‘Zan, Zendegi, Azadi’ in Kabul.

The chant is already all over Tehran, and you can hear it (Woman, Life, Freedom) in lots of other cities of the world these days, as the Iranian diaspora marches against theocracy.

I’ll admit I didn’t think the enslaved women of Afghanistan would have the guts to come out with it, but, inspired by the Iranian protesters, a small group of them just did. With bullets whirling about.

UD Readers May Recall UD’s Trip to Sanibel Island Not Long Ago.

She wrote about it here.

My friend’s house on the ocean will probably be destroyed if the surge is eighteen feet (a possibility).



Find the Wabbit

It’s staring right at you. I tried a closer shot, but it hid in the high grasses. I maintain this wild corner of my garden in hopes that animals like rabbits will eat stuff they find there rather than in the expensive pollinator garden to their left. Its main purpose turns out to be a flophouse for deer. They bed down here for the night and then leave deep long impressions in their wake.

Leavin’ on that Midnight Train to …

… საქართველო.


Russia proved too much for the man (too much for the man, he couldn’t take it)
So he’s leaving a life he’s come to know, ooh (he said he’s going)
He said he’s going off to find (going off to find)
Ooh, ooh, ooh, what’s left of the world
The world of the sane he knew not long ago

He’s leaving (leaving)
On that midnight train to Georgia, yeah (leaving on the midnight train)
Said he’s going off (going off to find)
To a simpler place and time, oh yes, he is (whenever he takes that ride)
(Guess who’s gonna be right by his side?)

And I’ll be with him (I know you will)
On that midnight train to Georgia (leaving on a midnight train to Georgia, woo, woo)
He’d rather live in that world (live in that world)
Than live with Putin in ours (his world is nuts, his and his alone)

‘The blatant evidence that a woman’s failure to cover a few strands of hair can upend her right to security, life, and freedom has shocked Iran’s conscience.’

‘[A] distinct feature of the current protests is the presence of very young women at the forefront. In many of the protests, women appear to outnumber men and do not seem afraid of being seen without hijab, even in the presence of security forces…

As evinced by the outburst of public indignation triggered by [Mahsa] Amini’s death, her case is not seen as an isolated incident but the visible tip of an iceberg of injustice, humiliation, indignity, and oppression routinely felt by countless Iranian women intercepted by the so-called guidance patrols charged with enforcing Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code: refusing to comply with state’s conception of “Islamic hijab” in public spaces is a criminal offense punishable by flogging, incarceration, or a fine…

More than four decades after the Islamic Republic embarked on the Sisyphean enterprise of bureaucratizing a very narrow definition of Islamic morality, with an almost obsessive focus on women’s appearance in public, mandatory hijab as well as the institutions set up to enforce it have failed veritably at forcing the state’s interpretation of “Islamic hijab” on Iranian women.

Instead, this encroachment on women’s liberty has gradually sown resentment in the hearts of millions of Iranian women and their families—resentment not only toward a dehumanizing law but also toward the state as a whole. Countless videos now course through social media showing the humiliating way Iranian police officers routinely manhandle women into vans before they are taken to detention centers to be “guided” and “educated.” Such encounters are at best stressful and patronizing, and at worst lethally brutal.

It is also counterproductive. In the face of such repression, women’s voluntary adherence to the state’s ideal hijab has not increased but drastically decreased over the last few decadessomething even authorities openly acknowledge. Support for the hijab law and the morality police is even lower than the rates of public compliance…’

Sajjad Safaei, Foreign Policy


Injustice, humiliation, indignity, and oppression: It’s important to think hard about the micro-phenomenology of all the heavy black coverups – of face and mouth and breast and head and hands – reserved for the world’s women.

Now, the Syracuse University pool-drapers (see this post) will say the following: We love God, and we know that the right way to humble ourselves before our loved one is to hide from men, because above all God asks that we do not allow our female sexuality to tempt man to sin.

We can point out all we like that there’s no scriptural warrant for self-demeaning behavior whose roots lie above all, obviously, in fear – a fear of exposure and engagement and visibility that must be instilled in women at a very young age. Hijabs are something you put on your eight-year-old.

Its roots lie also in repression and self-hatred — from a young age you regard yourself as a vessel of sin that must be put away. Any stray hair may lead an innocent man to perdition. You must police your hoods and robes constantly, as do the Iranian morality police, for the slightest betrayal of your atrocious allure. It is hard to think of anything more purely, more deeply, more thoroughly, more malignantly, misogynistic.


