Category Archives: Real Men (and Women) of Genius

June 20, 2014, 9:44 am



Fill in the blank: “There’s a _____ born every minute.”

In today’s New York Times,  award-winning writer Tony Horwitz discusses the swampy territory of born-digital publishing. Secure in his reputation and presumably able to pay rent, a new online publication based in Australia offered Horwitz $15,000 and $5,000 in expenses to write an in-depth, extended investigation of the Keystone XL pipeline. “At the time I was researching a traditional print book, my seventh,” Horwitz writes. “But it was getting harder for me to feel optimistic about dead-tree publishing. Here was a chance to plant my flag in the online future and reach a younger and digitally savvy audience. The Global Mail would also be bankrolling the sort of long investigative journey I’d often taken as a reporter, before budgets and print space…

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January 10, 2014, 9:25 am

Things That Might Hinder Your Career, Part Eleventy

One of the standard questions for candidates at the end of a conference interview is: “Do you have any questions for us?” Which of the following do you think job candidates ask most rarely?

  • Will you tie me up?
  • Do you spank in your department before tenure?
  • Is that the PMLA in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
  • All of the above.

From today’s Vitae, we see that some a$$hat put an ad on Craig’s List for power exchange interview sex at the Modern Language Association meeting in Chicago this (more…)

October 24, 2012, 10:40 pm

Right Here in River City? Mitt Romney’s Higher Education Poli$$y

Well, either you’re closing your eyes
To a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated
By the presence of a pool table in your community.

“Ya Got Trouble,” The Music Man (1957)

Dick van Dyke as Harold Hill, 1980

I’ve seen this several times on the news: some proffie in a swing state who believes that Barack Obama has failed to deliver.  So said proffie is going to register his disapproval by staying home on election day.

I don’t disagree with many reasonable leftists’ reluctance to endorse the President — drones, torture, Guantanamo, his use of phrases like “clean coal” (????) — I agree, and I had strong reservations about Obama’s support for the left agenda before I voted for him the first time. However, I also believe that voting is a…

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June 17, 2012, 12:39 pm

Nixon and the Historians: Watergate Anniversary Break-In Edition

The Watergate Plumbers. Photo Credit: Wally McNamee/Corbis, via History Commons

Forty years ago today five men were sitting in a District of Columbia jail. They were accused of having broken into Democratic National Committee headquarters, a suite of rented rooms in the Watergate office complex which turned out to contain little of value for the Committee to Re-Elect the President (known, incredibly, as CREEP.) But the botched burglary, and most importantly the administration’s determination to cover it up, made history. In 1974, Richard Milhouse Nixon became the first American president to resign from office.

Coordinated by former national security operatives G. Gordon Liddy and Howard E. Hunt, the event was ultimately revealed as one of many illegal operations coming out of the White House. These…

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August 19, 2011, 10:36 pm

Putting The Exceptionalism Back In: Does Sarah Palin Have A Shot At the Nomination?

Photo credit: Ed Reinke, AP

We at Tenured Radical were skimming the Daily Kos today and stumbled on a video made by Sarah Palin’s people as she was making a run through Iowa. But she wasn’t at the State Fair because she’s running for President, doggone it! (donate to her PAC here and get a free deep fried wedge of cheesecake!) Heck no.  She’s just setting the record straight and answering questions.  As she says in the video, she came to Iowa to listen to “the individual Americans who want the exceptionalism put back in this country.” Who knew that Governor Palin was a student of American Studies?  Somebody call Donald Pease!

“Hunter,” a pseudonymous blogger at the Kos thinks that this tour was just Palin’s narcissism playing out.  I don’t know why he thinks this, unless Palin is taking the Patrick…

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July 26, 2011, 6:33 pm

Who Needs A Faculty Advisor When You Can Have An Adaptive Advising Tool?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving Tennessee a $1 million grant to help college students take the most efficient steps to a degree. The grant will fund a new computerized advising program….The computer software looks at students’ transcripts and experience and suggests areas the student may be interested in – and the courses to take to follow that path. Joe White, Nashville Public Radio, July 26, 2011

When the neoliberal education professionals adjunctified higher education, I always wondered how they were going to solve the problem of not having full-time faculty available to actually meet with students. Now we know:  getting a good grade in a course will be similar to clicking “Like” on Facebook; students can be advised by a computer to take other courses like that one.  Thanks to the Gates Foundation, students at Austin Peay State University will also be…

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May 26, 2011, 1:16 pm

Isn’t It Time To Bring The State Back In? Thoughts On The Recent Pew Report On Higher Ed

If you have a Google alert on “college,” as I do, you will know that the last week has been filled with pundits weighing in on the question of whether college is a worthwhile investment.  This is because, on May 16, the Pew Center released a new report called  “Is Higher Education Worth It?  College Presidents, Public Assess Value, Quality and Mission of Higher Education.” Highlight: although every feature of the report addresses the wreckage that privatization and cutting public education budgets has created over the last two decades, the report never suggests that getting the government back into the business of funding higher education would be a good start to solving any of these problems.

Now, although I always find what the Pew Center has to say interesting, as a researcher my first question about the study is this.  Putting aside the fact that there could be no demographics more…

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December 20, 2010, 3:13 pm

This Is My Weapon, This Is My Gun: A Gay Primer For Worried Straights In The Military

“Simply because you’re near me, I’m in the mood for love!” Credit.

This is my rifle, this is my gun;
One is for fighting, one is for fun.
The Rifleman’s Creed, 1941

Want to know whether repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is good policy?  Why listen to the generals or the Secretary of Defense?  Go ask an expert — an 18 year-old boy in South Carolina.

In today’s Grey Lady, James Dao goes to Jacksonville, South Carolina to do just that.  Although a few young soldiers offered indifferent or positive responses to the question, “Would you want to share a foxhole with one?” (another version of, “Would you want your daughter to marry one?”) others are worried.  Among the memorable quotes are:

From an 18 year-old soldier who says he is socially comfortable with gays: “They won’t hold up well in combat.”

From a 22 year-old soldier who has served a tour in Afghanistan: “Coming from a combat unit, …

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November 18, 2010, 3:28 am

Disciplining Your Class: How Not To Go About It

Mark P. Talbert, a senior lecturer at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, is having a bad week.  Not only did he go berserk in front of his class, the episode was recorded by a university video system, which means the quality is better than what is produced by your average cell phone held in the air by a student.  Oh yeah, and it also means the tape is in possession of university officials, who are investigating, according to Inside Higher Ed.  Talbert’s little breakdown was triggered by a very loud, and I suppose facetious, yawn.  Roll the videotape!

If it isn’t bad enough that Talbert exposed his students to this ill-humored rant (my favorite part is where he tells the class that they are just going to stay there until the culprit confesses), he has now exposed himself to the slings and arrows of everyone on the Internet too, and many of them are ROTFLTAO.  A discussion of the…

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April 8, 2010, 3:13 pm

The First Casualty Of War

This video of two Reuters news staff, two children and numerous unarmed bystanders (including a van that tried to assist the wounded) being being shot at and killed by a US military helicopter in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad will resonate for those of us old enough to remember the senseless cruelty of the Viet Nam War. As in Viet Nam, the lies begin with the soldiers on the ground and then trickle up.

It’s long and tedious, as well as graphic, but worth watching. It was obtained by Reuters with great difficulty via the Freedom Of Information Act, and sent to me by one of my students. For additional information, see Wikileaks.