A Dubious Victory

I’m very happy because I finally managed to convince (almost force, to be honest) a student to conduct her graduating project on Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits. Before you decide I have gone insane and turned to spoiling my students’ literary tastes, let me explain what the alternative was.

The student had been insisting that she wanted to write her research project on a Hollywood movie The House of the Spirits. Got it? A Hollywood movie. In English. To graduate with a Spanish Major.

And you know the absolutely worst part? This student is a native speaker of Spanish.

I’m really bugged by Spanish-speaking students who enroll in our program because they think they can get an “easy” degree out of it. The way the program is set up, they can keep taking endless language courses (which they need like I need another Kindle), wasting their time, aggravating the non-native students, and persecuting the teacher with their exaggerated sighs of boredom. After 3 years of this, you can’t get them to read anything or do anything labor-intensive as much as you try.

Which brings me to the same old point: we need to stop spawning these stupid language courses and start doing something different.

The Pseudo-Business Model

Arguments that universities are being run according to the business model annoy me hugely. Our administrators are folks who failed in both business and scholarship and are now trying to impose their faulty practices on us. The result is a pseudo-business model described beautifully in the following brilliant post:

So what’s the problem?  Why can’t this be solved in a business- like manner?  BECAUSE THE FREAKIN’ PROVOST HAS ALL THE TUITION MONEY!  Yes, in a real business model the academic unit that earns the credit hours should get the tuition money.  Then we could decide which services the department needs and wants to pay for.  Custodians? Sure. Grounds maintenance? Why not?  Administrators could submit their reason for existing, and we academics could decide if we want an assistant to the vice provost.  Provost?  Let us think about that one awhile.  So our university is being run on a phony baloney business model where the person with all the fiscal resources turns around and tells you everything is your responsibility but they withhold the resources you earned and need to take responsibility.

What can I say if our department functioned for 5 months without a departmental secretary? Students suffered, faculty members suffered, the Chair nearly collapsed with exhaustion. How difficult can it be to hire a secretary in a geographic area with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country? And do you think anybody punished the completely useless HR department for this mess-up? Ha ha. In our pseudo-business model, paper-pushers are not accountable to anybody.

Another HR person sends out a hysterical letter threatening to fire everybody including the Dean for no reason whatsoever and insults everybody in a very egregious manner. Then she claims she is being discriminated against by people who ask why she thinks she can fire faculty members and Deans, and we all have to apologize. Can you imagine a business where some dime-a-dozen clerk has a public meltdown insulting the CEO and then the CEO ends up apologizing?

So please, let’s not insult business by attributing these insane qualities to it.

Any Top Chef Fans Around?

Do you agree that Kristen was kicked off the show on purpose because she is very obviously the best chef by far and the judges just can’t deal with the idea of a woman (especially a beautiful and young one) winning?

I’m torn between my love of watching exquisite recipes being made and hating the disgusting sexism of the show.

I think the pork-fryer from Oklahoma or wherever will win. Or maybe the Filipino guy with his ugly-looking food and boring grandfather.

Maybe I should just stop watching the stupid show because it ends up aggravating me by the season’s finale.

Are there any shows that repulse you and attract you at the same time?