The University of Hawaii Maintains a Dignified Silence…

… over the death of its football program.

The University of Hawaii Athletics Department won’t reveal ticket sales numbers for the upcoming football season, which starts in two weeks.

[A spokesperson said] it was still too early to estimate ticket sales, even though season tickets are sold well in advance.

Rumor has it that we’re talking about a little over 12,000 sold. The stadium seats 50,000.

Notre Dame: Just One More Gutter Football Program.

And if UD were a Catholic (she’s Jewish) she’d be less than thrilled that Our Lady’s been dragged through the mud again and again by the drunks and academic frauds that play under her name.

Of course big-time university football besmirches all schools (one exception might be Brigham Young), but while the lowest of the low, like the University of Miami and Auburn, tend to be refreshingly honest about their total mindless commitment to sports, other schools, like the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and Notre Dame, are constantly flouncing around telling everyone about their integrity. Both amply deserve what’s happening, and they certainly won’t learn from it. Both have invested far too much money in one of the dirtiest rackets going.

Tax Syphons, Law School Edition

Scummy for-profit universities are by now a notorious national scandal; Paul Campos reminds us that that you can get the same thing in a law school:

[S]chools accredited by the American Bar Association admit large numbers of severely underqualified students; these students in turn take out hundreds of millions of dollars in loans annually, much of which they will never be able to repay. Eventually, federal taxpayers will be stuck with the tab, even as the schools themselves continue to reap enormous profits.

It’s the very same scheme as the college scheme we’ve followed on this blog for years.

Campos features an amazing story that could have come out of North Korea (or, even worse, Chicago State University). The worse a university (the worse a country), the more repressive it is, particularly about threats to its propaganda machine. A candidate for dean at arguably America’s worst law school (one of the for-profits) not long ago tried to give a truth-telling presentation to its faculty. As the candidate spoke about the school’s astonishingly, cynically, low admissions standards, the school’s president stood up and told him to stop immediately, to leave the room, and if he didn’t leave, the president would call security.

The life of mind’s a beautiful thing, ain’t it? America can be proud of its ABA approved law schools and their commitment to the robust exchange of ideas…

I mean, to be sure, if fellow travelers, fair weather friends, and enemies of the state happen to appear among us, it is not only our right but our duty to rise up as one and eliminate them from our midst…

Low-ranking not for profit law schools, Campos points out, are pretty much just as brazen in their sordid profit-taking.

A glance at New England Law’s tax forms suggests who may have benefited most from this trajectory: John F. O’Brien, the school’s dean for the past 26 years, whom the school paid more than $873,000 in its 2012 fiscal year, the most recent yet disclosed. This is among the largest salaries of any law-school dean in the country. (By comparison, the dean at the University of Michigan Law School, a perennial top-10 institution, was reported to make less than half as much, $420,000, in 2013.)… Richard A. Matasar, a former dean of New York Law School, was, until his resignation in 2011, quoted regularly in the national press about the need to reform the structure of legal education, even as he collected more than half a million dollars a year from a school with employment statistics nearly as poor as those of [for-profit law schools].

“We’re in Akureyri.”

karynaiceland

UD’s friend Karyna sends her
this photo from the north of
Iceland. Yum. UD’s jealous.

University of Nebraska: Spending Big to Find the Next Richie Incognito

When it comes to bringing people like Richie to campus, cost is no object.

“Bitran’s misdeeds were made public as early as 2009, yet he stayed on Sloan’s faculty until 2013.”

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Sloan’s decision to keep Bitran for years after [a 2009 news story about his Madoff connection], and eight months after he agreed to pay the SEC some $4.8 million, suggests the school did not think the transgressions warranted stronger action against him.

