October 12, 2014, 3:08 pm

Sexy Darwin

EvolutionI want to start this post, which is really about science and it’s various discontents, by saying: The Nation, a publication to which I am extremely loyal, does not publish enough in its regular edition, or even its blogs about LGBT people. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that it is no longer fashionable on the left, especially among radical queers, to push publications like The Nation to take LGBT people’s politics,or their lives, seriously. Despite the fact that millions of queers are homeless, poor, racially and sexually discriminated against, there appears to be a general consensus that in the hierarchy of global and national suffering, we simply do not rank.

But you do have to credit The Nation with publishing more about sex in the last few years.  JoAnn Wypijewski is doing a great job with the Carnal Knowledge feature, and no longer a backup to Katha…

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October 9, 2014, 9:23 am

History Listmania, Thursday Edition

tee-rhrOnce You Get A History BA, Don’t Forget To Go to Wall Street: That font of scholarly wisdom, USA Today, weighs in with the top ten colleges where you should go to major in history. You will be shocked – shocked! – to learn that six of them are Ivy League Universities, all but two are private schools, and only one (William and Mary) is a liberal arts college. Why? To summarize, you should study history at these schools because they “are highly competitive and attract both excellent students and well-respected faculty. Many of the schools are Ivy League institutions that have a reputation for providing the finest education available, leading students towards prosperous careers.”

Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but those highly prosperous careers are probably not in history. As Karen Ho points out in Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Duke, 2009), Wall Street recruits…

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October 2, 2014, 11:41 am

Department of Not-Useful Research: “Women” Prefer “Gay Porn”

18724101Remember that scene at the beginning of The Kids Are Alright (Lisa Cholodenko, 2010), in which “the moms” watch gay male porn while their attempt to perform lesbian sex is a total fail? I remember my creeping embarrassment at this scene, not because of the porn but because I hate lesbian bed death jokes. It turns out that I missed the point. Amanda Duberman at The Huffington Post reported yesterday that women’s taste in pornography runs away from violence and “female friendly” products (whatever that is), and runs heavily towards queer porn featuring men and women. As it also turns out, Cholodenko was offering me  information – in addition to signaling that the whole movie would be a lesbian bed death joke.

Silly me. You have to understand: I write about porn, I research porn, I have friends and former students who make porn, and I’ve got a book manuscript under revision that …

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September 28, 2014, 1:55 pm

When Gerda Lerner Calls, Answer

UW-Madison_history_professor_Gerda_LernerBecause it’s always Women’s History Month here at Tenured Radical, I’m happy to announce that Why Women Need to Climb Mountains – A Journey of Discovery with Dr. Gerda Lerner, the documentary about this pioneering historian of women, is well on its way to completion.  But we need your help.

As Director Renata Keller and producer Kathy Bayer write,

We’re thrilled to have completed production on the first and only documentary about pioneering feminist historian Dr. Gerda Lerner. After 2 years of hard work, navigating financial and practical challenges, and unfortunately losing Gerda in the middle of filming, we’re very happy to have come this far.

We’ve received financial support from foundations in Austria and the US, as well as generous individuals worldwide – and we still need to raise $62,000 (48,000 euros) to edit and complete the film this winter. We hope to…

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September 25, 2014, 4:00 pm

Hello? No, Ello!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 3.56.05 PMAs if we at Tenured Radical did not spend enough time on Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts, Skype and blogging, now there is this Ello thing. Ello? Ello is a new social networking site that advertises itself as “totally ad-free. Ello does not sell data about you to third parties, including advertisers and data brokers,” they promise.

News of this Ello started popping up in my Facebook feed last week. Queer academic colleagues were vowing to leave the Big Blue Monster because of a policy that forces San-Francisco based drag queens to use their legal names. It is not just drag queens, and has only been enforced in the Bay Area: I think Facebook is forcing everyone everywhere to use their legal name, but drag queens and friends of drag queens are particularly incensed about it for obvious reasons. Because everyone who is Leftish makes policy with their feet and their pocketbooks…

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September 21, 2014, 10:43 am

Becuz the Marketplace? Obama Administration Persists In Higher Ed Fumble

reality is overratedIn today’s New York Times, Susan Dynarski politely explains why the latest Obama administration plan to address the high cost of college without any public finding is a neoliberal farce. Because affording higher ed is all about having the information to make responsible choices! Once you know that, is there anything else the federal government could do?

