Protection, Not Censorship

People, I’m not censoring you. I’m protecting you. If you leave your email address in the avatar where anybody can see it, I won’t publish your comment to protect your privacy. Instead of yelling “censorship,” pay attention to how you format your comment. I don’t mind your opinions. I mind if you get spammed.

Thanks to the Election

Of all the topics I have taught so far this semester – and there’s been some really fascinating stuff – the one that awakened the greatest enthusiasm and the biggest number of questions from students is the topic of Spain’s electoral system.

I didn’t manage to teach half of the material I prepared because I spent most of the class answering questions. Obviously, this is due to the upcoming election. Students are fascinated by the possibility of a multi-party political system and wonder if it works better than the two-party system that exists here. Spain, of course, is a huge letdown for the enthusiasts of the multi-party system but what can I do? I teach Spain, not the US.

It was an unexpectedly great class. Usually, Spain’s electoral system has a bit of a soporific effect on people but today was glorious.

Link of the Day

Here’s a great article in the New Yorker about the idiocy of school closures. There’s a lot of great stuff in the piece but here’s one thing that stood out:

A survey of faculty and staff found that seventy-two per cent preferred remote instruction, while a quarter preferred a mixture and only three per cent preferred all in-person.

Among all teachers, only 3% aren’t stupid, egotistical, lazy hacks.

Of course, it’s all completely political:

There may have been an implicitly political dynamic at work: the greater the threat posed by covid-19, the greater Trump’s failure in not containing it. (Joe Biden’s campaign aired an ad in early September that read “Our Kids Not Safe in School.”)

Gosh, if even the deeply partisan New Yorker is recognizing, imagine what reality actually is.

A study by the Brookings Institution found that districts’ school-opening decisions correlated much more strongly with levels of support for Trump in the 2016 election than with local coronavirus case levels. “It almost feels like folly now to speak about data,” Nuzzo told me. “The decision was going to be made not

on data but on politics.”

In other words, it’s exactly the people who are donating to the BLM and putting up BLM signs in their front yards who are depriving the most vulnerable kids of a chance to get an education. It’s not a big. It’s a feature. Less kids who succeed in school means better chances of college and good employment for their own children.

COVID is class war.

Trump’s Taxes

Tomorrow, instead of going to my favorite café for breakfast, I’ll go to some sad drive-through. The café is closed, so I have to eat alone in my office.

Then I’ll drive to a mostly empty campus. I’ll have to waste a buttload of time trying to return a book that I borrowed from another college back in February. They haven’t reopened and are charging fines while making it impossible to return anything.

I’ll sweat through two lectures under a face shield and strain my hearing to decipher what students are saying under their masks.

In my office, I will scroll through many emails from the administration and pretend not to see political slogans that I find insulting in the signatures. I’ll miss our discussion board that was shut down because it “doesn’t serve the needs of social justice.” I’ll delete a bunch of messages urging me to attend indoctrination sessions where I will be told that my existence is evil.

Instead of talking to my parents in person because they are normally here this time of year, I’ll call on the phone. Instead of taking my kid to the dance lesson, the kids’ gym or the museum, I’ll take her home. At home, I’ll explain to my husband why we can’t put up a political sign without fearing for our safety.

All day long, I’ll silence, censor and edit myself. I’ll pretend not to hear questions, not to notice statements, not to have opinions, and not to have a voice. I’m pretty much at a limit of how much literal and metaphoric muzzling I can take, and it’s only a little over a month before we collectively decide whether we enthusiastically embrace a lot more muzzling.