility that they might opine on some topic. Maybe the journalists just tire of fighting with women to get them to respond to questions instead of hearing them apologize for existing for fifteen minutes.

If you are a professor in Illinois, beware of skipping the ethics training!

If you want to be heard by a group of people, don’t address them with an insult. One would think this is obvious but here a blogger insults feminists in the very title of his post and then seems to expect the group he so blatantly despises to be interested in his opinion. Mind-boggling.

Yet another fantastically stupid article on the bugbear of “objectification.” I’m going to have a huge collection soon. I wonder what prevents the authors of these boring and extremely long pieces from stating honestly and concisely, “Anything with sexual overtones bothers me for a vague reason I can’t explain and I hide that issue behind a pretense of having a political stance.”

What, if anything, did the Founding Fathers “envision”?

People have the strangest definitions of what “a radical feminist” is. Here is a woman who claims to be one but who considers prostituting herself to buy medication for her dog and support her male partner. No discussion of the partner doing the same thing seems to be conducted. A clue: feminism is not about sacrificing your body to nurture others, be they men or pets. Still, these people are obviously suffering and it isn’t like the patriarchally minded don’t deserve assistance. Please consider helping them out if you can.

Americans seem to think that Obama inherited the current economic crisis from Bush yet did nothing to improve the economy.

And the post of the week from a truly brilliant Orthodox deacon from South Africa. I always wanted to write this post but he did it so much better. Do read.

On the Political Future of the American Conservatism

This election year gives Republicans one of their last chances—perhaps the very last one—to put the seal on their plutocracy. They are in a race against time. A Democratic wave is rising fast, to wash away the plutocracy before it sets its features in concrete.

That’s what I’ve been saying for a long time. Romney will lose the election and the Republicans will suffer a defeat in the next elections to Congress and Senate. Hopefully, this will prod the country’s Conservatives to lose the ultra-religious branch and start formulating the tenets of a modern secular Conservatism. I, for one, cannot wait to see what the American Conservative movement will look like when it isn’t hijacked by its fundamentalist wing. I am convinced that the Conservatives who respect the separation of the Church and State and do not want to legislate morality have a lot to contribute to our political discourse.

Fanatical state-sponsored religiousness is losing ground fast even in the least secular of all Western societies. The Republicans will have to pay the price of not seeing that most people prefer to hear about addressing the problems with the economy instead of policing the reproductive and sexual choices of others. That price would be the loss at the polls in November.

The Conservative movement in this country is in a deep crisis, in my opinion. The Republican flailing around for at least a marginally tolerable candidate in the recent primaries was evidence of that. More and more people are getting repulsed by the screechings about how needing contraception and having boyfriends makes a woman a “slut” who shouldn’t have political opinions. More and more people laugh when they see politicians have fits of hysteria over pornography, homosexuality, and masturbation. More and more people are confused by how one can support a limited government and, in the same breath, try to legislate the government sticking ultrasound probes into women’s vaginas against their will.

Dear fellow Conservatives, lose the fundamentalist branch already. The country needs the rational, intelligent, powerful thinking you are so capable of providing.

Should We Respect Harvard?

It turns out that the Harvard University has been abuzz over a construction sign erected on campus. The sign encouraged the workers to be respectful of the students and professors of the university and abstain from swearing, making loud noises, and taking drugs and / or alcohol. The students protested and the sign was removed:

Sandra Y. L. Korn ’14 called the sign “ridiculous” and said that it made her uncomfortable because it was “patronizing and patriarchal” towards the construction workers. “It sets up Harvard as some sort of exceptional place where no one can swear because they are defiling the purity of Harvard,” said Korn, a Crimson editorial editor. Avinaash Subramaniam ’14 said that he was “shocked” by the sign and that it held workers to a different standard than Harvard students.

Of course, to be completely honest, there is a huge difference between the workers and the students on campus. The former are paid for being there while the latter pay huge sums of money to do so. This is something that the earnest little undergrads don’t seem to understand:

Avinaash Subramaniam ’14 said that he was “shocked” by the sign and that it held workers to a different standard than Harvard students.

“There are students who drink and smoke at Harvard and the final clubs blast music late at night,” he said. “How is it any less wrong when Harvard students do drugs?”

When this student graduates and finds himself in the workplace, I hope it doesn’t come as too much of a shock that his customers, clients, students, patients, etc. will have a lot more rights in his workplace than he will.

What I find especially cute about the article is how well the students pretend not to know why they even are at Harvard:

Although the University did not put up the sign, Divinity School student Hanna L. Hofheinz said it bears equal responsibility for the sign’s message.

“I think that the sign was expressive of class and social dynamics that too often are part of the Harvard ethos,” she said. “I expect more from Harvard than to allow this type of statement to be its public face.”

