Saturday, March 03, 2007
I'm done with this blog.
1. Dissertation. That speaks for itself. It needs to get done.
2. I'm sick of partisan bickering, and I've decided blogs like this were I complain about stuff is not part of the solution - instead it just feeds the flames.
3. I've moved on, and have decided I could care less if I get a teaching job at a college or university, because I've decided the entire system is so flawed as to be laughable. Instead, I'm going to pursue other career options for an PhD in English. Well, there may not be many, but I'm a reasonably resourceful guy, so I figure I can do it. And I may still wind up as a professor eventually.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Have I just been sexually harassed?
A few days ago in class, one student was giving a presentation on the text for the day, and he passed around several books for us to look at ("seminal works in the field" and all that). This student is gay and studies Queer Theory. Every book had "bookmarks" in it that were pictures of naked men (and not the artistic type - these were soft core gay porn). It would have been impossible to flip through the books without seeing them.
If I had passed around books that contained pictures of Playboy centerfolds as the bookmarks, I bet I'd be in serious trouble.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Creating shock troops for the revolution...
One is an "African-American reader" that contains rant after rant after rant on the evils of white people (and one essay on why Clarence Thomas is a sell-out, con man and liar).
This reader isn't designed to teach independent thought, give good models for writing or engage the reader in any meaningful way. Despite its appearance as an academic text, it isn't one. It isn't going to create engaged citizens or prepare students for the job market.
It's designed to create shock troops for the revolution.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I plead dissertation. It's going well, but it leaves little time for blogging.
I have a bit of time right now, so I'll likely have more semi-regular updates.
In the meantime, if you don't already know about it, you should be reading the blog Phi Beta Cons over at National Review online: http://phibetacons.nationalreview.com/
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Perhaps I should count my blessings.....
I have no idea how a conservative could survive in the Communications department on our campus. At least in our classes, we spend some time discussing the texts at hand. In the Communications department, there are no central "texts" so class pretty much becomes a "let's rant about how much we hate conservatives and Bush for two hours" type thing.
The other day in class we: 1. Watched a music video called "Bush don't like Black people" and discussed how it entertainingly illustrates something "we all know is true." 2. Spent 15 minutes on why Dr. Phil is evil. (I know nothing about Dr. Phil, but the main objection wasn't that he did bad therapy, it was that he was too focused on traditional heterosexual families). 3. Compared Bush to Hitler three times, and each one came with a "this isn't out of bounds - it's the truth!" type comment from other people in the class (and once from the instructor). 4. Did an in-depth discussion of exactly why narrow minded religious people are a danger to America. Why? They have moral absolutes that they refuse to give in on and are incapable of dialogue with other viewpoints (no one saw the implicit irony).
I should have brought a tape recorder to that class - it was almost too perfect an example. I thought I was being had, but unfortunately it’s all too real. A friend of mine in sociology mentioned she had a similar experience with a Communications class. In her words, class time resembled a group therapy session where angry liberals complained all social injustices and railed against conservatives - there was no real discussion of, y'know, communications.
It's all good, I suppose.
Monday, September 05, 2005
This is what is wrong....
For those who argue that Higher Education is not hopelessly liberal, I offer the following exhibit:
American Voices, 5th edition
I am required to use this textbook for the composition classes I teach while earning my bread as a grad student. It's a reader, with lots of essays on race, class, gender, politics, etc. That, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. The problem has to do with how it is framed - this textbook renders itself impossible for use in creating productive classroom discussion. Here's why:
1. It claims to present "all sides" of an issue, but when the conservative side is presented, the essays get introductions such as this:
Love, Marriage and the Law - By: William J. Bennet.
William J. Bennet is one of the country's most prominent conservatives . . . With pundits like George Will and Roger Rosenblatt, he has been a leader of a gay-bashing, feminist-bashing, counterattack on multiculturalism and other mainstays of a liberal agenda . . . He has published tracts like The Book of Virtues to admonish America's poor to adopt higher moral standards . . . [He] earned $1,800,000 in speaking fess in a single year.
Before even reading the essay, the editors TELL YOU WHAT TO THINK. Bennet is an evil gay and feminist hater. He is a rich man who despises the poor for their low morals. This is not an attempt to explore all sides of an issue - the editors have clearly lined up the good guys and the bad guys. Classroom discussion is unneeded at this point, because the well has been poisoned - this book does not allow students to think for themselves or come to their own conclusions.
2. Liberal essayists are treated as victims, and this makes them worthwhile. In one intro, it notes Anna Quindlen receives hate mail because of her liberal views. I ask: so what? I'm sure neo-Nazi's get hate mail, but I'm not about to give them the benefit of "victim" status.
