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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 “November 6, 2017”

Now They Wake Up

Kremlin-backed support for Donald Trump’s candidacy over social media began much earlier than previously known, a new analysis of Twitter data shows. Russian Twitter accounts posing as Americans began lavishing praise on Mr. Trump and attacking his rivals within weeks after he announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015.

Not weeks. Days. As I said on this blog immediately. And people called me crazy but that’s ok. 


Kevin Drum takes a stab at some of the reasons why they might have chosen to back this gadfly so early in the primary season:It was just a test. Social media manipulation was new to the Russians too, and they figured Trump might make an interesting test of how effective it could be.

I don’t know who this Kevin Drum is but he’s insanely dumb. Social media manipulation was new to the Russians in 2015? What is this loser smoking? Jeez. 

The simple truth of the matter is that Putin supported Trump from day one because Trump is a copy of Putin. They say the same things. They believe the same things. They share the same lifestyle. They belong to the same class of billionaires. That’s all there is to it. 

And Kevin Drum should die of shame for being a gabby little airhead. 

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The Ugliest Boot in the World

This is what FB thinks I will want to buy. Fuck you, FB.

Creepy

I just received a professional email from somebody who signs as “Dr. Jenny Smith*, pronouns she/her/hers.” Since I can’t imagine an occasion to refer to her in the third person in a correspondence between the two of us, this creeps me out. Or is she suggesting that I should write “so what does she think about this title for the session?” instead of “what do you think?”

I don’t know how to interact with this person now and I don’t know why I should want to. I’m afraid there will be Lean In quotes in her future communications. 

Do people have nothing better to do with their lives, I wonder?

*Obviously, I changed the name. 

Nagging Mothers

And here is more in the same vein:

Harassing your daughter about finishing up her homework may not thrill her at the time, but she’ll thank you later in life.

This comes from a study conducted by the University of Essex in England titled “Behind every successful woman is a nagging mom.” It found teenage girls are more likely to succeed if they have pushy mothers.

Yes, you can train a monkey to smoke cigarettes or put on shoes if you torture it enough but for what purpose? Why is success measured in money made (and then wasted on anti-anxiety meds, therapists, and expensive compensatory practices)? 

Unconditional maternal love and acceptance is the only wall we have between ourselves and anxiety, depression, catastrophic thinking, and low self-esteem. And we should dismantle this wall to produce a scared and miserable little robot who enhances our status with high grades and big salaries? Fuck that. 

The question these articles never ask is “succeed at what? How do I define success and why?” The answers might shock their authors.

Emotional Competence

Imagine your 10-year-old daughter is involved in a high-dive competition. She’s past the point of participation trophies and genuinely wants to win. She performs as cleanly as she can, but the judges’ scores are not as high as the other girls. Ultimately, she goes home with nothing and is devastated. How would you respond to her?
A.      “Well I thought you were the best of all of those girls.”
B.      “It’s OK. We’ll get ’em next time.”
C.      “Those girls were better than you, which is why you didn’t win.”

The author of the linked monstrosity says response C is best for future academic success. And I say he’s a sadistic gnat and an idiot who can’t even come with a selection of normal responses to make a point. 

My own father would never say such cruel shit to me, and hey, is it even possible to get more academically successful than I’ve been throughout my entire life?

How hard it is to express compassion when somebody is devastated? Isn’t it a much more important lesson to teach than competitiveness (we’ll get ’em! You are the best!) or exhibit callousness (they are better! You stank!)? 

The real question to ask here is not how do I turn the situation into a pedagogical exercise at the child’s expense but what does it say about the message I’m sending that she isn’t simply disappointed (a normal reaction) but actually devastated by something so insignificant. 

Basic emotional competence is a crucial life skill. And there is no emotional competence when you are incapable of distinguishing between minor setbacks and devastating events. 

People are so obsessed with turning kids into productive neoliberal machines who compete and achieve all day long. But a much more useful thing to do would be to raise kids who enjoy life and can relate to others without constantly competing or judging themselves and others. 

The response I would give in this situation is, “I’m so sorry you feel sad. I know this must be hard for you. I love you so much.” And this is the response normal people give to anybody who is sad and disappointed, let alone devastated.

Cultural Swearing

There are cultures whose swear words have to do with sex (fuck you, motherfucker, screw that, etc.).

There are cultures whose swear words relate to religion (hostia, tabarnak, en crisse, etc.).

There are cultures whose swear words are scatological (ass, shit, etc.).

Of course, all cultures have swear words in several areas but there is always a clear majority.

I’m not truly Ukrainian because the scatological theme does nothing for me. When I hear the convoluted and inventive Ukrainian swearing with the clearly scatological theme, I feel lost. I’m very obviously part of the Russian-speaker culture whose swearing is very genital.

To find out who you really are culturally, drop a heavy object on your foot and take note of what you scream out about.

Instinct

Some people have an innate sense of which food is good for their bodies. I have the opposite talent. If you give me a long menu or place me in a huge buffet, I’ll instinctively pick the worst kind of garbage on offer. I’ve started checking my instinctive choices in an app, and it’s really funny. Whenever there’s crap on offer, I veer towards it. 

Hello, my Soviet childhood. 

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