reality is weirder than you think

Category: Higher Ed (page 1 of 2)

Fighting back against absurdity

I am growing tired of playing defense against the absurdity that surrounds me at my day job. I have turned my mind on how to play offense.

Instead of playing rational and reasonable all the time, which will never win against complete insanity. In fact, being predictable and steady could be a complete LOSS, because people can use that against you or take advantage of it. So (tactically, at least) there’s benefit in adding some chaos to the mix.

This is coming from a few places. Trump’s advice to always start negotiations with something really off the wall and irrational, to create an anchor that brands you as predictable. Vox Day’s reflections on how conservatives will never change. And an academic’s observations that many universities are postmodern or anarchic institutions, which run mostly on symbolism and are post-structure. (OMG, 7 years after I got a master’s degree in this stuff, I finally understand the meaning of poststructuralism #fail)

Scott Adams’ persuasion filter could apply here–and indeed, one of the management techniques described by a book about academic management sounds identical to it. I’ll have to find that and post it sometime.

I’m going to work on being more unpredictable in my behavior–to a point, I still want to get things done–but I’m also exploring options for other ways to go on the offense.

First up: how I dress.

Clothes are easy to change, require very little strategy, and have a huge impact on confidence levels. My confidence in my outfits often mirrors (or dictates) my confidence for the day.

Plus, they’re a visual statement of who you are as a person (to some degree). First impressions, and all that.

I’m thinking about elements that I can add to an otherwise university-appropriate outfit that would make someone sit back and say “that doesn’t make any sense.”

Nothing big. Nothing that would read as crazy. Just normal clothes that make you say IDGI.

  • Mismatched earrings
  • Really weird socks (although that’s a style thing now so don’t know if it would be worth it)
  • Sequins or another fabric that really doesn’t make sense for the office
  • A piece of jewelry clearly worn upside down
  • Shoes that really don’t go
  • A color that is super out-of-place

Is this the right idea? I don’t know.

Will it work? I hope so, but we’ll see.

I’m just really tired of always being on the receiving end of this stuff where it’s contingent on my energy and time to deal with it.

I’m ready to fight fire with fire, even if it’s only a symbolic battle in my own head.

Severed heads in higher ed news

Students being students, the prospect of a selfie with severed heads at a dental training conference is way cooler than privacy laws and proper lab etiquette.

Graduate dental school students and a top University of Connecticut orthodontics professor took a selfie with two severed heads used for medical research at a training workshop at Yale University last year – an episode Yale officials called “disturbing” and “inexcusable”.

The selfie was taken in June at the Yale School of Medicine during the 2017 DePuy Synthes Future Leaders Workshop, which focused on dental-related facial deformities.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the photo from a person who received it through a private group chat.

Maybe it’s wrong, but I’m deeply amused by this (mostly because I don’t have to deal with it or clean up the mess). Situations like this are at the intersection of like six different sets of rules all competing for who gets to come down the hardest. Who will institute the severest consequences, UConn or Yale? Will the severed heads be yanked from use? Will the FedGov get involved because HIPAA? SO MUCH DRAMA.

Severed heads are the weirdest non-sequitur, and I love absurdist humor. And this is absurdist humor in real life!

Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy said the School of Medicine took the matter very seriously. He said there was clear signage forbidding photography at each entrance to the laboratory. He also said the symposium was not part of Yale’s anatomy program, and the heads in the selfie were not donated to Yale.


It was not clear how the heads were obtained.

No one’s going to admit that they have severed heads in their anatomy lab basement? Trust me, when you walk through the anatomy freezer at the right time and hear the saw going full blast, you know what’s going on.

Of course the Yale School of Medicine is taking this seriously. The biggest problems with privacy in a School of Medicine is that–unlike educational privacy laws–HIPAA is actually enforced. Most schools do a training designed to scare people into following privacy laws, but this is not the first time that a student has hit the jackpot of stupidity by sharing a medical-related photo on social media.

Remember, kids: even metadata can count as protected health information.

(The unspoken thing here is that HIPAA breaches can cost millions of dollars in fines and corrective action plans.)

