New Job

Today is my last day as a carefree, lazy layabout. Tomorrow I’m starting my 9-5 office job! Not that I actually have to be in the office much until August. Or ever if I decide to pretend that I’m terrified of dropping dead the second I leave my house.

I asked the current Chair, what is the most difficult part of the job? Scheduling? Budgeting? Paperwork?

“Oh, you poor deluded idiot Clarissa!” he said. “All of that is easy. It’s the rabid bitches from hell people that are a total bloody murder difficult. Until you do this job, you never realize what absolute bastards how complicated some of your colleagues are. There are horrible nightmarish freaks individuals who are totally nuts like you have no idea have some issues. Dealing with that complete and utter dysfunction is what’s hard. Everything else is easy.”

After a pause, he added, “Although with your personality, it might be a lot easier.

Administration vs Union

And again, folks, I don’t want to report it but what can I do if it’s true?

There was a very long webinar today offered by our administration on how we will teach in the next semester. The administration is extremely reasonable and accommodating. There were some people speaking whom I personally dislike but I have to admit they were being very reasonable. The administration is accommodating everybody’s preferences for teaching. You can do online, you can do f2f (face-to-face), you can do masks, you can do shields, nobody is being forced to do anything. It’s all good.

But then we get a mile-long email from the leadership of the union, promising to fight for our right not to teach f2f (even though nobody is being forced or even encouraged to teach f2f) because “our priority is to not die.” That’s a copy-pasted quote.

I’m heavily inclined towards the “administration = bad, union = good” way of thinking but the union has been deranged on this. They are creating insane fear-mongering with the goal of forcing the administration to adopt a model that will make workers redundant. The whole email from the union leadership (which is longer than my life, seriously) is about baseless, ridiculous fear-mongering of the “we are all going to diiiiiieeeee” variety.

What really bugs me about COVID fanatics is that they want everybody else to participate in their insanity. I don’t think anybody should be forced to teach or learn f2f if they are terrified. But they want to force those of us who don’t share their fears to hide at home, too. I don’t get it. What business is it of yours how I do things? The ancient canard about “overwhelmed hospitals” has long been disproven, so what is it? The need to be a killjoy simply because your ridiculous anxiety is keeping you imprisoned in your house?

I don’t have words to describe how tired I am of the “I don’t want to diiieee” crowd. Everybody has mental health struggles but there is no need to unleash them on others.

Local Bookstore Censors Books

Left Bank Books removes J.K. Rowling’s books from its shelves | @stltoday https://t.co/0IlMuq7wSG https://t.co/g3YCZjM1le

https://twitter.com/PublishersWkly/status/1277935016350269441?s=19

That’s my favorite local bookstore. And yes, it was always politicized. It’s a wokie bookstore. But this JK Rowling drama isn’t even political. It’s a stupid nothing-burger scandal created by completely ridiculous people.

How is one supposed to support local bookstores when they have started removing books over utterly dumb Twitter spats?

Book Notes: Ivan Bunin’s Cursed Days

Ivan Bunin was a great Russian modernist writer and the first Russian author to get the Nobel Prize. In 1918-1919 he wrote a secret diary where he recorded his impressions about the October Revolution and many years later published it under the title Cursed Days.

This is a devastating read at any time but today it reads in a particularly poignant way. There’s something very recognizable in the destruction of the cultural legacy by a mob that’s screaming ridiculous slogans, the sincere efforts of the revolutionaries to create a completely clean slate and wipe away the entire civilization they perceive as evil, the smart careerists who encourage the mob, the contempt of the crowds towards anything that isn’t about satisfying the most primitive appetites, and the horror of an artist, an intellectual who doesn’t know how to exist in the midst of this brutishness.

Of course, it’s not “just like” what we are experiencing. Nothing is ever “just like.” Bunin was keenly aware of the limits of historical analogies as he thought about the parallels between the tragedy of 1917 and the French revolution. Still, there are enough similarities to make us think about what we are allowing to happen.

As the horror around him deepens, Bunin finally manages to get rid of the enormous sense of guilt that every Russian intellectual carried towards the narod, the former serfs or their descendants.

The people who manipulated the angry mobs “kept giving them handouts, trying to butter them up.” But that’s not what Bunin finds hard to stomach. “Three quarters of people easily relinquish their conscience, their soul, and their humanity in exchange for handouts, for a permission to rob and loot.” Like most people, Bunin never realized how thin the veneer of civilization was and how easily the seemingly normal people around him would turn into animals that rape and murder for fun. It wasn’t exceptional for a regular person to turn into a rabid animal. It was exceptional not to.

And mind you, Bunin isn’t describing a totalitarian regime. These are the first several months of the revolution. There was no regime. An enormous number of people chose to do horrific things not because somebody made them or terrorized them or brainwashed them. No, they did it because they could. It was fun.

Continue reading “Book Notes: Ivan Bunin’s Cursed Days”

Morality Test

I also need to mention that if you see two people being bullied by a crowd and your first impulse is to side with the crowd, there’s something not OK with you.

Also, if that were a crowd of Proud Boys crashing a gate to yell abuse and threaten a black couple and this would completely change your feelings about the situation, there’s really something not OK with you.

Think about it.

Ozarks, Anyone?

Has anybody here been to the Ozarks on vacation? Since Florida is complicated, I’m thinking we should try something more local.

Of course, it won’t be easy to persuade N to go because he’s a big fan of the TV series The Ozarks and now thinks the place is teeming with drug cartels.

We want a very quiet family vacation in a place where we can swim a lot. We are very anti-excitement. For us, fun consists of staring at each other beatifically.

If not the Ozarks, does anybody know of any other place where people can swim that’s driving distance from St Louis? All recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Because It’s Fun

The most annoying thing about the intelligentsia everywhere is the constant efforts to find ideological motivations behind the actions of violent mobs. That mobs beat, torture, destroy, burn, and terrorize simply because they enjoy the process only begins to dawn on members of intelligentsia only when it’s too late to stop mobs.

“But why did they set a homeless man on fire?”

“Because it’s fun!”

“But why did they burn down a black man’s business?”

“Because it’s fun!”

“But why…”

“What are you, stupid? Because it’s fun! By the way, you look like it would be really funny to beat you up.”

Mob Update

I only now saw the news and discovered that the mob spent today terrorizing people in residential neighborhoods in St Louis.

If you think it can’t possibly happen to you, you aren’t extremely smart. The mob doesn’t care how sweet and accommodating you think you are.

P.S. Anybody who wants to argue that people in big houses deserve to be terrorized or that it wasn’t really terrorizing is kindly asked to bugger off.