What Constitutes a Win?

Let’s say I’m department Chair, and the administration says it’s going to cut 3 of our courses because of the budget difficulties. If I go and tell my colleagues that I lost us 3 whole courses, they’ll think I’m a loser, right? So what do I do?

Obviously, I go to the colleagues and tell them that the administration is cutting 16 of our courses. Everybody is stunned. 16 courses? This is a full third of all our course offerings. Sixteen??? This is catastrophic!

Yes, I say. These neoliberal bastards are rabid. Of course, I’ll do what I can but, honestly, I think it’s hopeless.

Then I go and bravely do absolutely nothing.

The administration takes away 4 of our courses because it’s always worse than what was announced.

I go back and tell the colleagues that we lost 4 courses. They were expecting 16, so losing only 4 sounds like an epic win. They think I’m a hero who defended 12 courses from elimination and eagerly set to cover the comparatively small loss of 4. Everybody loves me and votes to reelect me for a new term.

I haven’t done anything like it, and things don’t work like that at all. Everybody has to fulfill their contractual teaching loads, and the administration would never cut into that. I’m not talking about academia at all in this post.

I’ll let you guess what I’m actually talking about. I only want to add that spin is everything.


10 thoughts on “What Constitutes a Win?

  1. I like this explanation. I also like that each of us can project it onto something else…. In any case, I could not figure out why some GOP candidates were polling so well before the elections but this makes sense. I have been quite skeptical of the alleged red wave, especially after watching elections abroad for the past couple of years; most people really are quite apathetic (or perhaps do not even believe anything went wrong over the past 3 years) and just vote for more of the same.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right? The media that are completely controlled by the Dems have been talking non-stop about the huge projected GOP wins.

      And as a result of the Dems losing less badly than projected in these media, Biden says he’ll definitely run again. This smells fishy to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This approach also has an added bonus of people on the right calling more “election fraud” and making themselves look ridiculous in the process. First, it is easier for media to lie about the polls than to manipulate the elections. Second, accept that there will be cheating. With all the weird ways that the elections are run here with bunch of mail-in ballots, machines and what not, it is inevitable. People are people (on both sides) and the temptation is too strong. Once you understand that, make sure your candidate can win by a large margin (look at Florida) so it does not come down to a couple of thousand votes.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That may all be very well but ii does nothing to dispel any misgivings surrounding the US electoral process, which, to European eyes, looks positively crazy.
    In most European countries, bar few exceptions, people may vote only if they have valid ID AND an electoral card showing that they are registered in the electoral rolls. Elections take place on ONE day, between 7 am and 11 pm tops, in person, by marking a paper ballot and casting it into a ballot box. Such boxes are opened as soon as voting hours have expired, ballots are read and votes counted under the beady eyes of electoral list or party representatives. Within a few hours or one day tops the results are announced. Citizens feel confident that each vote counts and that the risk of fraud is minimal or non-existent. Some of my friends have voted in US elections without being citizens let alone on the electoral roll. No one challenged them at the polling station. What gives ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it depends on how each precinct organizes the voting. At mine, everything was completely tight, completely transparent. I had to go through 3 guys to get my hands on the ballot. They each compared my signature to the one on my electoral roll. I put the ballot into the counting machine myself.

      Of course, it’s easier to organize in a tiny precinct like mine where the guys at the door manually paw through registration papers if everybody registered to the precinct.

      I understand how it can be a mess in Philadelphia but, again, DeSantis straightened the voting process in Miami-Dade in a couple of years. It’s all doable if people want to make an effort.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In places like Philadelphia, the problems stem from motivated neglect.

        In FL, everything’s broken up into many, many tiny precincts. This not only makes the count more efficient and reliable, it means polling stations are generally within reasonable walking distance for everybody but rural people, so it doesn’t discriminate against people who don’t have cars. I don’t understand how any city– particularly in places where they claim voter ID laws are discriminatory– can have such large precincts that voters must have transportation other than their feet to get to a polling station, unless they live outside of towns where that’s simply not workable. Wasn’t till this year I learned that other places, like AZ, have much larger precincts than ours.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I should add that there is no vote by mail, no early voting (up to 40 days before election day!), no drop-in ballot boxes nor any of the other devilish inventions I’ve discovered while following US elections.


  4. You are insufficiently cynical for that to work even as a remote chance:

    1) If your people suspect you’re being economical with the truth, they’ll take protective measures.
    2) These measures include saving every E-mail as well as peppering your office with surveillance devices, only the most simplistic of which you are meant to find.
    3) Everything found this way will be presented in the worst possible light.
    4) This especially includes anything created out of clever editing of audio files.
    5) All of this will arrive in a big clump meant to distract you from the power moves going on while you’re distracted.
    6) Inevitably you discover that your biggest rival wasn’t the one who was openly debating you and making fun of your quirks.
    7) Your real adversaries are the ones who are talking you up to your face and then shitting on your desk while you are out.

    Oh, but also:

    0) Your people always suspect you’re being economical with the truth.

    Insofar as dealing with the real adversaries: do you really want that kind of advice, or do you merely think you do?

    Have fun! 🙂


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