We continued discussion of the omgliekwhoa 4.5 and finished the play and there's the tragedy of the end and Prof. Oram was talking about how Aufidius is calculating from the very beginning of the union and it was making me sad. I was reminded of Emma and i talking recently about old skool Charles/Erik (Professor X and Magneto of the X-Men universe) and debating if it is the most tragic relationship evar. Canon narrative is of them on violently opposed sides, but back in the day they were very close friends, so you have this deeply tender relationship that you know even before you begin reading it is going to end tragically. I am in fact highly inclined to not read the pairing because it is so depressing. The only comparable relationship i can think of is if one did what Smallville is doing: have Clark and Lex be friends back in the day. But i don't think it's canon in any 'verse that they were friends back in the day. In X-Men it very much is.
Anyway, so class discussion was good but meanwhile part of my brain was thinking about all the work i hadn't done the past couple days and debating deferring grad school for 2 years to bartend and massage school. And then i got back my "But What If You Don't Like It?: The Role of Jaques in As You Like It" paper with the following comment accompanying the grade: "This is a very good rewrite, careful, independent and genuinely thoughtful. It's also a pleasure to read --- something important when one writes about comedy. I think you're a little hard on Jaques at the end of the play -- what he says to the various lovers is playful and generous -- but this is really good work. I think you might submit it for an English Dept. prize this spring."
And then i saw Danne, which was lovely.
And i had breakfast, which hadn't happened in days.
UMass discussion was good. We talked a lot about drugs, as has become usual. We also talked about religion, including the Lilith midrash and the theocratic nature of Tibet. Also from discussion: the editor of Maxim graduated from UMass with a Comp-Lit major; should Dunkin' Donuts have lox?; Hitler; Pox: Genius, Madness, and the Mysteries of Syphilis. And i got an extension on my paper.
I finally made myself start on my DSS paper. Realizing that it was a 6-8 rather than 8-10 page assignment was a pleasant surprise. But yeah, way to go having no bloody idea what i'm doing. *wants so badly to work on the Buffy/Bible/UPenn paper instead of all my real homework*
Grief counselor at tea today, so upon his arrival we all exited, with relative grace, and ended up having a hall party outside my door (since my door is across from the stairwell) and i learned that Corona is in fact not bad beer.
Lez made me go to ("The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe") mocktail. I wore my sparkly dress and my hot boots. My new theory is that entire purpose of a mocktail (besides the food and entertainment) is everyone dressing up pretty so we can all admire the pretty and compliment each other a bajillion times.
The Smith Vibes and Brown's Bear Necessities performed. The Bears weren't bad, but they weren't all that good either. And the Vibes were way hotter. However, "inspired by the Vibes," the Bears did Sarah McLachlan's "Ice Cream" (which the Vibes had done in their set) and the soloist was this cute little guy whom i hadn't noticed before (and when he made announcements later he so had a Doyle-Irish accent) and i was all aflutter during the whole thing. And they did Bruce Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia" which then the Vibes did in their second set -- "inspired" by the Bears, of course.
It's bad that i was listening to John Mayer's "No Such Thing" and lyrics like they love to tell you "stay inside the lines," but something's better on the other side made me all gayly asquee. The performative little Asian man did Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" and there was a synchronized dance routine in the background and it's hard to not get a gay vibe from that and i loved it.
pardalis05 says my house is the best on campus second only to her own :) And the hot chocolate was declared "sex in a cup." It was from that (not so new anymore) chocolate place on Green Street that people keep recommending to me, so i have decided that finally purchasing myself a hot chocolate there will be my reward to myself when i finish this semester.
I went upstairs around 10:30 with the theory of getting some work done now that the party was over. I took off my shoes and put on slippers and went to go to the bathroom and then there was a party in my hall and that finally ended *cough* around 4:30. Yeah platonic Cat-cuddling and conversation with a rotating cast of characters. Though now of course the odds of my actually getting substantial work done on evol paper on Saturday go way down since, ya know, sleep and all.
Reminder to self: Go to The Mysteries of Chris Van Allsburg exhibit over Jterm.
I got a River/Jayne ficlet over on serenity_santa! (Located here.) I haven't read it yet, but ::loves on the fact of its very existence::
Also: merrylittleelf made icons for everyone in btvs_santa. I got a Kate/Lilah one. ::hearts:: (I also love the ones for tis_nat and thomasina75.)
Moving back to the gay subtext discussion which opened this entry:
Thanks to antheia for this Brokeback Mountain piece about Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger.
