Random Bullets of (Fill In the Blank)

March 30, 2014, 1:58 pm

1980sa-520x343Aaaaaand… we go.

  • The latest from Tenured Radical’s Book Blog, a project of thinking and writing a book out loud, “Which Side Are You On?” sketches a few thoughts on what we assume about a researcher’s choice to explore a contentious topic.
  • I am one of two people in my March Madness Fantasy Bracket to have picked Wisconsin to win.
  • In other research news, we have a new study on whether porn hurts children. Answer? No one knows! How do people keep getting funding for this research? Produced by the office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, the study is actually not about children, it’s about teenagers, which is also old news. The older kids get, the harder it is to gin up uncritical public concern for them. A second point worth mentioning is the focus said teenagers’ consumption of, or exposure to, pornography which might (or might not!) affect their sexual behavior (in some, yet-to-be-determined way.) The study seems not to be interested in the use of young people in pornography, or in fashion and beauty media more generally. For that, you might want to start with the POV documentary Girl Model (2013) in which Siberian girls as young as twelve are indentured to the Japanese fashion industry, starved, and sexually exploited.
  • A new story about exploitation in the adjunct army features Mary-Faith Cerasoli, a homeless professor of Romance languages who works, and from time to time, lives out of her car. It is a troubling story on its own merits, but I am beginning to notice a pattern here. Why is it that Catholic colleges are being targeted for these particularly awful exposures, when the vast majority of adjuncts work for public institutions? And why does the New York Times fail to report on the bigger story: that contingent labor has been cemented into place as the “solution” to financing higher ed, when it offers no solution at all?
  • Big story developing at the University of Southern Maine, where “President Theodora Kalikow proposed eliminating four majors and to 50 faculty and staff positions last week.” Students are trying to kick ass: rumor has it that a faculty meeting was patrolled by armed campus police. Why do presidents of public universities go on pretending that university budget shortfalls are real? They aren’t. They are the result in cuts in tax monies redirected to education. Best report is at Al-Jazeera.
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