Category Archives: Annals of Contemporary History

February 11, 2014, 11:09 am

Links Before Lunch….

sausage party

For reasons I do not entirely understand, this image has been circulating on Facebook.

…Otherwise known as random bullets of cr^p. So without further ado:

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October 23, 2013, 6:52 pm

Attachment Problems; or, The Accidental Selfie

The_Seven_Year_Itch_(Marilyn_Monroe's_skirt_blows_up)You know those times when you are floating your mouse over something and click by mistake? The Des Moines Register reports that a University of Iowa TA mistakenly sent nude pictures of herself to her students. Wouldn’t you know it: she’s a mathematician, a field in which women have a hard time anyway.

Whoever you are, I am so sorry.

Of course the students started tweeting about it immediately, the sensitive little darlings, making the situation ever so much worse. According to the Register,

A student tweeted, “The TA was teaching her 7:30 discussion session this morning trying to act like nothing happened but [was] clearly very rattled. No one said anything about it but it was just extremely awkward.”

“Breaking News: An Iowa TA accidentally emailed naked pictures of herself to 80+ students instead of the study guide,” read one student’s tweet.

Another tweeted: “A math…

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June 18, 2013, 2:06 pm

Go Into Academia, Win Valuable Prizes


Where is your college president spending the summer?

Today’s New York Times has the latest revelations about New York University’s executive compensation practices. (Full disclosure: not only was Tenured Radical’s Ph.D. bestowed from those Violet walls, but my current institution recently had its own executive mini-scandal.)

As Ariel Kaminer reveals, NYU’s top execs and a few elite proffies are also offered mortgages for summer homes, “Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans,” writes Kaminer, who has been following this story for several months. “Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.” And how many universities offer you a mortgage after…

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March 10, 2013, 7:09 pm

Prikipedia? Or, Looking for the Women on Wikipedia

50s-housewifeTo celebrate women’s history month, I have decided to tweet an historical fact about a woman, or women, every day in March. Silly? Perhaps. Fun? Why yes: I’m enjoying it enormously. Women’s history rocks.

So far, women as different as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the Empress Josephine Bonaparte, and Svetlana Alliluyeva have appeared in the Twitter feed to the right of this post. I find these women by simply entering the date in Wikipedia’s search box: a list of events, births and deaths show up in an entry devoted to that day. Presto!

Well, not so fast.

You might be surprised to learn how very few items in these lists name women as historically significant figures.  Sometimes there are three or four women named; sometimes it is only one.  One day there were absolutely no women listed and I had to get creative: I picked a major civil rights event and did some newspaper research…

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February 3, 2013, 10:18 am

True Fact: Fully Armed, Trained Sniper Murdered By Gunman

The late Chris Kyle with one of his weapons. Photo credit.

Popular author Chris Kyle, a former sniper and Navy SEAL, was tragically  shot and killed at a gun range, along with a second man, near Glen Rose, Texas on Saturday. “Witnesses told sheriff’s investigators that a gunman opened fire on the men around 3:30 p.m. Saturday,” the Associated Press reports, “then fled in a pickup truck belonging to one of the victims….The newspapers said a 25-year-old man was later taken into custody in Lancaster, southeast of Dallas, and that charges were expected.”

According to the National Rifle Association (NRA) experts now littering our news shows, this should not have happened. Kyle should have fired back, successfully defended himself by killing the “bad guy,” and be here to tell the tale of why the “good guys” need to…

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July 23, 2012, 8:58 pm

A Temporary Setback for Penn State Football?

Which finger is JoePa holding up? Photo Credit

There goes the statue of JoePa. Bu-bye. Don’t let the door hitcha onna way out.

In the wake of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky’s conviction on child sexual assault charges, and Judge Louis Freeh’s report on the coverup of said actions by the institution, the NCAA has weighed in with penalties designed to punish — but not by any means wreck –the Nittany Lions. Millions of dollars in fines, eliminating Bowl eligibility, reduction of scholarships: what more, you ask, could the ruling body of college sports done? (more…)

June 13, 2012, 3:45 pm

Why Would We Want A Less Educated Nation? Defending the PhD

Clark Kent wouldn't really give up. He would DO something.

You who are beginning doctoral programs in the humanities and social sciences in the fall: listen up.

In September, you may have an experience similar to the one Nate Kreuter, now an assistant professor of English at Western Carolina State University, described last fall at Inside Higher Ed (November 21 2011.)

Kreuter’s “cohort was led into an auditorium….After the typical messages of welcome and run-downs of various logistical need-to-know, the graduate director delivered a very somber warning.” Of the cohort of more than thirty, “only perhaps 40 percent of us would complete our degrees and secure academic appointments. That 40 percent, he warned, would be lucky to find any sort of academic job, even off the tenure track, and even fewer …

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May 28, 2012, 6:17 pm

Is Facebook Worth The Trouble?

Yesterday around midday I discovered that I could no longer post status updates to my Facebook page.  This was no big deal, and would have represented the elimination of a major weekend time-suck, except for one thing.  I couldn’t figure out why this was happening, which sets off a little alarm in my brain that Something Might Be Wrong, Something That Might Represent A Bigger Problem.

I don’t worry about being hacked.  On the other hand, I never worried about identity theft until my debit card was canceled because someone managed to duplicate it at a gas pump that had been bent to this purpose in West Philadelphia: the next day I went out and bought a shredder. Similarly, before now, despite legendarily sloppy password use for many years, I have never been hacked.  And yet, I thought uneasily as I fiddled with a Facebook that was behaving strangely, there’s always a first time.

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March 29, 2012, 12:57 pm

Playing Park Politics; Or, The Poopy Public Sphere

You would think our little neighborhood in Shoreline was Dog Doo City.

Last spring there was a big hullabaloo about dogs pooping in public.  The short version is this: local residents were in the habit of using a fenced field attached to two primary schools as a dog park.  I am ambivalent about dog parks, since for every twenty good citizens there is one lunkhead who appears not to be aware that his or her dog gets into fights.  Neither of my dogs has ever fought unless attacked; I find it particularly irritating, then, when a menacing dog has mine on the ground and its human companion instructs me to just “let them work it out.” In my imagination, this type of person is the culprit who leaves large dollops of dog doo for the vast majority of conscientious citizens —  those who do and do not live with dogs — to step in. (more…)

March 21, 2012, 3:13 pm

In Which Tenured Radical Ponders The Twists of Fate That Can Mean Everything To An Untogether Student

Photo Credit.

When I was an undergraduate at Oligarch University I, and I suspect many of my peers, had three desires that were utterly in conflict: to be invisible, to be free and to be special.

Against the advice of my mother, who wanted me to go to a liberal arts college where faculty would pay attention to me, I wanted to attend a school that was so big that no adult could exert any authority over me whatsoever.

I got my wish.

Soon I discovered that a major research university where undergraduates were expected to be autonomous had possibilities I had never imagined. Not go to class? Who knew if there were 500 people in the room? Sit in the back of a dark lecture hall as one Great Masterwork after another flashed up on the screen and take a little snooze?  Why the heck not?  Turn in all th…

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