The drama of academia, folks.

What’s so bad about a data dashboard?

Workshops. On data. BIG DATA, even. What fun!

As much as I acknowledge the value of an education in statistical methods, it’s one of those things–like insurance and economics–that skims right off the surface of my brain and refuses to stick.

And yet, today I attended a statistics-based data workshop.

Most of it was an overview of the basics with an eye toward why you use certain techniques in certain situations and the ethics thereof. Kind of refreshing, actually.

Until we got to a section on dashboards.

Data dashboards, which seem to be big trend amongst the data-product companies these days. I know that in my area, there’s rumors that there might be dashboards in the works, and everyone is excited.

Everyone except our workshop presenter, that is.

She was not impressed.

Don’t be impressed by words like “dashboard,” she says. Look, here’s what a dashboard looks like. All that’s on it is some bar charts, a pie chart, and some recent history. There’s nothing new here. All of this can be made in Excel with minimal effort.

(Yes, this is true. Most dashboards aren’t the pinnacle of cutting edge data visualizations.)

I leaned over to the grad student sitting next to me and remarked, “But they’re not selling innovation. They’re selling convenience.”

Her response?

CEOs must think dashboards are magic because they don’t know how they’re assembled.

I’m no data expert, but both of these attitudes strike me as out-of-touch.

Dashboards ARE about convenience more than anything. Would I love to have a financial dashboard that shows me a simple pie chart of budget categories and maybe a bar graph of actual versus projected expenses? You betcha. Because right now, to get that information, I have to log in to a remote server, run a report, clean up the data and hope it plays well with whatever version of Excel I’m running, and then create a few visualizations.

Is this difficult? No. Does it take time? Yes. But unlike academics, who tend to focus on their specialty like it’s the only thing that matters in the world, I neither have the time nor inclination to spend so long working on graphs that a dashboard could spit out at me–updated and in real time–in moments.

If that’s true for me, who is no longer at the bottom of the heap but who’s still at the “works with reality” end of the hierarchy, that’s so much more true for a CEO. And for someone at that level, having realtime reporting of actual data in the company is imperative. They have to have such a high vantagepoint that the data is critical–for me, I have a pretty good handle on how the budget is being spent because I reconcile all the purchases myself anyway. CEOs don’t do that.

Even so, I have a hard time comprehending how someone could possibly make it to CEO of a company that has the money to throw at a data-product company for a dashboard in the first place who didn’t have to fight his (or her) way up through the ranks and I would be willing to bet money that any of them could make a stupid bar chart.

Elementary school kids can make bar charts. It’s not hard.

But I forget how many people, especially permacademics, are brainwashed by the media, where the CEO AS BUFFOON narrative is in full force (see also: Trump). Even if you’re aided by a “good ol’ boys club,” you’re not going to make it long as CEO without a good bundle of smarts.

Enough about CEOs–back to dashboards. The remaining thing that entices me about dashboards is their (supposed) ability to bring together multiple databases worth of information. In all the universities that I’ve worked for, there are various databases that hold different types of information, all of which are extremely robust and none of which want to talk to each other. If–and I am aware that this is a big if–it is possible for a data-product company to create a dashboard that incorporates one or more of those data sources, that company would earn my undying gratitude and admiration.

Seriously, it’s awful having two robust sources of data with no way of bridging the gap. It makes you look so incompetent to people who request certain types of reports but don’t know the lay of the data landscape, so to speak. (Would you call that “data architecture”? Don’t answer that. I’ll google it.)

I feel like these people who get so caught up in process and method (which is their job) forget that there are so many other practical concerns, like data sources, time, and the fact that most of us want a computer to do any and all jobs that computers can do better than us, because it cuts down on human error.

I will be absolutely ecstatic when a computer can take over most of my budgeting duties. (I’m sure at some Fortune 500 companies, they already do.)

Maybe data dashboards don’t reinvent the wheel, but they sure are useful.

Coping with the Absurdity Bubble

Today I realized that I was being unreasonable.

No matter what I may think, I can’t change the way that other people behave. Nor can I change their work output. I’m not the boss.

