Category Archives: Banes

Things for the social worker


Dad has hearing issues and hearing aids. Sometimes his hearing problems get in the way of understanding what is happening. The hearing aids are not perfect as they do not address a tinnitus issue he apparently also has, and they are due for adjustment. But, they are in his apartment and there are extra batteries there for them in case the batteries have worn out.

He has always suffered from some form of anxiety/claustrophobia, which he controls via techniques including knowing what his plans were for each day. When he does not have information on plans or changes, and they simply happen without warning or explanation, he becomes disoriented. He is at the same time a relaxed and flexible person by temperament, and can maintain that attitude when he has information about what is happening, and (ideally) some input on plans.

He has also always had a touch of aphasia, never obvious because he is so strong linguistically and intellectually. It is of course now more pronounced; it is also exacerbated by anxiety. Knowing that his mind is clear behind the aphasia makes it easier to communicate with him.

On other cognitive issues: I know they are real but I strongly suspect that at least part of the problem is hearing and anxiety. I am not surprised that he is unsure of the date, given that he is not receiving his newspaper or the mail, and has been separated from his calendar. I hope he is not being treated as a person unable to understand most things, because he is not that.



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The modern workplace

Working classes internalize harm. They respond to hurt and pain that liquid capital inflicts on them by, first and foremost, self-harming. It’s easier for them to believe the neoliberal narrative that they fail because something is wrong with them. So they self-punish and self-destruct.

Creative and professional classes have better defenses against this. They externalize the harm. It’s not “I failed because I’m inferior” but “he failed / needs to fail / because he’s inferior, evil and horrible.”

Conclusion: prepare for epic battles as professional classes fight for survival on the rapidly shrinking professional arena.

I went on a forum where job seekers discuss the academic job market in languages. And the mechanism is always the same. The moment somebody is rumored to have gotten a job, there’s a flare-up of the most outlandish accusations against that person.

Neoliberalism has mechanisms in place that obscure what it really does in order to preserve the consensus that neoliberalism is good and has to remain in existence. This is one of them.

I react like the working classes. And I know this about the job market. All those reactions of the professional classes seem so immature to me. Perhaps mine is as well.


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Le soleil d’hiver

There are hardly any blogs anymore. I read an old post by the great Twisty therefore, and realized once again how much it all comes down to patriarchy.  Twisty refers to “her spiritual death at college.” “It took me about 30 years to grow [my mojo] back,” she says.

I didn’t have her experience then but I remember my shock to discover how mistreated one would be upon becoming a professor, or upon moving away from a modern region. Also before going away to college, being raised as a girl. I never realized what hit me, and I am still trying to see it.

I am a person and my ideas are valid. It took so long to learn that, and it was so easy to unlearn. I am trying to act on it now. Lack of investment in self, or struggle with self, come up any time I am not engaged in heroic effort on behalf of some other person, or some collective.

Yet I will invest, as it is investment in self that stops the bothersome struggle with self (I see this now). I have also just realized why I should apply for a certain professorship.


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Found phrases

“It is I who have learned to stand in my own way because of having been taught it was illegitimate that I could do these things, and inappropriate that I should be happy.”

That was in a computer file I am deleting.


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On abusers and enablers in academic culture

This is an important article and should be read. “You would be hard-pressed to find a mental-health professional, a productivity expert, or a writing coach who would suggest that — rather than recognizing people’s talent and rewarding their hard work — the way to get good results out of people is by making them feel inadequate or confused,” is one of its key sentences.

My current weapon against anxiety is to give myself time, not try to rush. I am amazed how easy it is to start work when I know that starting does not have to mean rushing. This, for me, is the true procrastination-buster.

The other general weapon is to keep saying my work is good enough and that I am not crazy. The linked article talks about the impact of gas-lighting, and the importance of not deciding, in that situation, that the problem actually is you.

Holding onto these weapons, keeping them at hand and within view, is a constant struggle.


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Yea, verily I say unto thee that it is a bad omen when you do not wake up in the morning thinking about research and teaching, but about how to withstand and/or avoid bullying and harassment.


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Some things I learned at the conference

I learned a number of the things one normally learns, about new work, ideas, books. I learned that I have to actually write the proto-article I presented on: it is time to write it, and the thinking will come in the writing. Here are some of the other things I learned.

My projects are many and complex. They are like those of the stars and people who get invited to be keynote speakers. This is why I always end up in conversation with those people. And someone told me that it involves having the kind of thick education that many professors don’t have anymore.

Anyway, the reason I don’t develop my projects well enough is that they need R1 time and confidence, ideally, or barring that a more positive or at least less hostile work environment; and also that I’ve always been taught to be tentative, to limit myself, not to jump in with both feet. Jumping in with both feet is something within my power, as well as leading myself from the head and not pushing myself from the back (this last is what those who say their problem is not liking to write do). And standing up against mistreatment.

Also, I remember that in Reeducation I was not only accused of being too logical, but having excessive powers of concentration and focus. I kept saying these were just my academic training, and that I needed them, they were a tool of my trade, but my Reeducator was looking for pathology and thought he might be able to tackle me with an OCD diagnosis. I was afraid of this because I was afraid of the drugs I would have to take, and tried to show that I could destroy or disable my powers of concentration and focus on my own, without drugs (thus also proving I was not wicked, and trying to earn the right to something more like psychoanalysis).

The other part of Reeducation was academia and in it I was shocked to find myself, first, in a teaching-and-pampering situation and next, in a research-first situation where research wasn’t an intellectual endeavor but a measurable production endeavor for the university as industrial complex. It took me a long time to understand these situations and my lack of comprehension of them.

I think that for my article on neoliberalization these things are important. I remember some of the first signs of it when I was a student. We took them seriously but did not understand them as completely as I do now (and it’s not a question of hindsight; the information existed but we did not have it). I think that the whole time I have been a professor is the time in which this destruction has been happening. We’re accused of not having stood up to it but in my case it has been not understanding it, or at least not understanding it immediately. I have only become really able to understand it recently.


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