Well, one strategy would be to not misrepresent the origins of the tuition problem: shrinking public dollars for higher education. Dynarski frames this about as clearly as an education writer could without saying outright that  covering up cost-shifting to students and their parents is a scandal of epic proportions, and the Obama administration is now complicit in that scandal by offering up a version of Consumer Reports and hoping that no one notices for at least two years that it is not a plan. It is not a policy either, except …

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September 20, 2014, 6:19 pm

Why Neoliberal Labor Practices Harm Working Students

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Ronald is probably running from his shift to a class at the local community college.

Is anyone talking about the fact that students don’t graduate from college in a timely way not because they work,  but because the nature of the work students do has changed dramatically?

This afternoon, I was reading this excellent article by William Finnegan about fast food workers’ labor activism. Finnegan is not only an outstanding reporter, he has a talent for weaving in critical details that enrich a story without derailing it. One of these is that people resign from professional jobs in Latin America and Caribbean countries to earn $7-$8.00 an hour at a McDonalds in New York. The article begins with the burden of “just in time” scheduling software, through which workers are scheduled — or unscheduled — at the last…

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September 16, 2014, 10:03 pm

University News Roundup: Blood, Ashes, Rape and Murder

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It’s. On. The. Syllabus.

The semester is off to a great start! In university news, we have:

He Is The One Who Knocks: The Washington Times reports that Georgetown undergrad Daniel Milzman has pleaded guilty to manufacturing the deadly poison ricin, and will be sentenced on November 10. Prosecutors claim he got the idea from the hit teevee series “Breaking Bad.” Colleagues: has the chemistry major been spiking since this show became a hit? Are your students suddenly turning up managing the local car wash? Enquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday: Cleveland.com reports that the president of the Ohio University student senate was challenged to the ALS ice bucket thingie by OU President Roderick McDavis. All in good fun, right? Not so fast. On September 2, Megan Marzec posted a video of herself…

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September 15, 2014, 11:44 am

Here She Comes, Miss (Zombie) America

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Feminist protesters on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, 1968

In case you are interested, Miss New York, Kira Kazantsev, was crowned Miss America 2015 last night. This makes the third Miss America in a row to be a New Yorker. Fittingly, she also bears a remarkable resemblance to the late Joan Rivers.

In case you are still interested, go here to read an incoherent post by a former beauty queen (now a “relationship expert”) about why feminists should not shame the pageant contestants for wanting to be pretty. If feminists don’t like the pageant, she argues, we feminists can send the contestants to college ourselves. Listen, my sweet, we do: it’s called paying taxes.

And in case you are not yet sated with Miss America trivia, you can read about the fact that Miss Ohio, MacKenzie Bart, wanted to be the first…

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September 8, 2014, 10:01 am

Kennedy to Native American Studies Critic: Drop Dead

Ford_to_CityOK, University of Illinois Board of Trustees chair Chris Kennedy did not exactly say that to University of Minnesota Native American Studies scholar Jean O’Brien, who had written to express her distress over the Steven Salaita #HireFire.

But Gerald Ford didn’t say “drop dead” to New YOrk City either, and it made an awesome headline as one of the cultural and financial capitals of the world was skidding into bankruptcy in the spring of 1975. Didn’t it? In fact, all Ford was trying to do was sacrifice the health and welfare of a major American city in order to send a not-so-subtle message to the conservative wing of his part that he wasn’t a panty-waist Rockefeller Republican.

Christopher Kennedy might want to think about what this colossal error in judgment is costing him. For example, Gerald Ford didn’t get to be president, much longer, did he? If being misquoted can cost you your…

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