“You’re sitting out there in the sun and you’re not drunk anymore…”

From the mouths of babes. “Division I marketing executives” can huddle “at the convention for the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators” and try to “figure out how to attract students to [university] football games,” but the numbers will just keep tanking until they listen to the students.

Journalists are elegiac: WHERE HAVE THE STUDENT FANS GONE? laments a Chicago Tribune article.

Division I marketing executives are confused: They are at a highly-paid, tanked-up loss as they reel from luxury retreat to luxury retreat refusing to understand a truth that threatens to put them out of business. Division I football doesn’t need marketing executives. It needs roofers, lighting experts, and liquor distributors to work together to make stadiums indistinguishable from bars.

Tailgate? No. Not a solution.

Think about it. As drunk as students get at a tailgate, there’s still the sun.

The solution to student attendance at football games is simple. It’ll cost some money, but since when do universities mind bankrupting their academic side to futz with their stadium? Here are the steps.

1. Build tunnels linking dorms to the stadium.

2. Put a roof over the stadium.

3. Create warm alehouse lighting.

4. Using the model of exit doors on airplanes, each student who sits at the end of a bleacher row will agree to be ready to deliver alcohol to any student anywhere on that row who is not drunk anymore.

“[W]hen you hear the name of a large state school such as the University of Texas or Florida or Michigan you don’t think of a college at all. You think of a football team.”

Success! These universities have truly made it.

But their commitment to intellectual integrity goes further than this.

Last year, I decided to stop watching [college football]. I kept seeing players get concussed during games, which I find more disturbing at the college level because I’ve actually taught undergraduates.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. What you want to do is bash it in on a football field.

Silver Line Instablogging…

…from UD, veteran ‘thesdan, and explorer – by way of long daily walks – of the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. The go-go GWMA always has recently opened territory to discover, and today’s adventure is a trip on the Metro’s brand new Silver Line, which UD will take to the massive consumption complex that is Tyson’s Corner.

Tyson’s Corner. Such a quaint name – ol’ Ty and his cow herd – for Oklahoma-length horizons of shops and parking… Tyson’s Corner! Where the food court treat can sure smell sweet…

UD’s getting there early to avoid the Saturday/Back to School crowds… Supposed to rain all day, so an indoor hike seemed a clever idea…

Silver Line… The color makes the line feel special. UD wouldn’t go out of her way for a blue line; but silver – there’s a brilliancy there, a flash. Silver waves of grain…Silver grains of wheat…

Having invoked Oklahoma, UD has doomed herself to a day of Oklahoma ditties runnin’ ’round her brain. Perhaps your mind is like this: Once a song sizzles up in the brain pan, its aroma, plus variations, hangs around for hours. And since UD knows the whole score to that great musical, she’s in for a mental marathon…

The variations are about one’s mind muddying the provenance of standard wholesome boy girl thingies (Don’t throw bouquets at me) and naughty soubrette dealies (I’m just a girl who can’t say no). Oklahoma? Show Boat? Music Man?

Oh no… I’m slipping into Dolly Parton with that just a girl who can’t say no mention… Just because I’m a woman… No! Dylan! Just like a woman…

UD’s feeling strangely at sea at the moment. The train has left the close embrace of the tunnel and broken free to a daylight track along a highway.

Dreary day.

When you lose the dark walls of the interior station, all you gain are smudgy trees and new housing developments alongside cars.


Who knows why, when she left the skyway and entered Tyson’s Galleria, UD had ringing in her Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas Purcell’s O Lead Me to Some Peaceful Gloom? Maybe it’s because the part of the song that goes What glory… What glory… works well as a rhythm to accompany power walking, which is what UD has been doing for the last hour through the long burnished corridors of Galleria. All stores known and unknown to UD are here, and the Galleria is only one of two Tyson’s malls.

‘In 2012, Notre Dame radio announcer Allen Pinkett [said] the Irish could benefit from “a few bad characters” on the team. “You can’t have a football team full of choir boys.”‘

Don’t worry.

