Category Archives: God May Smite the Radical

December 28, 2012, 4:45 pm

Grading In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction

If you are my age, you remember a time, years ago, when some wag of a colleague would distribute a mimeographed list of verbal “boners” found in that semester’s student papers. Some of these could be verbalized, and still retain their maximum impact, but most required the visual media we then had at our disposal.  Student boners, which would now be called bloopers for obvious reasons, usually involved a homynym, a misspelling, an ungrammatical twist or a peculiar metaphor. You had to see it to get the full yuck. One blooper that I recall vividly from my TA days was a response to a short answer exam question for the nineteenth century U.S. History final, “Identify and state the significance of  the reaper.” Answer: “The raper was a machine that performed the work of ten men.”

Humiliating students in their absence is, of course, a symptom of very intelligent, highly verbal and very…

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August 25, 2012, 9:49 pm

Department of Divine Ocurrences: An SAT Question For the Ages

This section of the test examines your reading comprehension and ability to solve a logical problem.

On September 9 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, televangelist Hal Lindsey of the Trinity Broadcasting Network observed that it seemed

clear that the prophetic times I have been expecting for decades have finally arrived. And even worse, it appears that the judgment of America has begun. I warn continually that the last days lineup of world powers does not include anything resembling the United States of America. Instead, a revived Roman Empire in Europe is to rule the West, and then the world.

But what were the specifics of God’s distress?  On September 12, the Reverend Pat Robertson, host of the Christian Broadcasting Network, founder of the Christian Coalition, and erstwhile presidential candidate, speculated that the devastation resulting from Hurricane Katrina was payback …

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December 9, 2011, 1:26 pm

Chapter Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven: In Which Tenured Radical Responds To Her Critics And Joins the Ryan Gosling Meme

Feminist Ryan Gosling is a fan of Tenured Radical

If you are looking for a safe space, the blogosphere is not that, and it is particularly not that if you are a feminist academic.  We who are out there typing the type, Tweeting the Tweet and breaking the rules have to have — or acquire — a particularly thick skin.  Criticism is an acquired taste. You either learn to love it or you get out of the business of feminist bloggery.

Feminist blogging is definitely not for wimps, which is why the vast majority of us do it pseudonymously. The condescension and mansplaining is hard to bear, particularly if you have to deal with a fair amount of this in the meat world. More importantly, perhaps, is that you really don’t want the people who write really hateful things having access to your home address or…

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August 4, 2011, 5:36 pm

As President Obama Turns (The Clock Back On Women’s Rights)

Is President Obama now starring in Ronald Reagan Theater?

In case you think nothing good came out of the Congressional budget free for all negotiations that ended at the beginning of this week, think again. You will be cheered to know that Secretary of  Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius seized the moment. While everyone was distracted by the Tea Party and the President taking political a$$hattery to a new low, Sibelius slipped a major reform enacted under the Affordable Care Act over the transom:  no co-pays for insured women seeking gynecological care.  As WebMD reported: “Health care reform requires new insurance plans to fully cover women’s preventive care, which now will include free birth control, yearly wellness visits, breastfeeding counseling and equipment, and screening for…

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July 6, 2011, 5:37 pm

What If Thinking About Education As A Business Were A Good Thing?

The Nation had a recent, and very provocative, issue organized around the theme “Re-imagining Capitalism:  Bold Ideas for a New Economy.” Assuming that the revolution is not on its way as we speak, the authors argue for the restructuring of capitalism to provide the prosperity that free-market theory (as practiced across the political spectrum) has made an even more distant dream.  These articles are worth a read, particularly since they break into old dichotomies to demonstrate how a more humane economy might also be a stronger one:  the series features employee-owned industries as opposed to the euphemistic “small businesses” politicians love to talk about; government as a guaranteed employer of last resort rather than as a workfare overseer; and reforms of liability law are but a few of the ideas about how we might balance the profit motive with a more even distribution of…

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March 28, 2011, 1:17 pm

Monday Found Objects: Or, What Wisconsin Republicans Would See If They FOIA’d My Email

Little things come in, and I sock them away.  But so that no one has to file any paperwork, or break my system passwords, here’s what’s lying around my email box today:

 How do I get these things?  Go here to buy a set of Prince William and Kate Middleton paper dolls, each with fifteen different outfits.  The dolls themselves are in their underwear, which I think is kind of interesting in the sense of what a future monarch and his queen might not have permitted even twenty years ago.   I would have understood if I had received an email soliciting me to purchase the “Past Presidents of the AHA Paper Doll Set,” promising hours of fun as we cross-dressed Barbara Weinstein and Tony Grafton, but this one’s a mystery, Governor Walker.  My guess is that they bought the American Studies Association mailing list.

 Do the AHA survey, save a tree.  Have you ever wondered — as I do — why…

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November 1, 2010, 1:28 pm

Announcing “Planet University;” Or, Tenured Radical — The Cartoon Series

This cartoon is entirely fictional, drawing on last month’s posts and comments on those posts, for its content. Enjoy!

In other news, see James Vernon, “The End of the Public University in England,” Inside Higher Ed.

January 29, 2010, 1:51 pm

On Behalf Of All Wimmin: An Open Letter To Steve Jobs About The iPad

Dear Steve Jobs,

For months I have been looking forward to the release of Apple’s new tablet computer, as I look forward to every new product released by your company. I have put off buying a Kindle, even though all of my friends have them; or even speaking to my sister about her beloved Sony Reader, for fear that I will become so envious that I will have to go into therapy about why she gets everything nice even though she is the youngest. So imagine my dismay when I heard that you were naming this new product the iPad.

Now, this ill-chosen, sexist name did not immediately make me think of a menstrual pad, but since other women have begun to make this obvious connection between a personal computer and a personal hygiene device, I have not been able to get over how crushed and mortified I am. I don’t know if you have ever tried to write something on a menstrual pad, but believe me, it is…

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September 5, 2009, 3:17 pm

Just Say No (But Not To Me): Achieving Balance in Your Work

I wish I had a dollar for every time in my career at Zenith that, upon noticing or being told pointedly how many responsibilities I have, a senior colleague or administrator has said: “You just have to learn to say no.”

It makes me want to punch them. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Sometimes it is said in a genuine attempt to be helpful: “Perhaps,” my colleague is thinking, “TR doesn’t know that she isn’t expected to respond to every last living human being who asks her for something, and I need to reassure her that it would be OK to say no to many of the things people are asking her to do.” Sometimes (and the older you get, the more likely it is that the message is delivered in this spirit) it is patronizing. The colleague is saying some version of, “No wonder you haven’t finished that book yet — don’t blame the rest of us if you haven’t learned time management skills, and if you …

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May 14, 2009, 12:52 pm

If You Try Sometimes, You’ll Get What You Need: How To Think Like An Administrator

Gary Olson’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education, hilariously titled “How To Join The Dark Side” (hence my choice for an illustration) is a useful take on how to think about becoming a university administrator. What I like best about it is that it avoids a common stereotype (administrators are failed academics, or worse, not intellectually inclined at all when lacking a Ph.D.) and takes university administration seriously as a career that intelligent people train for and enjoy. Furthermore (and this is the kind of thing no one talks about in academia) it suggests that an academic career might entail several stages, in which one’s life could be plotted as ambitiously as a Jane Austen novel. A career might begin with the majority of one’s efforts devoted to establishing one’s credentials as a scholar and a teacher, really learning those jobs inside and out as well as…

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