“He’ll learn some mantra about learning from his mistakes or how he has matured and is ready for the next step.”

The beautiful ongoing saga of Florida State’s Jesus, and America’s next hero.

Glendale to Universities:

Follow our lead!

‘Sports Illustrated estimates that after two years of retirement, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce. What transferable skills does a professional football player bring to the marketplace? What job is going to give him a salary even close to what he was making as a player?’

But wait. Many of these guys attended or graduated from some of our better universities. Ray Rice, Rutgers. Aaron Hernandez, University of Florida. Richie Incognito, University of Nebraska. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma. Our internationally acclaimed higher education system has taken these and so many other NFL players in and educated them.

Sure, once they’re retired at 29 or whatever, and once the brain damage they got playing for these universities (Motto: A mind is a terrible thing to waste; so we use it, use it, use it!) starts up, they won’t make big NFL money. But they’re college-educated! They went to storied schools like the University of North Carolina!

Bankrupt? Financial stress? They’re not even carrying college loans!



“It’s not the ultra rich here,” he said. “It’s a quiet wealth in many respects. It’s not that showy.”

This line, which concludes an article announcing UD‘s own ‘thesda as “the next Aspen,” instantly made UD think of a couple of lines from Don DeLillo’s White Noise.

“The saved know each other by their neatness and reserve. He doesn’t have showy ways is how you know a saved person.”


The Aspenization is happening
in South Bethesda; UD lives
in North Bethesda (the
Garrett Park part of North Bethesda),
which – given what it looks like when
you take a picture off of UD‘s
back deck on January 30, 2015 at 7:50
in the morning – isn’t very showy at all.


Looks downright rural.

‘He has argued that the school’s investment performance is no worse than other universities.’

Once again, Yeshiva University’s president – one of the highest-paid university presidents in the country – shows – in the statement above – his keen grasp of fiscal realities.

From Bloomberg Business, this morning:

Of [American universities] with endowments of more than $1 billion, only one lost money last year: Yeshiva University, which shrunk 7.6 percent to $1.09 billion…


No wonder Yeshiva’s medical school faculty is in a funk.

Calling Dr. James Walker!

The guy could be on his way to a lucrative sideline: Expert witness willing to testify that university athletes who rape unconscious women are innocent of the rape if the athletes are really drunk when they do it.

Forensic psychologist Dr. James Walker testified Friday that [Brandon] Vandenburg could have been so drunk that he had no idea what he was doing, The Tennessean reports.

“He was so intoxicated he was not his normal self,” Walker said. “He was doing things he would not normally have done.”

(A defense team also tried what George Huguely’s lawyer called the “stupid drunk” defense in Huguely’s case. That one was murder. He was a University of Virginia lacrosse player.)

So: Next up for Walker: Former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner. Same MO: Rape an unconscious woman. Apparently they’d both been at a party. She seems to have been very drunk. Let’s assume he was too. Get Walker on the stand!

UD thanks a reader for sending her this news bulletin on the Vanderbilt rapes.

Guilty on all counts.

A very postmodern trial. People have been raping women for a long time, but today some juries can watch the rape, because the postmodern rapists record it.

Of course the guys on trial had every right to do whatever they could to try to stay out of jail, but UD would like to say for the record that it was probably a bad idea for one of them to walk into court brandishing an American flag lapel pin, and for the other one to talk about having no memory of the event while preparing to go to church the next morning. It was probably a bad idea for their defense lawyers to blame events on Vanderbilt University, which turns out to be so utterly dissolute a location that anyone there – even patriotic, churchgoing lads – would rape an unconscious woman. It was probably a bad idea for their defense to rig up a doctor to claim that the alcohol did it, not the football player.


I know. When you’ve got a recording of the rape, there aren’t any good ideas. Point taken.


Oh. As you gear up for the trial of the two other former Vanderbilt football players accused of raping this woman, don’t forget: Their coach now coaches at Penn State.

You cannot make this shit up.


From one of the jurors:

He said the “defense did an incredible job, they were essentially given unwinnable cases and turned it essentially into the longest, hardest-fought legal battle.” He said he did not believe Batey’s testimony that Batey did not remember anything because he was drunk.

“I think Cory Batey’s testimony probably did more harm than good… His intoxication defense came a little bit late and was pretty lackluster when he got on the stand. He had clearly been coached… “

“The Office of Teaching & Learning at [the University of Denver] does not ban technology in the classroom. As the office points out on its website, students had plenty of options for not paying attention before laptops became commonplace, whether through daydreaming or doodling.”

Good old Offices of Teaching & Learning. They’re reading (they’re supposed to be reading) the same studies professors are reading (supposed to be reading). In fact, they’re supposed to be the campus experts, the highest campus authorities, on best teaching practices. But although more and more professors are banning laptops (the article from which my post’s title is taken is all about how more and more DU professors are banning technology) in the light of overwhelming evidence that they damage comprehension, attention, and participation, most university teaching centers seem to have no policy on the matter – or they think laptops are terrific, wonderful, great…

DU’s office still thinks it’s clever to compare distraction through looking out the window or dragging your pencil across note paper to having instant access to the entire world of movies, stores, news outlets, and social media.