UD’s blogpal, Timothy Burke…

writes a great letter to the chancellor of the university that withdrew its offer to Steven Salaita.

It’s important for faculty to be conversant with the entirety of our public culture and to be able to travel across different media and platforms. Not just for the cultivation of their scholarship but also for their ability to teach the current and future generations.

thanks Wendy.

“The only Zionism of any consequence today is xenophobic and exclusionary, a Jewish ethno-nationalism inspired by religious messianism.”

Antony Lerman, in today’s New York Times, notes “the disgraceful antics of the anti-democratic forces that are setting Israel’s political agenda,” and notes also (this blog is interested in education and women’s rights) its social agenda. He touches on Israel’s “strictly Orthodox,” and no doubt has in mind, among other influential and populous communities, the notoriously ignorant haredim. Again and again Israel attempts to get this increasingly demographically dominant group to adopt even a small portion of the country’s national education standards; again and again haredim schools refuse to teach their students mathematics, the use of computers, science, English. It was the same thing recently in Belgium, whose government also insisted that their haredim teach their children how to function and qualify for employment in the modern world. Amazingly, the haredim there responded by arguing

that the restrictions limit their freedom to educate their children according to their beliefs and asked the court to fine the government $6,780 per child for every day the limitations are in place, according to a report by Belga, the Belgian news agency.

You read that right. Make the government pay for every day that the education of one of their children is threatened. Understand? Make the government pay for every day that the government threatens to educate their children.

Lerman writes that in Israel as in all countries “[t]he indivisibility of human, civil and political rights has to take precedence over the dictates of religion,” but he perceives that – as in the example of the Israeli state’s inability to do anything about the growth of an ignorant, illiberal, anti-modern, sexist, and messianic group within it – the understanding of and commitment to this indivisibility is vanishing.

A law school ranked 72nd in the country…

… A $73,002 yearly price for students.

Very poor job prospects.

A dean who “who made more than $500,000 in compensation in 2012.”

Ooh la la.


… is the process by which one writer’s language makes copies of itself and disseminates in plagiarized form throughout academic literature.

Since virtually no one reads the small specialized journals and presses that print most academic literature, this copied material – as plagiarists know – goes unnoticed. Gradually, the plagiarized material may itself be plagiarized, und so weiter, and no one is the wiser…

Plagiarogenesis may for some plagiarists happen so often that their entire career may be said to be founded upon the operation.

The easiest place to find deeply rooted multi-generational plagiarism is in the hard sciences, where it’s not uncommon for readers to discover that an entire article about, say, obscure properties of obscure cells, an article perhaps appearing in a somewhat sketchy journal, has been lifted unaltered from another source. The original source, in turn, will include copied graphs and other stolen elements.

But that is the very basement of plagiarogenesis; more common – especially in the more obscure reaches of the humanities – is the (alleged) approach of Mustapha Marrouchi of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (a determined effort to make sense of his methods appears here), in which his favorite writers seem to be quoted without attribution all over his work.


Sometimes things get a bit on the psychotic side, as when Marrouchi apparently plagiarizes autobiographical writing by Edward Said and puts it in his own memoir. (This particular taking also demonstrates the plagiarist’s typical move from high-profile to obscure outlet: Said’s personal experience appeared in the London Review of Books; Marrouchi’s personal experience of Said’s personal experience appears in College English.) More often, it’s garden variety theft, of the sort one of Marrouchi’s favorite plagiarees, Slavoj Zizek, was himself recently found to have committed.


Now that the Chronicle of Higher Ed is making a fuss about Marrouchi, we can anticipate his lines of response. They will, first of all, be many. This charming review of Ward Churchill’s twelve excuses reminds us that the same tireless verbal cocksmanship through which the career plagiarist fathered thousands of illegitimate offspring can be used to generate excuses (the original source was begging for it… the words were just sitting there…) for having done so.

In the particular case of Marrouchi, UD (a veteran observer of plagiarism and plagiarists) would anticipate the following reactions:

1. A lawsuit, or the threat of a lawsuit.

2. A volcanically angry rebuttal which CHE will print and then withdraw when it turns out to be plagiarized.

3. The claim that everyone plagiarizes and Marrouchi’s only being singled out because he’s a man of the left whose powerful critique of imperialism is considered so threatening to the establishment that he had to be silenced.