Yeah. Well. What can MIT say? If it were honest it would say Man if we bumped every b-school boy doing a doo-doo on the SEC, we’d have to declare bankruptcy…

A Dearth of Replications

Th’ expense of paper in a wasteful game
Is just inaction; and, till repeated, work
Is perjured, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, full of murk;
Printed no sooner but distrusted straight,
Past reason shunted; and, no sooner read
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait
On purpose laid to keep researchers fed;
Vast in results; but replication? No,
Fed, feeding, and in quest to feed, extreme;
A bliss in proof; unproved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a scheme.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun submissions that lead men to this hell.

“Student-Athlete”

In a 2006 Washington Law Review Association article, the law professors Robert McCormick and Amy McCormick went so far as to call it “classic propaganda.”

Venezuela and the Sacking of the Universities

Back in 2011, this blog chronicled only their attempted ideological takeover by the state.

Today, street gangs are taking over university hospitals and killing people in them.

‘“MIT does not comment on pending criminal proceedings involving members of the MIT community,” Paul Denning, [an MIT spokesperson] said in an e-mail.’

And why, you might ask, not? Here’s one of your deans, a man who taught at your business school for decades, and you have nothing to say?

The former deputy dean of MIT’s business school and his son agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to operating a $500 million hedge fund scam.

Gabriel Bitran, 69, who taught at MIT for 35 years and served as deputy dean at the Sloan School of Business for five, allegedly lied to clients about the return on investments his hedge fund GMB Capital Partners was delivering.

He’ll probably go to prison for five years. He kissed the ass of Bernard Madoff (that’s how the SEC discovered his scam). He lied and tried to hide funds when the SEC started being interested. He skimmed millions off of his scammed money for himself.

He’s a dumbfuck too, having admitted in a series of emails to his son/partner in crime exactly what he was doing every step of the way.

This guy did incalculable damage to many people, and one of our highest-profile, most-esteemed universities harbored and esteemed him for over a generation. Gave him cover. Gave him respectability.

But eh we don’t wanna say nothing, man… It’s … pending! We don’t do pending…

But they were found guilty. What’s pending? You’re waiting a decent interval to see how many years he gets?

Way back in 2012 – when Bitran was barred from the securities industry and had to pay a massive fine to the SEC – MIT did the same thing: “It has nothing to do with the school.”

UD gets that universities dread being tainted by the crooks they hire and promote. But with something this high-profile, you simply have to acknowledge it and regret it and all of that. Otherwise you leave people wondering why your school retained a highly praised and highly compensated Ponzi schemer in its school of business.

Take a look at Yeshiva University – look at how well it’s doing with alumni giving and credit ratings and all of that in the wake of its decision to pretend that Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin had nothing to do with the school.

If the Tony Stewart NASCAR Video is Getting a Little Old…

… try switching to this one, featuring a University of Michigan football player beating the shit out of someone who rubbed him the wrong way. It’s great the way everything’s filmed these days. Always new material.

Snapshots from Home.

After today’s flash flood of a summer storm was over, UD pulled on her Nike walking shoes, hitched up her jeans, and took from La Kid‘s room a stylish backpack which she filled with lipstick, antihistamines, house keys, sunglasses, a small notebook, and a pen. It was three o’clock in the afternoon. UD had set herself the goal of reaching the Howard Avenue office of the gutter company that’s going to redo l’ensemble des gouttières chez Les UDs. Once there, UD would drop off the signed contract and a check.

If no one were there (she didn’t call beforehand), she would trudge back to Garrett Park and mail the paperwork instead. The point was not to succeed in hand delivering these things; the point was to designate a walking goal.

UD, as you know, lives in leafy utopian GP, where pretty much everything around you is at a minimum nice and at a maximum marvelous. But if you follow the Knowles Avenue hill in the direction of Wheaton, you’re at shabby small-industrial Howard Avenue, where the furniture and car paint and pipes that make our GP lives so pretty tuck themselves away.

Crossing over Rock Creek, UD was startled by the water’s big rise and its thick brown quickness around trees and stones. It churned and churned and UD got a bit dizzy staring at it while trying to power walk.

