Mary and Michael say Jared, but UD’s been going in a different direction.

To the question of the mole’s identity, UD takes a Shakespearean approach: Cherchez the bastard child.

True, Tiffany’s no bastard; but she’s close to it. She’s the much-overlooked fruit of his brief, disastrous, marriage-killing adultery with Marla. Kind of an embarrassment.

That is, he married Marla for sure, but it was dumb and he got out quick, but then there was Tiffany, who is no true Trump, and is treated that way. She not only lacks the sylphlike splendor of the legitimate line; much more tellingly, she actually seems to have earned her educational credentials.

Tiffany knows the law; she studied it at Georgetown. She knows just how evil Dad’s actions are. This and this alone might be able to destroy the patriarch of the family against which she has long harbored burning resentment.

Wherever they come from, self-righteous collectivist revolutionaries will kill America.

You don’t have to agree with Kim Holmes’s overbroad denunciation of the left to appreciate his well-observed attack on the motley crew of right and left American Robespierres who know ever so much better than we how to live, and who intend to shove that way of life right down our throats.


People who believe in individual liberty as a founding national value need to know their enemies.


UD’s favorite from the motley Holmes assembles:

Michael Baxter, for example, a DePaul University professor writing in America: The Jesuit Review in 2013, argued that [John Courtney] Murray’s “Catholic version of American exceptionalism blinded him to the danger of Catholics being absorbed into U.S. political culture.” As a result, “Murray got the story of American Catholics wrong. The United States is not unique among modern states.” The implication is the American order is fundamentally flawed. Baxter even goes so far as to hope that “providence will bless us with a revolution” to change this order.

All Power to the Providence, Baby!

‘The list of contemporary postliberal thinkers that [Matthew] Rose provides makes for dizzying and confusing reading since they have such varied commitments, ranging from Curtis Yarvin (an anti-democrat who has professed a kind of monarchism) to Peter Thiel (the libertarian plutocrat) to Adrian Vermeule (a Catholic theocrat) to Steve Sailer (a “scientific racist” of the Charles Murray school). Do these thinkers have anything in common aside from a hatred of modern liberal democracy?’

Isn’t that more than enough for them to have in common?

The “Truegrass” Bluegrass Station they Play in the Great Room at Shenandoah National Park Features a Dylan Song that’s Meant a Huge Amount to UD Over the Decades…

… And how odd, thinks she as she settles in to blog at the only wifi spot up in these here hills, that they held off on the country version of It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue until your blogeuse, her Baez baggage fully intact at her advanced age, wandered in.

This park, where rustic meets ruination (everything’s in a state of disrepair, with the burnt-out hulk of a row of cottages moving the eye from disrepair to disintegration), generates strange auras like this all the time – I mean the Baby Blue moment; but also many other cosmic convergences, spots of time when some hillbilly Proust rigs up tightly-packed deep-meaning tableaus just for UD.

Or is it simply a lot of age and experience in me, folded into many Augusts one after another at this strange place?

Doesn’t hurt that the big frame of reference every second, in this green forest/huge open-sky park, is down-home cozy Mother Earth and, at the very same time, jest past the itty bitty atmosphere, the crushing unfathomable universe. A mix embodied the other night in a lecture (downstairs, in the Massanutten Room) given by a space expert who heehawed and guffawed through the tragic gigantism of a dying cosmos. It’s the same thing out on Big Meadows, where people gather very late to watch the stars begin to fall, and it’s a gentle folk ritual with fellowship and tiny peals of music. The massive Sturgeon moon is one hell of a harsh mistress, but we’re after the golden photographable version.

What else are we supposed to do? Even the Christianity inspired by the morbid world expresses itself, ’round these parts, in happy I’m Saved ditties (they dominate the truegrass programming). Looking around her at this social space, UD flashed, yesterday, onto an image of a young monk at Holy Cross Cistercian Abbey (it’s not too far from here), who suddenly, at Vespers (Les UDs were there to do a retreat) hurled himself flat to the floor in front of the crucifix! She was shocked! Just lay flat and unmoving, his white robes flowing around his body, for what seemed forever. Now you’re talkin’.

They finally got their knives into Rushdie.

You knew they would. Best thing to do this morning: Read his dear friend Hitch on “the absolute right of free expression and free inquiry… [and] the eternal attempt to veto by the dogmatic and fanatical the curious, the inquisitive, and the experimental.”

And while you’re at it: Don’t forget the role played by “the pathetic euphemisms about religious sensitivity that are put forward by those who know better.”

‘I shall soon have made my fortune, and then I’ll kill everybody and go away.’

Trubu, the Genius of the Carpathians, Ada Doom — call him what you will (these are what we call him on this blog) — moves another step toward his obvious end: The limited nuclear explosion of Mar-A-Lago. As sure as Absalom‘s Clytie burns down her house full of devils and dolts, Trump hoards the codes in preparation for the nihilism to end all nihilisms.

He himself, like Faulkner’s Jim Bond, will flee the estate while family members and Trumpians burn within. He will head for Ted Kaczynski’s Montana hideaway, where, after some remodeling, he will settle in for his legacy years.

The 400 Nos

In this vintage New Wave film, rebel and disrupter Jean-Pierre Trump is questioned by various authorities on the subject of his law-breaking.

After refusing to answer any questions, he retreats to the Florida coast, where in the film’s last image he runs into the sea.

A football legend using his God-given Second Amendment rights.

“I’m Herschel Walker and I approve this message.”

‘He finally got to the top of the world, and it blew right up in his face.’