As if there was any reason to shell out huge sums of money to go to an Ivy League institution than a hysteric fear of downward social mobility. You don;t go to such places for an education per se. For the most part, you’ll be taught by bored and indifferent grad students, anyways, and not by actual professors. The only reason of going there is to meet the right sort of people. If you are not into that, you’ll waste your time and money.

The reason why I quote this article here is that when I was a student at my Ivy, the attitudes evinced by these students were precisely what drove me nuts. I could have put up with the low quality of instruction, with the rigid hierarchies, with snobbery, with being surrounded by “legacies” with no interest whatsoever in studying, with endless discussions of who bought what when and where, with very little intellectual stimulation. But it’s the annoying earnestness of these rich kids who go around quoting Marx and blabbing about social equality and class struggle that got to me.

“There is no difference between me and a truck driver because we are both working people,” a spoiled Pappa’s boy who spent his summer holidays traveling the world on his parents’ money at the age of 35 told me. Is anybody surprised that I had a major depression at the end of my schooling in such an environment?

When a “Nice Guy” Is a Bad Guy

I was sent a link to an article that quoted the following statement from a “Nice Guy”:

“Dear ‘Females:’ I’m fedup.  Done.  Finished.  I always hear stories about girls not being able to trust guys because they cheated, or treated them bad, or hit them.  I always hear stories of girls saying they just don’t want to be with guys because of past relationships.  Say that you’re waiting for a good guy etc.  But why the f*** when you get a good GREAT guy you ignore him.  Call your best friend or some shit like that and when he falls for you, you give him some bullshit about how you’re not ready for a relationship…then two hours later you’re f***ing some asshole who clearly didn’t give a f*** about you before.  Dear females…you constantly wonder where the good guys are.  They’re out there…I’m just letting you know that you’re the ones making us scarce.  Sincerly, Good Guy…or rather New Found Asshole.” (sic)

This made me laugh because I knew a guy who’d break out in precisely this kind of rant, almost word for word. The really scary thing was that, just like the author of this statement, he was a jerk of humongous proportions. He would sit there criticizing everybody’s relationships, sex partners, and personal lives because, in the total absence of a sex life of his own, he was very attentive to the particulars of other people’s romantic histories.

He’d complain so much about his loneliness and tell such pathetic tales of personal misery and abandonment that people would take pity on him and befriend him. The more naive among us never thought that he considered this favor that was done to him as some sort of a promise that sex was imminent.

The guy would be so insistent with his “friendship” that he’d become almost stalkerish. I was much younger and found it easier to agree to meet with him for coffee from time to time than to tell him to stuff it once and for all. Every time, he would start complaining about yet another woman who rejected him in favor of somebody much worse.

“I’m great boyfriend material!” he would exclaim, oblivious to how unattractive the use of the phrase “boyfriend material” made him.

“What makes you think that?” I once asked to put an end to the whining.

The “Nice Guy” was very obviously taken aback.

“Well,” he said, “I can listen.”

“To what?” I asked, stunned.

“Well, to anything a woman might want to say,” he responded irritably.

“That would make you a good therapist,” I responded.

“But why does nobody want to date me?” he asked. “Why?”

“OK, I’ll tell you,” I said. “You reek of desperation, you ask out everybody who has a pulse, you are resentful, self-involved, and pushy. Being around you feels like having a black cloud smother one.”

“Well, you are single,” he said. “Would you like to date me?”

That was when I realized that his promise to listen did not involve actually hearing what a woman said.

A person who is truly interested in improving his or her personal life would not condemn others for not being sexually interested in him or her. It isn’t like people can choose to desire somebody sexually and not to desire somebody else. A mature man or woman who is constantly rejected by people s/he desires will analyze what it is about her or him that precludes people from feeling sexually attracted.

If you need to persuade yourself that the entire female (or male) population of the planet is profoundly messed up, then the only really screwed up person here is you.

More Specific

I’ll be more specific. Does anybody other than insurance companies stand to gain anything from this healthcare plan? I’m trying hard to shake the feeling that the entire thing is nothing but an attempt by Obama to pay back his corporate sponsors.

I don’t want to be cynical, people, but I have this nagging suspicion that the entire Democratic Party is nothing but an attempt to bamboozle progressively minded people with a bunch of pretty, well-sounding words to get them to support policies that benefit nobody but the shameless politicians and their corporate backers.

We all know that this is what the Republicans do. Are the Democrats exactly the same?

For the moment, I will just hope that I misunderstood this healthcare plan altogether. The alternative is too disheartening.

How Do You Feel About the SCOTUS Decision on Obamacare?

The Supreme Court decided not to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act:

The Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare, has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It was a typical 5-4 decision, but Kennedy sided with the conservatives, and Bush-appointed Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the less-conservatives.

