Category Archives: Just the facts

June 17, 2011, 7:51 pm

Tell Me How You Really Feel, Dude: Prof Said To Have Peed On Colleagues’ Office Doors

We at Tenured Radical have been alerted by our pals in the legit educational press (Inside Higher Ed) that there are many more reasons than we knew to hire more women in the STEM fields. Tihomir Petrov of the Cal State Northridge math department is on the lam after having failed to appear in court to answer two charges of public urination, a misdemeanor.  Where did he pee?  In his department, apparently.

It sounds like revenge urination to us, and a unique way of showing contempt for colleagues that we feel lucky to have never encountered.  Imagine coming to work and finding a big puddle of man-pee in front of your office. According to the Los Angeles Times, “In early December, Petrov was captured on videotape urinating on the door of another professor’s office in Santa Susana Hall, according to authorities. School officials had concealed a camera nearby after discovering puddles of what …

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July 28, 2010, 12:44 pm

Annals Of The Law: Women And Children Can Be Careless, But Not Men

People who know me are aware that I often rise at a grisly hour of the morning to row. There are a variety of advantages to this, including being too confused for lack of sleep to have that debate about whether I should work out or keep writing. The best one, however, is that I hear the first half hour of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on the way to the boat house. I have six miles of a workout in a single scull to think uninterrupted about whatever I have heard, and I can listen to the same stories again on the way back and decide whether any of them are worthy of a blog post.

Which is how I decided to write about yesterday’s closing arguments in the Rod Blagojevich trial. Blagojevich, you may recall, is the former Governor of Illinois. He is being tried on multiple counts of corruption, including attempts to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Defense counsel Sam…

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June 23, 2010, 12:50 pm

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall: Famous Queer Scholar Refuses Prize; Keeps Salary, Named Chair

Facebook and queer blogs have been a-buzz of late with the international doings of The Famous Queer Scholar. Recently, s/he has traveled boldly to Europe on the pretext of accepting a prize (probably on the euro of the organization giving it), only to publicly refuse the prize. In doing so, s/he made a point of chastising the organization for its failure to adequately refuse racism and “homonationalism” (or the organization’s actual collaboration with the German state — the nature of the crimes isn’t quite clear from accounts of this event.) Although no one wants to explain what they did to deserve this, we are led to believe that it served the bastards right.

Goddammit, I wish I’d thought of this first. The last time I was offered a prize, I just frakking took it, thinking only of the generosity of those who were awarding it and of the microraise it might pry out of Zenith. I now…

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June 20, 2010, 8:53 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Fathers’ Day Edition

The new social media has made Father’s Day an even odder event than it ever was when it was only about neckties, Lacoste tennis shirts and greeting cards. Facebook and Twitter are alive with paeans to fathers past and present: dead fathers are assured that they will never be forgotten, husband-fathers that they are truly appreciated. The Radical household does not engage this, as we have no fathers (“Down with the patriarchy!”): the last one crossed over into the Great Beyond over a decade ago.

So imagine my surprise when I opened the New York Times, turned to an article about end of life decisions and instantly burst into racking, inconsolable tears over someone else’s father. In “What Broke My Father’s Heart” Katy Butler details the role played by fee for service medicine in ripping every shred of dignity and peace from her parents’ final years. An ill-informed decision to put in…

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June 9, 2010, 1:21 pm

How To Afford Your First Job, Professor Bumstead: Radical Advice For The Newly Employed

We can all agree it was a terrible job market last year. And yet, some of you will be proceeding, newly hooded, into more highly paid employment than you had last year. When I was in graduate school, we used to distinguish between “a job” (something that pays better than graduate school, which could be anything from a one-year adjunct to an administrative, IT or public history position) and “a real job” (employment that offered a longer future, most likely tenure-track.) Nowadays there is also a third category that has expanded dramatically: the post-doctoral fellowship.

