Bauman’s Brood

I’m reading Mark Lilla’s new book, and it’s a very good, intelligent attempt at popularizing Zygmunt Bauman and everybody else who is writing about neoliberalism. I’ll write a review when I finish, which will be soon because it’s a short book.

But for now I just want to share this great quote that I don’t want to forget:

Identity is not the future of the left. It is not a force hostile to neoliberalism. Identity is Reaganism for lefties. 

It’s good to know that even though Bauman died, his ideas are gaining popularity. 


Sanders’s 2016 campaign started as, essentially, a protest movement that didn’t particularly seek expert policy advice in crafting its proposals and certainly didn’t receive it, given fear of retaliation by presumed victor Hillary Clinton against anyone who worked for her opponent…

Sweet Lord in heaven, what sorry crap people won’t spin to feel like victims. 

FB Insights

I just read this cutesy story on FB about a woman in her late 50s who suddenly gained a ton of weight and was worried about it. But her husband brought her a box of eclairs and said he loves her at any size. And everybody is like, “Wow, what a great husband.”

And I don’t know, it’s great he loves her at any size, but such a dramatic weight gain at this age might be a signal that she has a serious health issue. The husband should get her a doctor’s appointment instead of the eclairs. Of course, the only person in that thread that suggested this was labeled a fat-phobic bigot.


A few years ago, student advisement was outsourced to “professional advisers” who were hired as a large group for that purpose. It was sold to us as something that will allow professors to do less admin work. 

Of course, it turned out to be complete bunk. We still have to advise students and, what’s worse, we have to convince the students that everything the advisers told them is bunk. 

Example. A student came in yesterday who is a native speaker and who placed out of language courses. The “professional adviser” told him he only needed to take a single Senior Essay course to get a degree in Spanish. It took me 30 minutes to convince him that you can’t get a degree just on the strength of being a native speaker. He clearly thought that I was just being mean to him after all the wonderful promises of an easy and fast degree he had gotten from the adviser. 

We constantly meet with these advisers to explain to them how the program works. We create simple laminated sheets they can keep in front of them at all times that list the requirements but this shit keeps happening. 

Outsourcing is dumb. Creating needless and expensive bureaucracies is idiotic. 

A Stupid Excuse

It bothers me that when universities reject Richard Spencer’s offers to speak on campus, they invariably add, “This is not because of his ideas. It’s because of safety.” What a pathetic, mealy-mouthed, timid excuse. The universities are under no obligation to host every single person who wants to come over and speak. Each of these schools would have no problem telling you, for instance, that they are not interested in what you have to say. (Unless you are a leading scholar in your field, I mean.) 

I have no idea why it’s ok to reject everybody on the basis that we have nothing of value to communicate to the campus but it’s not ok to say that to a neo-Nazi. Especially when it’s so glaringly true. 

How to Help Houston?

As Americans are opening their wallets and donating to relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, one of the most prominent charities is the American Red Cross. But donors might be surprised to learn the Red Cross won’t, or can’t say, what percentage of their dollars will go directly to helping the victims of the storm.

The Red Cross spent 25% of what people had donated to the victims of the Haiti hurricane on “internal expenses.” And internal expenses mean sky-high salaries for dumbasses of Cecile Richards’ ilk. But hey, charities that only spend a quarter of donations on caviar parties and on keeping rich old hags in style are rare. Most appropriate a lot more. As a result, many of the people who want to help victims of natural disasters are actually helping the ultra wealthy class that organizes these disasters to begin with. 

Don’t Feed the Troll

This detailed and obsessive attention to what Trump said in his most recent rally is in aid of what exactly? The endless memes about his wife’s shoes that have hijacked my news feed, what purpose do they serve? If she had worn sneakers, would that somehow make things better?

This is feeding the troll, nothing else. There is no useful purpose behind this. And the troll just grows and grows.