“Simkin … loved to pity and to poke fun at the same time. He was a Reality-Instructor.”

This is from Saul Bellow’s Herzog, describing a hard-nosed friend of Moses who enjoys lecturing him about The Real World. Simkin sees Herzog as a head in the clouds dreamy idealistic type who because he’s not watching out for reality will always crash into it and fuck up his life:

I’m a greedy old money-grubber — I don’t claim I’m a candi­date for sainthood, but . . . Well, that’s just the frenzy of the world. Maybe you don’t always take cognizance, Professor, being absorbed in the true the good and the beautiful like Herr Goethe.

Ever since the multiple woman bashing incidents on the Florida State University football team, we’ve had a rash of Reality-Instructors. Their job is to tell us what’s up, what the deal is, the lay of the land, the facts on the ground, prevailing conditions, the stone cold sober truth. On the subject of big-time university football.

UD‘s favorite Reality Instructor so far is this guy. From his title (Let’s Stop Pretending FSU is Different Than Anyone Else) to his final paragraph, this guy has some cold water to throw on our assumption that universities are universities.

His main point is that all the other jockshops recruit with arrant disregard when it comes to criminal records and things like that. Why should FSU be any different? It’s not as if universities are about moral values or something. (And don’t even ask about intellectual values…) Get with the program, fool!

[This is what bothers me most about criticism of the coach]: The idea that he should be blamed for recruiting these kids at all.

It’s preposterous.

I mean, we’re all adults here, right? We know how the world works.

College football is a billion-dollar business. Virtually every coach in the Power 5 conferences is a multi-millionaire. These universities are making anywhere from 20 to 40 million dollars with these new TV deals.

With big money comes big pressure. And these coaches – all of these coaches – try to get the best players possible to come help them win football games at their respective schools. Many times that means recruiting kids from rough cities with tough backgrounds. It’s just the nature of the sport.

To the rest of the country though it’s Florida State that has become the poster child for what is wrong with college football. Wins trump everything else in Tallahassee. It’s all Fisher cares about. It’s all the community cares about. It’s the only thing that matters.

What I find fascinating — and just a bit ironic — is how [the coach] and FSU are vilified for this culture while not a peep was written or spoken about what happened in Gainesville last year.

The everybody does it argument always has as accompaniment

1.) they’re just as bad; and/or

2.) they’re worse.

UD had read long, long comment threads in which fans compulsively compare their team’s vileness to the slightly greater vileness of this or that other team. In this case, Gainesville – the University of Florida – is trotted out to demonstrate that very bad actors and cynical multimillionaire coaches are equally distributed among America’s institutes of higher learning, so why pick on us?

E.L. Doctorow’s Death Happens.

NYT obit.


I’ve had very little experience in my life. In fact, I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad… A writer’s life is so hazardous that anything he does is bad for him. Anything that happens to him is bad: failure’s bad, success is bad; impoverishment is bad, money is very, very bad. Nothing good can happen.


For the White Noise fans among us, this comment brings to mind Murray Jay Siskind:

I’m here to avoid situations. Cities are full of situations, sexually cunning people. There are parts of my body I no longer encourage women to handle freely. I was in a situation with a woman in Detroit. She needed my semen in a divorce suit.

Insult Generator.

Highly recommended. UD put her name in and laughed long and loud.

Ball State University Makes UD’s Head Spin.

So jockshop Ball State takes huge amounts of money from students to pay for a pathetic football program whose games they ignore. So what. That describes many American universities.

Yet see if you can make sense of these comments from a member of the board of trustees.

“We lost money last year… We’re going to lose money every year unless we have some unreasonable sponsor come forward and until we have 15,000 people paying for tickets to football games.”

Unreasonable? What does the trustee mean?

“I’m not saying it’s right,” said [the trustee], owner of Sport Graphics Inc., an Indianapolis company that works with clients like the NCAA, several collegiate athletic conferences, the 2012 Super Bowl, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Indiana Pacers. “I’m not saying schools should be seen more in favor for winning football championships or being in tournaments than having Rhodes scholars. But I am saying if you’re going to have athletic programs we’ve got to do our best to support it.”

Oh baby… if loving you is wrong… I don’t wanna be right…

Wilde Speculations.

Like the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board, UD has been struck, since the inception of his campaign, by what a Wildean character Donald Trump is. But while she has been tending toward Lady Bracknell, the paper points to Dorian Gray.

He is our nation’s “Portrait of Dorian Gray,” the not-so-secret creation of our worst values.

Like the hidden portrait which over the years manifests the cruel and dissolute truth of Dorian Gray’s life (while he himself maintains a black-magic youthfulness), Trump is the portrait with the curtain drawn fully aside, the picture of young and at the same time dissolute America which many of us would prefer not to see (hence the outrage his candidacy has excited).


For UD, the Trump Bump isn’t quite this grim or this simple or even this moral a tale. That’s why the rollicking amorality of The Importance of Being Earnest – subtitle: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People – seems closer to the truth. Though loud, Trump is – like Aunt Augusta – trivial (note that the Huffington Post is covering his campaign in its Entertainment section). The Trump/Bracknell comedy derives from the contradiction between this triviality and their cosmic self-importance.

The reason the Bracknell role is often played by a man is the same reason Donald Trump is played by a man: Both are unfortunate victims of too much male hormone. Both parody The Hyper-Male of any culture, not just America: Braying, belligerent, boastful, brainless, and utterly beside the point.