Who can be surprised that Iran’s women have correctly identified the state’s “obsessive focus” on… the economy? education?… no – on the perverted and violent erasure of women – as intimately and unacceptably humiliating every single moment of their lives? Who can have failed to grasp the self-annihilating stupidity of a state that thinks tickling the dicks of morality boys is more important than statecraft? It was always a matter of time before the lascivious/homicidal energy against women implicit in Islamic Iran’s twisted founding principle destroyed enough women and girls to detonate a populace enraged by daily sexual degradation.

All of this makes the work of Western hijabis – who disseminate material like this to free women who might be persuadable to be unfree – much, much, harder. Good.

The West’s idiot fashion enthusiasm for the hijab is due for a takedown. Here’s one.

[P]eople in the West continued to regurgitate the Islamist propaganda, insisting to we who know better that wearing hijab is simply “an empowering choice.” … You continued to parade the hijab on the cover of your magazines and books as if it was nothing more than benign cultural dress…

You actively supported extremists who encouraged you to make child-size hijabs in the name of inclusion and diversity.

Endorsing hijab on children is endorsing child abuse and gender segregation. Those are not cultural values; those are toxic misogynist ideals.

‘[E]ven with specialized hours, using the Barnes Center’s facilities may not be possible for some [Syracuse University] students. [Two Muslim students] said the glass windows and doors looking into the pool are another obstacle in their efforts to make the area accessible to Muslim women. [One student] suggested installing curtains to block the windows, and prevent men from seeing women swimming.’

Separate women-only hours, sheeting on the pool windows… And here’s another reason these are great ideas!

“I’m sure it’s not only Muslims, I think there’ll be a lot of female students that would benefit from it because not everyone is comfortable with all genders swimming (together),” [another student] said.

Hey now that you mention it a lot — a TON!! — of American women are uncomfortable swimming – hell, being in the same room – with men! Now we see what hijabs and long black coats are about. I think we’ll wear them too!


UD thanks Stephen.

Wanna know the special magic that goes into making Louisiana the unhappiest state in America?

Well, except for West Virginia, which beat Louisiana by a whisker in their race to the very very bottom

It’s stupid degrading shit like this.

Reminds you of those poor Huntington WV students similarly force-marched into the presence of Jesus freaks.

Our saddest and next to saddest states. They ain’t heard of the separation of church and state round them parts – their teachers and superintendents ain’t heard of it – and ifn you tried to explain it to them, wouldn’t get through one bit. Hell I’d be sad too ifn I had to send my kids to them schools.

Hey, Hijabis! You gonna let him get away with that?

A guy’s writing in the New Yorker, of all places, and he says this:

[A]s the popular legitimacy of the Iranian regime has crumbled, its leaders have clung to antiquated concepts of female modesty to prop it up.

If that doesn’t bait you, nothing will. You’ve been telling all of us that burqas, much less hijabs, are liberating choices for modern women; you have railed against burqa bans; you have organized international everyone wear a hijab days. Now, with a massive hijab burning going on in Iran, western observers seem less and less shy about saying how they really feel about the hijab and its reliable companion – big dark blowsy body robes that cover up any sign that you have a female body (these robes are also mandatory in Iran).

Remember the ill-fated Council of Europe campaign that said FREEDOM IS IN HIJAB???? Remember how it enraged politicians all over Europe and was immediately shut down and rejected by the Council of Europe itself, which basically said We fucked up?

What are we learning here, ladies?

Tell you what. The heroines of Iran are really messing up your campaign to make us see antiquated marks of female modesty as hip marks of empowerment. I see trouble ahead unless you stop being pussies and instead find your Phyllis Schlafly and let her bellow out your truth: Hijabs and body covering robes are beautiful, emancipatory…

‘The Ukrainians’ efforts have demonstrated that liberal democracy and human dignity are causes people are still willing to fight and die for. They are showing that these ideas have great power.’

Also the Iranians’ incredibly brave efforts. The attention of the world is, rightly, on the dissenters in the streets of Tehran as well as on the Ukrainians. But the forces of illiberal democracy – A sham designation, no? Fascism is better. – in Russia, Hungary, Italy, and of course right here in the MAGA movement – are certainly on the march, and we must always call them out, and fight them with whatever weapons we have.

I do wonder about Europe’s militant hijabis. What do they have to say? Why have we not heard their opinion of this massive anti-hijab movement?

‘In one of her final interviews, published Sept. 10, [Hilary] Mantel was asked if she believed in an afterlife. She did, she told The Financial Times, although she couldn’t imagine how it might work. “However, the universe is not limited by what I can imagine,” she said.’

What a wonderful thing to say. What a wonderful way to put it.

In the Happiest State in the Happiest State.

