Open-minded Students

The most open-minded students I see are the freshmen. By open-minded I mean interested in anything but the limited number of the standard woke slogans.

As they progress through the college career, students tend to lose interest in anything but the discussion of how the US did something bad. I could offer a Senior seminar titled “The US Is Evil” and get gigantic enrollments and fantastic reviews.

There’s been a marked increase in wokeness among students over the past decade. It’s popular because it’s so easy. You can ace any course in the Humanities if you memorize a bunch of punchy slogans that make you feel like everything that’s complicated is suddenly easy and clear.

Long Game

I’m so proud of myself. Last August I anticipated that an issue might arise in the schedule for Fall 2021. I set things up so that if the issue did crop up, I’d have an easy, elegant way to solve it.

This week I found out that the issue I had anticipated did, indeed, arise. And I now had everything set up to solve it.

The Dean’s Office is very impressed. There are several more things like these where I’m playing the long game. I’m calculating things so far in advance that I have several projects going on that will benefit the department five years from now. I also have a very long-term strategy aimed at making sure that the administration of the university system as a whole does what I need it to do in a very important issue that might crop up eventually. I can’t reveal the details because it will only work if my antagonists in this struggle are caught unawares.

N says he’ll buy me The Art of War by Sun Tzu and Machiavelli’s The Prince but I’m not sure they have much to teach me.

Free Universal Daycare

I feel sorry for the people who are seriously debating the canard of “free universal daycare.”

Let me tell you how this universal daycare works in Canada, population 30 million, income tax rate for somebody like my sister 52%.

Yes, you are entitled to an almost free daycare for your kid. (It’s $7 a day, which sounds amazing.) So yippee, my sister put her kid on the list for one the moment she was born. And she was offered a space! Of course, by that time the child was six.

And that, I repeat, in a country with one tenth of the population of the US.

This is a completely ridiculous, inane discussion that exists solely to distract us from the terrible abuse that’s being perpetrated against small children today in the form of masks and lockdowns. Make masks illegal for kids. That’s very easy to do. Reopen the playgrounds. Reopen fucking schools.

You’ve got to be touched in the head to take these fantasies about the free daycare seriously from an administration that hasn’t been able to get kids back into already existing schools.

Marital Joys

I truly have the best husband. He finds me in the house during the day (I usually work in the office) and his face lights up with joy. He’s been seeing me daily for over a decade, yet the happy surprise has never worn off. He says “I’m so happy you are here with me” several times a day.

For his birthday, I’m whisking him away to a remote location in the woods with no people for miles. I think this is his definition of paradise. People ask if I’ll mind being in isolation for several days, but I haven’t worked from home since June. I see so many people daily that I’m ready for a bit of a self-imposed lockdown.

Which Dictatorship?

On the last day of my course on Latin American dictatorships, a student raised his hand.

“Professor,” he asked. “You say that the age of dictatorships in Latin America seems to be over, and with only a couple of exceptions, Latin American countries have embraced democracy. But what is the value of that if governments everywhere are either powerless or unwilling to do anything to exercise any control over the global oligarchy that’s becoming more and more dictatorial?”

The student is from Eastern Europe, obviously.

Movie Notes: Nomadland

I decided to watch the movie because everybody is down on Hollywood and the Oscars and I now feel kind of bad for both. Plus, a fussy Spanish novelist started posting on social media how the characters in the movie are too happy and too white. So I had to watch.

Folks, it’s a masterpiece. Everything about this movie is great. I bought it because I will be rewatching it often. Like Nobody, Nomadland is an ode, a love letter to America. And once again, the director is an immigrant. It’s as if immigrants were begging Americans to remember who they are, shake off their current stupor, and reach for greatness that belongs to them. It takes a Russian Jew and a Chinese woman to do it because they know how bad things can be.

Of course, it’s a completely different aesthetics from Nobody, but the organizing idea is the same. You can overcome, you can rise, you are American. It’s really good.

The photography is breathtaking. The lead actress is talented. The choice to use normal people in the rest of the roles instead of trying to make Hollywood’s plastic androids look human is brilliant.

God, I’m so into this movie. I wish I had seen it on a big screen. I warn you, though. This is a movie that’s heavily in the European tradition. It’s very unhurried. There’s no plot. No action. But there’s a philosophy, a depth of thought, and an endless supply of beauty.

The Oscars aren’t completely hopeless if they finally recognized a talented film.