Friday, August 31, 2007
University of Oklahoma Football Team|
Being Siphoned Off, Player by Player
Tim Burke has a lengthy consideration on his blog today of why Americans hate professors. It's titled Angry at Academe, and it offers reasons why people like UD are loathed by the rest of the country. Let's take a look.
Americans resent the monopoly universities have over their career success. The university stands "like a colossus atop almost all forms of social aspiration, [and] a lot of people who might be better off chasing their own muse get corralled inside higher education." The professor represents the embodiment of the university's unavoidable power over everyone's future.
Americans also resent the tenurati's perks and privileges:
Tim could have been more explicit here. We get to lord it over other people at our institutions; once tenured, we have the sort of job security unimaginable to most Americans; we have spectacular autonomy and a lot of time to ourselves. I'm not sure what he means by the "peculiar flourishes," but let's assume he has in mind geegaws like regular sabbaticals and leaves, an often glorious campus setting, a rich and enviable cultural life (this is part of the reason for the fast-growing trend toward people wanting to retire next door to universities), and, for many professors, getting paid to do something you love.
The operative word is envy, which is why Tim concludes the paragraph by using the word "humble." Professors can be quite arrogant -- or can sometimes be read as arrogant even if they're not -- and this, coupled with all of their privileges, may make them look vile, smug, entitled.
And then there's a general incomprehension of intellectuality for its own sake:
There are a lot of forces in American life since 1950 that have pushed our culture away from valuing knowledge that is impractical or has no immediate application. Universities have colluded in defining the value of what they do in terms of careers and economic rewards, but that’s also been done to them by the relentless careerism of students and their parents. The ghastly cynicism of big-time college athletics has had a generally corrosive effect, often feeding a belief that college is primarily for parties, getting laid, and social networking.
UD's humble take on all this is that the incomprehension goes both ways.
Although she blogs incessantly about them, she doesn't really understand many of the people who gum up the works at so many American universities.... When she reads about their doings in the news, she has to scratch her head. I mean, fine... they don't like her... they don't get her... but she doesn't like and doesn't get them....
Following events at an acutely anti-academic place like the University of Oklahoma, for instance, is for UD like reading a story by Isaac Babel, in which the world's been turned upside down and makes no kind of sense... or, no -- it makes sense, but a malign and absurd sense... Things are so bad at places like OU that they routinely tip over into comedy:
What I'm getting at is that for UD this is totally Twin Peaks... Ask her to unpack this series of events -- the mysterious keys and override codes, the conspiracy theories, the irregularities, the gas station owner who was also the mayor -- and she simply can't. She can note the chilling fact that one by one the players for the Oklahoma team are being spirited away... she can wonder whether, as each vanishes, there will be any team left at all... She can wonder why this activity takes place at a university, and why this university's squalid team is, as Mr. Henderson tells us, universally adored ... But she can't make sense of it, because it seems to her incredible that any university would stoop so low as to be this...
SOS Agrees, Of Course...|
...but thinks this opinion piece about professor/student affairs might be punched up, prosewise.
I think [Drop I think] academia honors bans against professor-student relationships more in theory than in practice, because if professors and students couldn’t hook up, the professorate [sic] would go extinct.
America: A Pragmatic, Forgiving Nation|
From interviews with SIU faculty, in the student newspaper:
'Many members of the faculty worry the [plagiarism] issue will adversely affect enrollment. Shahram Rahimi, associate professor of computer science, said if everyone's work were scrutinized, many would be found guilty of plagiarism.
Nothing much will change. Too many interests, too much money, too many unions, at stake. But SIU president Glenn Poshard's plagiarized dissertation in educational administration will maybe allow people to revisit the ongoing way-flagrant ed school scandal in this country.
'Glenn Poshard is a three-degree graduate of Southern Illinois University. He earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education in 1970, a master's degree in educational administration in 1974 and a Ph.D. in administration of higher education in 1984.'
This is just the sort of pedigree that people like Arthur Levine have been screaming about for ages:
"The majority of programs range from inadequate to appalling," Levine says, "even at some of the country's leading universities." He mentions a couple of "strong" programs, but none that meet nine criteria relevant to program quality in higher education - clear purpose, curricular coherence, balance between theory and practice, faculty quality, admission standards, degree requirements, research quality, financial resources and continuing self-assessment.
Poshard's not a unique problem. He emerged out of a vast and well-established problem.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Southern Illinois University|
An Official Laughingstock
UD hesitates to declare any university a laughingstock -- there are always plenty of smart, hardworking, good people at any school, and this declaration makes things worse for them. But with its cynical Saluki Way project, its cheesy motivational speakers for faculty, and its across-the-board plagiarizing executives, Southern Illinois University has earned the title.
UD invites you to type southern illinois in the search engine up there to see all of her postings on that benighted institution over the years.
The latest? Yet another plagiarist, this time the president himself.
Before I quote from it, let me say how impressed I am by the SIU newspaper. The student journalists are doing the hard work -- along with a faculty committee set up to keep track of rampant plagiarism among its leaders (the plagiarizing president describes this group as "academic terrorists" who "lie in the weeds and throw bombs at everybody") -- of protecting the integrity of their university. Bravo.
Poshard Accusation Third in Two Years for SIU
There's more. This is from another article in the same newspaper:
Poshard said August 1984 - when his dissertation was completed - was one of the busiest times of his life.
"In the confused, muddled velocities of my mind was an editorial sense that this was wrong, that this was an ill-judged element in the story of my life," writes Harold Brodkey in This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death, which chronicles his dying of AIDS. "I felt too conceited to have this death."
Written like a true writer. Writers, more than other people, impose plots on their lives and on the lives of others; they think in terms of stories always, and if they're very forceful stylists they can do this thinking in a way that, while sometimes hectoring, can also be very effective. Their narrative vision of a better world can enable powerful novels that have an actual impact on social reality; their representations of liberated minds can have a liberating effect on the minds reading them.
You can see the benign power of the imposition of narrative in another writer's chronicle of his last days. Contemplating his cancer, Anatole Broyard wrote, in Intoxicated By My Illness:
My initial experience of illness was as a series of disconnected shocks, and my first instinct was to try to bring it under control by turning it into a narrative. ... The patient has to start by treating his illness not as a disaster, an occasion for depression or panic, but as a narrative, a story. Stories are antibodies against illness and pain. ...Gregor Samsa dies like an insect. To die is to be no longer human, to be dehumanized - and I think that language, speech, stories, or narratives are the most effective ways to keep our humanity alive. ... [A] sick person can make a story, a narrative, out of his illness as a way of trying to detoxify it. ... Making narratives like this rescues me from the unknown, from what Ernest Becker called 'the panic inherent in creation,' or 'the suction of infinity.'
The Brodkey excerpt suggests the dark side of this intense narrative drive -- the same drive can be a species of arrogance, and can create enormous resistance within the writer him or herself to the largely uncontrollable event-clamor of everyone's life.
In the case of the recent much-discussed Arthur Miller revelations -- he had a child with Down Syndrome whom he institutionalized, neglected, and never mentioned -- the matter of putting away life elements that don't comport with a certain personal narrative is worsened by Miller's sense of moral superiority, as one observer notes in a New York Times article about the playwright:
Writers like Miller and Gunter Grass, “who set themselves up as moralists and public scolds, are more vulnerable to criticism based on their own behavior,” wrote Morris Dickstein, who teaches English at the City University of New York Graduate Center, in an e-mail message this week. “But the truth is that very few great artists were admirable people. At heart they’re killers who’ll do anything to get the work done.”
As the author of a lengthy Vanity Fair account of Miller and his son puts it, "A writer, used to being in control of narratives, Miller excised a central character who didn't fit the plot of his life as he wanted it to be."
Most professors would like to
make an impact on the world.
And not just the world of
scholarship, but the broader world.
Flynn Warren, pharmacy
professor at the University
of Georgia, has just accomplished
this, bigtime. The entire
licensing apparatus of the
pharmacy industry has been
shut down because of him.
Until it figures out how to
put his lucrative test-answer-
selling course at the University
of Georgia out of business,
the profession can no longer
certify pharmacists. Buyer beware.
Some news clippings:
'A University pharmacy professor is a defendant in a federal court case, in which he is accused of collecting and disseminating pharmacy test questions to students, according to court documents obtained by The Red & Black.
'Many College of Pharmacy students and alumni boast Flynn Warren is the best professor at the University. And over the past five years, 514 pharmacy students - 99 percent - passed national and state pharmacy exams - usually after his review class.
'"...[A]t least 150 questions are verbatim, nearly verbatim or substantially similar," a court document reads.
From an online forum:
'...Dr. Flynn's class is awesome. He encourages his students to write down questions they remember & send them to him, and he himself takes the NAPLEX in different States to compile his notes...
"Look at what happens in Europe.|
They literally kill people at soccer matches."
A former chair of the Ohio State Board of Trustees rushes to the defense of his school after someone suggests that OSU fan behavior is a mite uncivilized. Hell, we haven't killed anybody yet...
And, after all, "rowdy fan behavior has never been unique to Ohio State."
The chair's remarks are a small part of the pummeling former OSU president Karen Holbrook's been receiving from OSU people for her recent Kinsley Gaffe, in which she accurately described the pre- and post-game streets of Columbus.
Not only is Holbrook totally unsporting. She's also, notes one local booster, a snob:
"I think people got the impression that she wanted it (a football game) to be like a social event, like a polo match, where people walked with shirts tied around their necks."
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
2007 Fulmer Cup Winner Announced!|
UD is very grateful to Dave, a reader, for alerting her to this breaking news.
The year's most criminal university football team is...
Award-winning play described here. Individual achievement award, featuring an AK-47, here.
Some Fulmer reader comments:
Man, I thought UConn did better. I mean one player got arrested twice in four days….that has to count for something. Doesnt it?
University of Toledo:|
The Life of the Criminal Mind
A reader sends UD a very long ESPN article about the disgusting football and basketball programs at Toledo. Details here are not for the faint of heart.
UPDATE: Michael R. Davidson at PROFANE has more.
Criminal Behavior and|
Academic Mediocity at
'The recent decision to let junior guard Jamar Smith redshirt for the 2007-08 basketball season is an insult to true Illini fans and emblematic of a culture in which standards are treated merely as a limbo stick.
---editorial, student newspaper---
Snapshots from Home:|
Dark Night, Seoul|
'South Korea is being shaken by a series of scandals involving an art historian, a movie director, a renowned architect, the head of a performing arts center, a popular comic book writer, a celebrity chef, leading actors and actresses, a former TV news anchor, even a revered Buddhist monk. What binds them is that all falsified their academic records.
Thoughtful Analysis of |
Florida's Educational Fiasco
It's in The Olympian. Excerpts:
'Florida has five of the nation's 15 largest universities but only one of the nation's top 50 in quality. When students and their parents walk on campuses, they see new buildings and new law schools, medical schools and football teams.
Graham's comment about tone, certain to be dismissed as snobbery by that leadership, is key. Some states are strikingly anti-intellectual, and culturally crude -- Nevada, Montana -- and, despite a few pockets of resistance in and around Miami, Florida's like this too. These states don't care much about education on any level; many of them host diploma mills because they don't know or don't care what diploma mills are. The whole idea that education might matter enough for us to go to the trouble of accrediting some schools and withholding accreditation from others seems to them bizarre.
These tend to be the big sports states. Their populations show high rates of functional illiteracy.
Jazzy entrepreneurs aren't going to want to go to tone deaf Florida.
Florida's feeling the pressure on the education front, and a state like Alabama isn't, because of what the chancellor points out -- Florida is an "influential 'mega-trend' state, with an economy larger than those of many sovereign nations." People are watching Florida. They're noting the scandalous disparity between the state's national significance and its piddling higher education system.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Revenge of the Godzillatron
'...[N]ext month, the U.S. House Ways and Means committee will discuss college athletic programs and whether their millions should remain tax exempt. At the center of all the controversy is [Alabama Coach Nick] Saban’s paycheck.
Things Are Looking Up For the|
Florida International U. Football Team!
FIU President Modesto A. Maidique, interviewed by the campus newspaper:
'Q: Can you make any bold predictions about this year's football season?