So instead of wailing and gnashing my teeth over the Absurdity Bubble that I’ve found myself in, I need to get real and deal with it head on.

No more headdesking over things that I think should be more rational.

No more internal crying over incoherent design that I think should be clearer.

That’s getting caught in the SHOULD, which is the absolute worst place to get caught.

SHOULD is automatically a losing proposition.

I need to stop thinking about myself, and my standards, and my own ego.

I need to instead start thinking about the people who actually have to use the product.

They are the ones at the mercy of the absurdity bubble.

I’m just a messenger. A facilitator. A translator.

It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I won’t be able to impact the content of what I’m working on, but maybe I can tweak the design enough to help it become an actionable, useable thing.

My job is to make the unreasonable, reasonable. Or at least palatable.

A spoonful of sugar and all that.

So what did Mary Poppins do that was so effective?

  • Never explained herself.
  • Always had a few tricks up her sleeve.
  • Constantly amazed everyone around her.
  • Self-confident to the point of irrationality.
  • Occasional disappearances.
  • Bent reality to her will.
  • Always had fun.
  • Found friends in strange places.

Clearly, there are few greater role models than Mary Poppins. Disney aside, this is a lady I want to emulate.

Someday I’ll find a real role model. In the meantime, there’s fictional characters.


Jordan B Peterson is DANGEROUS in the Chronicle of Higher Ed

Yes, two in a row. Confirmation bias is a bitch (I just pre-ordered 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos), and clearly Jordan B Peterson is gearing up for its release next week.

The media storm is coming, and given the media climate these days…it’s not going to be glowing.

For instance, Peterson’s appearance today in The Chronicle of Higher Education (conveniently located in front of the paywall, even). The Chronicle‘s editorial staff would have you believe that Peterson is a DANGEROUS and UNHINGED man.

They won’t let him have a coherent picture, and there are multiple versions of this cut-apart Peterson on the site. If you’re just skimming headlines, you’ll come away with the impression that he is disjointed, plus the only important word in the headline is DANGEROUS.

Frankly, it makes him more badass to me.

(And you know how well the DANGEROUS slur worked against Dangerous Donald Trump. Not well at all.)

Unlike the visuals, the article gives Peterson more of a fair shake. It’s a profile–nothing earth shaking–but a good primer of who he is and what he’s been up to lately. The academic world is small, but it’s a nice attempt to bring depth to the otherwise scandalous and DANGEROUS academic past. On the one hand, we are treated to a rich description of his scholarship and discussion style; on the other hand, we are reminded of how much he (and graduate students who use his videos in class) is attacked by academia.

Anyway, a few things stuck out at me from the article.

It can be tough to parse the Peterson phenomenon. For one thing, it seems as if there are multiple Petersons, each appealing to, or in some cases alienating, separate audiences. There is the pugnacious Peterson, a clench-jawed crusader against what he sees as an authoritarian movement masquerading as social-justice activism. That Peterson appears on TV, including on Fox & Friends, President Trump’s preferred morning show, arguing that the left is primarily responsible for increased polarization.

Whoops, Trump Derangement Syndrome rears its ugly head once again. They just can’t help themselves, can they?

There’s also the avuncular Peterson, the one who dispenses self-help lessons aimed at aimless young people, and to that end has written a new book of encouragement and admonition, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Random House Canada). The book isn’t political, at least not overtly, and it grew out of his hobby of answering personal questions posted by strangers on the internet. That Peterson runs a website on “self-authoring” that promises to help those with a few spare hours and $14.95 discover their true selves.

Peterson doesn’t traffic in new age bullshit like your “true self.” The Self-Authoring suite is based on helping you understand yourself, your personality, and your experiences. The idea is that “thinking about where you came from, who you are and where you are going helps you chart a simpler and more rewarding path through life,” not that you have to undergo some mystical journey to uncover arcane knowledge about yourself.

Then there’s the actual Peterson, a guy who Ping-Pongs between exuberance and exhaustion, a grandfather who is loathed and loved by a public that, until very recently, had almost entirely ignored him. Now he has more than a half-million YouTube subscribers, nearly 300,000 Twitter followers, and several thousand die-hard disciples who send him money, to the tune of $60,000 per month.

