Blogging Locations: Morning Coffee

I’m blogging from the kitchen while having coffee and seething about an email I got from a student. A colleague who has had this student in her courses told me, “Ah, I can see Claudia is taking this course. Good luck getting her to submit the final essay. She is very resistant to writing and will invent endless excuses not to hand it in.”

The colleague proved to be right. Claudia sent me an email that was supposed to contain her essay but there was no file attached to it. When I pointed that out, she said that she didn’t know why that was happening. Then she said that she had left for Thanksgiving break and didn’t have her USB with her so she couldn’t submit the essay. Now she wrote me a long and weepy email saying that she misplaced her USB and is suffering because the essay took her such a long time to write and now it isn’t there any longer. I have a feeling she wants me to give her at least a partial grade for an essay she never wrote, let alone submitted.

I really hate it when people lie to me in such a blatant and disgusting way. This lying is also pretty pointless because the due date for the essay has long passed and everybody has received their graded essays several days ago. I have no idea why the student is wasting her time inventing these ridiculous stories. Doesn’t she realize that in a small department she has already acquired a reputation for doing these things?

The sad thing is that this student is quite bright. She is also a native speaker of Spanish who writes very well. She could have written a very good essay easily. It always astonishes me how much time and energy people invest into lying and inventing excuses instead of just doing the work.

P.S. OK, people, the plot thickens. While I was writing this post, Claudia sent me another email saying that she doesn’t have the essay but she has two pages of notes she took for the essay and asking if she could hand them in instead. This is just bizarre. I’m planning to ignore these emails because I’m not sure I could respond using polite language. Yes, Claudia, what a smart move to antagonize the professor shortly before the final exam.


Decline From What?

I get it when the ultra-conservatives bellyache that the US is in decline. For them, everything that happened since the rise of the civil rights movements is one huge disaster, but at least they are consistent.

What is really weird is when the most progressive news outlet in the country begins to whine that “we are a nation in decline.”  Decline from what, folks? I’m not trying to be facetious or make any sort of a point. I’m genuinely trying to understand. Which decade, year, month, or presidency is considered the Golden Age of American liberalism after which everything has gone downhill? Am I missing something in my knowledge of the US history because it seems to me that if you are a Liberal, there wasn’t a better moment in terms of progressivism in the American history than today. And tomorrow seems to be even better.

The article I linked to lists all kinds of appalling things: the lack of healthcare and dental care, the expiration of unemployment benefits, lack of medical insurance for the unemployed. But was there a time when these things existed in this country? If we are talking about a decline, it must mean that at some point everybody had medical and dental care in the US, right? But that never happened, right?

Is it the Clinton presidency that people are remembering so fondly? The Carter years? Surely not JFK? Then what?

P.S. Now that I’m done with the question I want to make an observation: you have to be a real meathead to complain that the US hasn’t been able to modernize its roads and eliminate hunger as well as Switzerland. Is it so hard to get a map and try to compare the sizes of the US and fucking Switzerland. (No offense to Switzerland, folks, I’m just venting). I’m all for making a good progressive point but does one have to pull a Michael Moore and get ridiculous about it?

And while I’m at it, the stupid picture of a stupid Russian high-speed train undermines the entire article. Yes, there is one such train in the humongous country of Russia. All the other hundreds upon hundreds of trains in the country are in an appalling state. I kind of know what I’m talking about because this summer I translated a bunch of texts for the General Management of the Russian Railway. Russia is an example of a really crumbling infrastructure. There were so many accidents with crowds of people dying in Russia as a result in the past few years that you have to be not only a meathead but a cruel meathead to use Russia as an example of good infrastructure.

Details, people. Details matter. If you want to be effective don’t fib about small things. Is it that hard to verify the information before posting it? And let’s not nod in the direction of Spiegel. If one repeats information uncritically and signs one’s name to it, then one is responsible for it.

OK, I have vented and will now go teach my students about Cuba.

Blogging Locations

I just had a brilliant idea. At least it seems brilliant after a very long day. I will publish short posts tomorrow from all of the locations where I find myself when I check my blog. I think that will be fun.

Right now, for instance, I’m lying in the bathtub with my Kindle, drinking grape juice and making a list of all emails I had to write today but forgot. Oh shit, I just remembered I need to check the date of my first final exam.

Those Pesky Linguists

A student who kept missing all those Friday classes is answering the question “What is linguicide?”

It’s a murder of linguists. Franco hated all linguists and wanted to kill them off because they were part of the terrorist organization ETA. They also support the welfare state and Franco doesn’t like that.

In the section where students didn’t miss lectures, most people got an A for this mini-quiz, though.

Translation: More Gems From Suzanne Venker

More gems from the same source as the previous post:

To say gender relations have changed dramatically is an understatement. Ever since the sexual revolution, there has been a profound overhaul in the way men and women interact. Men haven’t changed much – they had no revolution that demanded it – but women have changed dramatically.

In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.

Translation: “As all patriarchally-minded women, I despise men. This happens because I’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy I need to entrap into marriage and make serve my needs perennially. I refuse to acknowledge that traditional gender roles hurt men as much as they do women and that men are as joyful as women are to gain more freedom in expressing their different masculinities in different ways.

Men have changed dramatically, and this makes me very angry and also defensive, though often unknowingly. It is not as easy to attach myself to a man and get him to treat me like an infantilized irresponsible little creature. Men don’t want to stand on a pedestal because it’s lonely and cold up there. They want to be treated like human beings and that bugs me beyond belief. I see all those successful, happy women who don’t make a living off possessing vaginas and that annoys me more than words can say.

In a nutshell, I despise men and hate women, especially when they live their lives as pleases them and not in a way that allows me to preserve the insane mythology I have been raised to believe.”

Translations: A New Series

In this new and exciting series, I will explain what the congenitally stupid are actually saying with their idiotic rants. To inaugurate the series, here is the following gem:

“It’s all so unfortunate – for women, not men. Feminism serves men very well: they can have sex at hello and even live with their girlfriends with no responsibilities whatsoever.

It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek. So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation.”– Suzanne Venker

What Venker really wants to say is:

“Boys don’t like me. I’m too stupid to engage in any self-analysis, which is why I choose to blame the bugbear of feminism for my phenomenally crappy personal life.  Men run away from me in hordes and refuse to do my work for me and pay my bills. I’m also a slacker of scary proportions, suffer from severe sex issues, and have no idea how to manage my professional life.

This is why I project my laziness, frigidity and general uselessness onto other people and blame feminists for how unhappy I am with my existence. It is so much easier to face one’s own failures when you pretend that they are part of some spurious social phenomenon. At least, this way I feel less lonely and – who knows? – maybe some other equally frustrated folks will join me. In the meanwhile, I will exhort others to look in the mirror and take responsibility for my problems because I’m too weak and useless to see that my misery is nobody’s fault but my own.”