What It Looks Like

I know it’s cruel to keep talking about the monkeys and never provide an image. So by huge popular demand, here is Klara’s favorite toy in the world. 

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The Adjunct Supply

Hear, hear for Claire Potter:

Why won’t anyone say the obvious: no one should work as an adjunct. If people refused this labor and did something else with their Ph.D.s — which, according to studies done by professional associations is more than viable — institutions would be forced to adjust their hiring practices.

The rest of the article is also good. I believe the bizillion and one Spanish 101 and so on courses should be taught by people with MAs. But if PhDs are applying, you can’t discard them and only keep the MAs. There is no acceptable legal justification for doing that. Nobody is going to give tenure for this kind of teaching because that would be fully deranged. So maybe the only solution is for people to heed Claire Potter’s advice. 

Of course, I only mean people with PhDs who detest adjunct jobs. Those who find them convenient for personal, familial, or other reasons, they might work just great. For many folks, not being responsible for anything else in life than teaching French 101 for 4 hours 3 times a week might be liberating and fun. Why should anybody stand in their way?

Crazy Loop

Just an example of the most recent iteration of the crazy loop. Trump said that back in 2010 Obama didn’t call on the phone somebody who lost a son in combat. I’ve seen this entirely irrelevant, boring, ridiculous shit on TV and online at least half a dozen times since morning. And I’m trying to actively avoid seeing it. 

It’s like people are not even aware how insane it is to get hung up on something like this. And hey, does anybody doubt there will be something else of this nature before nightfall?

Book Notes: Saizarbitoria’s Martutene

816 pages, folks. Damn. Not much of a plot yet this novel reads faster and more intensely than any mystery. It’s so good that I dragged this brick of a book with me everywhere even when I knew I’d have no chance to read because just holding it was extremely pleasant. 

Saizarbitoria is a writer of immense talent. Every year there’s a search for somebody at least marginally deserving of the Nobel, and all this time there’s this incredible genius just sitting there, churning out works of art like you have no idea. Saizarbitoria made a very valiant choice to write in Basque, which means consciously accepting that you’ll have fewer readers and a lot less fame. Plus, writing in Basque is harder than in Spanish because of what the language is like and its history. There is a discussion of all of this in the novel, and it’s fascinating.

There is so much in this novel. Dying marriages, sex between old men and young women, medical ethics, art blending into life, translation pitfalls, ETA, the Basque language, historical memory. I can’t talk about all of it here, obviously, so I’ll just mention the part I found the most curious. Martutene is the best exploration of stunted emotional development that I’ve ever seen. Basques – how do I put it extremely mildly? – are not entirely unknown for being somewhat impoverished in terms of their emotional range. 

It can be a bit frustrating to read about characters who are emotionally as stupid as sacks of hair. But it’s also funny once you realize what the author is doing. Hey, I finally understood what caused the greatest romantic disaster of my whole life back in the day. 

Of course, now I want to drop everything and read more Saizarbitoria. The fellow has been writing since the sixties, so there’s a lot to read. Incredible novel, simply incredible.

Funny Bunny

Whenever Klara plays a practical joke on me, I say, “Aren’t you a funny bunny?”

So yesterday she hid my lotion cap and when I started looking for it, she smiled mischievously and said, “Funny bunny!”

It blows my mind that she can already use expressions situationally. Every time it happens, it’s completely unexpected for me. 

Let’s Resist!

Hey, I got an idea. Let’s start a real resistance movement. Not some inane marching for women’s rights alongside Harvey Weinstein and stuff of that nature but real resistance. I propose that we resist Trump’s attempts to colonize our minds. 

Let’s pledge to sit out two thirds of his scandals. That means only learning about and / or reacting to one in three. The remaining two, the moment they begin, turn off, plug out, scroll down, read a book or take a nap instead. Alternatively, you can do two weeks of no Trump drama and then a week back on the dope. 

Of course, some are so hooked, they’d have to go cold-turkey. 

People have been saying Trump is a narcissist. Believe me as somebody who was tortured by a pathological narcissist, the only way to avoid being hurt is withdraw the attention the second a narcissistic meltdown begins. You can actually end up being almost kind of safe around a malignant narcissist but only if you remember to quit the game the second it begins. 

Freedom Not to Choose

Mike perfectly summarized the Catalonian independence movement:

To me, it seems a modern expression of neoliberal-infused identity politics and consumer “choice” as an expression of those politics.

If things don’t work, go buy a better model. If they really don’t work, buy a better identity. 

I dig conversations with people who think consumerism is a political stance. 

“If people want to XYZ, they should be free to do it!”

“Why?” 

“Because it’s their choice!”

“So?”

“It’s what they chose!!!”

“So?”

“FREEDOM!!!”