Cohen Testimony

So… no Russian collusion, no subornation of perjury, no requests to lie to Congress, no trip to Prague, no love child even but Trump is vain and he said mean things. And there’s “something odd about back and forth praise with Putin.”

Wow, huge revelations. Totally worth waiting two years for this earth-shattering twist.

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Smart Book Marketing

Smart authors who start a series (and in some genres, like mystery of legal thrillers, it’s all about the series) drop the first book in the new series on Amazon for free. It can be part of Amazon Firsts, for instance.

This gets them instant exposure to readers they’d never get otherwise because nobody wants to waste $10 on a book by an unknown writer that might turn out to be bad. But for free people don’t mind giving it a try. Plus, the free books get at least a couple thousand reviews, which attracts more readers. And after that, the authors’ fate is in their own hands because if the first novel is good, people will buy the rest of the series.

This gives writers incredible freedom that they never had before. If readers don’t come back for the second book in the series, it’s not because the critics didn’t notice it, the publishers didn’t promote it, or you have rotten luck. It’s because you can’t get readers to stay interested.

This week I discovered Mike Omer’s Zoe Bentley series this way. I would have never bought the book but since I got it for free, why not try it? The book turned out to be great. Serial killers! FBI profilers! A cute agent called Tatum! Who takes care of his elderly grandpa! What’s not to love? So now I pre-ordered the second book in the series.

Literary agents, publishing marketing, book tours – it’s all dead now. And that’s great.

California Destroys History

I finally found something important on FB that I want to make public:

The California State University system (which has over 400,000 undergrads on 23 campuses) and CA community college system (which has between 1-2 million students on over 110 campuses, about 25% of all cc students in the US) are moving toward eliminating their US History and World History course requirements. If the reforms pass, it’s unlikely that the vast majority of CA college students will ever study any pre-20th century history in college.

Here is an excerpt from letter of protest written by CSU professors:

Last summer, a surprise Executive Order by CSU Chancellor, Timothy White, gutted the teaching of World History and Western Civilization for tens of thousands of CSU students. At a campus like San Diego State University, near the US-Mexico border, the order means that students will no longer be required, or even encouraged, to study the history of any place outside the US.
This week, the CSU rolled out a similar plan for American History. Working behind closed doors and skirting open meeting laws for nearly two years, a CSU “task
force on general education” has prepared a plan to eviscerate the state’s requirement in
“American Institutions,” which has been the backbone of US history and civic education in California for almost 60 years. In short strokes, the proposal cuts the requirement for civic education by half and severs what’s left from the study of history. Imagine a course on Environmental Regulation as the substitute for U.S. History and Government. If the proposal is implemented, no CSU students will be required to study the history of any nation, including their
own.

Because nations are irrelevant. History is irrelevant. All that matters is the all-engulfing now.

This is not a bug, this is a sine qua non of rolling over for global capital. Nations don’t exist without a widely shared knowledge of their history (says not me but every scholar of nationalism). A feeling of shared pride in the nation’s history is another factor without which a nation doesn’t exist. An imagined community that is a nation is held together by the glue of this pride and a shared sense of historical continuity. Again, I’m not the one who’s saying this. There is a bibliography from here to the moon on this.

What we are seeing in California is a calculated move to erode the foundations of the national identity. The only winner in this game is global capital.

We need to know what’s happening and understand reasons for it. This is a consolidated ideological campaign that has a clear purpose. This sad development will not be covered anything like ridiculous details about payments to prostitutes but we need to stay inform. Please share this information with anybody you can think of.

Engaging Emotionally

The university is offering a workshop titled “How can I engage the emotions of my students?”

I often think that these pedagogy experts haven’t met an actual student since 1955. The problem with real existing students is precisely that they are too emotionally engaged. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to say, “I’m not trying to engage with you emotionally. I’m trying to engage with you intellectually. I don’t need to know how you feel but what you think.”

Tell Me Who Your Friends Are

A new research study fromthe University of Vermont and the University of Adelaide is about social media. Pointedly, the researchers reported that they could predict a person’s preferences (let’s call her Jane Smith) and beliefs based on what the Jane’s friends posted, without ever looking at Jane’s own posts or even if Jane didn’t have an account on the site. The predictions were 95% correct.

They would be 100% incorrect in my case. My FB feed is like an SJW cesspool on crack.