What Really Happened at Yale

And now that I’m done kidding, let me tell you briefly what is really behind the Yale kerfuffle.

The graduate student union (GESO) is not managing to get recognized as a union by the administration. It hasn’t managed to get recognized for way too long. And to compensate for that,  the union foments these ridiculous outbursts to pretend like it’s doing something.

I know how this shit works only too well.

Fresh Drama at Yale

And here is another round of fresh, juicy drama from my alma mater:

On March 6, professors and graduate students in Spanish and Portuguese arrived at their department mailboxes to find an anonymous letter expressing grave concerns about their department. The letter, which said it was written by a group of graduate students, was also passed along to several top administrators.

“The graduate students of Spanish and Portuguese wish to make known the level of discontent that we feel as a result of the highly negative atmosphere that has been created in our department,” the letter read. “Many issues related to Spanish and Portuguese are blatant acts of discrimination and harassment.”

Yes, and the very first issue I’m seeing is the poor writing skills. When I was a graduate student at that department, my writing in English also sucked something fierce, so I can identify. Oh, the beautiful days of writing pompous, drama-queenish missives in horrible English! I’m having a great day today, the Chancellor approved my tenure, the Research Grants committee meeting went beautifully, my sister is celebrating her birthday, so I can wax nostalgic over the memories of my wayward youth.

I understand that Yalie angst is not to everybody’s liking, so I’m putting the rest of the post under the fold.

Continue reading “Fresh Drama at Yale”

Anti-Semitism in Russia

The neo-Nazis in Russia have been emboldened by last week’s conference of neo-Nazi leaders from all over the world held in St. Petersburg:

Vandals have painted a swastika on a memorial to  Holocaust victims killed during World War II in Volgograd, in an attack that one Jewish organization said was inspired by a congress of far-right parties held in the country this week.

This is, of course, one of many attempts to deface the memorial since it was put up in 2007. As Putin tries to make his regime more attractive to the country’s growing neo-Nazi movement, anti-Semitic outbursts are becoming more frequent: 

“The history of our country shows that all outbreaks of anti-Semitism in Russia happened only during the times when the ruling powers permitted Judeophobes to openly show their hatred of Jews,” the Russian Jewish Congress said in an online statement. “Impunity has been interpreted as a call to action.”

This analysis by the Russian Jewish Congress is spot-on. In July of 2014, while meeting with a group of Russian rabbis Putin openly expressed his admiration for Goebbels, the chief ideologue of the Nazi regime. As a result of Putin’s flirtation with Russia’s neo-Nazis (whom he needs to fight in Ukraine, as they form his most trusted source of volunteers in the war), anti-Semitic attacks have been on the rise in Russia:

Neighborhoods in and around Volgograd — the site of major battles during World War II — in the past few years have also seen swastikas painted on houses, posters praising Hitler pasted on bus stops, and young men wearing swastikas marching during an Easter-time procession, state-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.

It is worth noting that, originally, Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine was justified by repeated claims that there was a neo-Nazi government in place in Ukraine. Since then, there has been no evidence whatsoever of Nazism being on the rise in Ukraine. Russia, however, is experiencing a major strengthening of its formerly quite weak neo-Nazism.

American Humvees Arrive in Ukraine

In other news, the first ten Humvees have arrived from the US in Ukraine. Here they are:


The symbolic value of the Humvees is so enormous that the President of Ukraine is coming out to greet them in person.

Thank you, Americans!

And for those who scoffed at the idea of non-lethal weaponry, the Humvees are an example of what that means. Kevlar vests, night-vision goggles, that kind of thing. The scoffing potential is minimal yet people still couldn’t help being weird.

Deaflympics in Russia

When the participants in the 2015 Deaflympics disembarked in Russia, they were greated by a group of singers who tried to entertain the deaf athletes with Russian folk songs.


This insensitivity has been very characteristic of the Russian attitude to the world: we’ll inflict exhibitions of our patriotism on you whether you want it or not and just try not be joyful in response.

Stereotypes on The Wire

Those two Polish cousins on the second season of The Wire – Nicky and Ziggy – are totally like a stereotypical Russian and a stereotypical Ukrainian. They even look the part – one is lighter with a prominent nose and the other is black-haired with a small cutesy nose. One is broody and dramatic and the other one is gregarious and always happy.

Plus, I hate “the Russian” one because he played a sociopath who kidnapped Olivia Benson on Law and Order. So I have a historic hatred for him.

I’m sure the creators of the show didn’t mean it but it’s totally hilarious to me how these characters are.