Monthly Archives: May 2009

M. Scott Peck

Read Heart’s post on M. Scott Peck, it is amazing! M. Scott Peck was a hero of Reeducation. It all makes a lot more sense to me now. Reeducation was quite literally a Christian, misogynist, alcoholic and otherwise addicted cult, bent upon projecting its inner nature into the rest of the world. No wonder.

Axé.

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Today

I am still on strike, but I guess we can sing anyway. I have ladders and scraps of old drywall all over one room, and blotches of primer all over the outside of the house. I cannot get the primer off of my hands. Expensive primer washes off better than this primer does. I will buy more expensive primer tomorrow.

I also have a room full of pieces of a manuscript. I am channeling the Emeritus Professor, whom I seem to remember working on a manuscript and painting the house the summer this song came out. His manuscript was on surrealism, so the album the song came out on was particularly pertinent.

I have other songs for my own manuscript, but the fact of being able to see Grace Slick live on video 42 years later is more than good enough for now.

Axé.

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The Digital Humanities Manifesto

Check it out.

Axé.

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Via Geoffrey Philp

The blogging habit. This is really good. I am still on strike, but it does not mean I cannot repost important things from elsewhere.

Axé.

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Prolonged Detention

Concentration camps, people.

Axé.

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Sign the Petition to Bobby

I am still on strike. I wrote this for love, not for money.

“You were a ‘young Turk’ when you arrived here, but you are no longer,” noted my friend. I think I know what ze means — from my own perspective, at least. I used to know I should protect research time by only participating in large service initiatives when asked by a chair or dean, and maintain teaching integrity by not teaching outside my discipline unless asked by my own chair or dean (and given a good reason). That is what you have to do if you are going to work like a professional, and it does not amount to Young Turkitude. I was impatient, though — still am, when they exist — with some assistant professors who wanted me to put more of my time than the University did into helping them with their work (as opposed to helping myself with mine, which was my actual job description).

I am tickled to know I seemed at that time to anyone like a “young Turk,” because the way I felt was beaten down (although still hopeful and cheery), and the way I soon came to feel was simply beaten up. It appears I was looking better than I thought I was. I definitely had my priorities straight even though I sometimes got derailed from acting upon them. I am actually sort of proud of who I was then, especially given all the trouble I had already seen. I am happy when I see a glimpse of the person I was going around a corner, or flashing in through the windows. I can tell she is coming back to me.

To really be a “young Turk,” however, one must look down upon one’s colleagues and students, which I am fortunate never to have been in a position to have to do. I get irritated at all kinds of things. But I am so — well, let us call it “snobbish” for now — that I do not even go where the people do not seem interesting, valiant and smart. And I have met a few Young Turks in my time, and I know exactly how they talk behind closed doors. And although there is overlap between the two categories, there is still a very great difference between a Young Turk and a beleaguered assistant professor desperately trying to navigate unforeseen shoals — shoals which are often difficult to even identify — and carve out from service and politics the peace of mind and research time that is their job description.

The other week, though, in another state, I had lunch with an old friend who may have become an Old Turk. Ze (not the same “ze” mentioned above) is upwardly mobile by definition, very successful, and very deserving. I admire hir and hir perseverance greatly. However, in one lunch, ze expressed scornful amazement at the news that Ph.D.s from my current institution actually get academic jobs, and then went on to denigrate for unhipness a colleague from one of my former institutions — it being the case that this colleague, although not a person I tend to agree with on much, has made it through even more trouble than the Old Turk or I have, while still getting a lot done and remaining a good deal more menschlig than many. And the Old Turk was at this point the very incarnation of snobbishness.

Listening to my friend the Old Turk speak I was reminded once again of all the reasons why I am so glad I work at a public institution, despite all the problems one has doing so in a poor state, and why I am so glad so many of my students came to college because they wanted to, and not because it was merely expected. And from the Old Turk’s point of view my current institution is not even on the map, but in the city where ze and I were, I had to drive because only I could find the way.

And I would so much rather be able to find the way wherever I am than live in a golden house. And I know I am not alone in this preference. And our Governor will discourage us as much as he can and drive as many of us away as he can. And I do not think we should let him.

This has been what we call in Spanish a “free essay” by me. It is not a five paragraph essay and it does not have only one theme, or only one thesis. It does end with a request, however. This request, as you will realize if you have read this far, is most heartfelt. Even if you live out of state, please sign the petition to the Governor to fund K through college education in Louisiana.

Axé.

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Strike Aid!

Thanks to Undine, we have a way for everyone to help with my strike: click on the links to my Blog Supporters! This will help remind my advertisers that I do have readers. I need the revenue because I work at a public university in Bobby Jindal’s state.

In gratitude I will post some notes toward a post, inspired in reading Luis Villoro, Retos de la sociedad por venir.

