A Game: Funny Terms for Political Movements

Reader Rob F (whose own blog can be located here) acquainted me with a funny term for Libertarians – glibertarians.

I LOVE play on words so I have an idea. Let’s make a list of funny terms people use to refer to political and ideological groups.

Republicans – Repubenrons or Repugs

Anti-choicers – fetus lovers or the fetus people

My list is somewhat skewed because I have no idea how people of opposing systems of belief refer to Liberals and progressives. Other than “feminazi” nothing comes to mind. But feel free to share. I can absolutely guarantee that I will not be insulted. 🙂 Everything is getting too polarized in the months leading up to the election, so I think it’s a good idea to release some of the tension by laughing together.

Before we play, I want to say that this is not meant to offend anybody. Words only have as much power as we agree to give them. Of course, ethnic or racial slurs are not welcome because they are never inventive or interesting.

The winner will be the person who offers a term I find the most unexpected and funny. If there are several such terms, we can have a vote and decide collectively.

Back to USSR. Haven’t We Had Enough?

Please peruse this scary article that a reader of this blog sent to me:

Earlier this month, Mitt Romney received fawning press from the right wing media for turning out hundreds of coal miners to stand behind him during a speech on his energy plan in Beallsville, Ohio.

“To win Ohio, [President Obama’s] got to win eastern Ohio, and he’s got to get the votes of the people in these communities all around us here, and you’re not going to let that happen, because you’re going to keep our jobs,”Romney said that day.

It turns out that the coal miners did want to keep their jobs — in fact, that’s the only reason that many of them bothered to show up for Romney’s event. A group of employees at the Century Mine where Romney held his event recently complained to WWVA radio host David Blomquist that they feared they would be fired if they didn’t attend the Romney rally. Making matters worse, management did not pay the employees for the day because they were outside listening to Romney speak instead of working in the mine.

“Yes, we were in fact told that the Romney event was mandatory and would be without pay, that the hours spent there would need to be made up my non-salaried employees outside of regular working hours, with the only other option being to take a pay cut for the equivalent time,” the employees told Blomquist on his radio show. . .

Furthermore, the employees claim that “letters have gone around with lists of names of employees who have not attended or donated to political events.”

On Monday, Blomquist gave Murray Energy Chief Financial Officer Rob Moore a chance to defend his company on his show. Moore essentially confirmed the allegations.

According to Moore, the company “communicated to our workforce that the attendance at the Romney event was mandatory, but no one was forced to attend.” It seems that Moore may not fully understand the meaning of the word “mandatory.”

Sorry for the long quote but I believe it is important to see the situation as fully as possible. If this is true, then I have to say that it is quite scary. This is precisely what Russia’s President Putin and his party “United Russia” do to guarantee good turnouts for their political rallies.

If this is what Romney’s campaign does before Romney even gets elected, then what should we expect once he is in power? Oh, Soviet Union, here we come. As if the bailouts were not enough to give us all a scary reminder that Soviet practices are alive and well, here is the good old Soviet tradition of taking people off work and sending them to political rallies they had no interest in. But then the USSR, at least, never withdrew the salary for the days missed by employees because of such events.

I want to hope that the information provided in the article is not true. Does anybody know anything about this event?

Don’t watch the following video if you are not prepared to feel very, very sad:

El Sendero Luminoso

Professionally, no prospect terrifies me more than becoming one of those professors who keep offering the same tired collection of lectures for decades. Of course, the inertia is always there and I have to struggle against it in order to continue growing intellectually. This is why, as I shared earlier, I selected a variety of topics from recent Latin American history that I know nothing about and scheduled lectures on these subjects for this semester.

The very first topic was Peru’s El Sendero Luminoso. I’m ashamed to confess that my knowledge of it was so non-existent that I even had to do an online search to figure out what country it originated in. (Please remember that I’m not a Latin Americanist, which excuses this ignorance to an extent.)

Since these topics were included in the syllabus and announced to the students, I had no option but to start learning. I buried myself in sources on El Sendero Luminoso and finally delivered my lecture today.

The lecture was a smashing success. At the beginning of the class, many students looked bored and exhausted. The moment I walked into the classroom, many of them whipped out their cell phones and started texting with abandon. (I’m noticing that this is a very common reaction to a professor’s appearance. I attribute it to teenage shyness.)

However, after I started speaking, their interest awakened. Eyes opened, backs straightened, cell phones were put aside. The students looked riveted. At the end of the class, there were so many questions and comments that I couldn’t even finish the lecture on time. The prof who is teaching the next class in this classroom started making frustrated huffing noises that I could hear from behind the closed door.

We talked about the issues faced by progressive movements worldwide, the cocaleros, the War on Drugs. The level of enthusiasm the students exhibited was outstanding. Since the subject is new to me, I was very eager to share this new knowledge and I guess the students felt that.

I can’t tell you how happy I feel right now. This is what an educator lives for.

The moral of the story: intellectual self-improvement bears immediate and stunning fruit.

And now I’m off to my lecture on the Spanish Civil War.

Love of Visigoths

It turns out that I have 3 hard-core fans of the Visigoths in my Hispanic Civ course this semester. They took exception to my statement that the contribution of the Visigoths to the Hispanic civilization was minimal and proceeded to argue passionately (and very intelligently) about the importance of the Visigoths. It must be hard to challenge the professor when you are a Freshman or a Sophomore. Especially when that professor is yours truly.

Nothing makes me happier than to see young people being so passionate about things that happened 1,500 years ago and that are not immediately relevant to their daily lives.

A new definition of a university that I just came up with: it’s a place where you come to practice your love for things most people find ridiculous and boring.

As long as there are 18-year-olds who care about the Visigoths, our civilization will survive and prosper.

Alarmist Media

My parents sometimes allow the pro-Russian media influence them way too much.

“What is happening? What is going on in the US?” my father asks me over the phone in a very alarmed voice as he calls me from Montreal.

“Huh?” I ask, trying to wake up.

“We just read this article by a Russian journalist who lives in the US. He says everything is horrible! The country is on the verge of a war! People are buying enormous amounts of food because they fear that food supplies will run out! Are you OK? How are you doing???”

(We speak on the phone every day, mind you.)

“I’m fine,” I says. “Everything is great.”

“But is it true that people are stocking up on food in case of war?”

“Well,” I say, “N. and I went to the supermarket the other day and people were buying quite a lot of food. And we did buy a bunch of stuff as well. But that isn’t because we expect a civil war but because we like food. And so do most Americans.”

“Ah, so things are not horrible? You are OK? Here, I will give the phone to your mother,” he says. “You need to reassure her.”

“What is happening? What is going on in the US?” my mother asks, sounding even more alarmed than my father.

And the whole dialogue repeats itself.

The Russian media are selling this spiel about the horrible, mean and miserable Americans who are about to die out massively (and good riddance, too!) like there is no tomorrow. This is understandable because Putin needs to present himself as the savior of Russians from the nasty US.

I find the whole thing hilarious.