The First Invitation 

Today I took Klara to her first invited birthday party. It was held in the Children’s Museum, which is a fantastic place for kids. The party was great but I was very confused by the abundance of color green. Everybody was dressed in green, kids, adults, museum workers. The decorations were green, too. I still see green even after getting home. 

I can be excused for not clocking on to it because the party was for my Venezuelan colleague’s daughter, and I was not in an Irish frame of mind. Most people around here are historically German, not Irish. The only Irish pub we had went bust and gave place to a restaurant that serves pea soup made from canned peas. 

P.S. Hey, I completely forgot that I’m now a redhead and can finally wear green. And that’s after fleeing it like the plague my whole life.


The Trump – Merkel Handshake 

This is crazy! I just saw over a dozen American sources in my newsfeed share the story that Trump refused to shake Merkel’s hand. At that exact same time, my Spanish sources are publishing stories titled “Trump and Merkel Shake Hands” and accompany them with this photo. Spanish sources also insist that the meeting was very cordial while American sources are unanimous that it was extremely tense. 

Somebody’s gone nutso. 


Or take “the right to choose.” I hate the term. I much prefer “reproductive rights” or the honest “abortion rights.” Hey, why are we do afraid of saying the word abortion? Do we think there’s anything wrong with it? 

“The right to choose” is dumb because I don’t see anything particularly good or important in choices. Dumb choices are made all the time. People chose to vote for Trump, didn’t they?

The rhetoric of choice obscures the fact that choices are not made in a vacuum. If a woman doesn’t really want to abort but still seeks an abortion because she’s poor and desperate / doesn’t have access to healthcare / is afraid of losing her job or her living arrangement / knows she won’t have childcare, etc, what kind of a “choice” is it? We hide from our collective responsibility for her hopelessness behind the neoliberal rhetoric of choice. 

I want to live in a society where everybody has healthcare and nobody suffers from poverty that forces them into unwanted choices of this nature. I want prenatal and neonatal care for everybody. I’m very eager to pay higher taxes to achieve this goal. Let’s make this happen and then talk about choices. But until then, let’s leave the rhetoric of choice aside. 

Academics in Their Fifties

In Humanities, academics in their mid-fifties approach the moment of the highest productivity, their great flourishing when all of the knowledge they have accumulated will produce their greatest achievements. 

Those of them who have fashioned a productive research life up to this point detest anybody who wastes their time and move with great effectiveness and speed through the obligations that distract them from scholarship. It’s an enormous pleasure to work with them.

Those who haven’t managed to create a productive life of research take vengeance on everybody by wasting everybody else’s time like it’s their sacred duty. 

I was just in a meeting where two such academics drove everyone nuts, interrupting the speaker, giggling, throwing bits of paper at each other (sic!) and laughing, snapping and exchanging selfies, and making such a nuisance of themselves that I’m literally livid. This was a really good speaker and I wanted to hear what he had to say. But these two colleagues drowned out a good quarter of the talk. 

It was not the kind of meeting that anybody is obligated to attend, by the way. If you don’t want to be there, don’t go. But to steal people’s time like this, on a Friday afternoon, is shameless. 

The Unexpected

The Trump health care and budget plans will be harsh on the poor, which we expected. But they’ll also be harsh on the working class, which we didn’t.

These “we” are dumbasses of rare caliber if they find anything that is happening unexpected.

I was willing to compromise my financial interests and pay higher taxes so that these folks would have a better life. But they said they didn’t want it. I don’t care who anybody voted for, this is collective responsibility and collective choice. So now the royal we should eat the results of their choice with a big spoon and say thanks. 

Friday Link Encyclopedia

I swear I read this after writing my yesterday’s posts: “When cultural conservatives disengage from organized religion, they tend to redraw the boundaries of identity, de-emphasizing morality and religion and emphasizing race and nation. Trump is both a beneficiary and a driver of that shift.”

Criminals under the guise of doctors.

And on a similar subject, an article about the insanity of unhinged consumers who treat their own bodies as defective kitchen sinks.

The second case of wife-burning among Syrian refugees in Estonia in just a few months.

It’s shocking how many professors justify the disgusting assault on a female professor that took place at Middlebury. The disgust I feel towards these creatures is intense.

And here is another freak of nature trying to drown this heinous sexist crime in a torrent of dishonest words. Note how long both of these posts are. The vile jerks are aware of how disgusting their position is and are trying to drown out the shame with empty verbiage.

But there are good people in the world to balance out the existence of vicious freaks. J.D. Vance is moving back to Ohio to found an organization that will fight the opioid epidemic. What a great fellow.

Of course, there is no heroin epidemic, is there?

Worrying about A.I. becoming too smart right now is like worrying about overpopulation on Mars.” Absolutely.

An untenured professor at NYU lost his job because a bunch of rich, over fed brats started a vendetta against him.

The new class of jobs to substitute the ones that are disappearing.

What Democrats need to do to win. A great post! Read it and then reread the very first link in this encyclopedia.


The reason I wrote the previous post is that I got in touch with a colleague I’ve been working with on a project to tell her I’m going to be at the conference in Baltimore next week and “hey, I’d love finally to meet you in person.”

The colleague was very into the idea of hanging out together at the conference but, she added,”I have to warn you that I’m a very boring person.”

I can’t imagine a male Hispanist referring to himself as boring but female scholars do the self-deprecating thing all the time. The goal, I’m guessing, is to get people to start reassuring, “No, you are not in the least boring! In fact, you are super fascinating!”

Problem is, nobody will do this for you unless they know and care about you. Everybody else will take you at your word. They will file your name and the word “boring” next to each other in their brains.