Category Archives: Da Whiteman

También sucede en México

La colocación en la Rectoría de la UNAM de una persona fiel al actual proyecto de autoritarismo neoliberal es de suma importancia para el régimen. Una Universidad Nacional verdaderamente democrática, participativa y plural rápidamente se convertiría en una enorme piedra en el zapato para la clase política dominante. Desde la perspectiva de Peña Nieto, urge clausurar cualquier posibilidad de surgimiento de nuevos liderazgos juveniles o de proyectos intelectuales que podrían poner en riesgo sus planes transexenales.

Read the whole thing.


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Filed under ALFS presentation, Banes, Bibliography, Da Whiteman, What Is A Scholar?, Working

Words of wisdom for today

Tenured faculty are the only thing that can stand up to an increasingly cynical administrative team. (Strangely, A seems to be the exception to this, but she is fighting years of organizational culture and the entire machine that B carefully crafted, e.g., the dean of C.)

Someone said that, and I want to find out more about what they mean.

We are considered a teaching institution but college-level teaching that is not based on an active and busy research agenda is not serious teaching. It’s a scam.

Clarissa said that.


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Cut from my document, but it is so juicy

If we are to have student activity…


1. Discouraged students from the major: stop putting them in a position to do so (get them out of 300 and 400 level courses where they have this kind of influence);

2. Worked against the creation and sustenance of extracurricular activities: stop putting them in a position to do so (again, get them out of 300 and 400 level courses where they have this kind of influence);

3. Sent Spanish Club and Sigma Delta Pi dormant / have not had time to do all related paperwork. We must allow someone responsible to revive Sigma Delta Pi and support current leaders in broadening (and making official again) the activities of the Spanish Club.

I can hardly believe that I am having to make such low level recommendations, but it is so. Parties from above are about to kill several majors and at the same time, suggest that random student activity will save them. Ce n’est pas vrai: no desperate activity should be encouraged and one should organize.


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Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Movement

Ryan Craig

C’est donc en raison de ses faiblesses et non de ses réussites que l’université américaine présente une menace: tout l’invite à inventer d’urgence des solutions innovantes et, pour les rentabiliser, à les diffuser à l’étranger. L’Asie sera sa première cible, pour des raisons démographiques et économiques. Mais l’Europe sera également touchée si les Etats-Unis créent ou promeuvent des programmes ou des approches attentifs à l’employabilité des diplômés.

Ces nouveaux modèles seront payants : le marché, en tout cas en France, est prêt, car, depuis dix ans, la croissance du privé et des filières sélectives est spectaculaire. Les fonds d’investissement ne s’y trompent pas : quand leur intérêt pour l’éducation relevait il y a cinq ans de la sphère privée – quelle école pour mon enfant? -, il est désormais de plain-pied dans leur agenda professionnel. Le pedigree de Ryan Craig en témoigne : il dirige University Ventures, l’un d’entre eux…

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Stamani in un urna d’acqua

It is true, professors are flowers and have to have sun, water, nice soil and time to read. You cannot jail someone below ground, sentence them to sacrifice and penitence, set them on a time-clock and expect a good result, even if the advisors say that is what is needed.

I caught a glimpse of what it would be to be here in Maringouin, right here at Vichy state, but in a department whose customs did not include ill will and where one had autonomy but also collegiality. I caught a glimpse of what it would be to have that, and at the same time not carry so much guilt about having been research oriented and done the Ph.D.

About that: my father did not think it was a good idea in general, and also did not think I, in particular, would be able to “live in snow” (Ann Arbor, Madison) or publish. I was always tentative about the degree for this reason. But for my mother it was much more traumatic because it meant I was not doing at all what she wanted, was not the kind of person she wanted. She really tore herself apart over this. And I hurt them so much by having the interests I had. In some later years I thought of them hourly with guilt and pain.

