I fully intend to start using Masto again regularly soon I just haven't had a lot of thoughts to contribute recently beyond what accompanies the day-to-day tedium of driving a bus for money. It just takes a lot out of me mentally. Once my program starts up in the fall and I'm teaching again my thoughts will return (I hope!)
my friend resent me the link to that sewing page where the text keeps getting bigger
this always makes me cry with laughter idek why
student mental health, grading
I'm grading final papers and a note card dropped out of one that just said, "had a breakdown and couldn't finish". I wish I could tell him, "buddy, I'm an underpaid grad student not a cop" because I'm going to grade what he did turn in in the context of his other successful work but like damn, remember to be merciful, everyone. No artifice of academia is worth human health.
discovision (laserdisc) demo disc from 1978, showing their (less-than-sterile) manufacturing process
mention of a "psychologist" USSR
A student approached me after a review session last night to ask me if I had ever heard of solzhenitsyn and my immediate question was how a student who was struggling to remember what the cold war was knew about soviet samizdat and anyway that's how I learned the new edition of the gulag archipelago will have an introduction written by jordan peterson
very bad right wing opinions, anti-semitism
I taught my last class at my current university today. While I won't miss student's writing to me that abortion is just like the holocaust or that nationalism is great, pressuring me for some moral assessment of Stalin v. Hitler, and asking to write final papers on Jesus, I think teaching in a very conservative environment for these past two years has overall made me a much stronger instructor.
Maybe it's the end of the semester coming up but I've been feeling confrontational so here's the thing: nothing in academic writing bugs me more than universalisms. Things like "all people do X" or "humans have always done Y" about things that are far too culturally specific to be remotely true. Looking directly at you, Terror-Management Theory. Making unfounded statements about the universals truths of the human condition is at best irresponsible and at worst dangerous.
This a reminder that western-style science is one system of knowledge and not a font of absolute truth with a long history of being wrong, misinformed, oppressive and exclusionary. By all means do science, engage with scientific thought and findings, but don't labor under the impression that it excuses those thoughts from bias or criticism. Incidentally, all of these criticisms also apply to History, but I work at a university (and in a country) that disparages all non-STEM pursuits so....
Dostoyevsky, A Certain "Psychologist"
Three students in the past two weeks have approached me about wanting to read Dostoyevsky and wondering where to start, and all three just said that someone recommended it to them. I got curious why this was happening, and some preliminary searching suggests they might have gotten the suggestion from Jordan Peterson. This gives me mixed feelings: yes, by all means read Dostoyevsky, but also: ew.
"The schools are going through a profound crisis…It is incomplete and one-sided, with random omissions, and oriented primarily towards rational cognition, without arts or theosophy, without any experiential assimilation of reality. It is unsystematic, fragmentary, and inorganic; it does not educate because it ignored the spiritual meaning of knowledge" -Professor Goncharov, 1995, Herzen State Pedagogical University, St. Petersburg. Children of Perestroika in Israel by Tamar Horowitz
Great book if you're interested in the USSR: "Behind the Urals" by John Scott. He was a welder from Wisconsin who couldn't find work during the depression so he went to the USSR because he heard it was the worker's paradise. He describes everything he saw and experienced while living and and working there from about '32-'41.
death, unions, and teaching
I covered a lecture for a faculty member who suffered a death in the family this week. I was happy to do it, and it was on a subject I'm well versed in so it was fun to do. However, I can't help but think that, as a grad student being paid $9000 a year, if we had a union I would have been able to get paid for this highly specialized labor that has taken me 8 years of education and work experience to be capable of and wouldn't be living on credit til the 15th.
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