Both sides of Beach Drive were closed because of the flood. One car after another tried to turn onto Beach, discovered it was closed, and veered wildly back onto Knowles. Every one of the drivers made that face, that Driver’s Annoyance face, while performing the maneuver.

Sure enough, when UD – walking at a fast clip – got to Winston’s door, it was locked. She knocked. Nothing. She called the place on her cell phone. A recording.

Fine. She put the envelope back in La Kid‘s backpack and walked home to Garrett Park.

********************

Once back in town, she found herself thinking about what so many people are thinking about today. The fate of Robin Williams. The meaning of Robin Williams. She thought. She thought. Right here, on Oxford Street, she began talking out loud to herself.

She began by quoting from Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through it:

[M]y father believed that man by nature was a mess …

“Yes,” said UD to the rabbit on the lawn in front of her. “Yes, start there. We are a mess. Give us an inch and we’ll merrily fuck up for a whole mile.” She paused and looked at another rabbit. “What does life offer?” she asked. “At its best?” Not at what it is for most people – life at its worst, or life set at quiet desperation. Life at its best, in a utopia like Garrett Park, or, yet more, life on the gleaming vast deck of the Robin Williams house in Tiburon, with a view of sky, clouds, hills, a bridge, a yachty bay, and San Francisco…

Answer: Beauty. Love. Material abundance. Adulation. Friendship. Creative expression. Bar Tartine.

But Point Two, after the one about being a mess. Point Two is that no pile of goodies is high enough to obscure the fact that we have little control over events. We know that things can go wrong… will go wrong… and this wrongness will often be incredibly wrong, almost intolerably excruciatingly wrong.

All existence makes me anxious, from the smallest fly to the mysteries of the Incarnation; the whole thing is inexplicable, I most of all; to me all existence is infected, I most of all. My distress is enormous, boundless; no one knows it except God in heaven, and he will not console me….

You know. Like that. Being this way, being full of dread, is kind of hilarious, as another famous sad clown knows (read “My Philosophy,” in Getting Even). One way of talking about some forms of clinical depression is to say that this dread overtakes you and makes it impossible for you to negotiate a reasonably happy life.

“And maybe,” I said to no rabbit at all, just to the air, “maybe life as it gets good, then better, then unimaginably best, actually gets more dangerous, since it becomes that much more difficult for us to grasp and accept the truth of suffering, the facts of human fate, when the view from the deck feels so immutably glorious…”

A small blue car pulled up to UD (she was a block away from her house) and UD prepared to chat with whatever neighbor it turned out to be. But it was a stranger, a woman who looked somewhat full of dread.

“Excuse me. Are you pretty good on directions in this area?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“I’m trying to get to Schuylkill Road, but Beach Drive is closed and I don’t know any other way of getting there. Can you help me?”

Right, thought UD, and if you’re here in all-roads-dead-ends-except-Strathmore Garrett Park, that means you’ve been drifting about for some time.

“Okay, well here’s what I’d do. I don’t know exactly how to get there without Beach Drive, but I know you’re not far from there when you get to the Connecticut Avenue/Knowles Avenue intersection. So I’d turn left at this light, stop at the strip mall at that intersection, go into Hardware City, and ask the guys there how to do it.”

“That’s a very good idea! Thank you!” She flashed a very big smile and drove off to the left.

For the rest of her walk UD didn’t think at all about what messes we are and how dread-full life can be. She thought about what Mr UD would say when she told him what she’d told the woman. Would he say oh no you should have told her just the opposite, drive to the right and turn onto the Rockville Pike

Or would he say – and this in fact is what he did say – well, it’s a bit non-standard but it’s actually a good idea. The woman was right. That was a very good idea.

Maryam Mirzakhani…

challenging the Summers model.

America Worships Violent Men.