Yes. It’s called Patreon. Welcome to how people make money in [current year].

Even the man with all the answers appears stunned by the outpouring, and at the sudden, surreal turn in his life. “When I wake up in the morning, it takes about half an hour for my current reality to sink in,” he says. “I don’t know what to make of it.”

That is adorable. I have those moments with my current life, but I can’t imagine what it would be like to have changed so many lives for the better.

In college, he writes, he espoused socialism almost by default. He tried to emulate the movement’s leaders, dutifully attending meetings, absorbing their slogans and repeating their arguments. Over time, though, he found that he didn’t respect his fellow activists, who struck him as perpetually aggrieved and suspiciously underemployed. “They had no career, frequently, and no family, no completed education — nothing but ideology,” he writes. He also discovered that he often didn’t believe the things he was enthusiastically spouting. “Despite my verbal facility, I was not real,” he writes. “I found this painful to admit.” He also became obsessed with the looming prospect of nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States. He fell into a depression, suffered “apocalyptic dreams” several nights a week, and fought against “vaguely suicidal thoughts.”

Sounds like everyone on /pol/, tbh. Verbal, but not fully realized. Vaguely suicidal. Obsessed with the intersection of memetics and politics. Hopefully the chans will birth at least one Jordan B Peterson for the next generation.

He continued to research topics like religion, creativity, and the effect of personality on political orientation. But he is not widely known as an expert on any of those topics, nor is he considered the pioneer of a game-changing concept. He hasn’t frequently published in top journals. That may be, in part, because he is an old-fashioned generalist, more interested in understanding the connective tissue between seemingly disparate ideas than in tilling a small patch of disciplinary soil.

Another reason they hate him. He’s more dedicated to the Truth than he is his discipline.

Peterson started appearing on podcasts and YouTube shows like The Rubin Report and Waking Up, hosted by Sam Harris, where the two wrangled fruitlessly over the definition of truth for two hours. Perhaps most important, Peterson appeared on a podcast hosted by Joe Rogan, a comedian and Ultimate Fighting Championship commentator, whose show is often among the top 10 most-downloaded on iTunes. Rogan spoke with Peterson for nearly three hours and declared him one of his favorite guests. He’s had him back twice since, and those podcasts have each been listened to by millions.

Joe Rogan, super-influential podcaster described as nothing but a comedian and UFC commentator. The author clearly did research into Peterson, but obviously knows nothing about internet culture. Ignorance or disingenuous reporting? We may never know.

Peterson has used his unexpected notoriety to express dissatisfaction with the state of the university in Canada and the United States. He believes that the humanities and the social sciences in particular have become corrupted — a term he employs with relish — by left-wing ideology, and that they are failing to adequately educate students.

More subtle digs….

Are they trying to make him look like a Bond villain?

There were female fans, too, though they were clearly outnumbered. One recent Toronto journalism graduate whispered that she had a crush on Peterson. Another woman, Kristen, didn’t want her last name printed because she’s already suffered blowback from online friends over her fondness for him. “I think people misconstrue what he’s about,” she says. His overall message, according to Kristen, is “pick yourself up, bucko” — quoting one of Peterson’s taglines.

His influence, though, runs deeper than cross-stitch-ready phrases.


In the early 2000s, Peterson began buying these [Soviet propaganda] paintings on eBay because the irony of bidding for communist agitprop on the most capitalist marketplace ever devised was too delicious to resist.

And he has a delightful sense of humor. Love.

These days Peterson seems like a man possessed. His brow furrows, his eyes narrow. He speaks in rapid-fire, um-less sentences. He doesn’t smile much. Sometimes Peterson seizes his temples with one hand as if squeezing out an especially stubborn thought.

Um-less? Really? Might I suggest the word “unhesitating.”