Contreras on Serrano|
"Alan Contreras," it says at the bottom of this opinion piece in the Oregon Register-Guard, "is an administrator of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization. He blogs at oregonreview.blogspot.com and holds two real degrees from the University of Oregon."
UD's had many occasions, on this blog, to cite the wit and wisdom of Mr. Contreras. She's doing it again.
'Recent stories ... [about] Dave Serrano, a former candidate for baseball coach at the University of Oregon, raise several issues. Are diploma-mill degrees legal for use? Do coaches need degrees at all? Do athletic directors?
There's been a hostile takeover...|
...of University Diaries.
UD has no idea what it means, but she's flattered.
Six-Year Graduation Rate|
Under Thirty Percent
'The Southern football team has had at least 10 players become academically ineligible since the spring, but football hasn’t been the school’s only program touched by grade, retention and clearance issues.
...piece in the New York Times.
William McGonagall gets a mention or two. Also Michael Nyman, a major passion of UD's, and not only because Nyman's variations on Henry Purcell are all over this cd.
'The Edinburgh Festival may be one of the world’s great arts fixtures, but its Fringe festival has always operated like a national freak show, opening nonjudgmental arms to anything that could be said to pass as entertainment. Proust on Rollerblades, Ibsen in drag, your favorite Wagner moments whistled by a chorus in gorilla suits: old-timers will have seen and usually passed by it all. And being passed by is the shared experience of Fringe events. They tend to play obscurely, in church halls and basement rooms to audiences of 16, barely noticed, instantly forgotten.
... to whose very intelligent and well-informed Harvard-related blog, Shots in the Dark, I've been meaning to link, jumps the gun and links to me and my idea about taking from the rich and giving to the poor.
UD Welcomes Readers |
From the University of Waterloo...
...who, with their outsized interest in sex, are lighting up her blog's circuitry this morning.
Someone on the Daily Bulletin's editorial staff linked to UD's recent post about professor/student afffairs and started an Instalanche.
Rider's Off the Storm|
The New Jersey prosecutor, reports Inside Higher Ed, has dropped aggravated hazing charges against two high-ranking adminstrators at Rider College. Background here.
UD Quoted in the |
UD's thrilled to see that the education writer for the Daytona Beach News Journal, intrigued by her suggestion that Harvard distribute some of its nigh on forty billion endowment dollars in grants to deserving colleges, has approached leaders of local institutions about what they'd like.
'Margaret Soltan, an English professor at George Washington University whose blog, "University Diaries," can be found at www.insidehighered.com, suggested Harvard start giving grants with all that money. She specifically mentioned Florida Southern College, the Lakeland school that has the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings, some of which have fallen into disrepair.
UD's favorite detail: Several "very light jets." There's poetry in that.
Yet Another Student|
on the Online Scam
This one's at the University of Missouri:
'I came to college expecting lectures, late night cram sessions and running late for mid terms. I wanted to cheer for the sports teams and in some way become an important part of the campus.
No, you're not. And as more students recognize online courses for the shoddy things they often turn out to be, the situation, UD firmly believes, will change.
"What's Your Relationship|
to St. John's College?"
That's usually the first thing friends ask UD when she tells them that she gave $10,000 to the campus in Annapolis last year.
The answer is none. Didn't graduate from there. Knows not a soul there. Walks around the campus a bit when she visits Annapolis...
But regular readers of this blog know that UD admires St. John's serious curriculum.
Of course, a few thousand is peanuts compared to the gifts the people in this Wall Street Journal article have given to schools from which they didn't graduate.... The main thing UD wants you to notice, though, is the story's very encouraging angle: These people aren't giving to the grotesquely over-endowed schools from which they did graduate. Bravo.
Monday, August 27, 2007
'Blogs: All the Noise that Fits
The more important the story, the more incidental our opinions become. Something larger is needed: the patient sifting of fact, the acknowledgment that assertion is not evidence and, as the best writers understand, the depiction of real life. Reasoned argument, as well as top-of-the-head comment on the blogosphere, will follow soon enough, and it should. But what lodges in the memory, and sometimes knifes us in the heart, is the fidelity with which a writer observes and tells. The word has lost its luster, but we once called that reporting.'
[SOS summarizes: A pisher trying to sound like a grownup.]
On First Looking Into|
Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster LP640
[List price $345,000
Curb weight 4160 lb
Engine, transmission 6.5-liter V-12; 6-sp-e-gear sequential manual
Horsepower, bhp @ rpm 632 @ 8000
0-60 mph 3.4 sec
0-100 mph 7.8 sec
0-1320 ft (1/4 mile) 11.6 sec @ 125.4 mph
Top speed 205 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 107 ft
Braking, 80-0 mph 189 ft
Lateral accel (200-ft skidpad) 0.96g
Speed thru 700-ft slalom 70.5 mph
EPA city/highway mileage 10/16 mpg]
Much have I traveled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one edenic expressway had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Briggs spin out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the pacific--and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise--
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Yes, UD could spend all day gazing at the sublime video of Lance Briggs' smashed Lamborghini on the Edens Expressway; she'd much rather do that than finally read the increasingly-notorious blog-hostile piece by Michael Skube in the Los Angeles Times... But everyone's talking about about the Skube... and UD does have a blogoscopic feature on her blog... So here I go... I'll put aside this image which has engrossed me, expressing as it does so much about these United States ... and I'll turn to the Skube. Hold on. I'll blog my reading of it in real time.
Oh - here's what's going on, described by a blogger at the Chronicle of Higher Ed:
"Retire, man. I’m serious. You’re an embarrassment to my profession, to the university where you teach, and to the craft of reporting you claim to defend." That is Jay Rosen excoriating Michael Skube on account of this Los Angeles Times opinion column.
Move Over, Christopher Hitchens|
In the Australian newspaper, The Age, a dean of students at Melbourne University clarifies the relationship between football (here, Australian Rules football) and the divine:
'Last week The Age ran an intriguing story about a Christian group called Third Coast Sports who want to hold "faith nights" prior to football matches. The Kangaroos seem keen on the idea and why wouldn't they be?
Ignore the totally obscure references throughout. UD's point is: Those arguing that football should be a discipline, part of the university curriculum, might want to look into incorporating it into Schools of Divinity...
Arrested If You Do,
Overheated If You Don't
From the blog Lion in Oil: (Oh. I get it. It's a palindrome.)
'USC may be ranked as the overwhelming number one team in the pre-season polls, but all has not been well for the Trojans. First, some star players like Emmanuel Moody have left the program, realizing that it's only possible to play 11 All-Americans on the field at a time. But there was a bigger test facing the team this week, and it was serious. The incoming Freshman class didn't like the dorm rooms assigned to them.
UD thanks a reader for the link.
'...Several SDSU athletic staff members have checkered pasts, burdened with accusations of academic dishonesty and a range of recruiting miscues.
---the daily aztec---
That'll Teach 'Em.|
'It's been a rough week for several Gamecock football players.
Parable of the Walking Catfish|
'A few years ago, someone smuggled into the U.S. a species of catfish that could actually walk on land for limited periods. They got established in Florida, where they quickly became a terrible nuisance. They’d come out at night and attack toddlers and small dogs and cats, then vanish back into the pond when pursued.
From an interview at Inside Higher Ed with William C. Dowling, author of Confessions of a Spoilsport. Read the whole thing.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
'[New Yorker critic and Harvard professor James] Wood, 41, has always hovered intriguingly between academia and journalism -- a space that can be lonely and vexing. Leslie Epstein, director of the creative writing program at Boston University, says he tried to interest the English department chairman in hiring Wood, before Harvard did, but that the chairman retorted that Wood was a mere journalist. (The then-chairman, James Winn, denies that account of "what must have been informal and private conversations that allegedly took place eight or nine years ago" and says he has great respect for Wood's writing.)'
Kinsley Gaffe, |
A New Day at the |
University of Wisconsin,
A newspaper columnist analyzes the latest US News and World results:
'Professors aren't doing the job during the day, students aren't doing the job at night. The only ones doing the job, it seems, are the football players.
Subsequent to the Otago Couch-Burning Phase-Out|
'Dunedin is cleaning up after alcohol-fueled students rioted in the city last night, pelting police with bottles and setting cars, mattresses and couches on fire.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
UD's Extremely Grateful...|
... to sensitive and highly literate Florida Atlantic University students -- like this one -- who help her, and her readers, understand the internal realities of the place.
'FAU: Forcing Alumni Underground
...a poet, has died. Here's a nice one of his poems.
UD doesn't find the first half of this poem all that entrancing, actually, but the thing concludes beautifully.
(From The Executive Director of the Fallen World.)
UD only really cottons to this when Rector finds himself a good metaphor and extends it, meaning that although she likes the concise history of one's life that takes up most of the poem, she really likes this:
A place for repose and laughter
In the consoling beds of being tender,
I tell them now, my son, my daughter.
"Nearer my god to thee" I sing
On the deck of my personal Titanic,
An agnostic vessel in the mind.
Born alone, die alone—and sad, though
Vastly accompanied, to see
The sadness in the loved ones
To be left behind, and one more
Moment of wondering what,
If anything, comes next. . .
Never to have been completely
Certain what I was doing
Alive, but having stayed aloft
Amidst an almost sinister doubt.
I say to my children
Don't be afraid, be buoyed
—In its void the world is always
Falling apart, entropy its law
—I tell them those who build
And master are the ones invariably
Merry: Give and take quarter,
Create good meals within the slaughter,
A place for repose and laughter
In the consoling beds of being tender,
I tell them now, my son, my daughter.
He only gets seriously poetic at the end; not merely with the lovely reiterated "consoling beds of being tender" image, but with serious end-rhyme, or almost-rhyme, and serious rhythmic lulling... And of course UD notes yet again the theme of a father telling his children to be buoyed, to be brave. "Create good meals within the slaughter" sounds as though it comes right out of Stevenson's Aes Triplex.
The New Republic...|
...on professional and college sports.
'...Both [professional] teams and leagues seem to enable player misconduct even as they publicly condemn it: by recruiting players with known character problems, looking the other way when those players get into trouble, and then intervening to spare them bad publicity or legal trouble after-the-fact. In some cases, that's meant assigning team personnel to watch over players and then clean up the messes they left behind...
Scathing Online Schoolmarm:|
The Movement to Make Football
an Academic Discipline Grows
Over at UD's branch campus, we've already considered one argument in favor of making football a university major (the post's title is The Oregon Trial). Here's another, from Massa Saban's plantation:
'Not All College Education is In the Classroom
An update on diploma mills, baseball coaches, and the University of Oregon.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Other New Stuff.|
Note three new links on UD's blogroll - Rate Your Students, Culture Industry, and Lucky Jane.
Law School of Diminishing Returns|
UD has already looked at the larger institutional fiasco of Florida A&M. The possibility that its law school will fail to be accredited has now drawn press attention to that component of the campus:
'Florida A&M University's College of Law is failing. When lawmakers re-established the school in 2000, they hoped it would help substantially increase the number of black lawyers in the state. They hoped it would be a place where nontraditional students would be nurtured and groomed to pass the bar examination.
The Orlando Sentinel notes "rumors that the school's provisional accreditation is in jeopardy."
Another Florida paper:
'Students and professors say they have seen little evidence that FAMU is seriously addressing ABA concerns, including faculty quality and low bar passage rates. Instead, they say, the college is marred by administrative blunders and faculty infighting. Several professors described fierce battles over tenure and promotion.
Cronyism appointed Dawson to the position of writing director even though she cannot write:
The contemptible indifference that put a functional illiterate at the head of a law school's writing program is only one instance of a larger institutional indifference that takes money from struggling students and offers them in return cynicism and silence.
Live Professor Acts|
UD's already mentioned that she and Mr. UD are listening to a Teaching Company tape about music; here's a charming opinion piece by another professor who listens to this stuff.
His essay's a companion piece to something UD quoted recently from Richard Rorty. Here's Rorty:
And here's Wilfred M. McClay:
...[O]ne of the chief things that [older students] come to class for is something that a tape or a TV or even the best virtual connection cannot ever provide: The bodily presence of others. It is one thing to listen alone to a videotaped lecture, it is quite another to hear the same subject expounded by a flesh-and-blood human being standing there before you -- someone responsive to your questions, attentive to your particular concerns, capable of cracking jokes about the events of the day, someone with the full range of human quirks and oddities, and yet also someone for whom the subject forms a living and present reality, and with whom you can have a personal relationship.