Both care, in the crudest fashion, only about money (“A hundred and thirty thousand pounds! And in the Funds! Miss Cardew seems to me a most attractive young lady, now that I look at her.”), and both make absolutely nothing happen. Bracknell flounces and rages but both parties marry over her objections; Trump flounces and rages but the Republic romps along.

Bracknell and Trump are the best parts of the shows they’re in, yes. But this glorious country is not going to form an alliance with a parcel.


How quaint!

I’m sorry, but in this as in so many things, we are so much farther along.

Plus they’re missing a whole world of guns.


Deferment veteran.


[The University of Tennessee football team] had to hit a 930 score in the APR report that covered a rolling four-year period from 2009-10 through 2012-13. It was going to be difficult. They made a 932…

[The coach] described it as “the greatest win in the history of Tennessee football that nobody knows about.

Yeah, nobody knows about it because no one cares. It’s only their education.

Hence the article writer’s need to remind us:

The university is, at its core, an educational institution, not a sports franchise.


The University of Tennessee, one of the most farcical sports stalwarts of this blog (go ahead and type university tennessee in my search engine) is about to have far more to worry about than that silly APR thing.

Stolen Lifeguard Stands and a Stolen Way of Life.

But both are slowly being recovered – the stands by the Coast Guard, and the way of life by wise citizens and a responsible local government.

It’s the same deal as in UD‘s beloved Garrett Park (type in 20896): Profiteers are always going to want to get rich off of prized locations, and the way you do it is by building immense houses and taking down the trees and the neighborhood. Rehoboth, like Garrett Park, is struggling to defend itself.

Les UDs now begin the trek back to Garrett Park.

FAMU is more famous for its …

marching band, but details like these are pretty newsworthy too.

There have been four athletic directors and three head football coaches in the past 12 months.

For an approximately two-week overlapping period, the university had two entire football coaching staffs; this resulted in an additional $55,000.

FSU: Too Dangerous

I got an email earlier this week from the mother of an Orlando high school senior who is in the process of selecting her college…

“We recently toured FSU and the violence against women by the players was in the forefront of my mind, therefore putting FSU at the bottom of my list,” the mother wrote. “I do not want to send my daughter to a school where her safety is at risk due to other students with a violent past.”

Florida State University: On its way to being Lord of the Flies U.

The Trembling President

… I don’t really blame Saban; I blame Alabama’s school president for allowing a football coach carte blanche on what players are admitted into the university. The same goes for presidents at Florida State, Florida, Clemson and the countless other schools that recruited Dalvin Cook, the star FSU running back who was arrested recently and charged with punching a woman outside a Tallahassee bar.

According to records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Cook was arrested as a juvenile on two separate charges – one involving a robbery and another involving possessing and firing a weapon on school property.

Question: Don’t colleges and college presidents have a responsibility to protect their student bodies by not admitting football players who might be a threat to fellow students?

Mike Bianchi reminds us that jockshops like Clemson, etc., do have presidents. Admittedly these people do little other than attend football games and perform acts of obeisance to their head coach. (And fill out institutional assessment forms.) But just as a cat may look at a king, so a jockshop president may overcome his awareness of his microscopic salary compared to the salary of the coach and beg a few words with Nick or Jimbo about his quest for the biggest, most violent undergrads in America.

[S]everal years ago … Miami recruited Willie Williams, a prep-All-America linebacker from South Florida who was arrested 11 times as a juvenile.

UM President Donna Shalala, in an attempt to justify the signing, wrote in a letter to school boosters: “Mr. Williams is one of us — a son of Miami. We have a special obligation, relationship and commitment to the young people of our South Florida community. We want them to continue to think of us as a place of academic excellence and opportunity.”

Shalala’s letter may be the biggest pile of pabulum in college football history.

That makes me nostalgic. Here at University Diaries we had a hell of a good time following Shalala’s hyper-criminalized University of Miami, and fact is we miss her.

Interesting analogy.

A sports commentator talks about campus life at Florida State University.

[T]here just isn’t a way to keep this kind of stuff from happening.

Not on a football team, a basketball team, on a college campus, or anywhere. If there were, guess what? We’d have stopped all of it by now. If you murder somebody and get caught, you know you’re going to prison for the rest of your life, but that doesn’t stop people from committing murder, does it?

Thomas Jefferson, Pat Robertson, and Donald Trump:

These three American presidential candidates all founded universities. Jefferson, who of course went on to become president, established the University of Virginia. Robertson, who ran but failed to become president, founded Regent University. Trump, currently running, founded Trump University.

Nicely written.

The reality of a comic-book villain Latino-basher dominating their party’s communications is a nightmare [Republican strategists] never contemplated.

Fox News is probably trying to freeze Trump out of its debates by requiring that all candidates file paperwork. Many people believe Trump has exaggerated his net worth and won’t be willing to expose his empty boasts by disclosing his actual net worth. But many of us also believed Trump would never declare a campaign. He has already proven his willingness to act irrationally. Trump has blown up a lucrative commercial brand as a loudmouth pitchman and embodiment of vulgar wealth (a hardy American trope) and traded it for Pat Buchanan’s brand — which is also a hardy American trope, but with far more limited opportunity for commercial exploitation.

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