Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

How to Retake the House?

And another dumb article in the NY TIMES: Democrats need to move to the Midwest because unless they spread out more evenly, they will never retake the Congress. 

No, it’s not about where anybody lives. It’s about needing to persuade people. And you won’t do it by being a condescending brat like the Hochschild woman or the rich kids on Ivy League campuses. 

If people are not buying into your message, there might just be something wrong with the message or with its delivery. 

Jason Kander vs Roy Blunt

There is a stupid article in the NY TIMES  about Jason Kander, a Senate candidate from Missouri. Please don’t believe that article. Kander (D) is not a perfect candidate but he is miles better than his opponent, the Senate long-timer and a vicious piece of trash completely in the pocket of Big Tobacco Roy Blunt. I’m living right at the border with Missouri, and let me tell you, Blunt is one of the worst people in the Senate. Which is saying a lot with this Senate. 

Kander is making the word “Democrat” sound acceptable and even good in Missouri. He is making people wake up to the horribleness of Blunt. I’m so hoping that he wins. 

A Productivity Hack

If you have a mountain of work or a huge project, do not- and I repeat, do NOT – begin by making a list of everything you need to do. Chances are, you’ll just freak yourself out with the immensity of the task. 

Instead, don’t think about the project or the list of tasks at all. Just take a tiny sliver of the work and concentrate on doing it, shutting out the rest. And then do another small sliver. 

I finished a huge report today that felt daunting until I stopped thinking about how much work it needed and concentrated on tiny little slivers of the job. I thought it would take me at least another week, but somehow I ran out of slivers and discovered that the report is done. 

Strangers in Their Own Land: A Review

Arlie Russell Hochschild wanted to write a book about the environmental devastation of Louisiana. This is the subject that matters to her, that she knows on a profound level and that she writes about in a way that can leave nobody indifferent.

But nobody would buy such a book. Or at least, not enough folks to make it a bestseller. So Hochschild decided to sneak in the subject she cares about by hiding it in the ever-popular genre of “Why Are These Damn Rednecks so Stupid That They Fail to Vote in Their Own Interest?” Her book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right attempts to “scale the empathy wall” between the brilliant, svelte, trendy Berkleyans, such as herself, and the conservative Louisianans whom she studies with the kindly condescension of an entomologist approaching a boring and common species of insect.

Hochschild’s self-absorption and her capacity to congratulate herself on almost every page of the book for being superior to the dumb, primitive country bumpkins she believes she is interviewing are scary to behold. The infinite patience and kindness of her interviewees offer a great contrast to Hochschild’s complete lack of humility. 

The reason why Hochschild never manages to answer her own question about the reasons why her interviewees are repelled by Liberalism is that she is incapable of seeing herself as anything but pretty damn perfect. She is blissfully unaware of how annoying the self-righteous, supercilious Liberals like herself are to everyone but themselves. The very premise of her book is based on the poorly concealed belief that “those people” are stupid and don’t know what’s good for them until a much smarter Liberal arrives from elsewhere to enlighten their dumb, barbaric souls.

Of course, the majority of Liberals are like me (or the readers of my blog) and not like Hochschild. But people like her are so loud, so smug and so ready to place themselves at the center of attention that they manage to repel many more people away from the movement than the more reasonable Liberals can hope to attract. 

The genre of “What’s the Matter With Kansas and Everywhere Else People Are Not Like the Wonderful Me?” needs to go. Hochschild should write about the environment and learn to see herself just a tad less seriously. Anger and mourning are better than condescension and smugness because genuine human feelings will always win in the end. 


The Nobel committee can’t find Dylan to inform him of the prize. The fellow is probably so addled that it will take them a decade to get through to him. 

Registering to Vote

Why is tomorrow the last day to register to vote in Illinois? Who the ef came up with such a dumbass system? Everywhere in the world people are managing to vote without any idiotic registration. 

The Price of Snobbery

I never go to Shop ‘n Save because I hate the name (nobody saves when they shop. People save when they don’t shop. What kind of idiots do they think we are?) but today I went, and what do you think?

They have turkey necks.

All these years I’ve been living right next to an abundance of turkey necks and I had no idea. Serves me right for snobbing all over  Shop ‘n Save.

Triumphant Announcements

Russians are triumphantly announcing on every channel that Trump will win the election. Did I miss something, or is their wishful thinking out of control?


What, no barbarity from Trump today? Is he still breathing?

Why Educate Kids At All?

There are schools in Missouri that only have a 4-day week. Because public education funds have been slashed. 

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