I’m watching the 1969 series Civilization with Kenneth Clark, and it’s starting to get on my nerves. The host so studiously avoids saying anything beyond “Britain and France” that he’s about to tie himself into a naval knot.

“Then Muslims invaded… And we are off to Ireland.” What it is that the Muslims invaded is never mentioned.

“Pilgrims went there on the way to Compostela.” Which was located where, exactly? And it mattered because… No, forget about it. If it isn’t in France, it might as well not exist.

“That formidable lady, Blanche of Castile, mother of St Louis.” And where is Castile? Did anything of interest ever happen there unconnected to bleeding France?

Clark finds more opportunities to mention Japan than Spain, which is frustrating. I’m only on two episodes in. Maybe it changes later on.

If it weren’t for these frustrating omissions, it would be a great series. Everybody should watch because Clark’s love towards medieval art is lovely to see.

My Empathy

I received my Chair evaluations, and at first I was happy but then I saw that one of the anonymous colleagues referred to me as “the most empathetic, kind person I’ve ever met.”

As far as I know, none of my colleagues have recently been discharged from the Wagner Group, so there’s no reason for them to see me as a paragon of empathy. I’m now starting to suspect the colleague was taking the piss.

More Lessons Learned

On a positive side, I’m attending a mandatory meeting where we are told that we must stop complaining about students who hold different political beliefs. “It’s unprofessional to persecute students because you disagree with them,” we are told. “Stop telling us a student is racist or homophobic. It’s not your job to judge their beliefs.”

Obviously, this didn’t just happen. A brave student sued the university for First Amendment violations, and a federal district court recently ruled that her lawsuit has merit and can proceed.

I never thought I’d use the words “positive” and “mandatory meeting” in the same sentence.

Well-deserved Punishment

Thank you, everybody, for the birthday wishes! I started the day by being threatened with legal action for resigning from an academic association that is now led by an intolerably woke person. It’s all utterly ludicrous because this is uncompensated volunteer work but this serves me right for being smug about how much I enjoy my life.