A Japanese Caricature of the World, 1932

I didn’t get Central America at first but I was looking too close. You have to see the whole region at once to get it.

Stereotypes And Writing

I’m reading a million-page book by a Spanish writer who is trying to demonstrate that stereotypes are stupid. The book is written in endless sentences with dozens of subordinate clauses, parentheses, and strings of conjunctive adverbs. The language is flowery to the point of insanity.

But stereotypes are totally stupid, of course.

Chancellor

I had a really great meeting with the Chancellor yesterday. I deeply dislike university administrators with their degrees in educational leadership and community building (for real, our previous administrator had these degrees). They love diversity but are stunned to discover that people in China speak Chinese (for real, a previous administrator was like that). But this Chancellor was actually OK. He didn’t bullshit us (it was a small lunch with 6 university workers), didn’t proclaim any slogans, and answered all questions directly.

He really got me with a story of how he was at an event with presidents of the top 30% of schools in the nation. They were called to the stage in order of importance: Harvard, then Yale, then Columbia, and so on. Our Chancellor was one but last. He was good-humored about it but it sucked. Way too many people at my school don’t understand why it sucks, so it was great to see somebody who isn’t proud of being mediocre.

What angered me at the meeting was the colleagues who aggressively started to promote the idea that if you teach well you can’t possibly be interested in or good at research. And vice versa, if you like research you must be a bad teacher. This is patently ridiculous but it’s interesting that it’s academics themselves who promote this either/or mentality. They never pause to ask what it is they are supposedly teaching so well if they aren’t keeping up with the field. The ancient crap they learned in grad school 28 years ago?