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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “May 6, 2017”

Lackeys vs Nazis 

The electoral choice almost everywhere in the Western civilization is between nasty cynical lackeys of liquid capital and neo-Nazis. 

The US has thrown a funny wrinkle into the whole deal by electing a nasty cynical lackey of liquid capital who poses as a neo-Nazi. 

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Book Notes: Jim McGuigan’s Neoliberal Culture

McGuigan’s Neoliberal Culture was clearly composed out of a bunch of articles and conference talks, which is why it’s repetitive to the point of a few passages being repeated verbatim up to half a dozen times. This is not a bad thing because it will make for a fantastic textbook. There is no better way to make students learn than repetition. 

I love the way McGuigan writes. His writing is very light on the jargon, sarcastic, direct, and clear. He gives great examples from the truly insane world of British cultural production to illustrate his points. 

I also appreciate McGuigan’s truly unique capacity not to ignore the painfully obvious in service of ideological commitments. He is as Marxist as they get but he states very clearly that it’s no coincidence that the greatest advances for women coincided with the neoliberal epoch. There is a direct connection since the foundational ideas of neoliberalism are the ideas of feminism (importance of individual choice, primacy of individual desires over communal needs or mandates of tradition). 

McGuigan says that the neoliberal ideology has managed to make itself commonsense by integrating disaffection. I always wondered why people in opulent societies are so into complaining. And now I know: the apocalyptic mindset is neoliberalism’s safety valve. 

There are many ways in which neoliberal ideology conquers minds and none of us are immune. We can’t stand outside of ideology but we can catch glimpses of how it operates. And this is what McGuigan does brilliantly in his book. 

French Insanity

There are citizens of Russia at the heart of most acts of terror that occurred in France (use this blog’s search function if you don’t remember). LePen’ s campaign is openly funded by Russia. In the midst of the campaign, LePen goes to Russia to stand beaming next to Putin. Putin manufactured the huge immigration wave from Syria to Europe.

And the French support LePen because they don’t like terrorism and Muslim immigrants? So they vote for somebody who brought them terrorism and immigrants?

That’s fucking nuts. 

France used to be a great country but it’s become a total cesspit. My apologies to my French readers but I call it as I see it. French education is in the toilet. Air France is the worst airline on the planet. French scholarship is a joke. There hasn’t been an interesting high-quality product coming from France in forever. And now this shit? What the fuck? What have you all done with the real France?

Understanding

Klara understands a lot more than I thought. I wondered aloud “Where is the stencil?” and she brought me the stencil. Then I asked where the robot was. She found it and gave it to me. I asked where the flowers were, and she brought me toy flowers and made sniffing noises at them. She also understands “Papa is sleeping, let’s be very quiet” and “It’s time to come out of the bathtub.”

It’s almost creepy.

Pay Cut

This year I took a pay cut of $26,500. This is the amount of the yearly contribution my employer makes to my healthcare fund. Since the fund has been hijacked and used for corrupt purposes by Governor Rainer, I had to drop the university healthcare insurance. 

Our salaries are pathetically low (I’m a tenured Associate Professor and I make $56,000) but we are supposed to be getting a great benefits package to compensate for that. Now that’s shot to hell. 

All quality people are leaving the school in droves (the Department of Math and Stats lost 6 people last year), and the only ones who remain are those who are forced by family circumstances. And to think that at the height of the Recession we were the school with the smartest hiring policy that attracted a great number of talented young scholars. This has all been destroyed now when there is no recession. 

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