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January 21, 2016

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Tim Newman

Somewhat related, via Tim Blair:

Americans are flooding the government with appeals to have their student loans forgiven on the grounds that schools deceived them with false promises of a well-paying career—part of a growing protest against years of surging college costs.

In the past six months, more than 7,500 borrowers owing $164 million have applied to have their student debt expunged under an obscure federal law that had been applied only in three instances before last year. The law forgives debt for borrowers who prove their schools used illegal tactics to recruit them, such as by lying about their graduates’ earnings.

Heh!

bilbaoboy

@Tim Newman

So it looks like we (not actually me, cos I'm in Spain, but you know what I mean)end up paying enormous amounts for crap choices by stupid people for them to have a whale of a time over 3 years, while my kids, who I am paying to go through university to become engineers (cos THEY want to) is entirely on my tab.

Effing great!

David

The idea that investing time and money in a degree course requires careful choice is for some quite upsetting.

Tim Newman

@bilbaoboy,

Well, yes. It looks as though universities, like so much else (e.g. NGOs, state departments, large corporations), are in no small part straightforward welfare programmes for people who cannot produce anything of value. It would be nice to say the private sector is exempt from this, but poke your nose into any large organisation and see how many people are employed in "compliance" or "support services" roles, far removed from the activities which actually bring in the revenues.

The Sage

Of course universities have become welfare programs -- the whole "50% to uni" thing was no more than a means of massaging the youth unemployment figures, and paying them the dole indirectly.

Watcher In The Dark

I have no link, but there was a story of an American guy a few years ago who loved puppets and puppet shows, so he gave up his reasonably paid job as a teacher to go back to Uni and study puppetry. Naturally he was convinced being a better puppeteer would open up more lucrative doors once he graduated because that's what a degree does, right?

Um... The story related that Mr Puppet! was unable to turn his new degree into wads of cash, and he eventually he took a job teaching for half the money he had been earning before.

R. Sherman

In the dentition paper:

Using irony by blending arrogance and ignorance . . .

Thanks for letting us know.

R. Sherman

Oh, and architecture is not just queer! It's theatrical and feminist!!!!!!

Fuck if I haven't lived for over half a century thinking that architecture was a just a means of getting out of the weather.

bilbaoboy

'Architecture is just a means of getting out of the weather'

Great, thanks!

Now that is going to upset a few of my arty friends!!!

Anna

“neoliberal” orgasms and the “technology of sexiness.”

David

I was also tickled by the indignant tweeted replies from several Clown Quarter academics, variously suggesting that (a) it’s bad form and anti-intellectual to draw attention to what sounds like laughable pretension, and (b) that if the paper in question is by a female author then laughing at its verbiage is probably sexist. You see, excusing bafflegab and then assuming sexism based on nothing isn’t at all anti-intellectual.

Rob

Tim,

Unfortunately 'compliance' is quite important. It may not generate revenue, but without such departments to fight off predatory state agencies it can easily cost gazillions of dollars.

jabrwok

When I read "feminist architecture", am I a bad person for thinking "tunnels?"?

After all, if skyscrapers are phallic symbols...

Captain Nemo

More and more I become convinced that much of modern academic thought (I use the term "thought" loosely) is a kind of semi-structured, syntactic Dadaism. And the goal is not to create or disseminate truth, but to obscure it, to surround it with an impenetrable wall of jargon and empty, incomprehensible buzzwords. Of course, this then allows a certain type of academic to feel superior to those mere mortals who regard the pursuit of clarity and comprehension as noble ideals to which all should aspire.

David

a kind of semi-structured, syntactic Dadaism.

I’m reluctant to say much about the items above without downloading them in full, and that sounds like a waste of both money and mental effort.

But based on past experience, the general idea seems to be to deploy lots of needless neologisms, strained metaphors, and endless, very mannered verbal contortion in order to obscure begged questions and baseless assertions. Faced with what appears to be a carefully disorganised pile of language, the claims made in a paper – usually affirming leftist assumptions - can be difficult to parse logically and therefore difficult to contest. If a thing is barely intelligible, and deliberately so, it’s difficult to determine exactly how wrong it is. And so, for some, it’s a way to assert things with little risk of rebuttal, while sounding terribly clever, at least in certain quarters.

And you can imagine the kinds of people to whom that might appeal.

PiperPaul

Has the stupid always been there but we only see it now because internet or is the stupid growing?

Hedgehog

Unfortunately 'compliance' is quite important. It may not generate revenue, but without such departments to fight off predatory state agencies it can easily cost gazillions of dollars.