Trump torches Mar-a-Lago as the feds move in.

‘On top of declining college enrollment nationwide, institutions in states with laws that restrict access to abortion now have a new challenge to face in efforts to attract students.’

The numbers are out. As you’d expect, many prospective college students seem likely to avoid Ensouled Zygote states.

OTOH: If you’re a teenage girl for whom rape, drunkenness, berserk athletes/frat boys, gun and gang violence, self-righteous Christian/sexist administrations, and absolutely no abortion in the state, sounds like the ideal higher ed environment, UD (who has followed these schools for years) recommends the following:

Baylor University

Florida State University

Jackson State University

Louisiana State Baton Rouge

As with all lists, not all of these schools will feature all of your desiderata, though Baylor comes closest to ticking off all the elements you’re looking for.

Introducing… ZYGOTHA!

“Based on feedback from counterparts in other major cities with similar legislation, [Indiana’s passage of a radical anti-abortion bill] will have a negative impact on tourism... Exactly how significant remains to be seen. We know there were a handful of conventions already closely watching the Indiana Statehouse over the last few weeks, including Gen Con, who wraps up its annual gathering tomorrow (Sunday),” said Senior Vice President for Visit Indy Chris Gahl.

A subcommittee of the Indiana legislature is already at work trying to counteract the effect of new anti-abortion legislation on convention business. One idea being floated is to keep Gen Con’s computer game annual convention in the state by offering them, gratis, new game ideas/rights.

“The most promising one at the moment,” said Rep. Slade Bryant, “revolves around a heroine named Zygotha, who must protect her zygote from godless zombies. Pursued and menaced relentlessly by anti-government-mandate forces, Zygotha undergoes manifold challenges as she makes her way to the promised land of Mississippi.”

Original source.
In the wake of the overwhelming Kansas vote in favor of abortion rights, expect the next urgent item of legislative business in the statehouse to be…

… shuttering the University of Kansas. Inspired by their leader Viktor Orban’s shuttering of one of Europe’s best universities because it was educating Hungarians, Kansas Republicans will argue that as the epicenter of independent thought in the state, KU must shoulder significant blame for the recent landslide electoral victory for individual rights.

“Something has to happen here,” said Republican legislator Patrice O’Neill. “We have footage of zygotes screaming in agony, and you’re never going to be exposed to that at KU.”

“We know that support for abortion rights correlates closely with level of education,” commented representative Mike Walsh, “and it’s a no-brainer – haha – that tertiary schooling is the core of the problem here.”

“We’d be killing two birds with one stone,” added another legislator, Marnie McCoy. “KU’s curriculum is a toxic stew of gender studies and devil worship. It’s time to pull the plug.”

Are we downhearted? NO!

As Les UDs prepare to leave for Big Meadows at Shenandoah National Park, the way they do every August, to mark the twin celestial events of the height of the Perseid meteors and UD‘s birthday, some sources warn them to trim their expectations. Meteor-shower and fire-ball-wise, what you’re after, in the words of the great jazz standard, is No Moon At All; but this year what you’re getting is a great big ol’ moon.


We are instructed by a raft of astronomers to go for it anyway.

Despite the light bath, there’s still hope for a good show for a couple of reasons. First, the shower is prolific — Perseids flash by at the rate of more than one a minute. Even if you reduce that by more than half due to moonlight, that’s still around 25 per hour. Second, this famous annual shower is the undisputed king of fireballs …

Indeed, when I’ve seen fireballs at Big Meadows it’s been indescribably exciting.

Just as exciting, now that I think about it, have been the full moons in clear skies that I’ve seen at Big Meadows. Here’s a birthday post of mine from three years ago.

August 15, 2019


The irony was that we were there for the perseids; but sitting on our rickety beach chairs at the Big Meadows clearing last night, the real show turned out to be an absolutely full brilliantly lit moon that insinuated itself as a silver glint among horizonal clouds and then raised itself up to surreality right before our eyes. UD grabbed her binoculars and attempted to make credible the massive and intricately legible orb, its hollows and craters so blatant… When it climbed to higher clouds, they made a golden aura together, the moon now and then blindfolding itself with a black ribbon of atmosphere, and I sat there thinking about my mother who loved the night sky. And of course immediately came the thought that has so often for so long come to UD: We are here to experience the terrestrial wonder that our dead don’t get anymore. We’re doing it for them.

Indiana Opts for the Barefoot and Pregnant Look…

… and kisses the modern world goodbye. Eli Lilly and Cummins are the first major employers in the state to announce that if they’d WANTED to move to Mississippi, they would have done so. They’re initiating the withdrawal method.

Other corporations located in the state will follow.

Happily, there will be new jobs opening up for the unemployed Hoosiers they’re leaving behind — in knitting needle, coat hanger, crochet hook, and arsenic factories.

The whole essay is a reminder that depression is just a mess.

Over the years, I struggled with what came to be characterized as “major depressive disorder,” and took a cornucopia of medications. Nortriptyline, paroxetine, venlafaxine, buspirone, sertraline, citalopram, pregabalin, mirtazapine. None worked. Optimistically, I tried lurasidone, bupropion, and vilazodone, followed by aripiprazole, amitriptyline, and zaleplon, which also made no difference. Then Restoril, protriptyline, desipramine, escitalopram. Nothing. My psychiatrist began to talk ominously about “treatment-resistant depression.” Nonetheless, I carried on with fluoxetine, temazepam, triazolam, and trazodone.

This piece in the Atlantic is an astringent little take on lethal sadness.

Next Page »

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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