His lectures are largely improvised. He writes out a bare-bones outline, but he’s never sure exactly what he’ll say or how long he’ll talk (90 minutes? Two hours? More?). His audience likes the no-frills urgency, the sense that he’s digging to the heart of impossibly complex conundrums, the feeling that they’re observing a bona fide philosopher sweat out the truth under pressure. His frenetic, freewheeling approach is the antithesis of a rehearsed TED talk. He describes his method as a high-wire act. “It’s always a tossup as to whether I’m going to pull off the lecture, because I’m still wrestling with the material. Because the lecture in the theater is a performance — it’s a theater, for God’s sake,” he says. “What I’m trying to do is to embody the process of thinking deeply on stage.” He pauses for a moment, then amends that last statement: “It’s not that I’m trying to do that. That’s what I’m doing.”

The antithesis of Intellectual-Yet-Idiot. There’s a real risk in his lectures, the risk that he won’t say anything worth hearing. Highly unlikely, given his orientation to the truth, but still there.

Not long ago, Peterson had his picture taken with a couple of fans who were holding a Pepe banner. One of them was also forming the “OK” sign with his fingers, probably a reference to the “It’s OK to Be White” meme created on 4Chan, one of the more offensive and irreverent corners of the internet.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. The author cites Milo Yiannopoulos at some point, but fails to realize that the Trump crowd was using the OK sign long before “It’s OK to be white” became a Thing. Milo was using the OK sign extensively before he got kicked off Twitter.

Peterson, who has written a lot about religious iconography, finds the mythos around Pepe fascinating, noting how Pepe is worshiped by the fictional cult of Kek in the made-up country of Kekistan. “It’s satire,” he says. “A lot of these things are weird jokes.”

…or are they?

Asked whether he worries that his association with these symbols and slogans, which have been employed by a number of avowed white supremacists, could be misunderstood, Peterson waves off the concern. “I know for a fact that I’ve moved far more people into the center,” he says. “People write and say, ‘Look I’ve been really attracted by these far-right ideas, and your lectures helped me figure out why that was a bad idea.’ That also happens with people on the far left.”

Is it possible to be in the center but not a “moderate”? Legitimate question. The “why can’t we just all get along” people are useless, and Peterson is definitely not useless.

Now, if these “far-right ideas” of which the anon speaks are actually the socialist-in-disguise Alt-White type people, that I understand. I also had to bang against the walls of intellectual incoherence a few times before I realized it was impossible to be both right-wing and a “national socialist.”

On the table in his den is a copy of his new book, 12 Rules for Life. It is, in a sense, a more accessible version of Maps of Meaning. In it you won’t find flowcharts featuring dragons or the full text of a letter he wrote to his father in 1986. Instead it’s an anecdote-driven advice book that encourages readers to “treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping” and “pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).” It would be hard to ferret out anything to protest in these pages. The preorders of 12 Rules already dwarf the total sales to date of Maps of Meaning.

I know I preordered 12 Rules, but this makes me want to read Maps of Meaning. Flowcharts with DRAGONS? How much more DANGEROUS can you get?

The article is long, but I enjoyed reading it. For all the little digs, it’s a pretty fair treatment of Peterson and his ideas–one that won’t often get heard in academic circles.

There’s also a great cameo from Camille Paglia in the middle–if you haven’t watched her conversation with Peterson on YouTube, you should. Their conversation is fascinating.

Finally, an higher education opinion I agree with

While I try my best to align my thoughts with reality, it’s nice to be validated every once in a while.

Especially when those thoughts orbit around the insanity of it all.

Higher ed, that’s what I’m talking about.

have had nearly enough bullshit. The manure has piled up so deep in the hallways, classrooms, and administration buildings of American higher education that I am not sure how much longer I can wade through it and retain my sanity and integrity.

Even worse, the accumulated effects of all the academic BS are contributing to this country’s disastrous political condition and, ultimately, putting at risk the very viability and character of decent civilization. What do I mean by BS?

BS is the university’s loss of capacity to grapple with life’s Big Questions, because of our crisis of faith in truth, reality, reason, evidence, argument, civility, and our common humanity.

BS is the farce of what are actually “fragmentversities” claiming to be universities, of hyperspecialization and academic disciplines unable to talk with each other about obvious shared concerns.

