This brought a tear to my eyes:
This brought a tear to my eyes:
The classroom where I will teach my class of 18 students and then a class of 22 is huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. It goes all the way to infinity. Most of the seats are taped up to create 6 feet of distance in every direction. There are screens going all the way to the back of the classroom. It’s so far away, I’m not sure what’s there.
I’d never get this huge classroom if it weren’t for COVID. I’ll have to learn to give lectures to live up to the classroom. I now have the perfect excuse for that.
Hey, people who give lectures, what do you grade on? I need to learn some new grading strategies.
Literature is wasted on young people. I’m reading Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons that I read in high school and detested because it was deathly boring. And now I realize it’s a great work of literature that is also enormous fun to read. But I didn’t have the life experience that makes it interesting.
And by the way, I wasn’t just any kid. I had written my first work of literary criticism at the age of nine. It compared the way in which Pushkin and Tolstoy (not the War and Peace guy; there are three major Russian authors with this last name and it’s a different one) portrayed the reign of Ivan the Terrible. And it wasn’t for a school assignment. This is what I considered to be fun at 9.
Still, I wasn’t equipped to understand Turgenev’s novel.
Klara and I are playing that she’s a little unicorn and I’m an evil witch who stole her and is pretending to be her mommy.
“You are a bad mommy!” she exclaims. “You don’t take good care of me and you always call me names!”
“Yes, I’m a bad mommy,” I hiss. “I enjoy mistreating you!”
Then I turn around and discover a group of strangers staring at me with shocked and disgusted faces.
Being a parent is an exercise in constant humiliation.
When vegan neurosis meets woke neurosis, a lot of craziness happens:
When Afia Amoako became a vegan five years ago, she said she didn’t see herself reflected in the community, which was dominated by wealthy white women.
They often touted recipes—”African peanut stew” or “Asian stir fry”—that rely on racial stereotypes, said Amoako.
“One, they don’t look like you, and, two, they are appropriating your food. Those are ways to turn racialized people away.”
My daughter got her first tooth filling yesterday. Dang genes, I spent my whole childhood at the dentist’s and I detested sweets. My great-grandfather would try to tempt me with all kinds of sweet treats but I had zero interest. I survived on gigantic quantities of apples. Still, my teeth were atrocious.
In any case, looking at how an American pediatric dentist (a specialization that didn’t exist in the USSR) works made me hate the Soviet Union even more. Klara loved the visit so much, she’s asking when we can go again. My argument that it’s important to brush teeth to avoid cavities has lost its potency. She now thinks cavities are great.
The dentist warned me not to prepare her and not talk about it at all. “Let us do our jobs,” he said. “We know what we are doing.”
And they really do. There was no pain, no tears, everything was scripted as a game, the dentist explained everything, showed her exactly what was going to happen. Plus, there was a TV with cartoons in the ceiling. My child is screen-deprived, so the second she sees one, she’s glued to it and forgets everything else.
In the USSR, I had a dentist who hit me in the face with a fist, I had a drunken dentist, I had a dentist who terrorized me into selective mutism. It’s a different world.
I went outside this morning and something felt strange in a really good, comforting way. And then I realized, orange school buses are back and there are groups of happy kids and parents waiting for them on every corner.
I was so happy, I almost cried.
I came of age in the 1990s, in the era of the bandit wars and Wild West capitalism in the former USSR. We saw 1,500% inflation. We experienced everybody we know losing their jobs. We saw everybody’s – EVERYBODY’S – life savings getting wiped out overnight. Literally. We went through several currency changes. One country disappeared. Another country began. Everything changed. Even the way we wrote addresses on envelopes changed. What we ate, how we ate it, what we believed, what we knew about the world. It all changed.
And throughout all that, I never saw such lawlessness as is happening now in New York, Chicago, Portland and Seattle.
I’m so completely enraged by these “protests” because these are people who have been handed everything, every opportunity on a silver platter. They haven’t been through any of the shit I listed above. And the only reason they are shitting on everything is because they know there will be crowds of people who’ll clean up after them and make it all pretty again.
I’m like a poor kid watching a spoiled rich brat trash a roomful of expensive toys with the certainty that mommy and daddy will buy even better ones tomorrow. That the brat is convinced his tantrum is justified makes no difference.
So why is the digital oligarchy sponsoring BLM, censoring any opposition to it and shutting down any realistic discussion of COVID? BLM and COVID are both completely real, of course. I’m not suggesting that the DO (digital oligarchy) created them. DO uses them to accelerate the creation of the new economic system and a new system of governance.
That new system is not going to have what we know as “the middle class.” It will have very little between the oligarchy and the underclass.
The best way to get rid of the middle class fast is to destroy welfare. There is no middle class without welfare. By welfare I don’t mean the payments that a government makes to the permanently unemployed underclass. Those payments are not going away. To the contrary, the DO wants to move as many of us as possible into that underclass and give out a lot more of those payments.
The welfare that creates a middle class is this: safe streets, clean, quiet neighborhoods, weekends, vacations, near 100% literacy, the capacity of husband-wife-children families to live by themselves, the capacity to form families, a reasonable sense of autonomy and dignity, a measure of predictability and control over your life. The underclass that receives government payouts doesn’t have any of this welfare. The DO wants to give us those payouts but take away everything else.
Now look at everything I listed. COVID panic and BLM are making everything on this list impossible. They are also pushing more people into the underclass and making more payouts necessary. This is why the digital oligarchy is so aggressively promoting them.
I’m going to put this in a separate post because people clearly aren’t getting it.
The endless “protests” we are witnessing are a tactic of terrorizing the population in order to push through the neoliberal destruction of welfare. These “protesters” are the wrecking crew of neoliberal economic reforms.
The only reason why it’s not extremely obvious to everybody is that the wrecking crew and its Bezos and Co backers have switched off our intellectual faculties by screaming something vaguely race-related. We hear “race” and we stop thinking. We let ourselves be robbed blind. Any capacity to resist dies.
80% of African Americans don’t want any reduction in policing. They want an increase. These “protesters” aren’t helping black people. They are helping the Bezoses of this world to rob me and you while we beg them to rob us some more.