Category Archives: Mary PLEASE

October 25, 2010, 2:07 pm

Department of Economics: Observations On The Lack Of Raises and Thinking Out Of The Box

As if you didn’t know

We are in a prolonged period in which suppressing faculty wages is the preferred solution (after firing the staff) to “controlling” the costs of higher education.  Although paid better than many colleagues at state institutions and community colleges, for my two decades at Zenith, the faculty has come to the depressing conclusion at the end of each year that we are more or less at the bottom of our so-called “peer group” of liberal arts colleges.  One year, in an attempt to raise our position, our peer group was adjusted:  several larger research institutions were removed and they were replaced with smaller liberal arts colleges.  This helped our ranking for a bit, but of course, university rankings — whether they are compiled by U.S. News and World Report or by the AAUP — don’t pay the mortgage.

At age 52, I make slightly more than 107K, 16K less than the median…

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July 29, 2010, 12:44 pm

If A Lesbian Fell In Hollywood, And No One Were There To Hear Her, Would She Make A Noise?

Our friend at Historiann meditates today on the practice of women’s history and why feminism matters. “Women’s history,” she writes, “is a large and rich enough field that there are histories of women that aren’t particularly feminist, just as the history of women has expanded far beyond the history of just feminist women to include the histories of women who lived before the invention of feminism as a political movement as well as women who weren’t feminists or even worked actively against feminism.” But, she asks: “What would happen if we just stopped writing it? Who in the larger historical profession would notice, or care, or complain?” The answer is not women would care, but feminists would care. “Feminists are the ones who would care if women’s history ceased production. Whether or not they’re women’s historians, feminist historians would notice.”

Tie a thread to …

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May 18, 2010, 1:10 pm

Another One Bites The Dust: On The Richard Blumenthal News And The Politics Of Mendacity

What is it with lawyers this week? It wasn’t bad enough for your favorite Radical to be read out of the community of queer scholars yesterday for reductive identity politics by a hotshot New York law professor who does not hide her sexual orientation (which could be described as….?) There is worse news, at least for the people of Shoreline.

This morning, I scooped up the paper of record from my front porch to discover that Richard Blumenthal has lied by omission and commission about his military service during the Vietnam war. Is this a crime? No. But whether by commission, omission, or inference, coyness around stigmatizing issues — such as evading military service to promote one’s career — is, as Tennessee Williams’ Big Daddy would say, “mendacity!”

As we historians are aware, it is also sleazy. As in the even more puzzling case of Pulitzer Prize-winning Joseph Ellis, I don’t…

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October 18, 2009, 2:43 pm

Ask The Radical: Have You Stopped Discriminating Against Republicans Yet? Or; Do Political Views Count As Diversity?

The other day the Radical mailbox yielded the following:

Dear Dr. Radical,

Occasionally a parent, a trustee or an alumnus/a approaches me who wants to know how many conservatives we have on our faculty, and why we do not diversify our teaching staff by hiring more conservatives. Alternatively, the query might be framed around political party affiliation: how many registered Republicans are on the faculty, and why do students not have opportunities to take more classes from Republicans? Such questioners often frame their inquiry in terms of the university’s stated interest in hiring and retaining a diverse faculty. Others claim that a student they know well has complained of finding the campus unfriendly to conservative thought, had difficulty in finding teachers and classes that reflect a conservative point of view, or had no choice but to take classes that are so relentlessly liberal …

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September 16, 2009, 12:43 pm

Learning To Say No, Hollywood Style: A Helpful Response To Screenwriter Josh Olson

