Flashy, splashy, morning sunlight on…

UD‘s spring garden.

‘[T]he United States makes it easy for domestic terrorists to kill. The police said that the [demented] Buffalo assailant used a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle that he had purchased legally at a gun shop near his hometown. As a practical matter, almost anyone can buy guns that are designed to kill a lot of people quickly.’


Birth of the Afghan Neo-Impressionist Movement

A remarkably rich, all-female, artistic ferment is on view right now in Kabul galleries, where women painters from all over the country are putting on canvas their perspectives on the world. One group show in particular – Fade to Black – is attracting global attention and acclaim.

“It’s long past time the world heard the voices of Afghan women,” commented Sotheby’s contemporary art specialist Franchetta Settembrini. “Until now, we’ve known little of the specific outlook and experiences of this hidden population. Now they’ve emerged, to tell their story on museum walls, and I’ve found it exhilarating.”

“The movement reminds me of the famous ape artist in the Jardin des Plantes,” she continued. “Vladimir Nabokov was inspired by the ape’s story, and talked about it in an interview about Lolita.” ([“I was] prompted by a newspaper story about an ape in the Jardin des Plantes who, after months of coaxing by a scientist, produced the first drawing ever charcoaled by an animal: the sketch showed the bars of the poor creature’s cage.”)

Settembrini announced a forthcoming catalogue (BACK TO BLACK: STUDIES IN MESH) featuring the most prominent of Kabul’s neo-impressionists. “Few lay on total cave darkness as masterfully as X,” Settembrini remarked. “X has the technique, vision, and sheer physical strength to place layer after ‘noir’ layer on the canvas.”

X? “Oh, they’re all X. Wouldn’t want to get beheaded, would we?”

Bidding for a single X Series painting will begin at $500,000.

Russia: Time’s running…


’48 percent of Lebanese citizens [are] seeking to emigrate. For those 18 to 29, the percentage [rises] to 63 percent …’

What if they gave a country and nobody came?

Bathing in Blood

We cannot control ideas or speech and should not attempt to do so even if we could. But we could reduce access to the weaponry that converts ideology into atrocity. At least, other advanced countries find themselves able to do so. Almost every country on Earth has citizens filled with vitriol, but no comparably advanced country has a gun-violence epidemic quite like America’s…

[T]he American exception that bathes this country in blood and grief again and again and again is not that we are uniquely susceptible to racism or jihadism or veganism. The American exception is the unique ease of access to weapons.

…Americans die by the gun in such terrible numbers because Americans live by the gun with such reckless disregard.

Not only…

that, but the Pennsylvania Republican slate can also purchase guns.

‘Inflation will be hard to control if it “gets out of hand”: Harvard economist’

Headline of the day.

Overtime Action, Bucks Celtics Game!

Scroll down for all the footage!


“This should be a bigger story.”

But the Buffalo supermarket massacre -18 year old; semi-automatic – just wiped it off the map!

“‘Damn, look at him, a young boy,’ [an] onlooker … comments on one of the bodies.”

Sing it.

How ya gonna keep em

Buried and choked

After they’ve learned

To breathe?


The surrealistic fires of Laguna Nigel…

… make UD think of Kitaj’s If Not, Not:

Horror among the palms. Among the blue skies and blue ponds and pools of a languid landscape. As in D.M. Thomas’ novel The White Hotel, or the book/film The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, the effort is to convey the world as both a highly evolved beautiful secure retreat, and a far-too-delicate entity subject to sudden lurid conflagration. Foreground, on-goingness. Background, the vile, all-arresting catastrophe.

Pleading, and pre-trial release: A Guide.

[A Capitol rioter] was scheduled to plead guilty in D.C. federal court Wednesday to a misdemeanor of unlawful picketing or parading in the Capitol but when Judge Emmett Sullivan asked [him] why he wished to plead guilty, he blurted out: “I wanted to go to trial but the prosecutor said if I didn’t go to trial they would put a felony on me so I think this is probably the better route. I believe I’m innocent.”

Sullivan replied that he “can’t take a plea of guilty if you say you’re innocent.”

… As part of the conditions, [Anthime] Gionet must notify the court if he changes his home address but a pre-trial services officer told a judge in October that Gionet had left home in Arizona and moved to Clearwater, Florida without telling anyone.