Regardless of what category you fall into, if you have finished your PhD and proceeded to paid employment of any kind, you may be making two to three times the money you made last year, which will make you feel giddy. For this reason, my dear, you are in need of Radical Financial Advice.
1. Find out when you will…

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May 2, 2010, 12:08 pm

Like Sands Through The Hourglass, So Are The Days Of Our Lives: Having The Courage Not To Go To Graduate School

You would think that May would signal the winding down of things at Zenith. In fact, as we all know, the liberal arts college has a tendency to crank things up toward the end of the year. Didn’t spend enough of your budget? There will be a memo asking for suggestions on how to do that. Last year, when I was chair and everyone was in ex post crash-o mentality, we saved a lot of time via a memo telling us that departments and programs were prohibited from spending down at the end of the year, although how they would be able to sift legitimate from illegitimate expenses was not clear. (“Six skateboards? Why did sociology purchase skateboards?”) Prizes and various awards must be given, and we will be solicited for the names of ever-more students to receive them. Committees that have been ruminating on this or that will be rushing legislation to the floor of the last faculty meeting….

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December 27, 2009, 8:38 am

Memo To Department Of Homeland Security: You Suck

We are reading very little news from the United States while in South Africa, particularly since (thanks to my least favorite senator since Jesse Helms, Joe Lieberman) the health care bill is such a cock-up. But you couldn’t log into a commercial email account without reading an account of this incident, in which a Nigerian man attempted to explode a device on board a Northwest flight from Amsterdam, just minutes outside of Detroit. Passengers and crew members are being praised for their quick response in extinguishing the device and restraining the bomber.

TSA officials are promising action, action action, undoubtedly in the form of more high-tech approaches to stopping terrorists before they are able to act. And yet, what we have so far is incredibly expensive and cumbersome security procedures that can be easily circumvented by your average Joe Terrorist. I have always wondered,…

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May 6, 2009, 8:46 pm

This Is What You Do: A Shooting On Campus

Over two years ago, on April 17, 2009, after the Virginia Tech shootings, I wrote this post. Towards the end I wrote:

So far, two faculty members have been identified as among the dead, one of whom may have tried to block the classroom door to give his students time to escape through a second story window. Another faculty member, interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air, described barricading himself in his office as he heard the gunfire below, listening to students and faculty being shot and not knowing where his two children (enrolled at Tech) were at that precise moment. And I know that I am thinking about this because the human mind grasps precisely what it can handle and no more but: am I the only college teacher wondering whether I would have the courage to try to save student lives in such a pointlessly horrible situation, knowing that mine might be taken in the process? Or the …

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April 29, 2009, 10:38 pm

Rainy Day Academics #12 & 35

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good,
They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would.
They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home.
Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone.

Today’s meditation follows along the lines of the above career advice, given by Bob Dylan to a young academic who happened, at the time, to be wearing a leopard-skin pillbox hat.

As for me, after generic academic rainy day moments, instead of getting stoned –er, I mean being passive-aggressive (though, `tis the academic way) — I have learned to try to tolerate the discomfort attendant to actually confronting abusive people. Until the Unfortunate Events, I had almost never taken this approach to inappropriate, hostile or aggressive behavior on the part of colleagues. In fact, it was part of my recovery from this (now blessedly long ago) period in my life to learn to screen out other…

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April 5, 2009, 3:18 pm

Sunday Night Follies: In Which The Radical Answers Four Questions

And now, to lighten your Sunday night of grading, lecture writing and sorting your socks for the coming week, here are four answers to urgent questions, none of which have been asked by my fans.

What Zenith college publication is still available in a printed copy?

One of you got it right, but yesterday’s post gathered fewer guesses than I thought it would, so I’ll tell you. The answer is: the telephone directory, which can be requested; they print one up for you and send it in the next day’s office mail. This solution to an otherwise intractable problem was reached after a colleague of mine made an impassioned, and utterly sincere, plea on behalf of his departmental secretary, who was distraught at the change in her work environment wreaked by the loss of a printed Zenith telephone book. I was terribly grateful, and ordered one specially printed up too. Why? Because I can never…

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