If I could do things over again the one thing I would do is turn down my aunt’s offer to pay for college. (This is not about graduate school now, but about college.) I had about $2,000 from another relative, that I later used for study abroad, but I could have taken it and run away to trade school. With the trade in hand, I could have paid myself to go to the very college I went to — it was quite inexpensive. Then my mother would not have had grounds to say I had taken money that should have been hers, and my father would have respected me because I would have paid for college myself.

And the family would not have hated me then, and I would not be considered to have hurt them. I would feel very different now if I had had the presence of mind to do these things, to protect myself at the outset from the years of recrimination.



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Henry Miller was right

Miller works the way one did before having to listen to the harangues of professors who read Boice. He lived at Big Sur at one point–perhaps the mystical awareness came to him there. Here are three of his points, with my comments:

  • Work on one thing at a time until finished. [Even when others demand you do something else, and even when you are efficiently accomplishing many things.]
  • Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’ [This second point is what is meant by the dictum against perfectionism — allow things to be finished when they are finished. It does not mean you should not finish things or not allow yourself to produce things that satisfy you.]
  • Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand. [That is SO different from the idea of setting a timer and your jaw that is recommended now, but it is what a real writer does.]

I am fortunate to have known these things early on. Really fortunate. I should sit in this knowledge more. Everything is fine when I have, or take more research and writing time, and more recreational time, and do not listen to those who say one does not know what one is doing and is only serious if committed to grim drudgery, or sacrifice and penitence without spirit.


I have been feeling well the past few days and it is because some things have come together. The situation was not created by me entirely, or by me alone, or perhaps we could say it was not created by me. What I have to say about these things is, very briefly, about the “disease model” of “depression” (which I don’t think I have, I think I have oppression, which may be another thing).

Disease model: it is useful insofar as it insists that the phenomenon is real. It fascinates me how many people think it is not. They really do think everything is a question of attitude, or in some cases correct Protestant-style morals. But it is destructive when people want to use it as an excuse to check out, or want you to. I find that a slight reduction in oppression goes a long way, but I also find that so many people feel they are entitled to so much that if you gave them the chance to say a reduction in oppression would help, they would decide they should just wait for more things to be served to them on silver platters.

In any case, though, I feel different lately. I feel as I did before psychotherapy and academic jobs, before I was told I was the wrong person, before I was told my accomplishments were not real and my pleasures not legitimate, and before I began to feel I had better either flee or hide if these were the things I was to believe in my current universe. The fact that I feel different is proof that depression, or oppression, are real things and really impair you. I do not believe they are biological matters and I am not at all convinced that you can recover just by taking the semester off.



Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, News, Resources, What Is A Scholar?

Des nouvelles

I am in the mood never to break or lose anything out of carelessness due to feeling distraught again. Those things only started happening to me when I started putting Reeducation’s life ahead of my own. I am in the mood never to miss a deadline again, or to miss fewer of them. I am in the mood for calm and stability.

About needs: some of our professors said we were complaining, spoiled, and entitled and we internalized this, but they were speaking for themselves. They were the ones with the hystrionics. Should you really work against your own professional needs and the needs of your field? Should you really expect yourself, unrealistically, to flourish where no plants bloom … do people who say you can do anything, anywhere, really believe their own words? I need stability and a non-undermining atmosphere, if not a nurturing atmosphere then one where development is not systematically impeded, and I need peace of mind. I do not think these things are so much to ask.

A friend who called me said I was amazing because I never complain, and I have a very positive and balanced attitude, and I try again and again. This is a perceptive person who knows me well.

Someone told me one should never review a book with a chip on one’s shoulder and I thought this was a brilliant comment that should be extended to everything — never do ANYTHING with a chip on your shoulder. Certain projects I have failed to complete: how could one, on shifting ground and with scolding and recrimination of different kinds, dissonant with each other, coming in from every side?

These attacks of panic that I have come to experience are in part the breaking after taking the last blow I could tolerate. They are about exhaustion from handling and putting up with more than any one person can. They are about trying to handle, or tolerate, or resist boundary invasions that threaten to finish me off.

I am in the mood not to allow any of these things any more.


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Filed under Banes, Da Whiteman, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?