Alternative Reality

I fell asleep for half an hour and when I woke up I discovered that Spain had list to Chile and has now been kicked out of the World Cup.

Have I awakened into an alternative reality? Because I’m not liking it.

A Ban on Foreign Words

The Russian Parliament has passed a law imposing fines for the “unjustified use of foreign words in mass media.”

Words such as blogger, promotion, manager, PR, vintage, boutique, online, email, and countless others entered the Russian language recently simply because they denote the realities that are new to the Russian- speaking world.

In his brilliant novel The First Circle, Solzhenitsyn ridiculed precisely these kind of fruitless efforts to purge of foreign borrowings a language that pretty much consists of them and very little else. And that was before entire industries started being run on linguistic borrowings.

Wednesday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

There was a weirdo on this blog recently trying to convince me that tenured professors cannot be fired. Here is one of a long line of examples that yes, they can:Syracuse University has dismissed a male professor who had a consensual relationship with a female undergraduate student. The faculty member, who SU has not identified, taught, advised and supervised the student during the relationship. . . The panel recommended the associate professor be dismissed and that his tenure be revoked.In this case, the firing was, of course, justified. However, there are also dozens of cases when tenured profs are fired because of “budget cuts.”

The ideological implications of the Oxford comma.

Somehow, the free-market utopia that all the primary voters believe in never arrives, no matter how many privatizations and tax cuts the Republicans try. And so they seek out someone even purer, someone even more fanatical. They drag the country into another debt-ceiling fight, and this time, they say, they really mean it! But what never occurs to them is that maybe it’s their ideals themselves that are the problem.

The US has a responsibility to do something. I don’t know what that is. I am fairly confident, however, whatever we decide to do will be the wrong thing.This is a fairly wide-spread approach to foreign policy, and ain’t that scary? God, people are stupid.

Examples of blind allegiance to tribal truths, keeping us weak & ignorant.A very good, important post.

A funny article by a Conservative who is in a tizzy that so many people believe in progress:This happy history shapes our thinking about the world more than most of us know. Whether conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Americans tend to think that history doesn’t matter much, that win-win solutions are easily found and that world history is moving inexorably toward a better and more peaceful place.

I feel exactly like this blogger: “Why is it that so of the pictures that I see online are disgusting or horrifying? Even a lot of the art is decidedly un-beautiful. Ugly. I wonder — where is the beauty these days? When was the last time I saw something and thought, “Wow! That’s beautiful”? It’s so rare.

And this is why everybody should read Clarissa (not the blogger but the novel. Although the blogger is a must-read, too.

An important post on why the recent publicity stunt by Starbucks is worthless and stupid.

This is a book I will definitely be reading: “My book begins by noting a struggle going in the culture between the efforts of growing numbers of professors and students to unplug the American university, and the so far much more powerful efforts of many universities and corporations to maintain and indeed expand wired and distance learning. I ponder the strange fact that the very people who want greater freedom and power for women are often the same people excited about technologies which – despite the good things they might do – have the effect of making it easier for women to stay home rather than venture onto open campuses and enter with their full self, as it were, culture’s unscripted public conversation, the ongoing real-world understanding and contestation of values and meanings that is the liberal arts university.” The article was deleted shortly after being posted but I promise it’s great.

What has the world come to! Republicans now have to be the sole champions of higher ed: “Senator Lamar Alexander said Thursday that he plans to attach an amendment to the labor, health, and education appropriations bill that would stop the Obama administration from moving ahead with its college ratings system. Alexander, the top Republican on the Senate’s education committee, said in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday that the amendment would prohibit the U.S. Department of Education from “using any federal funding to develop, refine, publish or implement a college ratings system.”

A very insightful post on why destroying teacher tenure will not help students.

Congress destroys the possibility of cheap flights to Europe. That makes sense because why wouldn’t our politicians want Americans to stay home and remain ignorant and easy to bamboozle?

A brilliant response to Reihan Salam’s stupid, higher ed-bashing article.

The writer explains that her partner was quite active before they lived together, but as soon as they lived together he began to whine about how to do things and to feign not understanding, which resulted of course, in her doing them for him while he sat back and watched T.V.” A very common problem that can only be solved if the woman in question asks herself why she needs the partner to be this way.

It is very eerie to see such a completely “Soviet male” rant coming from an American.

It seems to me and from the people I’ve talked to, is that the women who’ve had the biggest success in their careers have done so because they have a partner who carries a lot of the load in terms of having a family. And so it’s going to be either men who are going to have to share the load or take on more of it.” Of course. People who are psychologically healthy find it easy to be successful in all areas of their existence. I can’t wait for the time when “my husband doesn’t love me” stops being discussed as some sort of a feminist issue.

President Petro Poroshenko, whose rise to power in Ukraine coincided with an aggressive crackdown on separatist militants, is calling for a temporary ceasefire by government forces. The break in action would allow the armed opposition to lay down their weapons, Poroshenko says. . . Poroshenko announced his plan for a ceasefire one day after speaking with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin by phone.Oh God, what’s wrong with him? On what planet is a “unilateral ceasefire a good idea? 

In the comment section of this post, I explained a cultural baggage behind a joke. This just goes to show why humor is often untranslatable.