Maybe all cultures do. I don’t know. But I know my culture enshrines its most violent men as heroes even in universities. The hero at the University of Nebraska was and is Richie Incognito. They’re proud to say he chose them and they nurtured him before he went on to his celebrated professional career. Texas A&M, Johnny Manziel. The reigning hero at Florida State University is Jameis Winston.

Icky scary hyped-up babies – the highest-profile, most esteemed, representatives of America’s universities.

But here’s what I love about my country. (I love many things about my country. Here’s one in particular.) It knows it’s ridiculous, and if you push the deification-of-shits thing a little too far, the country will push back.

The idiots at FSU so worship their icks that they don’t understand this. They don’t understand that you need to keep the icky reality of the icks blurry so that America doesn’t have to look at them directly. If you decide to fashion a huge social media campaign around unmediated ick-deification… If you actually solicit questions the American people are panting to ask their baby buddhas about life…

A Florida State social media campaign turned ugly Sunday when the university’s athletic department opened its Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to nationwide mockery.

The department attempted to engage fans on Twitter by soliciting questions to be used for a video on the team website.

The hashtag “#AskJameis” became a trending topic on Twitter for a time Sunday — for all the wrong reasons.

… The tweets covered a wide range from witty to malicious. Most were aimed at Winston, but others questioned why the university would risk this type of response.

One post read: “Do you know that you have to Buy One to get One Free at Publix [Super Markets]?”

Another read: “Who gave you better protection last year — your offensive line or the TPD?”

TPD is shorthand for the Tallahassee Police Department.

Oh Jameis King of the Library Tell Us! Shed Upon Us Thy Everlasting Light!

*************************

So here’s a helpful hint to the FSU public relations people for next time.

Remember Bagehot on the British royalty.

A secret prerogative is an anomaly — perhaps the greatest of anomalies. That secrecy is, however, essential to the utility of English royalty as it now is. Above all things our royalty is to be reverenced, and if you begin to poke about it you cannot reverence it. When there is a select committee on the Queen, the charm of royalty will be gone. Its mystery is its life. We must not let in daylight upon magic.

The secret to maintaining the American university’s royalty is this subtle work of obfuscation. Would you ask Queen Elizabeth to take part in a Twitter campaign? The more you poke Winston the less he will be reverenced. Do not let daylight in upon him.

(Remember: If our reporters had followed this no-poking policy, Americans would be free to continue worshipping Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods. Keep it blurry.)

Robin Williams dies.

Suicide. Reportedly. A shocker.

He had been “severely depressed.”

Much to think about here.

At the very end of his book on suicide, A. Alvarez (himself a failed suicide) writes that suicide is “a terrible but utterly natural reaction to the strained, narrow, unnatural necessities we sometimes create for ourselves.”

And then too one thinks of the Stevie Smith poem:

Not Waving But Drowning

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

****************

David Foster Wallace writes about depression in Infinite Jest:

[I]t was as if a large billowing shape came billowing out of some corner in my mind. I can be no more precise than to say large, dark, shape, and billowing, what came flapping out of some backwater of my psyche I had not the slightest inkling was there. … It was total psychic horror: death, decay, dissolution, cold empty black malevolent lonely voided space. … I simply could not live with how it felt. … I understood the term hell as of that summer day and that night in the sophomore dormitory. I understood what people meant by hell.

******************************

It is a level of psychic pain wholly incompatible with human life as we know it. It is a sense of radical and thoroughgoing evil not just as a feature but as the essence of conscious existence. It is a sense of poisoning that pervades the self at the self’s most elementary levels. It is a nausea of the cells and soul. It is an unnumb intuition in which the world is fully rich and animate and un-map-like and also thoroughly painful and malignant and antagonistic to the self, which depressed self It billows on and coagulates around and wraps in Its black folds and absorbs into Itself, so that an almost mystical unity is achieved with a world every constituent of which means painful harm to the self. … It is also lonely on a level that cannot be conveyed….

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