Memories of Underdevelopment|
'One of the hardest things [former president Karen Holbrook] had to do at Ohio State was to pull the reigns in on out-of-control tailgaiting.
[SOS stalwarts no doubt noticed up there an extremely popular spelling error: reign for rein.]
[Yeah. Got tailgating wrong too.]
Thursday, August 23, 2007
"I don't think we're facing reality here."|
As with Charles Reed trying to talk sense to Florida university officials, so also with William Friday trying to talk sense to a similarly benighted group in North Carolina. In both cases, you've got an overwhelmingly brainless, brawny state system, and no one cares.
William Friday is working back to ambulatory status following knee surgery that nearly coincided with his 87th birthday last month. But wear and tear has dulled neither his interest in promoting restraint in funding college athletics, nor his outrage when new borders of excess are crossed.
Florida Atlantic University: |
Ranked at the Very Bottom of
...and pouring its money into more gyms:
'Working out at Florida Atlantic University can be a cramped and confusing experience for students.
Having Heard from the Blancheites...|
...of college athletics (see below), let's listen to the real stuff, the authentic voice, the one true thing. SOS likes this writing very much.
When Football Players Go Bad
UD's Happy to See...|
...University Diaries as part of the blogroll at History Compass Blog, an online forum for historians around the world. Here's its journal.
Grace Paley, 1922-2007|
A long take on her long life.
Florida: Anti-Intellectualism as Team Sport|
'U.S. News & World Report "America's Best Colleges 2008" rankings [show] the University of Florida falling from 47th place to 49th and Florida State University dropping from 110th to 112th among the top 125 U.S. universities. Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton and Florida International University in Miami all reside unceremoniously in the bottom tier of the 1,400 rated institutions.
[these are dunce caps]
Excerpts from Reed's speech:
'Most people outside higher education don't think that much about how their state college and university systems are run.
["I don't want realism. I want magic! Yes, yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I do misrepresent things. I don't tell truths. I tell what ought to be truth."]
"[The NCAA should] leave graduation rates up to the presidents of each institution. Certainly, any president and responsible coach will see that their institution does the right thing for athletes, and seeing that those athletes graduate would be a prime objective."
Dick Bestwick, Athens Banner-Herald
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
UD Loves to be Interviewed.|
She loves to compete with Mr. UD to see who gets more interview requests over the course of, say, a month. With his expert knowledge of and involvement in the Iraqi constitution, Mr. UD almost always wins this competition, but UD could tell he was impressed when a reporter from the Washington City Paper caught UD on the beach at Rehoboth for a long chat about whether George Washington University's most-expensive-tuition-in-the-country is worth it.
The article's just come out - it's this issue's cover story -- and it's a very good one. It begins with a wonderful description of the Versailles-level entertainments the university provides for incoming freshmen (UD, who knows little about extra-curricular GW, had no idea about Colonial Inauguration), and then considers why GW costs so much, and whether the cost is justified.
UD mentioned to the reporter that she knew a couple of students who'd left GW because they concluded it cost too much relative to the value of the education it offered. "Could you get me in touch with one of them?" the reporter asked. So UD told her about her student and friend Kevan Duve, who has transferred to Columbia University. Kevan's comments appear at the very end of the article.
UD's quoted describing GW's culture of wealth.
...isn't the sort of thing you expect to see on a university's home page. Greetings from the president, sure... campus scenes... a few news items... But View Cart?
At the Trinity College & University diploma mill, however, way low prices on any level degree in the field of your choice are so tempting, you'll want to start shopping right away, just like Dave Serrano, the top candidate for baseball coach at the University of Oregon:
'The University of Oregon has delayed a follow-up interview with Dave Serrano, the award-winning University of California Irvine baseball coach, amid reports that Serrano obtained his bachelor's degree from a Spanish school that awards degrees but does not require students to attend class.
UO should hire him. I think it wants to, because it's handling the diploma mill problem correctly. It's acknowledging it, and it's telling us it's concerned about it. That'll do. It matters not a bit for this job whether the guy is educated, and they've already made an exception for Kilkenny.
I mean, I guess you could argue Serrano's not a very good academic role model for the players, but almost no one in a major university sports program is.
It's sleazy of Serrano to have bought a bogus BA and passed it off as authentic. But bringing sleaze to major university sports programs is bringing coals to Newcastle. Who cares.
Mike Lopresti, USA Today.|
UD appreciates Lopresti doing her compilations for her, but look at his conclusion: We are to take from this litany an attitude of anxious pity on behalf of the coach who crouches by the phone, full of dread about the lads -- like granny knitting nervously through the night, worrying about her precious cubs...
But wait! This would only work if granny went out of her way to choose felons for grandchildren, the way coaches routinely recruit way bad boys...
So Lopresti's coach-pity seems misplaced. Pity instead the players, confused by their schizoid lives (crime, jail; and then, because they can play football, sudden universal adulation; then crime and jail again...), doomed to lose life's game. Their two million dollar a year coach will be just fine.
UD Loves a Laugh With her Morning Coffee...|
...or, rather, her morning Marco Polo tea (yes, you're right, it's an afternoon blend, and UD should be slapped down for drinking it before twelve), and this breaking news about online university classes did the trick. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:
Teaching online courses can be frustrating for professors and may ultimately bring them to experience "a high degree of burnout," according to a study by R. Lance Hogan, an assistant professor of technology at Eastern Illinois University, and Mark A. McKnight, an assistant professor of business communication at the University of Southern Indiana.
UD's had what to say on this blog about the online scam, with its obvious destruction of education. But this latest study is a delicious new confection... Recall the Money magazine list of best jobs in America, with professor ranked number two, largely because of low stress and high autonomy... Now this class of ninnies among us who fell for the you don't even have to get out of bed bullshit reports its discovery that a virtual life makes you feel depersonalized...
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Every great social movement
has its martyrs, and the movement
to rid universities of corrupt
and destructive bigtime sports
has now got one in Nathan Tublitz.
Professor Tublitz looks like
a professor. He writes like
a professor. But he's also,
unlike professors as a class,
very tough. He goes up against
corrupt and destructive bigtime
sports on his campus, the
University of Oregon.
And you just know he's pissing people off when the boosters come out of the woodwork and swarm all over him, like this guy Mike DeCourcy, who writes for Sporting News. Mike's mad with Nathan. He's having a hard time arguing his points against him onaccounta he's real mad. Let's walk calmly through Mike's points and help him collect himself.
'It's not easy being a billionaire, apparently. You think ahead. Work hard. Build a business. Grow the business. Create jobs. Make billions. Give a lot of the money away. All good, right?
This new feature has University Diaries' Scathing Online Schoolmarm SOSing prose which is itself SOSing prose. Know what I mean?
I mean, SOS ain't the only person out there subjecting prose to close, usually hostile, analysis; there's even a verb -- to fisk -- which describes the activity, although fisking tends to be satisfied with eviscerating an argument only, rather than, like SOS, going after argument and prose (they're connected, after all).
SOS proposes to look at two recent style and content fiskings. One of them's not too bad, though it doesn't knock my socks off. The other is very bad indeed.
The not too bad one's by Alex Beam in the Boston Globe. He's taking off after a soft target -- the simulacral Mortimer Zuckerman -- but it's worth attacking writers like Zuckerman, writers who don't really write their pieces themselves, and for whom publishing is about keeping their name in the papers. Zuckerman represents the lazy corruption that gives journalism a bad name, so he certainly should be fisked. Here's how Beam does it:
BREAKING OUT THE WOODEN PROSE-O-METER [Starts with an absolutely terrible title. There's nothing clever here, and it's also rather confusing as to meaning.]
Beam admires Ron Rosenbaum's writing, but if the following Rosenbaum fisking is typical, he can't be right to do this.
THE WORST OP-ED EVER WRITTEN? [Again, a terrible title. Unless the essay to come is the cleverest, most definitive decimation of a piece of writing ever. Which it's not. One reason it's not, right up front: Cast your eye down the page. It's way too long. You want to get in and get out of these things pretty quickly -- after all, they're talking about a short, pretty superficial bit of prose; and the more you rant on, the more the thing seems to be about you, which is death on wheels for this sort of writing. It shouldn't be about your resentment or irritation or disdain; it should be about the prose.]
It was Bound to Happen.|
UD's extensive knowledge of college football has landed her on the home page of College Football Resource, the "big daddy of them all, the nerve center." Good call, boys.
SOS Travels to the Heartland...|
... for an up-close look at how they write about university sports in the center of the fiasco.
Receivers' Suspensions a Blow to Depth [Why've they been suspended? Oh, same old shit... Doesn't matter... What matters is the blow to our depth...]
Monday, August 20, 2007
When Worlds Collide|
British taxpayers have taken a look at some of the university courses they're subsidizing (Horse Psychology is one), and they're not happy:
...[T]he Taxpayers' Alliance highlighted 401 [non-academic] courses starting this autumn in the UK, which it said cost £40m a year to run.
Two worlds are in collision here, one the old-fashioned taxpayers, still operating with concepts like "academic merit" and "scholarly qualifications," and the other the new managerial administrators, who've pretty much tossed out things like philosophy and literature in their zeal to respond to market demands. ... I mean, if you ask people what they want to study, they'll say golf management or casino studies every time...
Here in the US, where taxpayers bear much less of the cost of higher education, you rarely hear a peep about this. If a private college wants to offer courses in surfing or catering, that's considered its own business. And of course America, unlike England, never had much time for intellectuality for its own sake.
"Every school's a party school."|
'...West Virginia University is No. 1 on The Princeton Review's annual list of the top 20 party schools.
--san jose mercury news--
Phi Beta Cons...|
...the National Review website about universities, takes note of UD today, describing her blogging as having "a nice, unvarnished** quality," and then quoting her IHE branch campus on the Dynes resignation/firing at the University of California.
|Results, Slate Bad Poetry Contest|
The James Joyce Underground|
'Q. In the subway corridor under Bryant Park on 42nd Street, there is a huge artwork with a strange quotation by James Joyce: "Telmetale of stem or stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters of. Night!" Can you make sense of it?
---new york times---
The Styrofoam Cup Defense|
'As the trial for former Texas State University [How much trouble is a university in when the Houston Chronicle gets its name wrong in the first sentence? Long, long ago, the place was called Texas State... The Chronicle reporter needs to update his files... UPDATE: And UD needs to get corrective lenses. Andre Mayer, a reader, points out that the writer says "former Texas State University." My bad. Though it seems a strange choice to start your piece about the place by using an obsolete name for it... UPDATE UPDATE: Another reader, TAFKAU, points out that former seems to refer not to the school but to the school's president... And that therefore UD is at least correct that the formulation's messy... Anyway, TAFKAU notes that the reporter has now rewritten the sentence.] President Priscilla Slade starts this week, observers expect a fight that is more contentious than the paper-heavy trial of her chief financial officer who was convicted of criminal financial mismanagement as part of the same investigation. [that is... who was... Especially in concise newspaper writing, you want to avoid these draggy to be verb formulations. Notice how the sentence reads if you simply take them out: "...a fight more contentious than the paper-heavy trial of her chief financial officer, convicted of criminal financial mismanagement..." See? Just drop them.]
Sunday, August 19, 2007
'The partner of Denice Denton claims she was mistakenly left out of the late UC Santa Cruz chancellor's will and is suing Denton's estate for $2.25 million.
---san jose mercury news---
This language appears at the top of Florida Metropolitan University's online Admission page. What you'll need for admission to this vocational school is money plus a pulse.
What do you suppose the graduation rate of such a place is?
And what is the school going to do about that?
It's going to call in a cadre of expensive coaches. FMU's a client of InsideTrack, a firm described in this San Francisco Chronicle piece:
Some freshmen will find more than roommates, textbooks and course catalogues waiting for them at college this fall.