Why can’t the Office of Teaching & Learning learn?

“He said he woke up the morning after the alleged rape and found graphic pictures on his phone while he got ready to go to church.”

Wow. Talk about multi-tasking.

Didn’t Irving Berlin write a song about this?

I got the church in the mornin
And the rape at night….

With the lovely Vanderbilt University rape trial as …

background, the film The Hunting Ground begins to generate commentary.

Along with institutions like Harvard, Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “The Hunting Ground” takes on the fraternity system — in particular, Sigma Alpha Epsilon — and even throws down a challenge of a sort for the National Football League with a not-so-subtle suggestion that teams should think twice about drafting one of the top college prospects, Jameis Winston.

Mr. Winston, the Florida State University quarterback, is the focus of one of the film’s more incendiary segments. The Heisman Trophy winner in 2013, he was accused in 2012 of sexual assault by a female student. He has asserted his innocence, did not face criminal charges and was recently cleared of violating Florida State’s student code of conduct by the university. He is widely expected to be among the first several players chosen in this spring’s N.F.L. draft. But “The Hunting Ground,” directed by Kirby Dick, makes a mockery of Florida State’s investigation, and Mr. Winston’s accuser, Erica Kinsman, speaks publicly about the case for the first time in the film, at length.

“Block That Metaphor!” was the title of a long-running New Yorker feature…

… which singled out mixed metaphors in prose. Mixed metaphors tend to mix up your reader. Here’s an example, taken from a review of The Hunting Ground, a film about sexual assault on American college campuses.

Given that the film levels a withering j’accuse against a complex skein of heterogeneous institutions and organizations, it will have a harder road ahead inspiring organizational reform in the same way The Invisible War did, but there’s no doubt it will get audiences debating and talking when it goes on release via RADiUS in March and when it is broadcast later this year on CNN.

Let’s highlight some of the figurative language in here.

‘Given that the film levels a withering j’accuse against a complex skein of heterogeneous institutions and organizations, it will have a harder road ahead inspiring organizational reform in the same way [the film] The Invisible War did, but there’s no doubt it will get audiences debating and talking when it goes on release via RADiUS in March and when it is broadcast later this year on CNN.’


The j’accuse bit is a rather overheated cliche, but let that go. The real problems in this sentence begin with skein. When we see skein, we see literal lengths of knotted yarn and figurative knotty complexities. Do we need “complex” in front of skein? Scathing Online Schoolmarm thinks not. It mucks up a sentence that already has too many words. And skein itself is maybe not the right word for what she means. She means to describe the network of universities in this country – and they are a network, not a skein. Skein suggests a somewhat fragile, random unit of things, whereas universities are more sturdy, meaningful, interconnected phenomena.

Now the writer puts the skein on the road. The skein “will have a harder road ahead.” I suppose we could at this point imagine something like tumbleweed… But really, the writer does our efforts to figure out her meaning no favors when she jams all of this at-odds figurative language into her sentence. Write simply, and don’t unspool too many skeins.


[D]espite the egregiousness of these charges, there’s something simultaneously repulsive and endearing about Sheldon Silver. He represents a bygone time of New York City politics — men in fedoras, backroom deal-making, using taxpayer-funded perks to reward loyalty. Call it sleazy, call it charmingly authentic. You decide.

Damn! Shoulda done this at…

Florida State!


She was totally unconscious so there is no way they can claim consent. It was recorded so they can’t claim it didn’t happen. It was reported not by the victim but by the university so they can’t claim she “cried rape”.

From the article’s comment thread.

The football players’ defense team argues that Vanderbilt’s sinful campus culture sullied the lads and forced their hand.

The local rags – especially in the southland – specialize in propaganda pieces on behalf of the local university teams…

… and Scathing Online Schoolmarm, long a student of propaganda, finds them well worth a look. If you read through the SOS posts on this blog, you’ll see plenty of analyses of modern American sports agitprop.

The point of this genre of writing is to transform empty stadiums into … well, not full… everyone knows what’s what these days in university sports… But to transform the total embarrassment of empty stadiums (the stuff is broadcast) into the mild discomfort of half-full stadiums. And since shitty dissolute sports programs repel everyone, your hackwork here ain’t gonna be easy.


Why is why SOS finds it sad that the people to whom editors throw these challenging assignments are usually the rookies, or anyway the worst writers on staff. Who else would take the gig? Your job is to rally the troops – to get the burghers of Bogalusa out of bed in order to hit terrible traffic, deal with scary drunks, sit for three hours while almost nothing happens, etc., etc., etc.

Those long empty hours give people plenty of time to contemplate less than attractive aspects of the sports program they’re supposed to be cheering. FAMU’s fans, for instance, will have trouble shaking off memories of their school’s homicidally hazing marching band…

But you won’t find a word about that ongoing unpleasantness in Jordan Culver’s piece in the Tallahassee Democrat yesterday. Culver begins with a lament:

[F]ans have been absent — if not totally nonexistent — during home games.

