David Thompson
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August 30, 2011

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Sam

I’ve been listening to Radio 4’s rural soap The Archers,

Er, why?

David

“Er, why?”

Long car journeys. Through the countryside.

Hey, I’m complicated.

carbon based lifeform

Here's one. Policing the 'peaceful' Notting Hill carnival…

http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/londoners-discover-that-they-can-have-a-good-time-without-rioting/

Jethro Boollian

"DEDICATION
To Mom, Dad, Craig, and all of my special friends:
Thank-you for loving me and always making me feel good about myself."

Well, wasn't that nice of them.

lovegoats

Michelle Obama's multisyllabic bitchfest - stuck her head up her ar$e and described the view in 50 pages of double-space.

John Holland

"Lawn Boy Meets Valley Girl: Gender and the Suburbs"
"Queering the Alamo"
"Ethnopornography"

Actually, I think these academicians deserve praise for being honest about themselves: they all sound like they write their courses with one hand down their trousers.

David

lovegoats,

Well, it takes remarkable unrealism and self-preoccupation to write a degree thesis that’s in effect about yourself and how difficult it is to be a middle-class black woman in one of the most comfortable, privileged and racially coddling environments in human history.


John,

As I said in the post about Pete Sigal, you can’t help thinking his talents would be more suited to churning out genre-bending homoerotic romps filled with bare-chested marines and spear-wielding savages. Which would at least be a more honest living than his current position.

sackcloth and ashes

David, I recommend Radio Five. I've long since discovered that Jimmy Arnfield beats the hell out of a tired soap which has as much to do with country life as 'Spooks' has to do with the realities of counter-intelligence.

David

sackcloth,

I started listening to The Archers ironically, as it were, but I’ve a horrible feeling I’m now invested in it. I can name most of the characters.

sackcloth and ashes

The 'City Journal' piece is fantastic, particularly the following:

'The biggest question raised by the Great Courses’ success is: Does the curriculum on campuses look so different because undergraduates, unlike adults, actually demand postcolonial studies rather than the Lincoln-Douglas debates? Every indication suggests that the answer is no. “If you say to kids, ‘We’re doing the regendering of medieval Europe,’ they’ll say, ‘No, let’s do medieval kings and queens,’ ” asserts Allitt. “Most kids want classes on the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, World War I, and the American Civil War.”'

David, I teach military and diplomatic history as part of my job, and what strikes me in UK academia is that while both fields are viewed with disdain by many bien-pensant lecturers they remain popular with students. It is quite striking that 'queer theory', po-mo and other fads survive in academia despite - not because of - student attitudes.

You might also want to read the following:

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2008/04/03/why-dont-colleges-teach-military-history_print.html

David

sackcloth,

Thanks, will add it to my list.

mojo

I'm pretty sure "Queering the Alamo" is an unlawful act in Texas.

Peeing on it sure as hell is.

sackcloth and ashes

Well according to the wisdom of GySgt Hartmann, only steers and queers come from Texas ;o)

rabbit

A good thing about the "great stagnation" is that some of the worst abuses of post-colonial post-modern post-intellectual ultra-political scholarship may be brought to heal. Students might actually start demanding value for their money.

Rich Rostrom

To be fair, I didn't find the future FLotUS's language anywhere near as opaque as the academic charlatans you have quoted here. This is based on skimming half dozen random paragraphs in the first 30-odd pages.

OTOH, I found several obvious writing errors ("predominate" for "predominant", "questionning", "reconstruction" - uncapitalized - for the post-Civil War, period, "desparation").

I don't fault her for coining neologisms to refer to people with particular attitude clusters - it saved a lot of typing.


I do wonder what there was in this thesis to make the University of Chicago give her a $100,000/year job as "Director of Diversity Outreach" (and a subsequent raise to $300,000/year). Her performance in the job must have been mindblowing. When she departed in 2009, the U of C didn't even try to find a replacement.

