November Third

My unlucky streak continues, and here I am with another post to distract myself from it.

It’s not all bad, to be honest. I’ve gone viral on Ukrainian Twitter with a joke about penis sizes. Well, not VIRAL viral but more popular than I ever expected to be. The joke came about as follows. Somebody on Twitter asked, “Is it true that wearing a large shoe size means you have a large penis?” I said, “No, it’s not true. I have a large shoe size and no penis at all.” For some reason, people really warmed up to this response.

I don’t have a large shoe size, by the way. Or a penis.

Today is Thursday, so it’s the quesadilla eaters’ day at work. It’s a group of women under the leadership of my secretary who every Thursday fry quesadillas in the lab and then, for some reason I will never understand or care about seethe with hatred of me. They sit there, eat quesadillas, seethe, roll their eyes and hiss when I pass by, which I do a lot because that’s the only way to get to the toilets, the lab, and the classrooms. These are women who have been unsuccessful as women, so I don’t begrudge them this little bit of joy. But it is kind of funny that they have such intense feelings about me, and I have no emotional response to them at all.

The new top administrator has revealed new depths to his multilayered personality. We now admit all students who apply. Nobody gets turned away. We admit even functionally illiterate people. What do you think this does to our graduation rates?

Yeah, exactly.

Well, the new administrator doesn’t agree with you. Beaming joyously, he regaled us today with the following bit of wisdom, “If we accept everybody. . . we should graduate everybody!” Meaning that admitting illiterate people to college should improve graduation rates.

On another subject, our Student Housing services have a habit of placing students from different cultures together as roommates. The idea is that experiencing another culture is enriching because “diversity is our strength.” It’s not true, of course. Diversity is anything but a strength, so the international students suffer greatly. They spend so much time and effort trying to reunite with their own people that they forget to study. I had to have a conversation with two of them today because they are failing their courses. Both are engaged in intense feuds with their “diverse” roommates because their habits, customs, smells and routines are incompatible. I wonder if the people who invented this “culturally enriching” form of torture ever tried to share the bathroom and the kitchen with a diverse stranger from a different culture.

OK, I don’t really wonder. Nobody would choose to do this of their own free will.

Link of the Day

Here’s a good long article on the way in which wokeness is destroying the study of history in the US. The author explains correctly that these are job wars hiding under the guise of politics and identity grievance.

Finally, people are figuring out that these academic debates do seep into regular life and affect all of us.

Why Help Ukraine?

Unfortunately, the Democrats, as usual, are failing to explain the reasons behind what they are doing. I’m extremely grateful for the help but I do wish there was an effort to explain instead of doing things in the usual imperious manner.

Why not talk about the Budapest memorandum and the need to continue the work of nuclear non-proliferation? I’ve been talking about this in a myriad of public appearances in the past 8 years, and people always say, “wow, I had no idea. I wish somebody explained that before.” Why not talk about “aid to Ukraine” as the largest investment in decades into updating the US weaponry stockpile and spurring the US R&D? Old, outdated weapons are being given over to Ukraine, which creates an opening to develop and manufacture new, state-of-the-art weapons for our defense. (This is exactly what Trump kept talking about but never actually did). Why not mention how this is the only realistic way of battling inflation that has historically been wildly successful at revving up an anemic economy? Why not talk about how Russia has been threatening the US with a nuclear strike since before Putin and how these threats have now become an almost daily occurrence?

Many people sincerely don’t know why the US is siding with Ukraine and not Russia in what looks to them like one more regional conflict with no relationship to the US. They have absolutely no idea how passionately Americans are detested in Russia and how this hatred has grown not in spite but because of the endless US gifts, aid, and appeasement towards Russia since 1991. They don’t even know why the war in Ukraine is different from Iraq and Afghanistan.

We could pout about this or we can talk, explain, and make the case patiently and for as long as it takes. For now, many people support Ukraine because of the stories of Ukrainian victimhood that are everywhere on the news and social media. But there’s a problem with this. Or actually several problems. For one, every media wave about genocide on Ukraine makes the support for Putin and the war in Russia spike up. Russians are energized and encouraged to keep fighting by these stories. Also, it’s not the whole story. Ukrainian victimhood is real but it’s a small part of what’s happening. Don’t feel sorry for us. Join us to tap into our energy and strength. Join us to feel inspired and renewed.

Here’s an example. I’m working on a large translation project (for free, obviously) with a group of translators in Ukraine. I’m supposed to be participating in the project to help Ukraine but, in all honesty, I’m being helped a lot more than I’m helping. Every morning, I’m getting such a jolt of energy from this group that I have cut my caffeine intake by 2/3. Everybody who is doing something in Ukraine or with Ukrainians is feeling this. It’s like a huge energy field has opened and anybody who comes in touch with it can’t get enough. It’s clear that this is, for example, why Boris Johnson got so stuck on Ukraine. Remember what COVID (or the treatment for COVID, or both) did to him? It’s only when he started going to Ukraine that he managed to replenish his energy.

Fun Trip

A delegation from El Salvador came to visit. “You should come over to El Salvador!” they say. “You’ll love it!”

“I’ve heard it’s dangerous,” I say.

“Oh no, not at all! We rent a whole hotel for the people we bring over, and then they stay at the hotel the whole time! They never have to leave it until it’s time to go home!”