My Book

I’m now correcting the proofs of my book. It seems like it will appear in print in 2014, in time for my tenure review.

There are quite a few typos that creep in during the process of transforming the manuscript from a .doc file into a print-ready one. The funniest mistake is that the editors have, in some instances, masculinized my last name. (E.g. Instead of a last name that sounds like Tsvetkova, they put me down as Tsvetkov.) This is especially funny since I’m being published by an association of international feminists.

The book will be 223 pages long. The font is very pretty, and there are cute curlicues on top of each page. Unfortunately, the editors are not asking me for my photograph, which is upsetting. I would have given them the one that appears on the Home page of this blog. (My husband hates this photo because he says I’m not nearly as terrifying in RL).

Of course, now that I will have an actual book, I will dream of somebody writing a review of it. It’s a good book, if I say so myself.

First As Farce, Then As Tragedy

So Obama just spoke about the situation in the Crimea and said that he very concerned about the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine. He also said that if this happens, there will be consequences.

Of course, since these consequences have not been named, there is little hope that the warning will work.

In the meanwhile, Putin is saying that it is completely accidental that military maneuvers are being conducted on Ukrainian borders. “We’ve got an army and that’s what armies do, they conduct training maneuvers from time to time,” he explained.

A large group of ethnically Russian people of the Crimea wrote a letter to Putin telling him they are fine and please to stay away. Putin says that he will protect the ethnic Russians in Ukraine because he just knows they are in danger.

The President of Chechnya, the billionaire Kadyrov, says he is also ready to send Chechen troops to protect Russians and Chechens in Ukraine.

Russian pro-Putin bloggers are spreading rumors that there are gallows being constructed in Kiev to hang Jews.

Hijab Challenge

I walked into my classroom and saw that many of the female students were sitting there in hijabs.

“OK, I need to stop drinking,” I thought.

Then I remembered that I don’t drink.

Nobody said anything, so I pretended that nothing unusual was happening.

Only later did I find out that an event called “Hijab Challenge” was going on at the university.

A Small Move in the Direction of the Socialist Model

Let’s take the example of Quebec. Obviously, Quebec is a capitalist country. However, it is somewhat closer to the socialist model than, say, the US.

As I said, my sister pays more than my entire yearly salary in taxes. And what does she get in return?

Free medical care? Ha ha. She pays for a very expensive health insurance for herself and all her employees.

Free kindargarten for her kid? No, the cheap kindergarten next to her house gives all the spots to the kids of bureaucrats from the neighboring state official building. So my sister pays a fortune for a private daycare.

The knowledge she is helping eradicate poverty? Let’s not be ridiculous. Over 30% of children in Montreal’s public daycares live below the poverty line. And there are areas in the city that can only be qualified as slums. People we know who are in real need of welfare never qualify for a dime. But diamond-clad grifers get their lavish lifestyles sponsored by the state no questions asked.

My sister could take all that money she pays in taxes and create another great job opening at her company. Instead, the money goes to feed an army of bureaucrats who proliferate faster than bunnies in Australia and an army of con artists. 

But she should be grateful because, with real socialism, she wouldn’t be allowed to have a company at all.

Socialism Sucks, Capitalism Rocks

A strong welfare state, helping the poor, free medical care, free higher education, nationalization of key industries, socialism – all this surely sounds great. But then two seconds after you put it in practice, you get sky-high inflation, food shortages, censorship, and the very students you were educating for free are marching down the streets, calling you a fascist.

On the one hand, free higher education for all sounds great. But my student who is paying his way through college by working two full-time jobs comes to my office every day and inundates my mailbox with questions. And the one who’s on a scholarship tells me to my face, “I don’t care because the state pays for it” and comes to class once every 3 weeks.

A strong welfare state also sounds attractive. But then I look at my sister in Quebec who works 80-hour weeks only to hand over half of what she makes to the state to ensure that the lazy bureaucrats all have expensive houses and those who don’t feel like working can travel to international resorts twice a year, and I don’t want to live like that.

What Chavez was doing in Venezuela didn’t sound bad at all. But the result is horrible. This is the great paradox of socialism and communism. They sound so great, but the closer you come to them, the greater is the horror you experience.

Venezuela has demonstrated once again that socialism sucks and capitalism works. If you compare it to Spain, which has no natural resources, lots of completely barren land, suffered enormously from the global economic crisis, and chose the aggressively capitalist way, you will see that, unlike the Marxist-Leninist Venezuela, Spain has no food shortages, no censorship, no inflation, and the economy has started improving.

As much as I don’t like recognizing this, there is no economic system that is better than capitalism.

Saccharine Facebooking

Somebody I used to be friends with posted the following on Facebook: “The only way to change the world is to change yourself.”

Somebody else posted, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

People literally spend their entire lives posting this kind of crap on Facebook in a steady stream. Dozens of these saccharine inanities interspersed with pictures of kittens. And these are people with PhDs, publications, credentials, and what not.

The only exception is blogger Z who is a model Facebooker and whose status updates are all just bizarrely good.