An Ode to Capitalism

For three months I couldn’t take any baths because the water stopper no longer fits and the water leaks out. It’s one of those in-built little evildoers, and try as I did I couldn’t tear it out.

I suffered in silence, like a true Soviet person, deprived of one of my favorite pastimes and resigned to my bathless fate.

But then I thought, “hey! This is a capitalist country. There’s no way some ingenious person hasn’t invented a 5-dollar solution to this problem.” I googled it, and yes, it exists. Of course, it now costs $7 because there’s inflation but I bought it and bath time is back.

I know this sounds like a trivial little story but for a person who grew up in the USSR there’s no limit to how amazing this kind of capitalistic ingenuity is.

Next Revelation

Nah. . . Really? Until today it was a conspiracy theory but OK.

Next gigantic revelation: COVID vaccine dramatically increases your chances of getting infected. It’s been known for exactly a year but let’s wait for these geniuses to catch up.

Amazing News from UK

Amazing news from the UK. Boris Johnson is dropping vaccine passports and face masks, including in schools. He is saying “we must learn to live with COVID in the same way we live with flu,” which I could have told you two years ago but let’s not be petty.

This is wonderful. A smidgen of my faith on the Brits has been reestablished.

Who’s next on the path to sanity?

The High

I finally got to teach in person today, and what a pleasure, what a high! That lifelong teachers would voluntarily give up this extraordinary pleasure is something I will never understand.

This was my translation course. I put students in the lab and had them translate the course syllabus. I worked with everybody individually because I can see their screens and can observe what everybody is doing constantly. There’s no way of re-creating this on Zoom with 22 students.

At the end of the class session, we calculated how much money each student would have made if this were an actual translation order.

I had insomnia tonight and woke up shattered. But after teaching, I’m filled with energy and joy. Fuck Zoom. Long live real teaching.

No Shortcut

It’s good that Youngkin banned CRT in schools because it’s an important symbolic gesture signaling that at least somebody finally noticed there’s a problem.

But it will have zero practical effect because there’s a whole generation of teachers who believe that this is what teaching is. They were taught very little else. They are excited about it and will continue doing what they’ve been trained to do. Nobody can bypass the need to go back and educate another generation of teachers who will know how to do something other than CRT.

As the article I linked in the previous post shows, there’s no shortcut. No political solution and no instant cure. Either put in the work or wait for the disillusionment to set in.

Prepare for the Long Haul

From a brilliant long article that everybody should read:

The Right and its moderate liberal fellow travelers today find themselves isolated and impotent in turn. And yet, in response, they appear to have no patience whatsoever for executing their own counter-march through the institutions, instead mostly trying to either force the institutions to behave differently through political power (mostly pointless), or fleeing from the institutions entirely in a bid to create new ones from the ground up (a longshot, if more promising). Either way, they seem to hope everything achieved by the left can be reversed in the matter of only a few years, which is naïve on multiple levels.

It took a very long time to get us to where we are. Many people took many little steps over many years. It will now take many people making many more tiny steps over many years to walk away from this bog of insanity. There are no magic cures and sudden revelations. Alternatively, we can wait for the grandchildren of today’s 18-year-olds to grow up and. . . Well, you know the rest.