I’m not sure how I feel about it because I don’t understand the Affordable Healthcare Act. I’ve listened to a lot of talking points about it both from the Republican and the Democrat sources but none of them addressed anything specific about this piece of legislation. I feel like most people gush “Oh, it’s so horrible” or “Oh, it’s wonderful” without any real understanding of what the Act entails.

How do you feel about the SCOTUS decision?

“What’s Wrong With Me?”

Gosh, women often find it so hard to value their own desires that it hurts. See the following question asked by a pretty brilliant woman*:

At some point, I have to consider the possibility that I’m the one who causes all the problems in the (potential) relationship. There is absolutely no reason not to like Nice Guy; we can talk for hours, he is more than interested in me, we have so many things in common that I’m constantly surprised – so what’s wrong with me that I don’t feel anything when we’re together – not aversion, not excitement, not boredom, not anticipation, not anything.

It’s so sad to read this “what’s wrong with me.” Nothing, dear female blogger. Nothing is  wrong with you. None of the things you list are “a reason” to feel anything for a guy. You simply don’t want him, that’s all. There is this thing women have, called a sexuality. Contrary to what you must have heard on TV, it doesn’t get switched on by a man’s nice qualities, his interest in you, his choice of conversation topics, his niceness, and the amount of things you have in common.

Since the post was published in open access, I feel entitled to offer some unsolicited advice: dump the sexual losers you call friends and who try to convince you there is something wrong with you and your independence and start listening to your desire. It will probably lead you away from great conversationalists you don’t want sexually. But there will be plenty of excitement and anticipation.

It’s sad to see how many women drive a bulldozer over their sexuality for absolutely no discernible reason whatsoever.

P.S. I have no idea why this old post appeared in my blogroll yesterday. But it doesn’t matter because it’s very representative of a huge trend in women’s attitudes towards their sexuality.

Mystified by Feminist Websites

Well, what am I wondering about if even a very popular feminist website publishes posts based on the idea that house work is women’s obligation that men should “help” with:

Cast judgment on men who don’t help out around the house.

Got it? Good men are the ones who “help out around the house.” And who is it they “help”? The person who is responsible for the housework, of course. Namely, the woman.

Dear women, the second you have adopted this vocabulary of men “helping” you around the house, you have lost the game. That’s it, you are done, you will be his maid forever until you get rid of this way of seeing things. Don’t expect your partner to HELP. That positions YOU as the only responsible party and HIM as a volunteer who either will or will not do you the favor of “helping” you.

The only productive attitude here is the following: you are both equal partners who take care of the place where you live together. Nobody “helps” anybody. You divide the responsibilities equally and stick to that division of labor. Believe me, it works perfectly and it makes for a very happy relationship. You don’t need help. You need a partner who will assume his half of the household responsibilities.

Stop begging for help already and start demanding that the adult man in your life take responsibility for his place of abode, his food, his clothes, and his children.

Mystified by Women

I’m mystified by the women who agree to this kind of an arrangement:

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women—even those with full-time jobs—still do the bulk of housework and childcare. On an average day, 48 percent of women and 19 percent of men did housework. Married women with children who work full time spend 51 minutes a day on housework while married men with children spend just 14 minutes a day.

If a woman is a full-time housewife, obviously she should do all the housework. But this report says that even women with full-time jobs chose to be their husband’s unpaid maids. This is such a weird, irrational choice that I don’t get it at all.

I haven’t met a single man in my long and productive personal life who would refuse to take care of 50% of housework. I can’t imagine what such a conversation would even look like. “No, Clarissa, I will not clean the bathroom because. . .” What? What do men referenced in this survey say to explain their refusal to take care of themselves? This is not a rhetorical question. I’m really interested in hearing from anybody who has encountered such men. Do they offer anything in return? Do they have any sort of an explanation for their weird attitude? “Yes, I managed to take care of myself perfectly well while I lived alone, honey, but now that I have you, I have become incapacitated”? Is that what they say?

I’m even more interested in what possesses women to agree to such a strange arrangement. When the household chores are discussed before they agree to move in with their male partners, does it actually get specified in the agreement that they will be responsible for washing their male partners’ underwear and doing the dishes, as if the men in question were severely disabled? I also have to wonder what makes it necessary to keep such a man around? A man who disrespects women and sees them as Mommies will suck horribly in bed. And not in a good way. He also has got to be extremely immature and powerfully homosocial, which means that, as a conversationalist and a life partner, he isn’t anything special either. The quoted report demonstrates that these men are also lousy fathers. Bad sex, crappy conversation, no companionship, barely any fathering, and lots of extra work. So who needs this kind of a guy around at all?

As a person who’d never spend even 2 minutes in the company of somebody who disrespects me and himself to the point of suggesting that I service him as a maid, I read such reports as stories from another planet.

Once again, I have to conclude: people are weird.