Category Archives: Mary PLEASE

August 30, 2013, 2:53 pm

There’s Nothing That Says I Haven’t Got A Plan….

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Just keep saying: Mitt Romney would have been worse, Mitt Romney would have been worse…

…Like President Obama’s new College Affordability Plan.  (For intelligent and thoughtful responses to this announcement, go to the AHA Roundtable on President Obama’s College Affordability Plan and Inside Higher Ed, August 8 2013. For an outraged polemic, keep reading.)

Like practically everything else about what passes for federal education policy today, the Obama administration’s problem-solving  nibbles around the edges of the issue. There is nothing that is a genuinely new idea or even a well-recycled old idea. Reforms consist of a few small financial incentives awarded to institutions that play along, injecting a good shot of standardized testing, and giving “education consumers” information so that they can make…

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January 15, 2013, 2:47 pm

It’s Queer Work If You Can Get It: The Celebrity Coming Out Speech

Sue Sylvester sez: just announce it, Jodie. Photo credit.

This week, in the aftermath of another Christ on a cracker we already knew banal celebrity coming out speech the action was hot on Tenured Radical‘s Facebook page. I had responded to the irritating status prompt “How are you feeling, Claire?” by writing that I was “feeling”:

…a little puzzled as to why Jodie Foster needed to do the drama queen thing about coming out at the Golden Globes. Since we all knew she was a lesbian, a press release would have been fine.

I have received many likes (I like to be liked) and many comments, only one of which has accused me of unfairly silencing the little lamb. How many ways can I describe my annoyance that Foster chose her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award (for excellence…

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November 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

AFT Prez Randi Weingarten, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin — What’s the Difference?

Please to keep your clothes on, Arne. Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Why should do-nuthin’ Secretary of Education Arne Duncan be the next Secretary of State?  According to Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Times,

…anyone who has negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union, as Duncan did when he was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools before going to Washington, would find negotiating with the Russians and Chinese a day at the beach. A big part of being secretary of education (and secretary of state) is getting allies and adversaries to agree on things they normally wouldn’t — and making them think that it was all their idea. Trust me, if you can cut such deals with Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, you can do them with Vladimir Putin and Bibi…

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November 11, 2012, 10:23 am

The Tributes To Darrell Royal Avoid An Uglier History

Lyndon Johnson congratulating QB James Street in 1970. Royal (center) credited Johnson with changing his view about integrating the Longhorns (the first Black Longhorn lettered in 1970.) Photo credit.

As the nation goes all dewy-eyed over legendary Texas football coach Darrell Royal’s death from cardio-vascular disease last week, I find the historian in me curious about the many memorializations to his legacy that either fail to mention, or equivocate about, his brutality and racism. No, instead of curious, make that really offended.

If one more journalist describes the man as “folksy” I will discharge my breakfast.  And I would like to point out that, despite the love that is being showered on his memory by the fans, few obituaries quote any of his former players. Those that do seem to have been unable to…

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November 9, 2012, 12:28 am

In Bizarro World, Mitt Romney Is Now President

President Romney’s transition website went live by mistake, allowing some person who wants stuff to take a screen shot.

Well, I am most certainly glad that we, the people, did not favor Mitt Romney on Tuesday. It’s not only for the reasons you might assume: that I am a taker, not a maker; that I want stuff; that I care nothing for innocent life; or that I am a member of that feared breed, a Tenured Radical.

Noooooooooes!!!!! All these things are true, but I have better reasons. I am glad that Mitt Romney was not elected because apparently he, the GOP apparatus, and the conservative punditocracy were not just lying about everything, they actually were inhabiting an alternate reality during the whole campaign. Frankly, I had never considered this. I find it a lot more disturbing than the idea that they were…

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October 13, 2012, 2:12 pm

What’s The Problem With Uncle Poodle? A Queer Southern Historian And Her Critics

A regular guy? Photo credit.

When is a poodle not a poodle? When that poodle is gay Uncle Poodle.

On the season finale of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a reality television show about the life and times of a seven year-old beauty pageant contestant in Georgia, some portion of the civilized world was introduced to Lee Thompson, Honey Boo Boo’s “Uncle Poodle.”  The rest of us learned about him in a New York Times op-ed piece by UNC – Charlotte cultural historian Karen Cox, most recently the author of Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2011). Perhaps in anticipation of National Coming Out Day, Cox used Uncle Poodle’s entrance onto the national stage as an opportunity to suggest that there is more than one way to be out and proud in America….

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August 24, 2012, 4:48 pm

Money Boys Got A Boo-Boo, Want Barack To Kiss It

In this week’s New Yorker, political reporter Jane Mayer unveils what we at Tenured Radical are not learning from those fifteen or sixteen robo-mails that come off the interwebz and onto our desktop: the Obama campaign is behind on its fundraising primarily because liberal-minded billionaires who floated the campaign in 2008 are unhappy.

“But they are billionaires, Radical!” you say — astonished. “Why are the billionaires unhappy?”

Apparently it has nothing to do with Obamacare or the tax code. It’s about parties. It’s about showing the love. According to his critics in the Hamptons, Malibu and Palo Alto, the President doesn’t call to schmooze, doesn’t drop them notes, and doesn’t send bar mitzvah cards.  He doesn’t do endless “grip ‘n grin photos” that donors spend 10K for so that they can pretend to their friends that they are Barack O’Buddies. He doesn’t call the…

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June 8, 2012, 2:53 pm

The Answer to Folks Dissing the Field of African American History….

Mary Church Terrell, @ 1940. Photo Credit: Tennessee State Library and Archives

….Is more African American history, of course. In the wake of Naomi Schaefer Riley’s ignorant and widely criticized blog post mocking young female scholars just beginning their work in this rich field, so many responses come to mind.

Riley, who seemed to have been genuinely surprised at how poorly the idea of closing African American Studies department was received, responds to her critics here and here.  In both pieces she seems to be arguing that having a political viewpoint about a field entitles you to criticize anything and everything about it, as if you had actually read the scholarship. She also suggests that, as a journalist who is not an academic, she should not be held to standards of accuracy when she…

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December 7, 2011, 8:32 am

If I Had College-Age Children, I Would Give Them This Advice for the Final Weeks of School: Don’t Cheat

I imagine this conversation would occur sometime during Thanksgiving, perhaps as we were washing up the endless number of dinner dishes and de-greasing the kitchen.  No, no: let’s put it in a neutral location, as Tenured Radical and the returning college student are having a final cup of coffee at the airport while waiting out a flight delay.  This is how it would go:

Spawn of the Radical: Esteemed Parental Unit, you have taught at a selective liberal arts college for two decades. What advice do you give for the hellish, final weeks of school?

Tenured Radical: I am so glad you asked, Spawn.  (Ruminates briefly.) OK, here goes.  First piece of advice? Don’t plagiarize, buy a paper off the internet, pay someone else to write for you, or retype an ancient term paper secreted away in the files of your Greek organization.  I will be far more sympathetic if you simply fail the class…

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April 22, 2011, 9:49 pm

It Takes Dos Testiculos To Rule The Known World: A Brief Comment On “The Borgias”