I went to a new salon for a pedicure. When I was leaving, two male pedicurists from Vietnam exclaimed in unison “Glory to Ukraine!” In Ukrainian.

All the good people are for us. This is very heart-warming.

Old Age

The woman at the Indian restaurant said, “I so love your bright, matching outfit. I used to dress all pretty, too, when I was your age. But now I’m old and it doesn’t matter how I look.”

Then we started talking and she said her mother is 63. Which means she can’t possibly be older than me. But she sees me with a 6-year-old daughter and probably assumes I’m much younger with a weather-beaten face or something.

Union vs Austerity

On the positive side, the union has immediately mobilized to stand up to the austerity measures introduced by our new chief administrator whom I will from now on call Dr Neoliberal.

The paradox is that the union people aren’t seeing that it’s precisely their efforts to keep as many of us as possible off campus during COVID that made all this possible. There can’t be academic self-governance if you aren’t there to govern.

And by the way, just so that everybody appreciates the depths of my tolerance and my incapacity to hold a grudge, I will share that I was the first person (and one of only two people so far) publicly to thank our union leader for standing up to Dr Neoliberal. This is the same union boss who two years ago publicly accused me of being willing to “cause deaths of many people for your personal convenience.” He was wrong, and it was very upsetting. He also censored me on our discussion board to the point where I had to threaten to go to the local newspapers if this ban on my free expression wasn’t removed. But I’m now risking the displeasure of the administration to show my solidarity with this same union boss.

Skill Isn’t Virtue

I was talking about the new chief administrator to a friend and she said, “wait, I thought you really liked him. Didn’t you say he was a great public speaker?”

People often mistake praise for a specific skill or a trait a person has for a blanket approval of everything that individual will ever do from now on into the eternity.

Sadly, gifts aren’t bestowed on people as a reward for outstanding virtue. There’s actually no connection between gifts and virtue at all. One can admire the talent of an athlete or a musician and derive great pleasure from their performance without considering their private life, for instance, remotely admirable.

A Tired Cassandra

Our new neoliberal chief administrator is a hoot. He informed us that from now on hiring anybody for any position be it faculty, graduate assistant or staff will require us to fill out an online form he’ll personally have to approve. In the form we have to explain “what is the potential return on investment based on filling this position.” I copy-pasted this exactly as is.

I did my Cassandra bit back when he was getting interviewed and I ran around screeching, “he’s a neoliberal! There will be austerity! Budget cuts! Hiring freezes!” And people told me I had to be wrong because the candidate was from California, so it had to be all right. I have no idea what that was supposed to mean other than people seem not to understand that being a raging leftist makes one more, not less, likely to be a neoliberal.

Since then I have accepted that we can’t avoid this neoliberal fellow doing a number on us but the less attentive colleagues are now waking up to the horror we have inflicted upon ourselves.

To think that instead of this “potential return on investment” corporate drone we could have had a candidate who actually went to school here and talked to us about his family, his church and his work on behalf of Down’s Syndrome children.

At this point in my rant, people invariably interrupt me to say, “yeah, but the candidate they chose is black!” Which drives me nuts because they were all black. But one was neoliberal and another human. It’s really weird that people were right here, saw all the candidates and still haven’t caught on.