So Long, Suckers|
'Last year, I came to teach at the University of Florida from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota. At the time, I imagined that the Gator Nation would be rich in academic resources. Maybe I was in the wrong corner of this massive institution, but I found the classes were bulging and the faculty so caught up with snagging grants to keep their departments financially afloat that I heard nary a word from any administrators about students or the joys of teaching.
Thanks to Nathan Tublitz and to the Editor of...|
... William C. Dowling's recent book, Confessions of a Spoilsport, UD now has a couple of hot new sources on the subject of professor/bigtime campus sports incompatibility to consider.
Dowling's editor wrote to UD a few months ago and told her that her blog's healthy readership helped convince his press that Dowling's book would have an audience; he then sent UD a copy of the book when it came out.
Professor Tublitz is one of the strongest bigtime sports dissenters at the University of Oregon; he just forwarded UD an intriguing essay by one of his colleagues.
Loyal readers will recall that UD herself, in a column at Inside Higher Education last year, considered why professors and university sports machines don't mesh. Some of what she said there is echoed in Dowling's book and in the piece by Jim Earl that Tublitz sent; but while clownish UD played a lot of this material for laughs, these other guys are real serious...
By the way, all three of us -- Soltan, Earl, and Dowling -- are English professors... Don't know what to make of that... Anyway, let's take a look at what these guys say.
Dowling has this Nietzschean take on the campus culture of bigtime sports boosterism, on the emergence of student Yahoos (he's a Swift scholar) whose distinctive characteristic -- in direct opposition to the founding ethos of the university -- is "a simple refusal of the gift of rational consciousness."
He says, citing Nietzsche's term, that they suffer from ressentiment:
[They have] an inferiority complex that is compelled to seek revenge in symbolic terms. [They are] denied any real outlet in action becuse of the perceived power or social superiority of their opponent. That's why they're driven to compensate for their weakness with an imaginary revenge. In the case of booster ressentiment, that revenge is an attempt to exert symbolic ownership of the university through Div 1A sports. This is one major reason why boosters are so eager to commercialize universities through professionalized athletics. The more the campus is plastered with logos saying "Always Rutgers, Always Coke!" the less it will seem like an alien citadel of ideas and higher culture. The more often a university faculty member can be persuaded to lead fans in chanting advertising slogans, the less one has to feel intellectually inferior to professors as a remote and cerebral caste. The sooner the university resembles a shopping mall - with "customers" instead of students and "consumer preferences" instead of course requirements and a coherent curriculum - the more rapidly the boosters' ever-present fear that someone, somewhere, is trying to live life on a higher level than that of Monday Night Football and satellite pornography can be assuaged.
Again, Dowling writes a few pages later:
At Div 1A universities, the oppression is felt to be the university itself, with its ancient associations with a "higher" culture of knowledge and ideas, and, on the individual level, its demands for reading and analytic thinking.
Dowling's book is a tight and intelligent narration of heroic efforts on the part of Rutgers students and faculty to fight off the brain damage of bigtime sports, but his theory of underlying Yahoo-motivation isn't very convincing. It assumes an awareness of professors as such; it assumes a vague grasp of the nature of universities. Neither of these things seems to UD likely to be present in many of these students, so resentment -- or any other emotion in regard to them -- cannot develop.
His theory flatters professors, founded as it is on an assurance that we're envied for our higher-level existence; but no American walks into UD's book-lined house and says "I resent the fact that my walls only have flat-screen tv's on them while your walls have books. You must be living a more valuable life than I. Fuck you. I will now torch your shelves."
No, UD's visitors look around for the tvs, and, not finding them, smile at her with frightened eyes and get the hell out of there. They're spooked, man! You should see them scoot! "G-gotta go feed the meter..." "There aren't any meters in Garrett Park." "G-gotta go...uh..."
Jim Earl has a more down to earth take on the matter in his essay in the Eugene Weekly. Here's some of what he says:
Most intellectuals have relatively highbrow tastes. They wouldn't make a great booster club. They don't especially like crowds, they don't like uniforms, they don't like to paint their faces or do the wave. Most professors don't look very good on a dance floor. As a group, we're pretty repressed. [Sounds about right, and UD says something very similar in IHE. Keep in mind, though, that he's conflating professors and intellectuals. Only a few professors are intellectuals.]
Earl recalls getting annoyed while talking to a coach at his school:
... I'd just heard Bill Moos say one too many times how football teaches the kids about life. God, I'm tired of that argument: Football belongs in higher ed because it teaches students about life? That's so empty a thought that it's hard to refute politely. To be polite I usually respond (it's pitiful, I know) with statistics from Bowen and Shulman's Game of Life that show that the kids actually learn no such thing from football. We happen to know (from a book, naturally) that most players don't have particularly great track records in the business and professional worlds after college, for all their storied leadership skills, team playing, discipline and motivation — though they do a lot of coaching of kids' sports on the side, which is nice. I'm not criticizing the players; I just don't want to hear the AD tell me how much they're learning in the locker room or on the field. Not everything is educational. Some things are just for fun, for entertainment, and football might just be one of them.
Too true. Earl now proceeds to show greater discernment than Dowling:
...I saw in an instant that in the world most men inhabit, my beliefs in the natural superiority of understanding over force and of cooperation and compromise over competition are naïve and idiotic. I might as well have said that the unexamined life isn't worth living or that money and celebrity aren't the highest goals of a wise man. What freakin' universe do I inhabit, anyway?
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Petee in Exile|
An Alabama newspaper columnist brings us up to date on the Thomas Petee saga. Background here.
'Montgomery is nothing like Siberia.
Auburn really is run like a criminal enterprise. You can't rid yourself of Petee because he knows too much. So you feed him $90,000 a year forever in exchange for his doing nothing, just to shut him up.
Mr. Ingarao (scroll down a few posts) would understand.
Friday, August 17, 2007
UD Has Designated, |
Over the Years...
...very few heroes, people and groups this blog considers notably brave and determined in confronting the ills of university life. She's now prepared to name the faculty at the University of Oregon (not all of it, of course, but a good chunk of it) as heroic, as one after another they take to the pages of the Register-Guard to attack the grotesque sports culture on their campus.
Here's the latest of them, a research associate at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, who notes an upcoming excellent football adventure:
'The University of Oregon football team's plans to play its 2009 opening game in China were announced with front page headlines in the Aug. 7 Register-Guard. The proposed Beijing or Shanghai game against Boise State includes flying the marching band and cheerleaders, as well as sports marketing professors and administrators, to China. Everyone could feast on Peking duck as they talked up the UO and Nike brands.
Your Guides to|
'Fox has found a whole new reason for viewers to avoid its NFL pregame show like the plague. It will have not one but two analysts who were among the most detestable coaches in college football.
---deseret morning news---
'... [Clemson coach Tommy] Bowden ... says all athletes eligible by NCAA standards should be admitted to Clemson.
UD sometimes wonders how the extra-professorial world reacts to the things academic insiders write to each other.
Here, for instance, is the first paragraph of the first column by a guy who's writing a series of pieces about tenure for the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Everyone on the tenure track should get tenure. I think so not because I'm either an academic socialist or a delusional optimist. Rather, I hold that if you have the brains, skills, guts, initiative, and self-awareness to survive a serious, accredited doctoral program at a research university (sorry, mail-order Ph.D.'s don't count) then you should be able to get tenure -- somewhere.
Tenure's already at least a puzzle and at most a scandal to many Americans. It's a secretive process ("[M]any faculty votes are secret -- and only revealed by a lawsuit," the columnist notes.) by which the overwhelming number of tenure-track assistant professors at American colleges and universities are granted lifetime guaranteed employment. From the point of view of many people outside of universities, tenure looks bizarre.
Maybe it is. Maybe people who argue for a radical revision of tenure, people like Richard Chait, are right.
Chait's been arguing for years that universities should retain tenure in some instances, but also introduce a wide range of other forms of contractual employment. This reasonable and well-grounded view has generated hysteria among academics, whose view, as Chait says, is give me tenure or give me death. Yet he points out that
In reality, about one-half of all American faculty members (when part-timers and adjuncts are included) do not have tenure, a fact that calls into question the unbreakable bond between academic freedom and tenure, and more than justifies efforts to find other ways to guarantee academic freedom for all members of the faculty. Ironically, under the current system, many junior faculty members feel that the quest for tenure and the perceived need to accommodate the preferences and prejudices of senior colleagues significantly limit their academic freedom.
Chait notes the irony of intellectuals who in other circumstances insist on rational argumentation suspending this insistence when the subject of tenure arises. He calls for "no unexamined assumptions, no unsubstantiated claims, and no blind allegiance to convention" as the academy considers the question of tenure.
...Which brings UD back to that opening paragraph in the Chronicle, a model of unexamined assumptions and unsubstantiated claims. Everyone on the tenure track should get tenure. Uh, why? Because if you've "survived" (the word tells you how excruciating graduate school is) a "serious" (whatever that means) and "accredited" (standards for school accreditation are so notoriously high) university you must be so smart and brave as never to have to worry about being fired.
Think of all the universities in the United States, tons of them with so-so, not very selective Ph.D. programs in shaky fields. Think of how seldom anyone fails their dissertation defense examination. The reality is that our schools produce many weak Ph.D.s, and that in many cases the granting of tenure for these people is the final link in a chain of automatic approvals. It's just that this one has permanent implications for the university that has hired them.
It's truly unhelpful for the Chronicle writer to launch his series on tenure with a blind assurance that all must have prizes.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
From "Aes Triplex" ---
And, after all, what sorry and pitiful quibbling all this is! To forego all the issues of living in a parlour with a regulated temperature — as if that were not to die a hundred times over, and for ten years at a stretch! As if it were not to die in one’s own lifetime, and without even the sad immunities of death! [Sad immunities of death is gorgeous poetry.] As if it were not to die, and yet be the patient spectators of our own pitiable change! The Permanent Possibility is preserved, but the sensations carefully held at arm’s length, as if one kept a photographic plate in a dark chamber [Wonderful simile.]. It is better to lose health like a spendthrift than to waste it like a miser. It is better to live and be done with it, than to die daily in the sickroom. By all means begin your folio; even if the doctor does not give you a year, even if he hesitates about a month, make one brave push and see what can be accomplished in a week. It is not only in finished undertakings that we ought to honour useful labour. A spirit goes out of the man who means execution, which out-lives the most untimely ending. All who have meant good work with their whole hearts, have done good work, although they may die before they have the time to sign it. [Again, notice how simple great writing tends to be. A very simple sentence here, and among the most moving of the essay's.] Every heart that has beat strong and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind. And even if death catch people, like an open pitfall, and in mid-career, laying out vast projects, and planning monstrous foundations, flushed with hope, and their mouths full of boastful language, they should be at once tripped up and silenced: is there not something brave and spirited in such a termination? and does not life go down with a better grace, foaming in full body over a precipice, than miserably straggling to an end in sandy deltas? When the Greeks made their fine saying that those whom the gods love die young, I cannot help believing they had this sort of death also in their eye. For surely, at whatever age it overtake the man, this is to die young. Death has not been suffered to take so much as an illusion from his heart. In the hot-fit of life, a-tip-toe on the highest point of being, he passes at a bound on to the other side. The noise of the mallet and chisel is scarcely quenched, the trumpets are hardly done blowing, when, trailing with him clouds of glory, this happy-starred, full-blooded spirit shoots into the spiritual land.
Of course I don't mean any of this to glorify Mr. Ingarao, who along with being a very good student of philosophy seems to have been a cold-blooded murderer. I suppose I mean only that even wretched Mr. Ingarao, with all his sins on his head, appears to have been responsive to some of what Stevenson's going on and on about here. He seems not to have wanted to be one of the deadly philosophers Stevenson satirizes, but rather to have wanted to deepen his experience of life by consulting the thoughts of people who had actual contributions to make along these lines. He had what Stevenson calls "the hungry curiosity of the mind."
For after all, however seductive Stevenson's raptures about the saving power of non-reflective engagement in life, vibrant reflection on life is itself part of a life well-lived.
