Shame on Boise State!

It’s so sad that the hounding of professors for doing their job and trying out theories, arguing positions and generating ideas is now an almost weekly occurrence. I just wrote about a similar case a couple of days ago, and here is a new round of this insanity

The story at the link is so Kafkian that I kept googling because I couldn’t fully believe it. This story and Ciccariello-Maher’s at Drexler could have easily taken place back in the USSR in 1951. What a shame. What a disgrace. You, Americans, have got everything. Yet you behave like victims of Stalinism who did this kind of shit to save their lives. They were terrified. What’s your excuse?


Mathematicians never throw tantrums about how much they detest the foreign language requirement. Physicists, engineers, historians, biologists, dancers, anthropologists, chemistry majors – they all study languages enthusiastically and have fun in the process. 

English literature majors, however, take the idea of learning another language as some sort of an egregious personal insult. They actually cry. With tears. 

I don’t get it. 

By Popular Demand

More on adjuncts since there’s such huge interest. We pay $32,000 ($4,000 per course × 8 courses) for this job. A tenure-track Assistant Professor gets $42,000. The benefits are identical. So a family of two adjuncts will make $64,000. Which, from what I understand, is higher than the median family income in this country. 

I still believe these should be jobs for MA holders but the only solution is to not have PhD holders apply for them. When I look at the ridiculously poor state of the academic job market in modern languages this year, I’m not seeing how this is going to happen. 

There is a trend currently where businesses are hiring people with degrees in languages for positions in marketing and stuff like that. I think it’s the wave of the future because it makes sense on every level. At least, these are intellectually challenging careers, unlike the life-long teaching of Spanish 101, which is a brain killer. 

Monkey Problem Solved

Believe it or not, I have figured out a solution for the monkey problem, folks. I now carry a photograph of the blasted thing on my phone (the one I posted yesterday.) If I can’t produce the actual monkey, I give Klara the photograph and that makes her very happy. It’s not as good as the actual thing but it tides us over until I can lay my hands on the original.

How to Save an Economy?

Everybody knows already that Russia’s Minister of Agriculture tried saving the country’s economy with a bold plan of selling pork to Indonesia. Even Putin giggled. 

Fewer people know that a there is a much more effective measure already in place. The Russian government “loses” taxpayers’ tax returns and makes them pay the same taxes 2, 3 or maybe even 6 times in a row. Putin giggled some more. 

Book Notes: Edurne Portela’s Mejor la ausencia

Edurne Portela was a professor of Latin American literature and specialized in the Argentinian novel on the Dirty War. Then she quit her job and became a full-time writer. This is important because her novel Mejor la ausencia is extraordinary similar – in terms of the plot, the narrative style, the protagonist, the choppy sentences that drive me nuts – to a novel on the Argentinian Dirty War by novelist Paula Varsavsky.

Like Varsavsky’s Nadie alzaba la voz, Portela’s novel is a Bildungsroman and a very conventional one. The protagonist is entitled, immature, self-infantilizing and lacking in insight to a degree one usually only expects to see mentally disabled people. What makes the novel attractive in spite of all this are hints at the presence of ETA somewhere around the plot. The idea that the novel promotes is that nationalist terrorism is a result of individual psychopathologies. 

I’m inured to the protagonists of contemporary female Bildungsromane, so I enjoyed the novel. I warn you, though, you might go loopy the first couple of times you meet all these Lulus, Natalias, and Beatrices who comprehend and describe their reality worse than a regular 3-year-old and pretend to be cute little girls in pigtails well past the age of thirty.

A good novel, though, seriously. I hope it gets translated.