I could go on, but I won't. This reader pretends to teach writing skills and nuanced thinking, but all it teaches is an "us vs. them" mentality with healthy doses of entitlement and victimization status. Liberals are good. Conservatives are evil. This book indicates that there in NO possibility for national dialogue. I hope for better [but given the way liberals have used Hurricane Katrina to beat up Bush, that hope is dwindling].
Sunday, July 03, 2005
Enjoy your 4th of July weekend.
Well, that's unfair. Perhaps most of them will. But I know of two that won't, since I overheard them complaining in the hall about "jingoistic imperialism day" followed by the usual self-affirming rants about conspiracy theories that have Rove and Bush at the center.
Hey - I'm going to a fairly big BBQ with lots of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and dip - and friends. It's a party hosted by our church, so since it celebrates both the fact the USA is a great country and it's a conservative church, I know I won't see any of my fellow English colleagues there, even though I have sincerely invited a few.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
SO - I visited my professor's office the other day
When in her office, I noticed she nearly two dozen books that argue for either a conservative media bias, or else argue that Bush and his "cronies" censor everything unfavorable to them. I asked her if she had read any book on "liberal" media bias. She said she didn't need to - she had read Goldberg's Bias and found it lacking.
I replied I found it lacking as well, but that there were better books out there, such as Coloring the News and Weapons of Mass Distortion. She said she didn't need to read those books because all claims of liberal media bias "all the same, and all false."
It's nice to live in those cocoons, surrounded by evidence that only supports your individual world view, I guess.
As for my bookshelf? Well, I have 6 books on Media bias, and they are divided equally between those claiming liberal bias and those claiming conservative bias.
My own conclusion? Generally, the media tilts slightly left, but overall the news media is basically incompetent. Science journalists don't understand the basics of science and journalists covering politics are ignorant of basic historical facts and economic rules. This is, of course, a generalization, and there are some sections of the news media that are worthwhile. I prefer (these are not unqualified endorsements, as none are perfect): The Economist, National Review, The New Republic, Commentary, The Week and Harpers . Yes, some of those listed are liberal, but unlike my profs, I prefer to read on all sides of the issue, rather than read one badly written liberal argument and decide that I've "figured out" how the other side thinks.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
So - here's my thought (or three)
One argument I hear for why there are so few conservatives in academia is that they "self-select" out and get high paying jobs in the private sector, whereas liberals prefer to dwell in Ivory Towers and take the low(er) paying jobs in academia so they can espouse Marxism without the taint of market forces driving their jobs (or something).
It's not reasoning I really buy. Why? Well, mostly because that seems to implicitly insult the few conservatives who do decide to serve in academia by claiming they just can't get the high paying jobs.
Second, those conservative who get the high paying jobs have to get an education from somewhere, and it seems to me that argument encourages conservatives to see education as useless or at least secondary to the true goal of making lots of money. Maybe I'm just not cynical enough, but I would like to think that there are conservatives besides myself who see education important for its own sake, and not just because it will make them rich.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
In some ways I am still ignorant of technology. I was taught BASIC and PASCAL computer programming, so this HTML stuff still confuses me.
Check it out. It's going to deal with comics, and I will likely update it more often than I do this blog (though I ain't going anywhere).
Yes - I used "ain't." I think "ain't" should be a perfectly good word. Here's why:
Here are several phrases capable of contraction:
I am not - You are not - he/she/it is not - we are not - they are not.
You can contract them in this manner:
I'm not - you're not - he's/she's/it's not - we're not - they're not.
But things get tricky when you try to contract them another way:
I (something) - you aren't - he/she/it isn't - we aren't - they aren't.
What goes after I in this case? Nothing. We have no way to contract am and not in the English language. "Ain't" is the only real candidate, but grammarians have deemed it unworthy for whatever reason.
I fight those grammarians.
(I also aim for the hasty death of the word "whom." )
Of course, this blog was created to vent, and lately I have found myself less angry. Instead I just have a low level disgust aimed at the unthinking knee jerk liberalism of my fellow students.
Anyway - interesting experience:
So, we're discussing St. Augustine for whatever reason (I'm not sure, as no one in the class understands any of the scriptural allusions he makes and all they want to do is insult him for not being clever enough to see through the sham of Christianity),
I quote a verse from the Bible from memory. One that Augustine alluded to but didn't fully quote.
Someone actually said "I didn't think there were people who could quote the Bible at the drop of a hat. At least not among educated people, anyway."
Do I even have to explain the problem with that? The assumption that "educated" people don't need to be familiar with the Bible?