Intellectuals Who Changed the World

From a student’s homework:

Some of the intellectuals who changed the world were Sigmund Freud, Socrates, Aristotle, and Carl Jung.

I swear to God, none of this is coming from me. I’m happy, anyways.

How come everybody suddenly got so civilized in this region? Where did all those students who thought Rio de Janeiro was the President of Mexico suddenly go?

Who Was Helped by the CIA?

In the same lecture, I mention that the CIA has recognized giving money and assistance to the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

“You mean, the CIA gave assistance to Allende,” a student corrects me.

“No, I mean Pinochet.”

“Are you sure?” the student insists. “This doesn’t make any sense.”

I offer quotes from the http://www.cia.gov to prove my point, including the following:

In the 1960s and the early 1970s, as part of the US Government policy to try to influence events in Chile, the CIA undertook specific covert action projects in Chile.  . . The overwhelming objective—firmly rooted in the policy of the period—was to discredit Marxist-leaning political leaders, especially Dr. Salvador Allende, and to strengthen and encourage their civilian and military opponents to prevent them from assuming power.

“This is ridiculous,” the student says in an accusing voice. “Why would we support a military dictator’s plan to overthrow a democratically elected leader?”

“Well, don’t look at me!” I say.

What Is Neoliberalism?

In class, I mention neoliberal policies in Pinochet’s Chile and ask the students, “Who knows what neoliberalism is?”

“It’s the reason why we can’t find any jobs, people are losing their homes, and banks have been stiffing us left and right,” one student says in a loud and angry voice.

Good News!

Two pieces of good news have come in on the heels of recent discussions on this blog.

1. Saint Louis University decided to withdraw its proposal to abolish tenure.

2. CUNY’s Karen Steele has apologized for her threats to punish the members of the English department for exercising their academic freedom.

This is precisely why it is so crucial that we raise a mighty stink whenever anybody tries to infringe on our rights. Activism works, and nowadays it is especially easy to engage in productive activism because we can use the Internet to make our ideas as widely known as possible. Only this year there have been many cases where unfair and wrong policies were stopped at the very beginning by the efforts of everybody who denounced them online.

Build your blogs and social networks, stay connected, make your voice count. We have an unprecedented opportunity to fight injustice and make sure that things don’t get sneaked past us.

European Skirt

“You always wear such beautiful clothes,” a student told me.

“Thank you,” I said.

“You have this very chic way of dressing that makes you really stand out. Like this skirt,” the student actually tugged on my skirt. “It looks very European. You bought it in Europe, right?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my “European” skirt had been bought at Macy’s in St.Louis for $45, so I mumbled something.

Everything means whatever you want it to mean.

Tell Me Who Your Friends Are

Even today, in 2012, the guy is supposed to be in charge. I see it in every heterosexual relationship I know, the acquiescence of the female. When I observe people being coupled, I see too many compromises that I don’t know that I could make or would want to make.

It’s very annoying when people turn their own shitty lives into some sort of an indictment against the universe. If you choose to surround yourself with sexist losers, that is your problem. I, for instance, cannot think of a single couple I know where “the guy is in charge.”

Every couple I count among my friends, relatives, colleagues, and acquaintances is based on a fair partnership between loving and respectful equals. I made a choice not to be surrounded by idiots. Make that choice, too, or stop whining already. At the very least, try to realize that you are promoting the very sexism you seem to bemoan by granting your friendship and company to sexist freaks. That makes you one of those very sexist freaks.

Obviously, sexists exist. But if every single person you know is a sexist, the  you are in no way better.

Why do I have to be annoyed by arrant idiots so early in the morning?