4. The claim that among people of the left the bogus category “plagiarism” does not exist, since it is founded on reactionary notions of private property.

Getting to Be a Bad Boy for a Long Time

Whether it’s MIT’s beloved Gabriel Bitran or the University of Kentucky’s much-cherished Dongping “Daniel” Tao, bad boys and certain universities go together like a horse and carriage. Who knows why, with ooooodles of information about these professors’ wrongdoings, these universities just kept on keeping them on? Starting three years ago, Tao’s habit of, uh, enslaving his graduate students was duly noted by higher-ups at UK, but too much bourbon and too much football seems seems to have distracted them… Because they dint do nuthin.

Emboldened, Tao blew off the whole “university professor” thing and used UK as cover for his private consulting business (in which UK grad students were his slaves – this is a variant on the Cecilia Chang story). A kind of cherry-on-top is that he double billed both clients and UK for all kinds of fun travel and restaurants.

It’s very hard to uncover fraud when you’re … well, how to put this kindly…

The problem with being an elitist hypocrite…

… is that you’re an elitist hypocrite. As such, you make it easy for people to attack you. Even people on the wrong side of an issue. Like the NRA.

You probably should have thought of this problem when you, for instance, “land[ed]” one of your “many helicopters at a heliport on the east side that’s conveniently located closest to [your] townhouse. Sure, there are antiquated ‘rules’ closing the landing pad on weekends, and some ungrateful area peons have been whining about the noise…”

How was he supposed to know — yes, the chart handed to all helicopter pilots lists the heliport as closed on weekends, but he’s the mayor, not a helicopter pilot. Oh, wait. [He is a helicopter pilot.]

‘Portnoy says that while the legislature may want the University of Hawaii to look at what money it has on hand now to help the athletic department, President David Lassner has stated that he will not do that, because he must deal with other competing interests throughout the university system.’

Well, it’s clear that David Lassner’s days are numbered. University of Hawaii football – a total bankrupting university-destroying joke – will have to be maintained via things like “tuition hikes, student athletic fee hikes,” and it looks as though Lassner might not go along with that. Soaking students for sports in which they have zero interest (their mistake is having instead an interest in academics) is a time-honored tactic in the world of university revenue sports, and why shouldn’t UH do it too? It’s not as though it has a great university to defend against these maneuvers. UH is already mediocre and looks likely to stay that way. Where’s the damage? Just keep scraping along overcharging students and putting on games no one attends.

If you ever doubted the comprehensive, whoroscope (as Beckett would call it), nature of big-time university football…

… note that when the New York Times went in search of a sage, gravitas-rich voice on the absolutely shocking academic fraud at Notre Dame, they could only find Dave Schmidly.

Schmidly! Dave! Dave – comic-book ex-president of the unbelievably corrupt University of New Mexico; a man who tried hiring his son for a high-level university position [scroll down for some Schmidly posts]; a man drummed out of office by faculty… Yes, get Schmidly on the the phone! He’ll have something sage to say!

And he does. He obligingly knits his brow for the New York Times about how, you know, competition to recruit the best football players “increases the likelihood of people cutting corners.”

Dave would know about that! Why interview lots of people for a $90,000 a year UNM job when your kid’s sitting right here?

… Eh. It’s not as though the NYT could find a clean president of a big-time sports university to interview. It’s more a kind of how far down the list do we want to go thing… Donna Shalala? Yikes. No. Hey, there’s Tressel! He even used to be a coach! … Oh yeah. Scratch that…. Next…?

“He was a gentleman and a friend…”

A young doctor at NYU commits suicide by throwing himself off of one of the university’s residence halls. He is remembered here.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge…

… instablogging. Strange bridge. Its long long span over the bay and the boats is daunting at this early point in the drive. The girders and struts curve impossibly in front of you. The overcast sky darkens the container ships in the distance. There’s a line of them, like a funeral convoy.

