Stupid Inspirational Quotes

Inspirational quotes look good at first but when you stop and consider them, you realize how incredibly stupid they are. Here are some that I find especially annoying:

With all due respect for Mark Twain, this is stupid. A person who chooses not to read for whatever reason has a sea of advantages over somebody who is illiterate and can’t even understand any of the papers s/he is signing. Do read Ruth Rendell’s A Judgment in Stone to get a perspective on what life looks like to an illiterate person in modern society. Rendell is no Twain, obviously, but the book is good.

I really hate these didactic, saccharine platitudes. Yeah, there are people who have to work 2 or 3 jobs and who can’t make time for things they really love doing. Let’s all sit here and feel superior to them. This quote really reminds me of the idea that people who don’t have jobs are simply not trying hard enough to find employment.

It turns out I just chose not to sprout wings and fly. This is really good news! The entire idea smacks of that horrible The Secret thing that was heavily promoted by Oprah a while ago. “If you are not a millionaire it’s because you don’t want to be one badly enough!” Vomit, vomit, vomit.

What is this, a threat for victims of stalking? There is nothing cute in people who pursue others against their will.

Except for people who throw out a knee, pull a muscle, sprain a leg, and meet their worst partner ever at the gym. Generalizations that are this wide always end up being ridiculous.

I found these priceless posters here.

Bill Clinton’s Speech at the DNC

I was never a huge fan of Bill Clinton but I really liked his speech at the DNC.

Have you listened to it? Do you like it?

I especially enjoyed it how he referred to the Republican discourse as existing in the “alternative universe.” When I listen to Todd Akin and Co, this is how I always feel.

The question that Clinton asked and that I find very important: are you doing better now than in 2008, when Obama came into office?

I definitely am. So does N. My university is doing much better financially. How about you? Feel any differences from the time when the economy crashed at the end of 2007?

Technology Fails, Clarissa Traumatized

Oh God, people, the stress I just experienced!

Do you remember this article of mine that was accepted in a very prestigious journal, which caused me so much joy? I was asked to send in the final version of the article by the end of March. So, obviously, I did. Normally, if I don’t get a confirmation, I start sending reminders to the journal’s editors. But to be honest, I was so intimidated by the important people at this specific journal that I couldn’t make myself pester them for a confirmation after sending in the article.

And what do you think?

I just received an email from the journal’s editor. He says with the utmost politeness that they still haven’t received the final version of my article. The articles have to be sent to the publisher in a week, the editor says, and they really don’t want to miss the opportunity to have my article among them.

The university server must have misfired and eaten my email with the article.

And on top of everything, I only saw this message from the kind editor by pure chance because it had been placed in the Spam box.

Of course, I wrote back immediately, attached the article and apologized profusely.

But just imagine, I could have missed the chance to see this article in print had the editor been less kind and accommodating. This is my most prestigious publication!

I was so stressed out that I threw my cell phone into the trash can by mistake.

The moral of the story: always request confirmations and don’t let big names intimidate you.

On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC

From an article on Michelle Obama’s speech at the DNC:

If the speech is effective beyond the power of well delivered rhetoric, it will be because the first lady took this description of Obama’s core self and linked it to policy. This is what Ann Romney and Mitt Romney never did. The message of the GOP convention was “Trust Mitt.” That was Michelle Obama’s message too: Her husband could be trusted because he came from a background and has lived a middle class life. But then she started connecting the biography to the policy. This was always Bill Clinton’s great gift. If this connection is successfully made, then that’s what will make this pitch more politically than just a pretty speech by a loving wife who thinks her husband deserves an A for effort.

I don’t want to criticize Michelle Obama because I understand that she made the speech she had to make. But it is very frustrating to see -yet again! – this pernicious idea that a president’s policies should be dictated by his “core self.” I don’t want to care about politicians’ biographies. I want them to act the role of hired managers who put in practice what their voters want them to do, not what a memory of their grandma tells them to do. I don’t want to hear about the politicians’ broken kitchen table, their dog, their grandfather, or their favorite brand of candy. I want to hear how a politician will put his or her personal interests, prejudices and foibles aside and do the job of representing the people.

We do not care about the “core selves” of any  professional we hire to perform a service. My students don’t expect me to teach well because I come from a long life of female teachers. They expect me to teach well because that’s my job. Neither do I question whether a dentist will be able to treat me well based on her family experiences with Ukrainians, Jews or autistics. She has to do her job well, irrespective of what her life has been like and what her maternal aunt told her 40 years ago.

When will politics stop being turned into a cheap melodrama and become centered around elected representatives who do the will of their voters and avoid bugging us with their numerous relatives and difficult childhoods?