That’s home games, so I guess we’re talking, uh, even less than nonexistent for away.

What to do? The team stinks, the band kills its musicians, and to make matters worse vanishingly few people are applying to attend FAMU anyway. Into this desperate situation steps the local propagandist. What can he do to help?

There are basically two ways to go: Righteous rage against the people (we’ll see an example of that in a moment), and – the Culver option – humble entreaty. Culver goes ahead and acknowledges that the program’s a total mess, with new coaches stepping in every ten minutes or so… But please note! When I call FAMU coaches, they answer the phone and talk to me!

I call, he answers. I ask a question, he — to the best of his ability — provides an answer.

You can’t abandon a program whose coaches pick up the phone. Plus they all have “a vision.”

[FAMU’s interim athletics director] is willing to share [his] vision, and I think it’s one even the most disgruntled FAMU fan can get behind.

But what is that vision? Culver doesn’t quote the AD; nor does he quote any of the other people who will be running the FAMU program for the next few hours. He just says they all have a vision. The vision thing. We can get behind that, can’t we?


Righteous rage against the people has certain inherent risks, familiar to the classic propagandists of communist countries. The greatness of humanity, its glorious freedoms – these are what life is all about. They’re especially what the freewheeling all-American ethos of sport is about. You don’t want to mess up that… vision… with nasty, coercive, or – God forbid – threatening language.

On the other hand, if you are Clemson zealot Zach Lentz you are in a terrible vindictive snit, especially about the basketball team.

[S]upport for this team is dwindling at an astonishing rate and it has to wear not only on the coach but the players.

This first point is a variant of what SOS has long called coacha inconsolata (put the phrase in my search function), the evocation of the agonies suffered by coaches who through no fault of their own recruit criminals or make institution-destroying salaries or play to empty stadiums. In an echo of the notorious “kitten” internet meme, coacha inconsolata says Every time you fail to attend a game, a coach is worn down to a nub.

Same deal for the kids:

These student-athletes put hours of blood, sweat and tears into a job that’s sole purpose is to entertain the fans watching. The least we can do as fans is get out of our house or dorm and make the trip or walk over to support them. Maybe if we fans get behind the team from the beginning rather than waiting on a magical end-of-the-season run, we might see something special from a special group of kids.

First, then, you inflict guilt. Next up is the drill sergeant, barking his orders with numbing redundancy:

[T]here is no excuse. There is no excuse for there to be empty seats in the student section. No excuse for the people who have said of football game times, “I don’t care if they play at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, I’m going to be there.”

Liars! Look what you said, and look what you did! No excuse, no excuse, no excuse!

The next thing is fully in line with the tendency of communist regimes to say exactly the opposite of the truth as if everyone knows this exactly the opposite thing is obviously true:

[P]eople love to go to sporting events. They love to be a part of the pageantry and witness the spectacular in person.

We don’t have to threaten our people with reprisals if they fail to show up for the May Day parade. Everyone loves pageantry and spectacle.


It’s strange how Lentz hasn’t noticed the national conversation about massively tanking attendance at university sports events.

It’s especially strange since he’s writing about massively tanking attendance at his university’s sports events.


Finally: The sobbing old-timer grapples with his lost world.

There was a time when students camped outside, waited in the cold and rain and people couldn’t wait to get inside to watch their team take on whoever dared enter the arena that night.

Why, I remember, back in two thousand naught eight…

The Greene Revolution

The people of Iran had their Green Revolution, which sought to make their country more just; now America launches our own grassroots movement for change.

Property developer Jeff Greene’s impassioned plea last week at Davos is catalyzing a movement across the United States, an upswelling of ordinary people who ask: If Jeff can do it, why can’t we?

The challenge Jeff has set:

“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” Greene said in an interview today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”

Jeff, who keeps five supermansions and “flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week,” joins the storied ranks of Benjamin Edelman, Vinod Khosla, Tom Perkins, Todd Henderson, Glenn Hubbard, Frederic Mishkin, Dick Fuld, and Mike “Helicopter” Bloomberg as yet another man of conscience for America, a role model whose invention of a whole new downsized system of life sets the standard for the rest of us.

Start here. Model your wedding on Greene’s 2007 ceremony:

[The couple were married] at their 27-acre Beverly Hills canyon estate. The Los Angeles skyline glimmered as the bride appeared in a gown of hand-beaded Swarovski crystals, and four swans glided alongside her in a reflecting pool as she made her way to the French limestone gazebo, where Mr. Greene waited for her, beaming.

The 275 guests were an eclectic mix, including the director Oliver Stone; Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner; and the boxer Mike Tyson, who served as best man. After midnight, the guests took to the revolving dance floor installed in the 24-car garage.

You might have trouble finding Sterling. He might be hiding out.

Next Page »

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There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

You can get your RDA of academic liars, cheats, and greedy frauds at University Diaries. All disciplines, plus athletics.
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