Since my post on the Teabag Protest has practically gone viral (many thanks to my colleague Bitch Ph.D. for the link) today’s post is just a follow up on advice given last week on saying no. Such as, No, I will decline to comment further on why I can’t show unconditional love to the beleaguered mommy lobby. However, thanks to my Cliopatria colleague, historian Ralph Luker, I want to pass on this charming tidbit published in the September 9 Village Voice by screenwriter and director Josh Olson. In “I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script,” Olson announces happily that it will cause people to think he is a “dick” that he does not want to take a look at even a two-page treatment for them. He tells every Hollywood wannabe with a dream that there is

an ugly truth about many aspiring screenwriters: They think that screenwriting doesn’t actually require the ability to write, just the ability to …

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August 20, 2009, 1:09 pm

Barney Frank Doesn’t Live Around Uranus, But A Lot Of Conservative Activists Seem To Be Moving There

According to The Huffington Post, at a town meeting in Dartmouth, MA, last Tuesday, Congressman Barney Frank was confronted by a constituent (or a woman posing as one) who asked him why he was “supporting this Nazi policy.” She was referring to the Obama administration’s initiative intended to address the billions of dollars we flush down the toilet daily to achieve the worst, or second to worst according to some estimates, national health care outcomes in the industrialized world. Read the story about this bizarre charge and see the clip of Frank’s response here. Frank, who is a Jewish homosexual (both categories of people were murdered by the Nazis), responded by asking the demonstrator: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” He then called her stated views “vile, contemptible nonsense.” He closed by saying: “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing …

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August 14, 2009, 1:21 am

When Life Gives You A Sommers, Make Sommers-ade

Today, when I was in between sessions of my advanced oral history institute, I received an email from someone identifying herself as Christina Hoff Sommers’ assistant, Kimberly Hudson. The e-mail pointed me to this story at the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Christina Hoff Sommers thought you might find this exchange interesting,” it said.

Well first of all, I’ve got to say that what I actually find interesting is that, when I look at the address list, the Tenured Radical has ascended to the lofty bloggy ranks of Feministe, which is also on the list, as is Bitch Ph.D., and Ann Althouse. Either my status is rising (“Hello, Huffington Post! R U redy 2 sho me the luv?”) or Sommers has the compulsive need to be in touch with everyone who has written anything critical about her, no matter how unimportant they are.

Whatever, you know? I’ll go with the the first theory and take recognition…

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July 1, 2009, 1:39 pm

“And Your Little Dog Too!!!” Christina Hoff Sommers Still Wants The Ruby Slippers

Yesterday one of my trusted agents (and I keep telling you, my agents are everywhere) sent me a link to Christina Hoff Sommer’s recent piece in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, “Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship.” I thought Sommers was going to really let fly about vaginal orgasm (“what vaginal orgasm????”), or weigh in about whether women were on the cutting edge of medical practice in the nineteenth century until men invented medical school as a canny strategy to take over the birthing room. But I soon realized that the article was just another tired old piece of conservative wheel-spinning crap, the central ideas of which Sommers (who calls herself an “equity feminist”) has published elsewhere.

As I wondered why the Chronicle would publish something intended only to generate more of the drama Sommers is famous for, this exchange from The Wizard of Oz, featuring Judy Garland an…

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June 11, 2009, 12:09 pm

Let’s Run Away From The Girls! And Other Strategies To Make History Relevant To A Twenty-First Century Liberal Arts Education

Did Linda Kerber, Emily Rosenberg, Penny Von Eschen, Elizabeth Borgwardt, Nancy Cott, Joan Hoff, Marilyn Young, Ellen DuBois, Mary Dudziak and Mary Frances Berry die when I wasn’t looking?*

I was a little concerned about this when I picked up my New York Times this morning and saw that none of them were quoted in Patricia Cohen’s article, Great Caesars Ghost! Are Traditional History Courses Vanishing? I guess they just weren’t answering their phones yesterday when they weren’t called.

Tradition, as you guessed even before reading the article, would be represented by diplomatic, military, economic, constitutional and intellectual history. These fields a, the article asserts, are being crowded out of university history curricula by (you’ve guessed already, haven’t you?): the history of gender, and that other feminized field, cultural history. “Job openings on the nation’s college…

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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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