Because I am on strike, I will not organize or explain them. But because you are helping me with the strike, I am typing up some notes I took in the margins of the Times-Picayune.

*

+ Villoro 130: To be “on the left” is not to subscribe to a particular set of ideas but to have an “actitud vital” of “disruption” and a practice of questioning. A transformative practice.

+ Me: Yes, a critical consciousness. Part of being an intellectual. But both academia and Reeducation are on the right in Villoro’s description, then — they are about reiterating and/or becoming a reiteration of the dominant establishment, and not about the “comportamiento emancipador” to which Villoro refers as a Left behavior and attitude.

+ Me: That could mean I am not so mean, so criminal, so deserving of insults, or so mentally ill as I am often accused of being. It could just mean that my views on matters are more challenging than people are comfortable with. This is very interesting.

+ Villoro 132: To be on the left is not a theory, it is a moral posture. This bears thinking about. He also suggests somewhere in the same essay that to be Left or not is also a choice about whether one is going to do anything or not, sacrifice anything or not (and for what).

+ Me: All right, then Socrates was right and it is more therapeutic to read philosophy than it is to do many other things. I see what I got from Reeducation and it was essentially a right wing prescription. It was not all right to be: (a) intellectual – critical; (b) urban; (c) questioning (you were supposed to be conformist and what Villoro calls “reiterative/reiterating”; (d) to know how to solve problems / have a can-do attitude; (e) and of course, it was not all right to be “scientific,” or to think objectively and independently in any way.

We know the things listed in the last paragraph and I have listed them before in this blog, but every time I read anything interesting I have them come to me as a revelation again. I should paint a canvas of them and hang it in my doorway.

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+ Villoro 141: On Nietzche’s will to power. Is power always the oppressive power over others … or does Nietzche really mean here THE POWER TO EXIST? This part of the essay bears rereading.

+ Me: I have already figured out that Reeducation’s main message was that one had no right to exist. What it said was that one must give up all power. And one of my main disagreements with academia is with the idea that one should be able to function perfectly IN AN ABUSIVE SITUATION, as though it were a supportive one, or that one should repress oneself in all areas of life except in one’s specialty, wherein one must be most original.

I do not understand at all how one can put so much energy to repression of 90% of one’s self and expect this NOT to affect the other 10% (not to mention how that use of energy would cut into research time and focus).

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But I am still on strike. Click on my Blog Supporters! When I get paid we will have Reading for Pleasure Wednesdays again, and wear white on Fridays. On the weekends, we will sing.

Axé.

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Strike!

This blog is on strike due to non payment of one of its advertisers. It will remain on strike until such time as payment is made. You wouldn’t know it some days, but I am in fact a working man.

It will not be Friday, Oxalá’s day, it will not be the weekend, and we will not sing until I am paid.

Noam Chomsky’s article Exterminate All the Brutes (Gaza 2009) will provide plenty of reading material for everyone until my labor issue is resolved.

Comments on the article are most welcome. I would also like to know what other countries, besides Israel and the United States, believe that only their own citizens (of the right religion and party, of course) are actual persons.

I know my answer to that, of course — if everyone is not a person, nobody is, and it is only a matter of time.

Axé.

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Greta Garbo

I finally tried Twitter, and I found it distasteful. Other technologies and software I dislike include:

+ television
+ point and shoot digital cameras
+ cell phones
+ Blackboard
+ WebCT
+ Moodle
+ Twitter
+ Blogger
+ chat/talk
+ text messages
+ instant messages
+ iPods.

But I am literally repulsed by Twitter, which expects one to peer into a screen, decipher text messages from random persons, and follow up on mysterious references.

I am further repulsed by its marketing of ENMESHMENT and VOYEURISM as “connection.”

I understand the research value of the question Twitter wants people to answer, “What are you doing?” But I do not want to answer it, nor do I burn to know what other peoples’ answers to it are.

I would like at least some time during the day when a communication device is NOT jabbing at me for attention and a response.

I could see Twitter if I were a child and my mother were on it, though — then I could Tweet at her to let her know I was all right.

But imagine this scenario: you are at summer camp and your mother Tweets you hourly, and if you do not answer, phones the camp to ask whether you have been killed or something.

There is a lot to be said for being incognito. I suppose summer camps have rules for parents, which nowadays include restrictions on Tweeting.

For if I were expected to LISTEN to Twitter, to be called by it, or to search through it for pearls of wisdom, I think I would break all of my machines and go live in a hut somewhere.

There is entirely too much noise already. Tweeting is very stressful and should be paid overscale.

Axé.

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Malcolm X

Greetings are extended to Malcolm X, who is 84 today — and whom I would like to see alive and speaking on Afghanistan and Guantánamo.

When we were very young, we were told Malcolm was “unstable.” When I got old enough to actually read his words, he was already dead. Reading him, though, I realized he was not at all crazy — he just had an incisive mind and a will.

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, ¡presente!

Axé.

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