David Gillies

Rich: that her thesis is not as opaque as the writings of, say, Jacques Lacan or Luce Iragary or Gilles Deleuze is not to confer any merit on her work. That her writing is more comprehensible does not mask the fact that it reads like it was written by a simpleton. If it were written at the late high-school stage its vapid pretentiousness and ungrammatical meandering might possibly be excused as the greenness of an as-yet incompletely formed mind and the necessary pomposity of youth. But it's not. This is the major contribution to the academic output of a student in her final year of study at one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It's so sub-par as to be insulting - and not just to us, but to Michelle Obama herself.

David

Rich,

“I do wonder what there was in this thesis to make the University of Chicago give her a $100,000/year job as ‘Director of Diversity Outreach’…”

It’s hard to see much merit in Mrs Obama’s thesis, unless narcissism and unrealism are now considered credentials. But the “diversity” industry does employ quite a few racists. To say nothing of obnoxious and cartoonish idiots and opportunist parasites. And these shortcomings are not coincidental, they’re a function of the job.

Which may answer your question in a roundabout way.

Col. Milquetoast

“I ought to have looked up the Manhattan Institute [City Journal’s publisher] before I replied to your first e-mail,” he wrote. “I cannot in good conscience contribute in any way to any project associated with an institution which rejects everything I believe. It says something about the undeclared civil war in U.S. life that I have to say that to you.”

I wonder what exactly he thinks it says about the "undeclared civil war in U.S. life..."

The City Journal is, of course, a favorite amongst of the world's super-villains and people with secret underground lairs.

sackcloth and ashes

'I ought to have looked up the Manhattan Institute [City Journal’s publisher] before I replied to your first e-mail,” he wrote. “I cannot in good conscience contribute in any way to any project associated with an institution which rejects everything I believe. It says something about the undeclared civil war in U.S. life that I have to say that to you'.

A couple of years back I got an invitation from Press TV (the English language service of the Iranian state broadcasting agency) asking me to attend a study debate on Iraq. I told them to poke it, because I didn't want to be associated with (1) the mouthpiece of a regime which murdered its critics and (2) any institution (such as Press) which supported Holocaust denial.

I wonder if the academic in question would have said 'yes' if he'd received the same invite?

David

“The City Journal is, of course, a favourite amongst the world’s super-villains and people with secret underground lairs.”

Heh. And actual, classical liberalism is indigestible to so many of academia’s so-called “liberals.”

Fred

Re. Michelle O's writing. Her hubby is also hardly Shakespeare. Try the...er...only example of his unaided penmanship yet discovered: http://www.hlrecord.org/2.4475/record-retrospective-obama-on-affirmative-action-1.577511?pagereq=1

And people wonder why his university transcript and thesis are firmly under wraps...

The Unspeakable In Full Pursuit Of The Unreadable

Michelle's thesis should have been entitled: "Is it cos I is Black?"

Rich Rostrom

And these shortcomings are not coincidental, they’re a function of the job.

Which may answer your question in a roundabout way.

The question was a rhetorical one.

Mrs. Obama was hired by U of C when Mr. Obama became a state senator. Her salary was trebled when Mr. Obama became a U.S. Senator.

And since she departed to take up the duties of First Lady, the position has been vacant.

I rather doubt that anyone even looked at her thesis.

It might be interesting to look at the correspondence and other work product of her office during her employment at U. of C.

If any.

HD

Why not link to some of Cashill's other work, such as his theory that Obama is the illegitimate son of Jimi Hendrix?

At this point linking to Goldstein is little better than toying with the mentally ill.

sackcloth and ashes

I should have commented on this remark as well:

'In its emphasis on teaching, the company differs radically from the academic world, where “teaching is routinely stigmatized as a lower-order pursuit, and the ‘real’ academic work is research,” notes Allen Guelzo, an American history professor at Gettysburg College'.

This is a curse. Good research feeds good teaching, and vice versa. A tutor who can inject his or her own work into a lecture or seminar can show students that they're not just regurgitating texts, and that they have had a proactive role in expanding (even to a miniscule degree) the bounds of their discipline. In turn, interaction with students - in the form of Q&A, classroom debate, criticisms and insights - should actually spur research and inspire academics to be more critical and rigorous in their own studies ...

... at least, that's what's supposed to be happening.

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