Category Archives: the Radical is Too Much

October 31, 2010, 3:21 pm

Trick Or Treat At Tenured Radical: What Will You Be Wearing?

Will you get candy — or a rock?  Illustration hat tip.

We at Tenured Radical, normally so generous to the constituencies for whom this holiday is the apex of the year (little children, gay folk, college students) detest Halloween.  We feel foolish when we dress up.  We think candy is too expensive.  Despite the fact that we are known to consume it, we also think candy is unhealthy.  We resent the vast federal subsidies that go to an already fiscally plump sugar and corn syrup industry at a time when ordinary Americans are losing their houses and the basic requirements for living a healthy life are so difficult for the poor to access.  In 2007, the Cato Institute estimated that sugar subsidies alone would cost taxpayers $1.4 billion over a decade; and that consumers of the numerous products containing sugar would pay a $1.7 billion annual surcharge because of these price supports.  Corn, …

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October 16, 2008, 12:28 pm

Whatever We Can Do To Help Department

Yesterday all of us in the Zenith Community received a message from (Not So) New President saying that the economic situation is grave in our part of the world, and will be for a while. Personally, I like it when someone will just admit that things are bad. It also increases my capacity for trust in the Authorities to be reassured that the people in charge feel that they know what they are doing. The message states directly that any budgets cuts, difficult as they may be to swallow, will be across the board; no part of the university will be spared or favored. “All of us,” (Not So) New President notes in this email, “will be asked to make sacrifices.”

This, of course, strikes me as a brilliant solution, one that neither the Obama or the McCain campaign came up with in last night’s debate. But we historians in the Center for the Americas, given our hemispheric perspective, are…

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September 11, 2008, 1:36 am

Department of Thin Skins

You would never know from this report in the Chronicle of Higher Education that the final decision on who the next president will be will not be up to our New Jersey political history colleague Sean Wilentz. I mean, give me a break. He works on the nineteenth century guys. Why would Ohio, Pennsylvania and — from what I hear today, Nevada — be waiting breathlessly on what a historian of the nineteenth century United States thinks? It’s we twentieth century scholars you need to keep a close eye on to make sure we toe the party line.

Which I am toe-ing relentlessly, despite the fact that I too share Wilentz’s doubts about the claims that are being made in the name of liberalism (if not his desire to do the Chicken Little thing in the middle of what most of us perceive as a life-or-death national moment.) And in better election news, my sky blue Obama ’08 cap arrived today, along with…

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May 16, 2008, 1:37 pm

A Queer Day in History: The Radical Celebrates Her Birthday By Revealing A Variety of Well-Known and Little-Known Facts About May 16

It is no coincidence that we wake up this morning and find that gay men and lesbians in the state of California have, once again, been permitted to marry legally, this time via a split decision of the California Supreme Court. This is an historic event that bitter, angry people at the grassroots in this odd western state hope to reverse by referendum, against mounting evidence that conservative heterosexuals in the United States care more about global warming, health insurance, the price of gasoline, and the failed war in Iraq than they care about Adam and Steve registering at “Tar-jay.” One referendum activist I saw on the news last night was predicting that this movement would doom Obama in California, as conservative voters flooded to the polls to save the family.

Mary, please.

It is, however, a fact that May 16 is a truly magical day in the year for queer folk. For example, half a…

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February 24, 2008, 10:38 pm

College on $50 a Day: It’s a Great Way to Fly

In “The Skies Are Alive With Fees”, the New York Times’ Joe Sharkey writes about Irish airline Ryanair’s cutthroat pricing system. Boasting fares as low as $30 round trip on some European routes, Ryanair is also “the world champion among airlines in generating extra cash by charging customers fees for services and products that most airlines include in the ticket price: checked bags, beverages and — for a time before the idea was dropped amid public outcry — even using a wheelchair.” What is called in business-speak “differential pricing,” I believe, is not unknown to American travelers. Recently United offered me the opportunity to pay $25 extra for more leg room; there are special travel categories where travelers who pay more are checked in faster; and instead of the cute meals in little plastic dishes we used to get before 9/11, as Sharkey points out, flight attendants sell…

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October 28, 2007, 8:41 pm

Conversations With My Spam File

When you have several different email accounts, you get different kinds of invasive email — otherwise known on the Mac as Junk, and on most commercial email servers as Spam. I have also noticed, since returning from the Sunshine State, where I did a whirlwind four day tour of relatives, that several of my posts have been hit by something I am told is a Spambot — something that trolls around looking for blogs to invade, and that leaves ambiguous posts that must be intended to entice people to click on the fake blog identity and give up their IP addresses. The spambot’s comments say things like “Wonderful post!” and “Great blog!” Little do they know that on an academic blog, this gives them away immediately — what academic do you know who can confine hirself to 3 words or less in a blog comment? Huh?

But the spam also differs from account to account. What I have noticed is that on my…

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May 31, 2007, 1:29 pm

Pass Go, Collect $200: the Paradox of the Radical or, Where the Grills Are

One of my most popular (ever) posts was on academic debt, unless you count all that negative attention I got from the Southern Cult of Balls (and Sticks): the debt piece got linked everywhere, and it had responses so numerous and interesting that I did a follow-up that also got linked elsewhere. One of my next most popular posts, only a week ago, was on publishing your first book: that has made the rounds big time, and comments keep dribbling in, days later, when everyone knows you get almost all your comments in the first 24 hours after a post.

Clearly I am on to something. What do these posts have in common? In different ways, they address the barriers to success, and the anxiety about whether those barriers are — or are not — surmountable.

So before I attack my Writing Work today, I would like to let you know a few things I have noticed about my own life that I would call Signs…

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