Monthly Archives: October 2018


Remember our football players, saying rude things about a political candidate in the locker room when they did not know they could be heard? That is what I would call free speech in the first place, and youthful high jinks at worst. Yet they did not get away with it, and it is possible some could have been 17. The new Supreme Court Justice, however, is not destined for a pleasant afterlife.

And here is the slightly overwrought, yet convincing article on how capitalism necessarily implodes into fascism AND causes eco-disaster, which in turn becomes a final solution and is thus welcomed and encouraged, even though that seems illogical and even suicidal on its face.


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On the corporatization

…and adjunctification.

Part-time faculty and academic values.
Patrick O’Donnell’s bibliography (very comprehensive, with many important-sounding titles I did not know of or am not familiar enough with).

KEY is that the institutions are not OK (note how the Wall Street Journal has endorsed torture supporter and Amazon Basin destroyer Bolsonaro for President of Brazil, for instance, calling him a “swamp drainer“).

Then, there is this piece on climate change and fascism, which has basically convinced me one must be a committed socialist. What interests me in particular is what it says about the workings of ideology. Emphasis is added here, and I believe I have seen another version of the piece. The author, in that version, goes on to say that eco-disaster is courted and desired because it is a “final solution” — the world is rid of those climate disasters drove to migrate.

Noam Chomsky has said that the Republican “party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand,” with modern fascism directly correlated to the increasing chaos of climate change itself. Roy Scranton in We’re Doomed. Now What? writes that as the “gap between the future we’re entering and the future we once imagined grows ever wider, nihilism takes root in the shadow of our fear…. [Y]ou can see it in the pull to nationalism, sectarianism, war, and racial hatred. We see it in the election of Donald Trump.”

What must be reckoned with is how this situation was directly engendered by industrial capitalism, and in particular by the partisans of its most extreme ideological manifestations of libertarianism and neoliberalism who have provided cover for policies that have enflamed the crisis. Past centuries were circumscribed by their worldviews . . . but while our adherence to the market is as all-encompassing as a Babylonian’s loyalty to Marduk, it is only our dark religion which actually threatens Armageddon.

Unfettered, unregulated, capricious, vampiric capitalism has brought us to the brink, and the mass inability to comprehend this fact evidences how ingrained said ideology is. Our blinders are such that human tragedy that is attributable directly to our economic system is often naturalized as simply being “The way that things are,” thus precluding even the possibility of different ways of arranging our world. Deathdue to differing ideologies is always interpreted as conscious and preventable, but capitalist tragedy is simply understood as how life operates.

While admitting that capitalism provided for unprecedented class mobility and technological innovation, an honest consideration of its death toll in any hypothetical Black Book of Capitalism would have to include not just the obvious fatalities of those who died in industrial accidents . . . but indeed the victims of colonialism, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and of fascismo corporativo, which is simply capitalism driven to its horrifying end.

Invisibility of such atrocities through normalization is a species of what the philosopher Louis Althusser termed “interpellation,” that is to say that we’re all molded subjects of the ideology that governs our world so that we mostly hold uncritical assumptions about capitalism’s normativity. Writer William T. Vollmann addresses future generations in his new tome on climate change Carbon Ideologies, explaining that “We all lived for money, and that is what we died for.” As 2040 approaches our ignorance is a form of collective suicide.


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“Opportunity cost?”

So I have a truly major speaker coming, a project I did not think would be a good use of my time but that others wanted done, and they have now quit their roles in making the event truly happen well. On the other hand, I am being told I am doing a wonderful job leading the relevant organization and unit.

I am conflicted about this because it cuts into research time. Irritated. But where time is really wasted is in negotiating with the people who want to waste my time, and in non-pleasurable, but also non-work time I spend when I feel used and humiliated by those who are trying to waste my time for me.

Then I think: I am foolish to have accepted this general project. This causes me to feel unworthy to do my own work. But I should have accepted it, I can do it and my own work. What I should do is stop giving power to people who are wasting my time and energy.

Also, for others, the classic model works: research first, teaching next, and no service. But I am an activist, and know it is wrong. I am ashamed of it and want to go away, to where this characteristic is not a sign of inferiority. But mostly I feel ashamed when people tell me my time is not as valuable as theirs.


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Plus jamais

Something I really dislike that men do at work is go into hysterical fits about how the institution is dying and only I can help save it, beg me to help them with a major institution-saving project, convince me to commit to it 50%, and then forget about their 50% … and THEN act irritated that my 50% has been done, making them look bad since they have not come through on theirs. I must be terribly, inappropriately powerful to have been able to do anything, and I am very cruel because I have, in their view, shown them up.

I am not willing to put up with this any more.


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Emotions around this project and related ones

…that make me want to avoid it. Shame, which causes lethargy and withdrawal, which causes avoidance. Meanwhile, more interestingly:

…trauma, anger, repression, self-recrimination, rebellion, claustrophobia, impatience, restlessness, desire to explore, desire to live, desire not to be entombed

…I really need to unpack all of this.


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Podem-me prender, and so on

Here are 45 pages on Trump’s tax fraud case in New York.

Meanwhile, I am trying to work on my much more mundane activism cases. I have these notes:

The AAUP, if it goes into a “death spiral,” will not do so for lack of money but because people leading it do not admit how far things have gotten, how far gone everything is.

Message development for organizing and recruiting: AAUP core principles are key to a free university, free inquiry, and a democratic society.

“Adjunct” is not an ontological category, but a political one.

The question is, are we for a critical university?


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C’était quoi?

Kavanaugh and his friends say it doesn’t matter, these things don’t matter, they’re rites of passage for men, and they say this while, in some cases, also defending rights of rapists to prevent their victims from aborting. It’s the whole package that has people disgusted.

I do tend to agree that K.’s record, and the actual reasons for putting him in, should not have been overshadowed.

In all the discussion what I think people lose sight of is that it’s NOT a criminal case (those standards of evidence don’t apply) and also not JUST a job interview. It’s a permanent judgeship on the highest court. There are codes of conduct and standards for these positions that aren’t the same as those you follow. They ask for more.

And I don’t buy the idea that this is a slippery slope toward unreasonable scrutiny of all job candidates, nor that I owe this person solidarity because we job candidates need to look past differences and hang together so we do not hang separately. I don’t owe solidarity to Avital Ronell, either.

If these people had any solidarity they wouldn’t act as they do, and if Kavanaugh were a patriot he’d have stepped out of this fight so that the court could retain some credibility. But no — he’s for himself and Trump, period. Disgusting.



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