I like the phrase “fragmentversities.” I tend to think in terms of fiefdoms and “petty turf battles,” but fragmentization is a good way to think about it. Some of this is the result of disciplinary allegiance (see below), but a good bit of it comes about because of one of the fundamental problems of American higher ed: it can’t figure out what it wants to be. Research? Education? Credentialing? Why not all three!

One of the double-edged swords of faculty culture is a primary allegiance to the discipline, not to the department or the university. This allegiance pits academic programs against each other (especially programs that compete for similar resources or students) in a zero-sum-game rather than an abundance mindset for the betterment of the university.

I really should do a writeup of The Four Cultures of the Academy. It would be really useful to refer to.

BS is a tenure system that provides guaranteed lifetime employment to faculty who are lousy teachers and inactive scholars, not because they espouse unpopular viewpoints that need the protection of “academic freedom,” but only because years ago they somehow were granted tenure.

BS is the shifting of the “burden” of teaching undergraduate courses from traditional tenure-track faculty to miscellaneous, often-underpaid adjunct faculty and graduate students.

No skin in the game, for either tenured professors or adjuncts. Nobody cares, nobody’s watching the shop, etc.

BS is the institutional reward system that coerces graduate students and faculty to “get published” as soon and as much as possible, rather than to take the time to mature intellectually and produce scholarship of real importance — leading to a raft of books and articles that contribute little to our knowledge about human concerns that matter.

Not gonna lie, this mentality was a large part of the reason I decided not to get a PhD. Scholarship as a spectator sport is not scholarship at all.

BS is the invisible self-censorship that results among some students and faculty, and the subtle corrective training aimed at those who occasionally do not self-censor.

Hi. Speaking as right winger in higher ed, this is my past and my present and my future. My last job, which had a very difficult political/people component to it, would have been 200% harder if my Trump status had become known amongst the faculty.

BS is administrators’ delusion that what is important in higher education can be evaluated by quantitative “metrics,” the use of which will (supposedly) enable universities to be run more like corporations, thus requiring faculty and staff to spend more time and energy providing data for metrics, which they, too, know are BS.

It’s not just administrators…it’s the Department of Education and all the regional accreditors as well. But then again, if you’re going to try to run a university like it’s a factory, you would do well to use factory-tested quality improvement techniques.

Read the rest at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Like the author, I too want desperately to believe in the legitimacy of the university system. I love the idea of scholarship, and one of my selves would have been perfectly content with a life of scholarly research.

Unlike the author, I’m not a fan of college sports.

Our current university system is a mess, and it contributes to the even huger mess that is the United States of America. There are many contributing factors, with such a wide-ranging cast of unselfaware players that I’m doubtful that any one university will be able to successfully navigate the coming crash. Some of the bigger universities with huge endowments will last longer, but the new tax bill seems to be squeezing them from the other end too.

The bubble will pop soon. Maybe Betsy will take a pin to it.

Then we’ll really see a meltdown.

Absurdity Bubble

Today I realized something.

It is one thing to work in an industry that is “removed” from base-level reality. Most of us in the modern world do. Maybe something like insurance, or sales. You don’t run this risk of having your hand chopped off if you use a piece of equipment wrong, in the case of a metalworker, but you still have to deal with political systems and human nature.

It is quite another thing to work in an industry that is many times removed from base-level reality. The big one would be the government, and its many accessories. Like the university.

Being removed from any sort of physical danger from base-level reality, or even from the practical concerns of people in sales, wraps these industries in their own little bubbles. Absurdity bubbles.

Inside an absurdity bubble, you can go a long time without touching reality and absolutely nobody will notice.

I work in an especially insulated piece of the university.

So today I realized that not only do I work in an absurdity bubble, that bubble is inside another absurdity bubble which is inside yet another absurdity bubble.

(Basically it’s turtles all the way down.)

It also explains why I have a hard time demonstrating value in my job.

If I worked in sales, I could quote sales numbers.

If I worked on a shop floor, I could show you the product I created.

But inside the absurdity bubble, even my best productivity doesn’t create real value.

That, my friends, is crazy-making.

New Media Consortium no more

No coincidences. 