From "Aes Triplex" --
There is a great deal of very vile nonsense talked upon both sides of the matter: tearing divines reducing life to the dimensions of a mere funeral procession, so short as to be hardly decent; and melancholy unbelievers yearning for the tomb as if it were a world too far away. Both sides must feel a little ashamed of their performances now and again when they draw in their chairs to dinner. Indeed, a good meal and a bottle of wine is an answer to most standard works upon the question. [Funny.] When a man’s heart warms to his viands, he forgets a great deal of sophistry, and soars into a rosy zone of contemplation. Death may be knocking at the door, like the Commander’s statue; we have something else in hand, thank God, and let him knock. [Again, note the casual tone, which makes things amusing and authentic.] Passing bells are ringing all the world over. All the world over, and every hour, some one is parting company with all his aches and ecstasies. [Repetition of all the world over works well; aches and ecstasies is an attractive pair.] For us also the trap is laid. But we are so fond of life that we have no leisure to entertain the terror of death. It is a honeymoon with us all through, and none of the longest. Small blame to us if we give our whole hearts to this glowing bride of ours, to the appetites, to honour, to the hungry curiosity of the mind, to the pleasure of the eyes in nature, and the pride of our own nimble bodies. [These last phrases are beautiful, if you ask me.]
From "Aes Triplex" --
Indeed, it is a memorable subject for consideration, with what unconcern and gaiety mankind pricks on along the Valley of the Shadow of Death. [pricks is the great word here.] The whole way is one wilderness of snares, and the end of it, for those who fear the last pinch, is irrevocable ruin. [pinch. pricks. There's a casualness of word and phrase tossed in to the more formal salad of this essay which creates a nice off-balance feel.] And yet we go spinning through it all, like a party for the Derby. Perhaps the reader remembers one of the humorous devices of the deified Caligula: how he encouraged a vast concourse of holiday-makers on to his bridge over Baiae bay; and when they were in the height of their enjoyment, turned loose the Praetorian guards among the company, and had them tossed into the sea. This is no bad miniature of the dealings of nature with the transitory race of man. Only, what a chequered picnic we have of it, even while it lasts! and into what great waters, not to be crossed by any swimmer, God’s pale Praetorian throws us over in the end! [Sure, this is exclamatory and overdone for our contemporary tastes... too many classical and biblical allusions, etc. And yet what's also here is a richness of thought and image that carries us along.]
From "Aes Triplex" --
And yet, when one comes to think upon it calmly, the situation of these South American citizens forms only a very pale figure for the state of ordinary mankind. [Strong transitional phrase -- And yet, -- into this next, very long paragraph.] This world itself, travelling blindly and swiftly in over-crowded space, among a million other worlds travelling blindly and swiftly in contrary directions, may very well come by a knock that would set it into explosion like a penny squib. [A penny squib is a cheap firecracker. Notice how this long cosmic sentence ends with a fine deflationary thud.] And what, pathologically looked at, is the human body with all its organs, but a mere bagful of petards? [Pathologically here meaning scientifically. And a petard is also a firecracker. The body as a bagful of petards. Fun.] The least of these is as dangerous to the whole economy as the ship’s powder-magazine to the ship; and with every breath we breathe, and every meal we eat, we are putting one or more of them in peril. [A powder-magazine is a storage room for ammunition and weapons. Note the impressive extension of the explosion image.] If we clung as devotedly as some philosophers pretend we do to the abstract idea of life, or were half as frightened as they make out we are [Here he elaborates on his earlier criticism of philosophers; they think we actively fear death and grasp pathetically at life.], for the subversive accident that ends it all, the trumpets might sound by the hour and no one would follow them into battle — the blue-peter might fly at the truck, but who would climb into a sea-going ship? [The blue-peter's a flag flown when a ship is ready to sail.] Think (if these philosophers were right) with what a preparation of spirit we should affront the daily peril of the dinner-table: ["the daily peril of the dinner-table" -- amusing, poetic...] a deadlier spot than any battle-field in history, where the far greater proportion of our ancestors have miserably left their bones! [Yes. I recently mentioned here Joan Didion's book about her husband's death - The Year of Magical Thinking - and that's just how he died -- sitting down to dinner.] What woman would ever be lured into marriage, so much more dangerous than the wildest sea? And what would it be to grow old? For, after a certain distance, every step we take in life we find the ice growing thinner below our feet, and all around us and behind us we see our contemporaries going through. By the time a man gets well into the seventies, his continued existence is a mere miracle, and when he lays his old bones in bed for the night, there is an overwhelming probability that he will never see the day. Do the old men mind it, as a matter of fact? Why, no. They were never merrier; they have their grog at night, and tell the raciest stories; they hear of the death of people about their own age, or even younger, not as if it was a grisly warning, but with a simple childlike pleasure at having outlived some one else; and when a draught might puff them out like a guttering candle, or a bit of a stumble shatter them like so much glass, their old hearts keep sound and unaffrighted, and they go on, bubbling with laughter, through years of man’s age compared to which the valley at Balaklava was as safe and peaceful as a village cricket-green on Sunday. [Well-observed, funny, though a bit of too much in terms of length. You can't have everything. ... Larkin has a bit in a poem on this subject too. From The Old Fools: For the rooms grow farther, leaving / Incompetent cold, the constant wear and tear / Of taken breath, and them crouching below / Extinction's alp, the old fools, never perceiving / How near it is. 'Extinction's alp' - very same business you see in Stevenson.] It may fairly be questioned (if we look to the peril only) whether it was a much more daring feat for Curtius to plunge into the gulf, than for any old gentleman of ninety to doff his clothes and clamber into bed.
Philosophy Now takes note of it. So does the Chronicle of Higher Education. Nicola Ingarao, a Mafia chief who was shot and killed in Palermo a few weeks ago, turns out also to have been a serious student of philosophy, having just passed with a perfect score an advanced exam at the University of Palermo.
When an unknown assailant in Palermo, Sicily, fired five shots into Nicola Ingarao on June 13, he killed the reputed boss of the Porta Nuova gang, breaking a 10-month cease-fire among the city's Mafia bands and possibly setting off a new war among them.
For some reason, this story reminded UD of an 1878 Robert Louis Stevenson essay, Aes Triplex (it's from Horace, and means 'triple brass'), which she's loved ever since she found it in an old copy of the Oxford Book of Essays. Times being what they are, the essay is right here, in its entirety, in a very pleasant typeface with a gray matte finish.
In a self-indulgent effort to figure out exactly why she so admires this essay, and to figure out why the death of Mr. Ingarao made her think of it, SOS will now consider Stevenson's writing very closely.
But before we get started -- Who more likely than a major Mafia player to be a philosopher? As Stevenson will note again and again in his essay, we all live under the threat of our own extinction, though we don't think much about it. Or at all about it. A person caught up in deadly turf wars, though, knows moment by moment the contingency of his life... He owes it to himself to get his thinking about it done, pronto...
Here's Stevenson's first paragraph, with SOS commentary along the way:
As a matter of fact, although few things are spoken of with more fearful whisperings than this prospect of death, few have less influence on conduct under healthy circumstances. [As long as life moves along normally, we don't think about our death.] We have all heard of cities in South America built upon the side of fiery mountains, and how, even in this tremendous neighbourhood, the inhabitants are not a jot more impressed by the solemnity of mortal conditions than if they were delving gardens in the greenest corner of England. [Again, few of us in this century would write so floridly, but there's an energy and wit here that's attractive.] There are serenades and suppers and much gallantry among the myrtles overhead; and meanwhile the foundation shudders underfoot, the bowels of the mountain growl, and at any moment living ruin may leap sky-high into the moonlight, and tumble man and his merry-making in the dust. [If you don't think Stevenson was aware of the delicious alliteration in all the M's in this sentence, think again. Great prose stylists are very self-conscious. And yes, I've highlighted said M's. Note the internal rhyme, too, in "bowels of the mountain growl."] In the eyes of very young people, and very dull old ones, there is something indescribably reckless and desperate in such a picture. It seems not credible that respectable married people, with umbrellas, should find appetite for a bit of supper within quite a long distance of a fiery mountain; ordinary life begins to smell of high-handed debauch when it is carried on so close to a catastrophe; and even cheese and salad, it seems, could hardly be relished in such circumstances without something like a defiance of the Creator. [Again, a very long sentence, but just lots of fun to be inside, no? The adorable absurdity of "with umbrellas," the freshness of "to smell of," the humble foods...] It should be a place for nobody but hermits dwelling in prayer and maceration, or mere born-devils drowning care in a perpetual carouse. [Maceration? Neither do I. But as SOS has said before on this blog, we go to great writers in part for new words, for the pleasant interior twist we feel when confronted with strange formulations... We go especially to the poet for this, but also to the great prose writer... So, I looked it up, and I think Stevenson means starving themselves.]
Let's take a break. More paragraphs to come in a bit.
|Ils titubent un p'tit peu...|
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Away from Home
Mr UD took La Kid to
Poland this summer. Here they
are strolling around Gdansk.
Click on the image for a larger view.
Scathing Online Schoolmarm|
Jim Acho, Sports Review Magazine:
'I have received close to 1000 emails the last month, from people asking me to address this. Initially I disregarded, but it reared it's [First of many spelling errors. Dude cannot spell.] ugly head again, after a piece last week by ESPN's Pat Forde, a writer I generally respect [Pompous. Do you think we care who you do and don't respect? UD respects people who know how to spell.].
SOS summarizes: Sucks radically.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Another Impressive Entry From|
Slate's Bad Poetry Contest
Our Love is Like a Bowling Ball
Our love is like a bowling ball
Like a brand new Brunswick Red Zone,
It rolls and rolls down the alley of desire
And rolls and rolls and rolls.
I will keep you out of the gutters, my love
And put my fingers in your holes
Every kiss a strike or at least a spare,
Our future a perfect game.
Our love is like a bowling ball,
Our scores will rise and rise
I shall never step beyond the foul line,
And I will rent your shoes.
Coach Stalks Out|
Florida A&M has much bigger problems than this (background here), but it did solve this one.
'Florida A&M University fired basketball coach Mike Gillespie on Tuesday, less than three months after he was charged with misdemeanor stalking [attachment issues with an old girlfriend].... Gillespie has worn an ankle monitoring device since his arrest.'
The Shelby Maneuver|
'With large swaths of the Gulf Coast still in ruins from Hurricane Katrina, rich federal tax breaks designed to spur rebuilding are flowing hundreds of miles inland to investors who are buying up luxury condos near the University of Alabama's football stadium.
Sexual Harassment in Australia|
'Peter Gauci, a former University of Queensland tutor, has won a two-year battle to appeal against a federal magistrate's decision that he was not the victim of sexual harassment by a student. [I know it's early, but wake up and concentrate.]
---sydney morning herald---
Remember: He's appealing. These momentous events will continue to resonate for years...
Annals of Learning Disability|
'... College football is based on ...the illusion that the players are students, just like everyone else.
Three Strong Challenges...|
...to my - er, what'd philosoraptor call it - my "bemused, Gallic acceptance" of the fact that, foolishly or not, some students and professors at universities are going to sleep with each other, appear in the comments to this post. Maybe I'm just upping the acceptance ante, but I think that this 2004 Slate essay by Laura Kipnis answers these challenges in pretty much the way I would.
The burning academic question of the day: Should we professors be permitted to "hook up with" our students, as the kids put it? Or they with us? In the olden days when I was a student (back in the last century) hooking up with professors was more or less part of the curriculum. (OK, I went to art school.) But that was a different era, back when sex — even when not so great or someone got their feelings hurt — fell under the category of experience, rather than injury and trauma. It didn't automatically impede your education; sometimes it even facilitated it.
Monday, August 13, 2007
...to my post about the athletic director at Eastern Illinois University:
'Eastern Illinois University Athletics Director Rich McDuffie was placed on administrative leave Monday, according to an e-mail sent by EIU President William Perry.
As my correspondent from EIU puts it in his/her latest email: "Someone here has done the right thing."
Romance in the Ivory Tower|
Romance in the Ivory Tower: The Rights and Liberty of Conscience will appear this fall; its author, Paul Abramson, should expect it to create a bit of a fuss. People get het up about sex in general, and professor/student sex seems to generate particular anxiety.
Abramson argues that universities, many of which now have explicit rules against these affairs, should let the matter alone. I agree.
Sexual harassment should be taken seriously, but the consequences of consensual relationships have no place in university legal systems. As Abramson says in an interview, "It is basically love gone awry that universities are afraid will turn into civil litigation. Therefore, universities will cut out love completely with these policies in order to protect themselves."
