Culture of Corruption at the U of I

University of Illinois kicked out one of its useless paper pushers, chancellor Wise. These overpayed bureaucrats are all a waste of space but Wise also caused extreme embarrassment to the university with her offensive scheming and endless intrigues.

The university announced it was going to give her a gift of $400,000 (sic!) for finally buggering off. In a broke state that’s been sending some of its professors – people who actually do useful work – on furloughs, an enormous gift to a dime a dozen bureaucrat who made U of I the laughing stock of the global academic community with its shameful treatment of Stephen Salaita provoked outrage.

U of I announced that the kickbacks to Wise will not take place. I’m glad because the story was starting to resemble news from Putin’s Russia.

Women Are Stupid, Cont’d

A fresh episode in the “Women Are Stupid” story that has been developing for as long as it became fashionable for women to attach themselves to a single worthless pair of pants and debase themselves for its sake:

Lottery winner spends $9m on bailing out fiancee accused of heroin trafficking.

Of course, for 9 million bucks this idiot could have bought herself a battalion of fresh, juicy drug dealers to cater to her every whim. But no, within consumer mentality, women only see themselves as goods, never as purchasers.

Book Notes: Networks of Outrage and Hope

Author: Manuel Castells
Title: Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age
Year: 2012
Language: English
My rating: 1.5 out of 10

Castells is a respected scholar, and I thought this analysis of the 2011-12 protest movements would be of interest. However, in terms of insight, this is one of the most impotent books I have ever read. Castells gushes on and on about the huge importance of the protest movements, highlighting precisely the ones that failed most spectacularly: Spain ‘ s Indignados and Occupy Wall Street. In the absence of any proof that these movements achieved anything other than bringing the conservative party to power in Spain, Castells argues that they matter because they helped people feel togetherness. Yippee.

The only semi-interesting observation Castells makes is that Internet-mediated protest movements have been the most successful in the most ethnically and culturally homogenous countries (Tunisia and Iceland.) Since the book’s publication, this observation has been borne out by the spectacular success of the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity.

I can’t say I’m convinced by this argument, though. I believe that protests failed in the rich consumer societies where people had comfortable lives and protested out of boredom more than anything else. The desperation of Mohamed Boazizi who was so fed up with injustice that he set himself on fire differs greatly from the smugness of an overfed brat whose greatest contribution to social change is raising the inane “Greed is bad” poster.

Since 2011, it became clear that Obama‚Äôs hugely unpopular bailouts saved the US economy and Spain ‘ s vilified party of austerity has managed to produce a marked economy growth. Against this background, the protesters who couldn’t be bothered to make a list of actual demands and overcome their narcissism enough to choose a few spokespersons look particularly helpless.

As the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine demonstrated, popular protests can be extremely successful. But the only way to make them work is to make sure that they concentrate not on vague requests addressed to a benevolent, paternalistic deity but on specific tasks that every protester is ready to perform. That deity (i.e. the nation-state) has left the building. Pleading with it to come and take care of us is a waste of time. Now is not the time to beg. It is the time to fill the vacuum created by the nation-state’s retreat.