The Atlanta airport was shut down on Sunday. Trump issued an executive order going after human traffickers. Eric Schmidt resigned from Alphabet. 

And last Monday, the New Media Consortium sent out this sudden email:

The New Media Consortium (NMC) regrets to announce that because of apparent errors and omissions by its former Controller and Chief Financial Officer, the organization finds itself insolvent.  Consequently, NMC must cease operations immediately.

NMC would like to sincerely thank our loyal and dedicated community for its many vital contributions since its inception in 1994. NMC is grateful to its current executive director and NMC staff for their tireless efforts to connect people at the intersection of innovation and technology.

NMC will be promptly commencing a chapter 7 bankruptcy case.  A trustee will be appointed by the court to wind down NMC’s financial affairs, liquidate its assets and distribute any net proceeds to creditors.  The case will be filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California.

To be honest I don’t know anything about the NMC, but the timing and abruptness of this announcement is more than slightly suspicious.

A look through the NMC website shows that there are globalist-NGO affiliated people on its board of directors, and it’s affiliated with several globalist NGOs–the website of one which has a game promoting Soros’ Orange Revolution in the Ukraine.

It’s not surprising that an academically-oriented media entity would also be in love with the globalist myth, nor would it be surprising that an entity like this would be mismanaged, but to have see it abruptly closed down the day after rumors of Soros’ arrest start floating around….

Let’s be clear: I don’t know anything. I just don’t want to forget this.

What a time to be alive.

Faculty Culture II

More character studies from The 4 Cultures of the University. See if you can guess what this guy is the precursor of. The book was written in 1992.

The faculty member most inclined to join a union in general … will (1) teach at a two-year community college or four-year public institution with no tradition of strong faculty participation in institutional governance; (2) have a degree short of the doctorate and be nontenured; (3) teach in the humanities or social science field; (4) be less that 40 years of age and male; (5) have a greater teaching load and lower salary than academics at four-year/graduate institutions; (6) have a record of little participation in a campus senate or similar body; (7) have low trust in the campus administration and be dissatisfied with working conditions (i.e., have low morale); (8) be conscious of the benefits of unions on other campuses and of the nonacademic level on his own campus.

The author goes on to call this person “estranged from [faculty] culture” and contrasts him with similarly-paid faculty in vocational fields who have no desire to unionize.

Let’s see. I wonder why someone with subpar credentials (in a field that idolizes them), who chooses a non-technical field, who chooses not to contribute to the dominant culture, and who does not defect from the dominant culture into the support culture, might feel like he is not valued?

And yet, instead of recognizing the reality of his situation and taking steps to change it, he instead doubles-down and insist that everyone else accept his reality by force of power in the form of a union.

Now we’ll make this a bit easier and give you some choices:

A. Soyboy
B. Gamma
C. Proto-SJW
D. r-selected individual
E. All of the above

If there’s anything that can deflect some of my distaste for faculty culture, this guy is the personification of it.


There’s CHEATING in college sports?! YOU DON’T SAY

Anyone who’s been even tertiarily involved in NCAA sports knows how corrupt it all is.

That makes this bust all that more gratifying.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced punishments against Northern Colorado Friday, commending the university for “exemplary cooperation” but still slapping it with fairly severe penalties, including vacating the 2011 win in the NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference and returning all money from the team’s appearance in the championship — neither the institution nor the NCAA specified how much that will be.

Former head coach B. J. Hill, a longtime coach at Northern Colorado, was fired in 2016 after allegations emerged he had helped players with their course work. The NCAA found that Hill, along with five assistant coaches and one graduate assistant, had either completed classes for prospective athletes or paid for the online courses.

I don’t know if the institutions I worked at were that bad, but we had fluff classes called things like “Life After Football.” Taught by the football coach, of course.

At this point, honestly, I don’t see how college sports and college academics are in any way related. They’re two completely different entities shared by a common brand.

I’m not sure which one is the parasite anymore.

Athletics needs the college’s academic legitimacy and its name. The college needs the $$$ from athletics.

A weird co-dependent relationship.

It’s really weird.

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