Not homoerotic, just boggling: Christopher Walken used to not look terrifying
Everyone has of course heard about the Alabama lawmaker who wants to ban all the gay books. Speaking of homoerotic subtext: *hearts on Jesse Walker*
People keep linking to this New Yorker piece about the anti-Kinsey folk. It contains such gems as Reisman also endorses a book called "The Pink Swastika," which challenges the "myths" that gays were victimized in Nazi Germany. What i was struck by, particularly since i had seen it referenced by an LJ-er as "Further proof that the Right has gone utterly bonkers" was the amount of ink spilled on her anti-(child) pornography work. Porn is one of those issues that so amusingly splits the "Right" and the "Left" and by splits of course i also mean unites. There are people on both sides who oppose it (you're exploiting the vulnerable, you're degrading sexuality, etc.) and there are people on both sides who support it (women should be free to flaunt their sexuality, people should be free to do whatever they want provided they aren't hurting other people, etc.) and obviously the positions are often nuanced (with both Right and Left pro-porn folk wanting women to engage in sex work because they want to not because they are forced to due to poverty, for example).
Linking to this Boston Globe piece, Glenn Reynolds quips, "Somebody should make a documentary on this." Yes, this is my political-diversity-in-the-academy hobby horse. Will be interesting if i ever get a professorship and get to be That Professor instead of That Student. Full text of the article (complete with links) located for posterity behind
A left-wing monopoly on campuses
By Jeff Jacoby, Globe Columnist | December 2, 2004
THE LEFT-WING takeover of American universities is an old story. In 1951, William F. Buckley Jr. created a sensation with "God and Man at Yale," which documented the socialist and atheist worldview that even then prevailed in the classrooms of the Ivy League institution he had just graduated from.
Today campus leftism is not merely prevalent. It is radical, aggressive, and deeply intolerant, as another newly minted graduate of another prominent university -- Ben Shapiro of UCLA -- shows in "Brainwashed," a recent bestseller. "Under higher education's facade of objectivity," Shapiro writes, "lies a grave and overpowering bias" -- a charge he backs up with example after freakish example of academics going to ideological extremes.
No surprise, then, that when researchers checked the voter registration of humanities and social science instructors at 19 universities, they discovered a whopping political imbalance. The results, published in The American Enterprise in 2002, made it clear that for all the talk of diversity in higher education, ideological diversity in the modern college faculty is mostly nonexistent.
So, for example, at Cornell, of the 172 faculty members whose party affiliation was recorded, 166 were liberal (Democrats or Greens) and six were conservative (Republicans or Libertarians). At Stanford the liberal-conservative ratio was 151-17. At San Diego State it was 80-11. At SUNY Binghamton, 35-1. At UCLA, 141-9. At the University of Colorado-Boulder, 116-5. Reflecting on these gross disparities, The American Enterprise's editor, Karl Zinsmeister, remarked: "Today's colleges and universities . . . do not, when it comes to political and cultural ideas, look like America."
At about the same time, a poll of Ivy League professors commissioned by the Center for the Study of Popular Culture found that more than 80 percent of those who voted in 2000 had cast their ballots for Democrat Al Gore while just 9 percent backed Republican George W. Bush. While 64 percent said they were "liberal" or "somewhat liberal," only 6 percent described themselves as "somewhat conservative' -- and none at all as "conservative."
And the evidence continues to mount.
The New York Times reports that a new national survey of more than 1,000 academics shows Democratic professors outnumbering Republicans by at least 7 to 1 in the humanities and social sciences. At Berkeley and Stanford, according to a separate study that included professors of engineering and the hard sciences, the ratio of Democrats to Republicans is even more lopsided: 9 to 1.
Such one-party domination of any major institution is problematic in a nation where Republicans and Democrats can be found in roughly equal numbers. In academia it is scandalous. It strangles dissent, suppresses debate, and causes minorities to be discriminated against. It is certainly antithetical to good scholarship. "Any political position that dominates an institution without dissent," writes Mark Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory and director of research at the National Endowment for the Arts, "deteriorates into smugness, complacency, and blindness. ... Groupthink is an anti-intellectual condition."
Worse yet, it leads faculty members to abuse their authority. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni has just released the results of the first survey to measure student perceptions of faculty partisanship. The ACTA findings are striking. Of 658 students polled at the top 50 US colleges, 49 percent said professors "frequently comment on politics in class even though it has nothing to do with the course," 48 percent said some "presentations on political issues seem totally one-sided," and 46 percent said that "professors use the classroom to present their personal political views."
Academic freedom is not only meant to protect professors; it is also supposed to ensure students' right to learn without being molested. When instructors use their classrooms to indoctrinate and propagandize, they cheat those students and betray the academic mission they are entrusted with. That should be intolerable to honest men and women of every stripe -- liberals and conservatives alike.
"If this were a survey of students reporting widespread sexual harassment," says ACTA's president, Anne Neal, "there would be an uproar." That is because universities take sexual harassment seriously. Intellectual harassment, on the other hand -- like the one-party conformity it flows from -- they ignore. Until that changes, the scandal of the campuses will only grow worse.
Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.