Traffic is slow. UD and her sister listen to Eva Cassidy sing a Paul Simon song. The opposite shore is flat long and dark, like the container ships. No white-sailed pleasure boats out there on a Tuesday afternoon.

And here are the yellow-jacketed construction guys whose work is the reason we’re moving so slowly. We’re at the very highest point of the bridge. The sun begins to emerge.

Okay, we’re going like gangbusters now. Descending into Queen Anne’s County.


Starting point for today’s walk: Cambridge, Maryland. A bayside hamlet we’ve never visited. We’re not expecting to be impressed. Small bay towns tend to be a bit thready.

But the drive… Once past the bridge, you settle into a trance as flat corn and soy fields sidle by. Tobacco? Probably still some of that being planted.


In the event, we are pretty impressed with Cambridge. Sunny day, charming marina, lighthouse, seabirds, sailboats. We walked around the piers and docks, gazed at the bridge over the Choptank River.

And now we’re having lunch overlooking the water at the Hyatt.

Our Nation’s Capital…

…instablogging from UD. It’s a reasonably pleasant summer day in DC, and UD’s walk will consist (maybe; she’s so wild and crazy and hip and bohemian that she could change her mind at any moment) of a metro trip to the United States Botanic Garden at the foot of the Capitol building.

Even at this late date UD remains surprised at her interest in gardens and gardening; her mother was a serious and accomplished gardener, yet UD showed zero interest in the matter during her mother’s life. She’s far from knowledgeable, having read enough books and skimmed enough magazines and clicked through enough sites to have at least gotten the measure of her own big wide shady deer-infested huge-tree-menaced landscape… I mean, she doesn’t plant anything rankly stupid, like lavender or tomato… She gets that she has a shade garden. She has even done some savvy japanese things with the front of her house, if the appreciative comments she’s gotten from passersby and neighbors are sincere. But she is aware that with her amazing amount of space (her lot is both wide and long, with forest on either side) she could do any number of showy eco water-retentive things…


A quick walk from Judiciary Square metro to the National Mall (National Gallery of Art to your immediate right) has brought me to this walk’s announced target: the US Botanic Garden. UD power walked through the outside plantings, letting massive grasses and meticulous mosaic fountains flash by as she remembered to pump her arms and plant each heel hard.

Morticia-like UD likes black plants and already has some black liriope; ebony streamers pouring out of large planters caught her eye here as she sped through the federal government’s exhaustive efforts to plant-up the foot of the Capitol.

Inside the conservatory, UD kept up her pace despite the turtle-like tourists. Signs melded in odd ways (World Deserts Restrooms) as she motored along. She heard a mother say to her daughter And how do you find nourishment for yourself?

She powered up the metallic steps to the insanely lush jungle garden with piped in crazy bird songs. Everywhere she went, soft mists exhaled from the walls, and these made her and everyone else very happy – unexpected sprays on a hot day in a hothouse.

Now, finally seated, in the long Alhambra-style fountain room, UD finds that the mist and the new age music have her thinking she’s due for a facial.


Okay, UD has walked from the Botanic Garden to the Navy Memorial, behind which is Teaism, where she’s enjoying the air conditioning and a ridiculous cold jasmine tea. (Tastes like nothing.) She’s now going to jump up again (after three sips) and find the closest metro. Home again, home again.


Now au metro, UD reflects that the stylish and sweltering streets of DC in August are perfect if you’re in the market for a long sweaty non-boring walk. Lean left a tad and all of Mary Cassatt’s output pops off the walls; to the right is the delightfully trashy Newseum (even its name is trashy). And speaking of trash, if you take a few extra steps along Pennsylvania Avenue, you can check out whether Donald Trump’s begun redecorating the Old Post Office.

In re humanoids, the wide hot avenues of the capital are packed with them – four generations of Australians stumble along reading their maps and mopping their brows; a sad young woman in sensible flats tries to flag a cab; a half dozen infinitely trim government lawyers (probably) chat about the sheaves of paper in their hands.

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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.

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