Along with Portnoy’s Complaint and The Tropic of Cancer…

UD‘s evil parents kept in their house for the moral undoing of their children the songs of Tom Lehrer.

From the age of nine onward, UD has been singing nonstop his greatest hits, so she’s intrigued by a new British play about him, Tom Lehrer Is Teaching Math and Doesn’t Want to Talk to You. The playwright pens a fine appreciation of Lehrer here, featuring Lehrer’s comment on his artistic output:  “If, after hearing my songs, just one human being is inspired to say something nasty to a friend, or perhaps to strike a loved one, it will all have been worthwhile.”

‘Put Out More Flags’ is the title Evelyn Waugh came up with over sixty years ago for the Samuel Alito…

story, a story with all the sordid absurdity of Waugh’s novel (which features a character named Trumpington!).

And what will the third Alito flag be? I’m gonna predict he keeps a little ancestral home somewhere in the old country which flies this:

‘Moms for Liberty founder sent Florida GOP Chair to Bars Prowling for Hookups: Police Docs’


A wag placed cardinals in a seaside tree.
MEGAMAGAMAMA Christina Bobb. Mugshot.
Poseur Alert

The preeminent German poet-philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe famously described architecture as “frozen music,” opining that “the state of mind produced by architecture is similar to the effect of music.” Over 150 years later, Frank Zappa—a somewhat less august personage, perhaps, but nevertheless prescient—reframed Goethe’s meditation on the corporeal and the ethereal: “Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance space is sculpted into something,” Zappa professed. One wonders what type of music might be frozen in the bold volumes and interwoven planes of the Jamaican pleasure dome created by Grammy-winning celebrity DJ and producer Thomas Wesley Pentz, better known as Diplo. 

Research Fraud Galore

[C]itations matter the most, and if you look at the ranking systems, it’s all right there. The Times Higher Education world-university rankings, U.S. News — look at whichever you want, and somewhere between like 30 percent and 60 percent of those rankings are based on citations. Citations are so easy to game. So people are setting up citation cartels: “Yes, we will get all of our other clients to cite you, and nobody will notice because we’re doing it in this algorithmic, mixed-up way.” Eventually, people do notice, but it’s the insistence on citations as the coin of the realm that all of this comes from.

L’Essence d’Idaho

The whole je ne sais quoi of Idaho finds espression in Michael Neil, proud son of the Gem State. After a passerby witnessed Neil accidently shoot himself inside his car, she called 911. Neil, carrying multiple felonies for, among other things, beating up nurses during a recent hospital stay, lied to police… Something about a man “in a red hat” who shot at him…

Legally unable to possess guns, Neil was found to be carrying in his car (who knows what weaponry he keeps at home):

Ruger 9mm handgun

Sig Sauer 10mm

(‘The Ruger had been reported stolen in Idaho Falls in 2021, while the Sig Sauer was reported stolen in Rexburg earlier in 2023, according to the affidavit.’)

“Ghost gun” replica of a Glock, no serial number

Precision X15 AR-15 style rifle

Remington 12-gauge shotgun


The real magic of Idaho is in the mugshot, where the freest state in the union shows you what it looks like when the police let you dress any way you want for the camera!

Yes, yes, there should be gaping holes in the fabric. But this isn’t Hollywood, man. It’s real.

Real Idaho.


Prototype for Memorial Statue of President Ebrahim Raisi.

Engraving: “That’ll teach her

to wear her hijab correctly next time.”

Idaho: The Femicide State

[Idaho’s total abortion restrictions have] sent physicians fleeing the state for fear of jail time and losing their medical licenses and contributed to Sandpoint’s Bonner General Hospital closing its labor and delivery ward to leave 50,000 people in the region without obstetrical care… [One politician,] an abortion abolitionist, … believes the procedure should be treated as murder and punished with jail time or even the death penalty. [This state senator] tried to remove the rape and incest exception from the state’s total abortion ban, calling rape “an opportunity to have a child.”

The editorial is typically weaselly, but the fact that DEI statements suck seems to have gotten through even to the Washington Post.

 As the University of California at Davis’s vice chancellor for DEI explained, “In these searches, it is the candidate’s diversity statement that is considered first; only those who submit persuasive and inspiring statements can advance for complete consideration.” In one faculty search at University of California at Berkeley, around 75 percent of applicants were screened out of consideration — irrespective of criteria such as teaching ability and research skills. Small wonder that many applicants engage in what Daniel Sargent, a history professor at UC Berkeley, calls “performative dishonesty.”

Mohammed Must Have Needed Another Angel

#BREAKING: Iranian president missing in helicopter crash on Azerbaijan border, presumed dead


… But … if you read this blog with any care, are you really surprised that a university sorority is being used as a cover for drug dealing?

True, VCU’s dainty prescription drug ladies don’t get anywhere near the mafia-level drugs and guns activity of the frat gangs of San Diego State, busted in the now-legendary Operation Sudden Fall. But as UD has pointed out a lot on this blog, you’d have to be an idiot not to see that frats and sororities are PERFECT operation centers for drug conspiracies. Clean-cut college kids who wash cars to raise money for St Jude’s! Earnest, physically attractive seekers after knowledge! Oh, you kids! All those hyper-secret events and insider signals and slogans – so cute! You wouldn’t want to put the closed cult thing together with the clean-cut moral cover thing and arrive at any conclusions…

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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