Class Marker

The most aggravating people are the “I don’t like Biden because he’s too centrist” crowd. This phrase is nothing but a class marker. Why not just say “I’m an extremely privileged person” and be done with it?

People Are Sheep

One of the most befuddling things I witnessed at work is that when the administration told people to upload the COVID app onto their PRIVATE phones, they did. The administration didn’t provide the phones. It didn’t offer to pay the phone bills. Nothing like that.

People willingly uploaded the app onto their PRIVATE phones. They got absolutely no benefit out of it. All the app does (other than tracking your every move and selling that data) is ping when the administration wants you to get COVID tested. There’s zero benefit to the user.

But people easily and eagerly installed this app onto their PRIVATE phones just because the employer suggested it. There were no penalties for those who didn’t do it. There was literally no reason to comply. I mean, it’s my fucking phone. I paid for it with my own money. Who the fuck are you to tell me what to upload? Where in my contract does it say I have to let you into my private phone? What’s next? Do I have to invite the administration into the shower with me?

But once again, nobody coerced people into doing it. They just freely did. The only person I know who found the suggestion egregious was me. People would literally do anything they are told. Simply because they are told. The self-infantilization is intense.

Ashamed of Israel

It’s a fucken police state. I can’t believe I was ever supportive of it for any reason and to any degree.

The whole point of Israel was to prevent somebody from holocausting the Jews all over again. It’s a bit of an unexpected twist that Jews have decided to holocaust themselves.

Let’s Celebrate!

We are Orthodox, so it’s not Easter. But happy Easter to everybody else!

It looks like we might even have real Easter services at church. As a latecomer to practicing Orthodoxy, I see everything in terms of how many more all-night Pascha services I’ll be able to squeeze into my remaining lifetime. Being deprived of one last year really sucked.

In the picture, you can see blooming trees in our town.

Textbook Freedom

This is a fairly minor thing in the grand scheme of things but I need to mention it anyway because it illustrates how our freedoms are taken away from us all at once.

Our students don’t buy textbooks because those are very expensive and students can’t afford them. Instead, the university buys textbooks (or simply books) and lets students use them. At the end of the semester, students return the books.

We never had a problem getting our Textbook Service to provide the books we need because it’s all about academic freedom. Nobody should impinge on what a professor teaches, how, and with which texts. And nobody did. I’ve been teaching as a professor for 13 years, and nobody ever evinced the slightest interest (let alone desire) to glance at my syllabi or book choices. And this is exactly how it should be.

In the Fall of 2020, however, things changed. I was not allowed to order a novel for the Spring 2021 because it was published outside the US. I teach Hispanic literature, which means that pretty much everything I need is published outside the US. But these days, unless you enrich a gigantic US corporation, you can’t order the book you need.

Then it got worse. Without telling anybody, Textbook Services signed a contract with Cengage to the effect that nobody would order any textbooks with an online component from anybody but Cengage. Why we decided to give a massive gift like that to one company but not another hasn’t been explained.

Of course, I’d ditch the stupid online component altogether but language teachers don’t like to work much, so they are obsessed with these online workbooks and pre-canned, automatically generated and graded tests.

In any case, this is the result. One of the biggest components of academic freedom is gone. The causes are

1. austerity

2. people’s ineradicable laziness.

Yes, austerity sucks. I’m completely opposed. But this wouldn’t happen if so many people hadn’t outsourced their work to “online teaching solutions.”