I am reminded of an article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years back in which they reported that during an earnings call in 2012 JP Morgan Chase disclosed that they would be hiring 13,000 employees in compliance over the period 2012-2014. All of whom, as Tim Newman points out above, clearly do nothing for revenue, but who certainly subtract from the bottom line. Of course, and unlike the clown quarters of academia and the wastelands of government, JP Morgan wasn't doing that in order to pad their staffing numbers, but as a response to the new regulatory roadblocks put up by the Dodd-Frank legislation, thus effectively to keep the senior executives out of jail and to keep the remaining income out of the grubby paws of the US government.

Pace idiots like Krugman, who continues to spout off his inanities in the pages of the New York Times, this regulatory insanity is one of the main reasons why labor productivity in the US has come to a crawl. When you have to pay an army of people to produce nothing of value except mountains of paperwork, you really shouldn't be expecting anything different.

WTP

hiring 13,000 employees in compliance over the period 2012-2014. All of whom, as Tim Newman points out above, clearly do nothing for revenue, but who certainly subtract from the bottom line
...
Pace idiots like Krugman

And to Keynesians like Krugman, that's a feature not a bug. "See how many jobs we've created?" Idiots.

Lisboeta

I guess we should thank Amir Sariaslan for wading through that garbage! 'Cos, if he hadn't, we wouldn't have been aware of some of the nonsense that -- nowadays -- passes for 'academic research'.

Chester Draws

On the plus side, because so many of these academics are important and the stuff they produce is urgent and vital they don't just give it away. But place it in pay-walled journals.

So it is basically unavailable to the world. Which is a blessing really.

One of the more peculiar arguments you can have is with an academic who has bought into the current academic publishing, trying to get them to explain why it is good that important information is locked away from public view. (Note that lots of the better academics despise the current system.)

Meanwhile others who write in plain language and put their stuff on the web get their message out.

David

It’s worth noting this isn’t just a few students with an aversion to readable prose and clear argument. These rhetorical stylings are encouraged, the papers are peer-reviewed and at least one of the culprits is a department head.

mojo

Not so much "seduced by “queer architecture theory,” as "would like to be warned before being exposed to".

Captain Nemo

To be fair, the “queer architecture theory” does have some merit, especially if one looks at the London skyline, which is a veritable riot of architectural gayness. The Gherkin? A massive dildo. The Walkie-Talkie? A giant butt-plug. ArcelorMittal Orbit? Anal beads. Etc, etc. What? I can't be the only one who's noticed...

svh

Everything is 'problematic'...

https://twitter.com/DavidRutz/status/690279714930434050

guy

“using straight and white teeth as a metaphor for straight and White identity,”

Does that mean she gives the Brits a pass?

Jimmy

Does that mean she gives the Brits a pass?

I was wondering...

As for myself I was born with dentinogenesis imperfecta, and I'm too poor to afford extensive dental work. My quality of life has suffered considerably due to this condition. Unfortunately this deficit probably does not exclude me from being identified as morally and spiritually inferior.

Tim Newman

Unfortunately 'compliance' is quite important. It may not generate revenue, but without such departments to fight off predatory state agencies it can easily cost gazillions of dollars.

Well yes, in one sense they are important. But as WTP hints, this would also be true if the company employed lots of glaziers who repaired the windows when government thugs were sent around to break them at weekends. My point is that although compliance is important under the current conditions, as Hedgehog says, they are not contributing to the added value of the overall business - they are a cost which comes straight off the bottom line. I've seen companies where well over half of the headcount are in some sort of compliance or "support" role (which is nothing of the sort) and only a handful directly involved in doing the activities which actually bring in the revenues. The whole culture of the organisation is completely aware of how the company makes money, and snotty accounting clerks bark orders at people as if their own positions existed in their own sake.

Tim Newman

The whole culture of the organisation is completely UNaware

sackcloth and ashes

'... neo-liberal ...'

'You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means'.

David

‘...neo-liberal...’ ‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means’.

Quite. It doesn’t inspire confidence in what follows. But as shown in the links upthread, it’s a disreputable idiom even by the standards of leftist academia. It’s frequently used by people who like to start halfway through a supposedly formal argument – asserting things without questioning or establishing any of their root assumptions, or even defining their terms, which are bewilderingly elastic – before skipping ahead to a conclusion that hasn’t actually been earned. Again, the chosen style seems intended to hide assumptions, rather than risk exposing them.

Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK

Watcher in the Dark, here's the puppet idiot: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/282239/occupy-sesame-street-plight-joe-puppeteer-shannen-w-coffin

David

Damn that neoliberalism.

jaed

as, for instance, when pondering “neoliberal” orgasms and the “technology of sexiness.”

"...the neoliberalism of technology..."
"...the sexiness of neoliberalism..."
"...the technology of neoliberalism..."
"...the sexiness of technology..."
"...the neoliberalism of sexiness..."

And there's five more academic papers for you!

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