He also points out that people on campus will continue to have sexual affairs, however stringent the language against them might be:
People make foolish sexual choices. ... To me that's testament to the power of love and sex. Sexuality is an enormously powerful motive, and people are going to make foolish choices because of the power, but we don't preclude it. We give freedom of speech despite the rubbish and crap that people air because it's so essential to our survival to protect the freedom of speech. It's essential to our pursuit of happiness and well-being to protect sexual rights, knowing full well people are going to make foolish choices.
As to power differentials:
We allow male or female to join the Army or Marines and fight in Iraq at 18. If that 18 year old can make that decision about giving life for their country, that 18 year old can make a decision about who they're going to have romance with.
Here's a recent newspaper article which acknowledges what everyone knows - faculty/student affairs go on. The scary new language forces them underground.
A popular University of Charleston administrator and teacher, who says he was fired last month for having sex with students, claims student-teacher relationships are common practice and he was singled out because he criticized the school.
Sure, the professor could be exaggerating the degree of faculty/student sexual activity out of self-interest. But I think it's reasonable to assume that there's a respectable amount of it on most campuses. People get offended when you say so, though; they don't like to think about what UD's blogpal Mary Beard once wrote on the subject. In an earlier post, UD described what Beard said, and how people responded:
Feminists the world over are sexually harassing Professor Mary Beard, who waxed nostalgic in her blog "for that, now outlawed, erotic dimension to (adult) pedagogy. ...It is naive to think that the powerful set of power relations in student- tutor relationships can be de-eroticised. You can police it, but you cannot deny history about this.”
A number of these writers are touching on an aspect of pedagogy that William Deresiewicz considers in greater detail:
The relationship between professors and students can indeed be intensely intimate, as our culture nervously suspects, but its intimacy, when it occurs, is an intimacy of the mind. I would even go so far as to say that in many cases it is an intimacy of the soul. And so the professor-student relationship, at its best, raises two problems for the American imagination: it begins in the intellect, that suspect faculty, and it involves a form of love that is neither erotic nor familial, the only two forms our culture understands. Eros in the true sense is at the heart of the pedagogical relationship, but the professor isn’t the one who falls in love.
All of this is fine; but I'd want to add that some students and professors will want to go beyond brain sex. This may be, as Abramson suggests, very foolish. But not in all cases, as in those long-married couples (John Kenneth and Kitty Galbraith, for instance), who met when one was an instructor and the other his or her student.
Coach Coker: Why Was I Fired? Why? Why?|
Any effort to tally the alcoholic, poetry-spewing professors who appear in the novels and plays and films of our time produces a very long list.
In a much-discussed American Scholar essay, William Deresiewicz compiles the most impressive number of these characters that I've seen, so I've named this list in his honor.
I found one more for the list today. It's a New York Times review of a new play called August: Osage County. Readers are welcome to send in their own entries.
'The play’s opening scene is practically the only gentle one, as the paterfamilias Beverly Weston (Dennis Letts, the playwright’s father), a former poet and professor who has retired into full-time alcoholism, interviews a young American Indian woman, Johnna (Kimberly Guerrero), he hopes to hire to take care of himself and his wife. As he puts it with eloquent clarity: “The facts are: My wife takes pills, and I drink. And these facts have over time made burdensome the maintenance of traditional American routine: paying of bills, purchase of goods, cleaning of clothes or carpets.”
Update. Hm - I'd forgotten about this. First appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education. One thing she says resonates with my current post over at my branch campus, Inside Higher Ed:
'Academics can rarely afford expensive addictions or frequent retreats to fashionable detox spas. But like the doctor with access to drugs and the executive with access to an expense account, we have fat caches of time and perks that can be abused. Long periods of isolated writing and research are ripe for binges. We can disappear for days or weeks at a time, during the summer or over semester breaks, ordering library books by e-mail and picking them up at the office late at night. The stretches of isolation are punctuated by carefully orchestrated public appearances (the lecture, the class, the conference presentation) in which style can compensate for content. The more successful we are, the more likely we will be rewarded with our own eccentric hours and class times; our hangovers are manageable by the time we get to the 11 a.m. Introduction to Critical Theory.'
Sunday, August 12, 2007
UD's been spending a lot of time in the car with Mr UD, listening to How to Listen to and Understand Great Music, an effing endless number of educational discs... UD learned a lot of this material long ago from Roger Scruton's book, The Aesthetics of Music, but, okay, she can always learn more...
But there's so much of it! And Mr UD is a fanatic about listening to every single one of the lectures...
It's UD's fault, really. For years she's held it over Mr UD that while he's well-educated and knows many things, he knows (and seems to care) virtually nothing about music. Mr UD's musical ignorance has come in handy as a kind of cudgel to hit him with when he laughs at UD's mathematical ignorance. At least I know what cadence is! But she seems finally to have provoked him into this fit of autodidacticism, in which he's removing her one intellectual weapon against him...
Anyway, this is by way of introducing the following thought: Universities have their own music. Call it quadraphonia. A blogger like UD can never know the on-the-ground reality of more than a few campuses, but she writes relentlessly about them all. In part she can do this because, considered closely enough, each campus has a certain tune all its own, a certain distinctive sensibility, that can be intuited from the sorts of news stories that emanate from it, from the way faculty and administration and students tend to talk and write, from the way the campus looks, whatever.
I suppose this is what the schools themselves would call branding -- at least when it's positive. When it's negative, when a school's leitmotif is pretty much totally dissonant (current top pick here would be Florida A&M), they call it a public relations problem.
UD looks briefly now at two American universities, one of which seems to typify the baroque circularity of the school that never gets anywhere, while the other may prove to have the linearity of the classical symphony...
Eastern Illinois University has an Athletic Director who seems to have a problem with women. He seems to harass some of them. But either because it doesn't want to spend the money buying out his contract, or because he's buddies with important administrators and boosters, or because the university sincerely believes that despite several complaints, he's innocent, the university has absolved him of all charges (it also has, rather confusingly, mandated counseling). The anguished comments at the end of the newspaper article suggest that this is a university whose ground bass lacks an upper part.
SUNY Albany, on the other hand, represents a later stage of quadraphonic development. Here there's clear dynamic potential, largely because of honest critics on the faculty (score one for tenure). The Times Union reports:
...[A] long-term erosion in student quality. Not enough full-time professors. A campus culture that draws students who come to party rather than study.
"Why the Hell Would You Have a |
Football Team When Nobody Goes
to the Games?"
That's the Chancellor of the University of Nevada system talking, and he's talking about fourth-tier University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Why is a school with almost no intellectual merit throwing money down a football hole?
Nice of him to ask, but ... well... hell! Let's interview the team's coach!
Question: Why is the Athletic Department and intercollegiate sports important to the mission of educating students at UNLV?
Coleman is Paid Close to |
A Million Dollars a Year.
'...[I]f you're Michigan, and if you believe you educate your football players better than almost every school playing Division I football, why isn't it easy to prove Harbaugh wrong?
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Nothing to See Here!|
'...[Q]uestioning persist[s] about the third arrest of a Washington football player in 10 months...
So far so dull. A university's team begins to slip; good reliable players aren't interested; in desperation, the coach recruits the dread transfers, who are often fuckups; they fuck up...
But UD's always interested in the damage control language the athletic staff comes up with... Here's how it sounds at the University of Washington:
'"I don't know that it necessarily undermines [our efforts]," said Todd Turner, Willingham's boss as Huskies athletic director. "It serves as a further reminder that even the best-intended, diligent efforts to avoid these sorts of things are difficult to sustain. [I wouldn't call recruiting criminals a diligent effort to avoid the effects of recruiting criminals... And sure, none of this undermines your efforts... Everything's fine...]
Nah! Everything's fine. Students look forward to their yearly athletics fee going toward this new project of ours...
Slate's Bad Poetry Contest|
UD's recent post on William McGonagall prompted comments from readers about the need for a Bad Poetry contest, along the lines of the Bulwer-Lytton contest for worst fiction.
Slate magazine has just announced exactly that -- a bad poetry contest.
There are already tons of entries, and I've only looked at a few. Here are three strong candidates among them.
The last poem is head and shoulders above the rest.
Why do you linger in the laundry mat dryer?
Holey and worn with lost devotion
Still warm in my hand
Like a mother’s breath.
Was it a case of abandonment?
Perhaps your chance for escape
From a malodorous foot
And an uncaring owner.
Will I keep you?
I have to
My daughter needs a one-eyed puppet
Who will make you her cotton king.
A mystery no more.
Through the gentle breeze
Wafts soft as silk
It is my thought,
To live in Buddhist
Temples does not delight me.
It is the idea
Alone, taking shape,
That dawns upon
The dessert like thunder.
You come to me
Now, under a teacup
For two. Under a
A roller coaster named “Fallen World.”
I see the wooden planks
Give way. See Helen
Throw down the flowers
Of Troy for a soda on the midway.
The idea is you, but lives
In me. All I can do is
Gently waft in your
Breeze, behind you in the ticket line forever.
IN IMITATION OF LISA SIMPSON'S POEM TO SNOWBALL
I had a dog, his name was Gus,
Whose lust eventually consigned him to dust.
Whenever he spied some pert lil’ poochie,
He’d drop what ere it was that he be doing,
Cuz he liked nothing as much as he did his coozie,
And nothing could sway him from doing his wooing,
Truth be told, with all good men tried and true,
This tragic flaw befalls not a few.
Whether human, feline, or canine beasties,
Whatever be ye accursed species,
Please be sure to look both ways,
Or you’ll end up like Gus one of these days--
A bus catching old Gus in flagrante delicto!
So heed my tale of grief and woo,
And mind this dreadful dire warning:
Be ye chaste or be ye horny,
Fickle or brave,
Remember ye be male,
So when ye be chasing some tail,
To keep this side of the awful grave,
Stay within your curfew and your bound,
For no quest for money or for mate
Merits the horrendous terrible fate
Of this good and faithful pussy hound.
[The author of In Imitation has clearly studied her McGonagall.]
Yet Another Dissenter|
on Charles Simic
"OSU Played Better Basketball|
When Only the Coach Drank"
'A Perry woman who was injured in a traffic collision in Stillwater last year with former OSU men's basketball coach Eddie Sutton is suing the university for negligently allowing him to drive under the influence of alcohol.
Local comments on the story [UD's fixed their writing errors]:
1. 8/10/2007 7:24:28 AM, Doug, College Station, TX
University of Florida Fans:|
The Heartbreak of Mental Retardation
'As part of its "Gateway of Champions" campaign to raise money for the expansion of the football offices, Gator room and weight room, Florida is offering fans the chance to be a part of the team.
---st. petersburg times---
What's the Matter With Kansas?|
Here's What's the Matter with Kansas.
'...Just about the only thing that captures the attention and interest of most [Lawrence] residents is sports, particularly Kansas University basketball. That’s the one topic people of all ages seem to get involved in, particularly at the end of the KU basketball season when local residents, KU graduates or not, wonder where the Jayhawks will be seeded in the NCAA Tournament and whether they can make it into the Final Four or maybe win a national championship.
--- lawrence journal-world ---
Friday, August 10, 2007
A Pattern Runs Through It|
UD has already marveled at the squalor of Montana State's criminal sports teams, assembled by a fully independent athletics department that doesn't care if you like to kill people as long as you also like to play football.
A law enforcement official who has studied the situation at Montana and at many other universities says there's a "pattern emerging, a growing problem ...schools are not able or willing to address."
Along these lines, Dance, a reader, sends UD a Sports Illustrated article detailing the Montana scandal:
[T]he university's athletic department has been importing crime to an idyllic mountain setting. The website Deadspin.com joked that Montana State was bringing Tony Montanas to Montana. Wrote [one citizen], "They're destroying the quality of life and general peace of mind in my hometown."
It takes a special synergy -- cynical and indifferent presidents, criminally negligent athletic administrators, a whole lot of local yahoos who don't give a shit about what players do off-field -- to turn universities into crime syndicates. Montana State shows you how it's done.