So UD’s home state (really home: born in Hopkins Hospital, spent summers at crab feasts on the Bay, grew up in Bethesda) has just been named the Happiest State in America by Wallet Hub.

Okay, no.  Hawaii is the happiest – duh – but Maryland came in second.  Second!  Let us ask why.  Let us count the ways.

1.  Am I blue?  Am I blue?   A glance at the full happy list tells you that Democratic states are far happier than Republican, and it doesn’t get any bluer than Maryland, My Maryland.  Even our Republican governor is a Democrat.  He calls the Republican running to succeed him a ‘QAnon whack job.’

2.  Money does buy happiness.  We’re always ranked in the top ten wealthiest states, with a huge amount of government and high tech and corporate stuff wedged into our tiny domain.  My little town’s budget – I live in a place called Garrett Park – can only be called an embarrassment of riches.  And unlike our saddest states – Louisiana, Mississippi – we don’t worry that everyone’s going to steal everything.

3.  “Community and Environment” is one of three major categories on which the study focuses.  My park-like town is small and my state is small.  I know my neighbors. Most of us volunteer for stuff and are charitable with our money.   I know my representatives.  I’ve met Senator Chris Van Hollen twice – at a small dinner, where we talked at length, and then in Vermont, at a mutual friend’s birthday party, where we talked even more.  Van Hollen arranged it so my old friend Terry’s father – who captured Tojo! – got the military recognition he deserved.  One of my neighbors hosted a meet and greet for Jamie Raskin – then her American University colleague – and I got to know the guy.  Raskin’s January 6 Committee eloquence made me … happy.


It ain’t rocket science.  The very saddest states – look at the list – tend to be corrupt, and they feature isolated people who hate the government.  The very happiest contain lucky so and so’s like me: Beneficiaries of accessible, rational, pretty uncorrupt government; strong communities which tend to use their wealth generously; and beloved, well-tended, natural as well as civic settings.


And don’t forget to combine isolation with guns all over the house!

Headline of the Day.

A Utah Student has been Charged with

Making Terrorism Threats

Over a Football Game


‘According to the charging documents, the student studied engineering and had knowledge of the university’s nuclear reactor.

The University of Utah is among more than two dozen U.S. universities with nuclear engineering programs that use reactors for faculty and student research.

The university said in a statement on Thursday that the reactor was secured and campus law enforcement had protocols in place to ensure no breaches are made.’

Wotta Shocker.

A plagiarist guilty of massive amounts of plagiarism turns out to be guilty of even more. What makes Paul McCrory super-plus appetizing is that it’s all been in the service of keeping concussed athletes on the field.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE





Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
New York Times

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days.
The Electron Pencil

It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
Professor Mondo

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.
truffula, commenting at Historiann

Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
Dissent: The Blog

[UD belittles] Mrs. Palin's degree in communications from the University of Idaho...
The Wall Street Journal

Professor Margaret Soltan, blogging at University Diaries... provide[s] an important voice that challenges the status quo.
Lee Skallerup Bessette, Inside Higher Education

[University Diaries offers] the kind of attention to detail in the use of language that makes reading worthwhile.
Sean Dorrance Kelly, Harvard University

Margaret Soltan's ire is a national treasure.
Roland Greene, Stanford University

The irrepressibly to-the-point Margaret Soltan...
Carlat Psychiatry Blog

Margaret Soltan, whose blog lords it over the rest of ours like a benevolent tyrant...
Perplexed with Narrow Passages

Margaret Soltan is no fan of college sports and her diatribes on the subject can be condescending and annoying. But she makes a good point here...
Outside the Beltway

From Margaret Soltan's excellent coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal comes this tip...
Money Law

University Diaries offers a long-running, focused, and extremely effective critique of the university as we know it.
Anthony Grafton, American Historical Association

The inimitable Margaret Soltan is, as usual, worth reading. ...
Medical Humanities Blog

I awake this morning to find that the excellent Margaret Soltan has linked here and thereby singlehandedly given [this blog] its heaviest traffic...
Ducks and Drakes

As Margaret Soltan, one of the best academic bloggers, points out, pressure is mounting ...
The Bitch Girls

Many of us bloggers worry that we don’t post enough to keep people’s interest: Margaret Soltan posts every day, and I more or less thought she was the gold standard.
Tenured Radical

University Diaries by Margaret Soltan is one of the best windows onto US university life that I know.
Mary Beard, A Don's Life

[University Diaries offers] a broad sense of what's going on in education today, framed by a passionate and knowledgeable reporter.
More magazine, Canada

If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
Notes of a Neophyte