The Weather Excuse

Of all the reasons to miss class, it is the weather excuse that bugs me the most.

Over half of my students in the 3 pm class failed to show up for my lecture on Catalan nationalism. When I asked the rest what was happening, they told me that the weather was too nice to be in class. And that really bugs me.

If at least we lived in a climate where people only see the sun once or twice a year, I would find this somewhat easier to understand. But we have had this hot and sunny weather since March. How painful is it to dedicate 50 minutes of one’s life to being in the classroom instead of outside?

I don’t want to sound like a frumpy ancient creature who doesn’t understand the young people, but I’m tempted to ask how these kids imagine their future in the workplace. Isn’t it time they grew up already?

This is such a good lecture, and it annoys me that so many people missed it. Now they will not be able to understand half of what I say in class and will slow things down for the responsible students who did show up.

What God Intended

 Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said Tuesday when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape, “that’s something God intended.”

Mourdock, who’s been locked in one of the country’s most watched Senate races, was asked during the final minutes of a debate with Democratic challenger Rep. Joe Donnelly whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said.

If abortion exists, then it is obviously something that God intended, too. If we are going to base our politics on psychoanalyzing God, then let’s at least engage in an exhaustive reading of God’s intentions.

I’m kind of upset with God right now for allowing Richard Mourdock to happen. I understand there must be some higher purpose here, but I have to tell you, God, this Mourdock guy is very badly done.  The gift of Mourdock’s life that you inflicted on all of us is quite a shitty gift.

How I Feel About Mariano Rajoy

Today’s lecture (that I almost overslept) was on Catalan nationalism. It is very hard to speak about current events without betraying what my opinion about them is. But I figured that since we are talking about a different country, it’s OK to be less cryptic.

“I don’t want to tell you how I feel about Rajoy,” I told my students. “So I will just show you some photos to let you know what he looks like.”




After I showed these images, everybody laughed.

“I’ve been wondering,” one student said. “Why is it that the professors here never express any political opinions. Is that because you are not interested in politics or because you are not allowed?”



I almost overslept my class today. This is weird because my class is at 12 pm. I went to bed quite early and slept well but then the heat came back over the night. Of course, I didn’t have air conditioning on because I didn’t expect the temperature to rise to +28 once again. I sleep on the second floor, under the roof which gets very hot when it’s sunny. So the heat sent me into a stupor and I barely managed to awaken at all.

This climate is going to drive me nuts.

Reader Appreciation Series: Musteryou

Musteryou, also known as Jennifer Armstrong, is a Zimbabwean woman living in Australia. Musteryou is fierce which is what I love about her. She is one of the most original thinkers I know who wouldn’t manage to say anything boring or pedestrian to save her life. She is a voracious reader who has elaborated a complex personal philosophy of her own.

Musteryou is engaged in a constant process of intellectual and personal growth. Her writing is intense and her comments always make me consider things from a fresh perspective. She is also a passionate feminist who analyzes the workings of the patriarchy in a very powerful way.

Musteryou’s blog can be found here.

Russians and Flowers

Last night, N. brought me a huge bouquet of roses.

“What is the occasion?” I asked.

“Your last bouquet wilted,” he explained very seriously.

This is the only typically Russian trait that N. possesses. He has been raised to believe that a man’s duty is to ensure that his wife always has fresh flowers about her. In everything else, he is the opposite of the stereotypical Russian.

He is very non-violent to the point where he can’t watch any TV shows because they traumatize him. I once got him to watch half an episode of Law & Order: SVU, and the poor guy had nightmares for a week. He also doesn’t like talk shows because he suffers when people yell over each other.

He is more indifferent to alcohol than any other person I know except my father.

He does half of household chores happily and enthusiastically. “Why did you wash these dishes?” he says, looking offended and confused. “This is my job. You are scaring me when you turn into this Soviet woman who just has to do all of the housework.”

He is a passionate feminist who winces when I jokingly say that somebody is a “typical man / woman.” Then he gives me a lecture on why gender stereotyping is wrong.

He is very progressive and a lot more Liberal on the economic issues than I am.

He is extremely faithful, monogamous, and uxorious, which is unheard of in a Russian person.

He is very methodical and organized.

He is very good at saving money.

He is also very kind. He pretends to have forgotten the stories I told him three times already to give me a chance to tell them again.

And he doesn’t talk about the tortured and mysterious Russian soul. He doesn’t even believe it exists. He also tries to control the frequency with which he quotes Pushkin for which I am eternally grateful.