Monty Python Lives|
NO PRESBYTERIANS BELIEVED INJURED
IN BRIDGE COLLAPSE
40 Papers in 22 Months|
Eric, a reader, forwards to UD this thoughtful article about plagiarism and falsification of data in scientific papers. The central story involves some Turkish graduate students:
'[The] graduate students [had] a prodigious track record of publication: over 40 papers in a 22-month span. Dr. Karasu, who sat on the panel that evaluated their oral exams, became suspicious when their knowledge of physics didn't appear to be consistent with this level of output. Discussions with Dr. Tekin revealed that the students also did not appear to possess the language skills necessary for this level of output in English-language journals (METU conducts its instruction in English).
Was it my parents' early travel with their children that made me a traveler? All my life I've had flashbacks of Venice when I was eight. Stepping off of a black boat into a loud city, sunlight pressing on my shoulders.
Plenty of sunlight this morning on the beach at Nusa Dua. That, plus the island wind, the warm ocean, and the curvature of the beach ending in a headland on which the waves crashed, created a sense of the world as surreally perfect. The surreality came from a funeral procession which suddenly appeared on the beach -- a scene out of Fellini. Men and women in yellow robes carried the long narrow banners of Bali, which curve up to a tight curl at the top.
A man chanted sadly as they moved along. Drummers beat a slow pulse. I looked up to see the moon out at midday over the ocean.
Topless Italian floozies on the beach pulled their bras to their chests to gawk. Rich hotel guests gawked at the Balinese and the Balinese gawked at the rich hotel guests.
Yesterday we visited the new Four Seasons Sayan hotel with Michael, who flew up from Melbourne to spend a few days with us. It's the most beautiful hotel I've ever seen. The setting along the Sayan Ridge opens up the river, fields, palms, and sky with more drama and generosity than I've seen anywhere else here. The architect built Monet ponds in midair, long curving light wood decks, and a dark green pool alongside the river that flows the way the river flows.
The place is stepped down a steep ridge, so there's lots of walking to get anywhere. The hotel provides little electric cars to move you from the river to your room, or from the restaurant to the pool.
Last night at the Kokokan's restaurant, Michael, a Polish Jew who moved in the 'fifties to Australia, talked to Ania and me about his history with the Soltan family. Karol's mother and her parents saved Michael's life [details below] during the war.
"I will always feel terrible about having lost touch with the Soltans over the years. I will never forgive myself for this, just as I will always be grateful that Joanna and Karol found me again. But one reason for it was that I always felt I was a very small person, and the Soltans very important people, and I hesitated to approach them."
"Well, Michael, you must know that with my American attitudes, I don't have much time for those feelings."
"But the Soltans were in fact very distinguished, Madzia. At Jerzy's father's funeral there were twelve bishops."
['State of Israel Honors Polish Family for Righteous Acts
Longtime readers know that UD plays virtually non-stop Scrabble with her older sister (the one who's not a Morrissey freak) whenever her sister's visiting. She and her sister are eerily well-matched and extremely competitive, so I wouldn't call the experience fun. But it's compelling.
Much more intense, I guess, is the just-released Scrabulous, described by a Scrabble-loving writer for the Telegraph:
Cyber-scrabble is on the march. Only two months after the launch on the social networking site Facebook of an application called Scrabulous - which allows you to play with your friends online - 200,000 people are reported to have signed up.
Given the already insane intensity of my Scrabble matches with my sister, I'm not sure I'm strong enough for Scrabulous. And the old-fashioned form, as the writer notes, really has its moments:
Sure, you remember the great bingos - when you play all seven letters from your rack, incurring a 50-point bonus and a feeling of what we might call world rulership. I once got "BIRTHDAY" across two triple-word scores, notching up a score so flabbergasting that I'm doing a little dance, right now, in public, five years on.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Feeding the Beast|
Rutgers has cut six teams - swimming and diving, tennis, fencing, lightweight and heavyweight crew - and thrown heart and soul into football and basketball. A Wall Street Journal commentator considers what this means.
Rutgers showed its appreciation [for their big recent wins] by increasing the pay of women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer in a package that could yield her $950,000 a year, and boosted the compensation of men's football coach Greg Schiano to a reported $1.5 million a year, both raises of about 50%. Such increases, in light of cutting six teams with a combined operating budget of $798,000, angered [members of a student and alumni coalition that wants to bring back the sports that have been shut down].
Meeham Was Himham|
'Much of the Aug. 1 Jacksonville News column credited to Jacksonville State University President William Meeham is almost identical to health information on a pharmaceutical firm's web site, The Anniston Star reported.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
A Professor at Duke...|
...weighs in on the Spurrier story:
In his tirade, Spurrier said his two recruits met minimum NCAA eligibility standards and thus should have been admitted to the university. But those standards are a sham. In an extreme case, you could in effect flunk the SATs -- scoring as low as 400, the absolute lowest possible combined score -- and still make the team if you had a high-enough GPA in high school.
Outrage at Michigan|
The head football coach at the University of Michigan is pissed because Jim Harbaugh, the Stanford coach and himself a storied Michigan student athlete, has been saying out loud that, like Stanford, Michigan should take its football players seriously as students.
As evidence that it doesn't, an ESPN columnist mentions the following:
'Only 30 players have listed majors, and 19 of them are pursuing degrees in something called "general studies." That's 20 percent of the team, and 63 percent of the players who have declared a major.
Taking a page from diploma mill proprietors, Michigan's outraged coach calls Harbaugh's comments "elitist" and "arrogant."
There's Lying, and Then There's...|
They're Dismantling the University of Oregon's|
Academic Units Piece by Piece...
...to prop up their sports program, but it doesn't seem to be working. Apparently you can destroy a university intellectually and still have shitty teams.
In a spectacularly well-written piece, a sports columnist at The Oregonian makes the point.
'The dominant image on the front cover of the 2007 Oregon football media guide is coach Mike Bellotti. Same as the back cover, which has a second dominant photo of Bellotti, and the words "Fearless" and "Leadership" and "Intensity" and "Strength" and "Determination" and "Innovative." [The author knows the importance of understatement, of letting language do the work for you. He just lists the words; he just describes the photos. He doesn't comment. He knows we get the idea.]
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
"So giftedly bad he backed|
unwittingly into genius..."
A longtime reader, Fred, insists that UD, having featured this year's Bulwer Lytton bad prose winners, should give equal time to bad poetry. Far as I know, there's not a bad poetry contest, but Fred suggests we pay attention along these lines to William McGonagall, especially because there's been a bit of news lately on the McGonagall front.
Arguably the worst poet in English ever, as well as one of the most-read (his works have been in print since 1902), McGonagall enjoys an enthusiastic though currently unhappy following in his native Scotland:
'The Scottish literary establishment has blocked plans for a memorial to him at the Writers Museum in Edinburgh alongside those honoring Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Walter Scott.
The problem with Scott's argument is that there are plenty of way-venerated writers that we like to make fun of and feel superior to, including that object of infinite satire, Sir Walter Scott.... It doesn't seem to me that our feelings about a poet should determine whether we choose to give him or her a slab, but rather how good a poet that poet is. Far better for the Saltire gang simply to declare McGonagall wretched - a national embarrassment - and have done with it.
Should they want help making this argument, SOS will give them some.
Let us look closely at McGonagall's most famous work, The Tay Bridge Disaster.
Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
[Impressively oracular invocation of the subject via All Capital Letters.]
Alas! I am very sorry to say
[Pointless redundancy as he painstakingly fits his words to his meter.]
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
[The poetry-free line which concludes this stanza will be repeated throughout, a chorus of lament.]
'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
[Note the infantile exact monosyllabic rhymes one after the other.]
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."
When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
[...for to quail... gotta work the meter...]
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
[Bizarre word inversions throughout in order to score an end-rhyme.]
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."
But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.
[Mentally challenged redundancy.]
So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
[Uses bray again because there are so few words ending in the ay sound.]
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
[Oh fuck the meter.]
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
[McGonagall concludes almost all of his poems by telling the reader firmly and explicitly that he is now ending his poem.]
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
[Ends with a helpful moral.]
Clearly McGonagall is forever venerated because he creates a rare mix of raw stupidity and total lack of artistry. As the title of this post suggests, few people have this ability. Reading McGonagall is as much fun as it must have been to listen to Monsieur Furex give his little speech each night in the bistro that George Orwell frequented when he lived in Paris. Orwell describes Furex in Down and Out in Paris and London:
[A]bout midnight there was a piercing shout of 'CITOYENS!' and the sound of a chair falling over.
So - fiction, poetry, or just plain rhetoric... We love it when it's truly stupid. But it must be done with verve. As Shaw said, "Style consists in force of assertion."
And a Hard Drive's |
'A University of Toledo professor who reported his computer stolen, leading to concerns that personal information could be at risk, was charged yesterday by UT police with taking the hard drive.
I Bought My PhD!|
You Can Too!
Indiana University's Professor Natalia Rekhter
has rocketed up the academic ladder atop a Ph.D.
so bogus that the very name of the
pretend school from which she bought
it should have alerted administrators:
World Information Distributed University.
How baroque a name must a diploma mill
boast before universities look twice at it?
Universal Data Compilated College?
Meanwhile, Professor Rekhter continues
to teach seminars in ethics.
The Mess With Texas|
Brown Holds Key to Football Program
Daughter of NYU Professors|
Update: Boyfriend suspected.
"I tried to kill myself because I killed my girlfriend."
Monday, August 06, 2007
Prompted by Dance, A Reader,|
...UD has begun labeling various categories of posts, like SOS, so that when you click on the word SOS at the bottom of those posts, you're taken to a page that contains all SOS posts over the course of this blog's venerable history. She's now doing the same with her Balinesia series of posts. She thanks Dance for the prompt.
Majorly Weird Story|
Out of Australia
So weird that, while reading, I kept checking the date to see whether I hadn't wandered onto an old April Fool's piece. But it seems legit. Here goes.
UD customarily appends words of wisdom at this point, but she's speechless.
Although she understands why the idea's controversial, UD thinks it's a good thing for the students at Virginia Tech who covered the attack while it was going on to publish what they wrote:
'When the shooting began at Virginia Tech — which was to become the scene of the worst massacre in modern U.S. history — a handful of students in one locked-down media writing class hurried to their computers.
UD wrote, in her Liberal Education essay, "The Online Amplification Effect," about a wired world at universities in which whoever happens to be near a computer will report major events, and this is the example of what she has in mind (UC Santa Cruz students instantly reporting their responses to the suicide of their chancellor is another). This is authentic, and we should be grateful for it.
UD's thrilled to wake up this morning to an immense compliment directed at herself from the fun Rate Your Students website.
Readers were asked to list their favorite academic blogs, among which UD was already happy to see University Diaries. But the site featured a comment from "one of our favorite correspondents" which made UD even happier.
'Except for University Diaries, most academic blogs are tedious. Consider the source. These are the people you purposely avoid in the hallway.
The Seven Sorry Sisters|
and Their Porn
From an opinion piece in the Chronicle of Higher Ed by Alan Contreras, by far the strongest voice in the country on diploma mills:
'Many states don't require that colleges earn accreditation. In California, for instance, you do not even need to have attended an accredited institution to be licensed as a lawyer or psychologist. As of 2006, California had 179 unaccredited secular institutions that granted degrees; the estimated 250 religious colleges in the state are on top of that. Florida, as another example, had 35 unaccredited, secular degree-granting institutions in 2007.
What Happens When A Sports School|
Tells its Two Million Dollar a Year Coach
That He Can't Set His Own Admissions Policy
'An embarrassed and angry Steve Spurrier blasted South Carolina's admissions process Sunday, apologizing to two recruits who signed with the Gamecocks last winter and were denied academic entry this summer.
Fuck the school's credibility.
They've Got a Hungry President to Feed|
From an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about fourth-tier Georgia State:
'Joshua Saunders, a third year student at Georgia State University's College of Law, wants to know who raised his tuition 33 percent over last fall.
UD says cherchez le prez. He's among the very highest paid public university presidents in the country. Although here again there's some confusion about numbers.
In 2005, he was the second highest-paid public university president, at $722,350. He's currently fourth best-paid at $688,406. Did he take a pay cut? Did they calculate things differently because they were embarrassed he came in second?