Officers said they only found out when Gionet had a run-in with local law enforcement over someone apparently throwing cans at his house. Months earlier, his release conditions were tightened over a series of run-ins he had with Arizona police.

A judge declined to revoke his release. Then a month later, Gionet was charged with defacing a Hanukkah display at the Arizona state capitol.

He was also sentenced to 30 days in jail in January for assaulting a bouncer in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2020 but is appealing it.

Why was there a loaded gun in a suicidally depressed woman’s bedroom?

You won’t begin to understand America until you understand why no one commenting on Naomi Judd’s suicide has asked that question. No one will ask that question, which goes to levels of responsibility for locking guns away from critically self-destructive people.

Some people might say it’s madness to have a houseful of loaded guns around someone who has made it screamingly clear that she wants to die. But those people wouldn’t be Americans.

‘Fukuyama argues that liberalism is threatened not by a rival ideology, but by “absolutized” versions of its own principles. On the right, the promoters of neoliberal economics have turned the ideal of individual autonomy and the free market into a religion, warping the economy and leading to dangerous systemic instability. And on the left, he argues, progressives have abandoned individual autonomy and free speech in favor of claims of group rights that threaten national cohesion.’

Oh. And here’s where UD gets all excited:

He’s more scathing about the “postliberal” intellectuals of the American right, with their admiration for Hungary’s Viktor Orban, like the legal scholar Adrian Vermeule (whom he describes as having “flirted with the idea of overtly authoritarian government”) and the political scientist Patrick Deneen.

The more high-profile outing of our enemies, the better. Bravo, and keep bashing.

At least the Duke plagiarist put shoes on those feet. The original quoted material was kind of gross.

Plagiarizing a momentous, hugely public, sure to be filmed and widely broadcast, commencement speech runs all sorts of obvious risks. Take the Canadian med school dean, some of whose audience, quickly identifying the source of the talk while he talked, started reading along out loud from the original as he shared poignant personal memories.

More recently, there’s the Arab-origin student speaker at Duke who found another Arab-origin student commencement speaker – this one from Harvard – and just went ahead and pilfered/proclaimed aloud all of her private thoughts/memories.

So at the Duke Chronicle you’ve got two stories covering this curious affair: The first adoringly applauds an intimate evocation of minority angst; then, fast on the heels of the rave review comes a cold clinical side by side analysis of the two speeches with the obligatory yellow highlighting.


The foot thing? The Harvard lass quoted an Arab-American writer who described how we learn:

“…running barefoot, the skin of our feet collecting sand and seeds and rocks and grass until we had shoes, shoes made of everything we’d picked up as we ran.”

This seems to ol’ UD a singularly icky bit of writing, featuring little logic and mucho weirdness – shoes made of sand seeds rocks and grass? getting stones between your toes as a learning experience? – but okay, the Harvard speaker quotes it, and then revises and extends:

“[Sarah] Abushaar related the quote to her and her fellow graduates’ four years of “running through Harvard Yard” where the “skin of [their] feet [collected] a world of experiences.”

Still don’t like it. Skin of our feet? Still kinda dumb and gross.

Who cares. But Priya Parkash cleans it up nicely:

“Over the last four years, the sole[s] of our shoes have collected a world of experiences…”

Babe, she doesn’t even go there — she sees what UD saw, which is that the whole bare feet crunching down on stones that somehow enrich our experience thing doesn’t work, so as she plagiarizes through the document she brings a bit more sense to the metaphor or parable or whatever it is. She puts shoes on those feet.


Still, once you’ve walked a mile very much inside someone else’s moccasins, there will be serious implications, especially when you’ve gone and made Duke, already a little shaky when it comes to its status vis-a-vis schools like Harvard, feel positively parkinsonian.


Not that you can’t make poetry out of retentive feet.

And whence they came and whither they shall go
The dew upon their feet shall manifest.

I’d have plagiarized that.

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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...
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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...
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From Margaret Soltan's excellent coverage of the Bernard Madoff scandal comes this tip...
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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...
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As Margaret Soltan, one of the best academic bloggers, points out, pressure is mounting ...
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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