Anyway, somebody's got to pay the president's salary, and it looks as though this year it's the law school's turn.
Keeping the Kiddies Dumb:|
Arkansas Shows How.
'The cost of athletic programs at Arkansas' public colleges and universities has increased about 7.1% over last year and six universities plan to tap their education and general budgets to help pay for athletics.
Harvard: Forthcoming as Always|
From an article in the Harvard Crimson:
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Scathing Online Schoolmarm|
The bellicose Joseph E. Bellacosa shows you how not to argue a case.
His way-angry opinion piece in Newsday insists that Duke University students boycott all classes taught by the 88 faculty members there who, when the lacrosse story raged, put their names to a letter which rushed to judgment against the players.
It was a stupid letter -- badly written, too, though who but SOS cares about such things... -- and I don't have anything in particular against boycotts... But Bellacosa's writing makes me want to boycott him.
Accountability finally came to Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong last month, when he was disbarred as an attorney and forced to resign as a disgraced public officer. Last week he issued an apology and a full retraction of the rape accusations against three Duke University lacrosse players. [So far so good.]
Holocaust Historian Raul Hilberg...|
... a combative character mixing it up in the Jewish culture wars until the very end (he was, for instance, a defender of Norman Finkelstein), has died.
People were particularly pissed off with Hilberg's unswerving "accommodationist" views:
'Despite years of controversy, Mr. Hilberg remains steadfast in his views on Jewish resistance. He still maintains that the Jews reacted to the Nazi assault with an ''almost complete lack of resistance.'' Instead of violence, they persisted in the long-ingrained defense pattern of the Diaspora Jews, a combination of appeals and compliance with the oppressors' demands. ''They avoided 'provocations' and complied instantly with decrees and orders,'' he says. ''In exile the Jews had always been a minority, always in danger, but they had learned that they could avert or survive destruction by placating and appeasing their enemies. . . . Armed resistance in the face of overwhelming force could end only in disaster.'' Over the centuries, despite many casualties, the Jewish community had always survived the terrible assaults by refraining from resistance. In the 1940's, when the Jewish leadership finally perceived that the Nazi threat was of a different nature, the ''2,000-year-old lesson could not be unlearned; the Jews could not make the switch. They were helpless . . . caught in the straitjacket of their history."'
UD will never know enough to know whether Hilberg was right about this. On another matter, though, she's happy to agree with him:
'I have come to the conclusion, not once but several times, that, as far as I am concerned, I do not agree with legislation [in some European countries] that makes it illegal to utter pronouncements claiming that there was no Holocaust. I do not want to muzzle any of this because it is a sign of weakness not of strength when you try to shut somebody up. Yes, there is always a risk. Nothing in life is without risk, but you have to make rational decisions about everything.'
Southern Illinois University's Stupid and Insulting...|
... Saluki Way project drags its ass along, failing to get the funding it said it would for buildings that will enhance the lives of athletes and administrators and do nothing for students:
'Southern Illinois University Carbondale has not yet raised $1 million for Saluki Way, but the university's chief fundraiser says he is optimistic about finding the necessary funds to make the project a reality.
This is One to Watch.|
I've already noted this story, in which a dean of students, among other administrators, has been indicted for an alcohol overdose death that happened on his campus. The charge is aggravated hazing, and if found guilty, the dean and other administrators at Rider College could go to prison for a year.
As with the Elizabeth Shin case at MIT, and the Jordan Nott case at UD's university, George Washington, this case revolves around the complex question of how much responsibility campus officials can be expected to bear for the destructive behavior of students.
It's true that there are some American campuses -- Chico, for instance -- with very high levels of craziness... Are administrators there now vulnerable to criminal negligence charges for the next bit of craziness?
Saturday, August 04, 2007
A Letter to the Wall Street Journal|
Multiple offenses italicized by UD.
This sort of prose, which packs cliches and mixed metaphors into very few lines, prompts thoughts in SOS which do often lie too deep for tears...
Friday, August 03, 2007
on Our New Laureate.
The author of the blog Creek Running North fails, like UD, to find the poetry in Charles Simic.
'Five people were indicted on charges of aggravated hazing in connection to the death of a Rider University freshman last March, and additional details were released about the fraternity’s "Family Drink" tradition, in which the freshman consumed a lethal amount of alcohol, prosecutors said.
UD Has Always Been Intrigued...|
...by skilled propagandists, people who know how to use language in order to frighten people into agreeing with them. The last piece of writing she looked at in detail along these lines was about Patrick Henry College, fascist Christian robot manufacturer. Here's another good one, by Tom Hayden in The Nation. My commentary's included.
Should a human rights center at the nation's most prestigious university be collaborating with the top US general in Iraq in designing the counter-insurgency doctrine behind the current military surge? [The genius of this opening sentence lies in the word "collaborating." The subject is the military, and the relationship between the military and the university. There's a well-known history, on which the writer is depending, involving CIA/university collaboration, as well as other forms of collaboration. Our other association with the word "collaborating," on which the writer equally depends, is the disgusting history of European collaboration with the Nazis. An excellent opening gambit.]
The Center's response is here.
Jewels, Hats, and Swords Allowed!|
For their last full day in Rehoboth, les UD's will view, from their balcony and at sandlevel, the 29th annual Sandcastle Contest on the beach in front of their apartment:
'More than 800 people are expected to compete on 100 teams during the 29th annual Sandcastle Contest on Saturday at the north end of the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
... a poet who ain't never done nothin' for UD, is the new poet laureate.
I never see any poetry in a Simic poem, any language that's beautiful or surprising or odd. His work seems to me short declarative sentences, propositional statements that toss domestic ordinariness in with suggestive surreality and hope for the best.
Sadder still, I never believe his poems. I mean, Simic doesn't seem to believe them. They seem exercises.
And tired ones. Lookee here:
Look at that first stanza. The guy goes from a one-legged seagull to the grandiosity of tragedies in the making in a menacing world... So... I'm laughing at this point. Don't throw tragedy at me until you create the mood, buster. Foreplay matters. It's lazy to toss me two images -- a lonely mail truck toddling down the coast, and a forgetful bird -- and then shove that shit about tragedy in my face. I'm not ready.
The "Last night you heard" stanza is what I mean by poetry-free poetry. Take the lines out of poetic abbreviation and make them the straightforward prose that they are. There's no suspense in them, no haunted connotation. They're just blah.
"So you went out to find out." Why repeat out? Is it of verbal interest to do so? No. It's the same lazy redundancy Scathing Online Schoolmarm finds in so many of the prose pieces she analyzes... And then the weary sea, "rushing off somewhere/ And never getting anywhere." Same sense of laziness rather than intriguing echo in where and where in the last two lines.
Oh, and now we wind up, and we reach for something really big: religion. But nothing's been earned here - the solemnity of faith, the terror at the ominous vacuity of existence - these are among the grandest themes of the greatest art. Here, they're sketched in a gesture so superficial as to be a form of contempt:
...a small church
With a dozen gray tombstones huddled close
As if they, too, had the shivers.
Huddled. Hard to think of a more predictable word.
You want creepy? Here.
Friday Night at the Royal Station Hotel
CALLING T. BOONE PICKENS!|
'Across America today the scope and scale of private donations are growing—what Stanley N. Katz calls "the new philanthropic math." Foundations have been responsible for much good. They encourage innovation, promote knowledge that may be unpopular, and protect minority viewpoints. But the Jeffersonian tradition reminds us that concentrated wealth often translates into political power. Nowhere is this more clear than in public universities. Jefferson considered the University of Virginia to be one of his crowning achievements because it was a public institution controlled by and serving the people. Today many public universities are becoming more reliant upon private donors and are, in turn, freeing themselves from dependence on state funds. With this financial shift has come a political shift, as these institutions are less and less beholden to state legislatures and government oversight boards. The scales seem to be tipping away from Jefferson and towards Tocqueville.
A just-graduated Brown University student, in today's Inside Higher Ed:
John Merrow, a few years ago, in the Christian Science Monitor:
Here's a quiz for you. Name the presidents of any three of America's 4,000-plus colleges and universities.
A recently retired university president, in the New York Times:
...As for the way Laudable [the name of an imaginary college, conjured for this opinion piece] spends its money, I can assure you that your professors aren’t overpaid. But I am. I take home more money at Laudable than anyone else (save some of the clinical physicians over at our hospital and several coaches). My pay is about five times greater than an average faculty member’s. That’s because I’m thought of as the chief executive of the university and chief executives get paid a lot in America.
One of the Authors...|
...of Athens & Jerusalem, an intriguing new blog, writes that Tim Burke and UD going back and forth on university endowments today has "sparked some thoughts" of his own on the subject. I like this idea of his in particular:
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
UD Has Always Preferred Henry Miller...|
...for this sort of thing, but maybe she's been wrong to neglect Jack Kerouac. It's On the Road's fiftieth anniversary, and lots of attention is being paid to the novel.
UD's got the Norton Anthology of American Literature: Literature Since 1945 with her here in Rehoboth Beach (she's putting together a syllabus for a fall course in Contemporary American Literature), and she's impressed and moved by the Kerouac in it.
Here are a couple of excerpts from his novel Big Sur:
A strong-minded and not too badly written opinion column in Oklahoma State University's newspaper. It's about the Oklahoma University football team. UD admires the writer's toughness. SOS has a few suggestions.
The honorable tradition of college football is tarnished by the University of Oklahoma football team. [Take this out of passive voice for more force in your first sentence: The University of Oklahoma football team tarnishes...] The history and tradition [Don't repeat tradition so soon.] of OU football is richly filled [richly filled is a bit awkward. Just go with filled -- or find a better word.] with National Championships, hall of famers and uncontrollable players [Very nice conclusion of the sentence... sort of unexpected... "uncontrollable players."].
Newmark's Door Agrees...|
...with UD. We must help Harvard spend its endowment.
Classic Exchange on|
These exchanges are happening all the time, and all the time both sides make precisely the same moves. The side that wants hundreds of millions of dollars spent on stadiums and practice fields always comes out with the same woeful bullshit. The other side always makes the same obvious point.
If you need reminding, here's some stuff from a recent pro/con, at the University of Alaska in Anchorage.
Miss Pro's upset because the governor vetoed a new sports complex. Athletics could be a "shining example" (of what?) for their community; and, speaking of community, how can you have one when the university is forced to hold some athletic events off-campus?
Connectedness and pride are delicate, complex things; you can't expect to conduce them when students have to travel a few miles from campus to experience them... Miss P also insists that fancy athletic digs will keep Alaska students in-state. She forgets that there are quite a few reasons for getting your ass out of the tundra.
Pro comes in for the kill in her next to last paragraph:
Coming from the governor that appointed a hockey coach to the UAA board of regents, spearheaded the efforts to build the Wasilla Sports Complex and even named her own son Track, it seems strange that her administration would have vetoed UAA's future athletic facility.
Appointments to the regents? Sure you want to go there? The hockey coach can only remind your readers of other misconceived appointments to regencies in Alaska, like the amazing Reverend Jim Hayes... And naming her kid Track? Everything here depends on whether she named him Track because of her outsize track and field enthusiasm, or if there was in fact another reason... And even if his name is about track and field enthusiasm, it doesn't necessarily follow that she'll fund every track in the state... I named my kid Anna Livia after the character in Finnegans Wake, but I don't buy every copy of the book I see...
While Pro's stuff is all about intangibles like pride and shiningness, Con just talks numbers. The thing'll run about one hundred million, and meanwhile there's a billion dollars in deferred maintenance. Then, you know, there's still other stuff you might do with the money, like expand classes and make things more affordable for students... not to mention the walkways:
Plus the university is shittily run:
I'm sure this sort of dissing is not conducive to creating true UAA pride, but it has the great merit of being true.
Tenth Anniversary Blogoscopy:|
"No One Reads the Average Blog."
UD has noted the phallic anxieties blogs prompt.
These tenth anniversary reflections, which appear both in OxBlog, and as an opinion piece in the Toronto Star, will not help matters.
Another Reason to Feel Great|
About the $500 a Year You're
Giving to Harvard University
From the Wall Street Journal:
Harvard University's endowment fund has graduated some of the most sought-after money managers in the hedge-fund world.