Re: Over-angst In My Classroom

1

"I came to class to study modern American fiction and advance the white race ... and I'm all out of fiction."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:11 AM
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I dunno if a lecturer should be expected to respond to their "private" persona -- aren't universities public places, with an expectation that you act like a decent human being?

I also have to say that it's pretty easy to treat a fascist "decently" when you're a straight white male.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:29 AM
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He's not a lecturer in the sense of a big lecture hall. He's running a small, intimate seminar.

aren't universities public places, with an expectation that you act like a decent human being?

No? Not compared to a workplace. Students are allowed and encouraged to speak their mind, grow, change, etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:34 AM
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I also have to say that it's pretty easy to treat a fascist "decently" when you're a straight white male.

My guess is that the supremacist student would have aimed to charm a minority and/or female and/or queer instructor. Charming people try to charm everyone, and hideous people are quite happy to say "some of my best friends..." and sincerely have respect for the instructor without it affecting their public beliefs.

We've got a lot of black and Hispanic people in power at Heebie U, and two middle Eastern people in the math department alone. For sure: they may all be internally seething when they know someone has hideous beliefs.

But this is exactly the public/private divorce: the private sphere, and the interactions there, have nothing to do with the public beliefs. And at least the people in the math department who I know well navigate that about as well as I do.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:41 AM
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I understand that if someone is a paying customer you can't just freeze them out of the class or refuse to teach them, but what kind of message is that person sending to his students of color? To his colleagues of color? That White Professor will be chummy with someone who thinks his students and colleagues of color are inferior as long as the racist plays the charismatic-rural-proletarian card?

I sympathize with this person because - although lord knows you can't tell on the internet - I too am afflicted with a chronic case of making nice and I have to stop myself from making nice to certain morally odious people. But it is a real choice - you use your moral suasion or your politeness or your sympathy on nazi-boy and you're sending a clear message to everyone who is or is close to a person of color that you're prioritizing white chumminess over their wellbeing. IME, this goes on a lot in classes where the people of color are assumed to be white by the white folks, and where a lot of the white folks assume that no white person has non-white family members, friends, boyfriend, etc.

It's very easy to say "if we're not nice to those disaffected white people, they will never change!!!!" But it doesn't matter whether that's true - spending your energy tolerating and trying to change those people is actively harmful to others and usually doesn't work anyway. As an ideology, white supremacy should be marginalized and driven out, and the people who adhere to it can then choose to be marginalized and driven out or to change.

I think a lot of white middle class people feel like we can make nice to everyone if we just try hard enough and avoid difficult conversations carefully enough and that this itself is a kind of moral goal. (Which isn't to say that one should always be poking the rubble on the beach - if students don't actually share their far-right views, I don't think faculty have a duty to winkle them out.) But what actually happens is that people who aren't white and middle class see what we're doing and don't think much of it.

I also think that white nationalism is slowly gaining legitimacy right now, which just flips me the hell out. I can't get my head around it - when I was growing up, that type of person was uniformly recognized even by people with terrible racial politics to be, basically, not all there.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:41 AM
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This author comes off as a bit douchey...

Agreed.

As for 2, I think the instructor has to walk a pretty fine line re: confronting a student about matters not strictly related to the course. Especially if he's an adjunct or not tenured (the article doesn't seem to specify, or maybe I missed it).


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:43 AM
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I wish they'd published delagar's posts about her class instead. This prof just sounded like such a clueless doofus when he realizes that someone he would have caricatured isn't actually a caricature and that when he gossips about his student's racist antics with friends, the friends are going to keep up with the student's racist antics and think they can keep talking to him about it. I don't know.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:43 AM
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I wrote 7.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:44 AM
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7 is right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:46 AM
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It's funny, I'd always been given a hardline on universities being a workplace like any other, primarily as a way of highlighting faculty-as-workers (in the context of pay/harassment/health & safety). And definitely, that's how I've always thought of the institutions I've been at, and that's definitely how I've felt that overt racism, sexism etc should be handled.

And I think I'd say that universities are more public than most workplaces in lots of ways --- after all, students have no idea who's going to be in their class until they show up, etc.

I dunno, I just find it hugely bizarre to tolerate overt displays of racism in a class like that.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:49 AM
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I dunno, I just find it hugely bizarre to tolerate overt displays of racism in a class like that.

Me also. At least, I never saw it in any of the classes I took.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:51 AM
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I mean, it's not the stuff the guy gets up to outside of class - that's one thing, and that's problem-y and all, but I don't think the instructor's really super obligated to worry himself about that stuff, but:The following class, he arrived wearing a shirt with a Confederate flag. The words "It Ain't Over" were printed beneath it, but it was subtle -- a dark green shirt, the flag a small one over the breast, with a larger version on the back, which was pressed against his chair. As I saw it, I thought, "What are his rights? Are they limited by the level of distraction he poses?" is a really superficial analysis of what, on the surface, would appear to a clear display of white supremacism.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:53 AM
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I dunno, I just find it hugely bizarre to tolerate overt displays of racism in a class like that.

Am I missing something? I don't want to defend the guy, but I don't see where he says that the student did anything inappropriate in class (besides clothes/bumper stickers). Are you saying that he should ask the college student to cover up his shirt and computer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:53 AM
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The author sounds like an idiot -- he's worried about the guy because he's worried that the white supremacist will have facts and figures that he'll be unable to refute? The "no rural kid would have rescued the pheasants, and they would have been beaten for not bringing them home for food" is the self-evidently dumbest thing I've ever heard. I'm not rural, but I have rural relatives, and I have poor rural relatives, and while I'm sure there are rural people who are hungry, food-insecurity to the point that you'd beat your children for not bringing home dead wildlife is by no means at all universal in rural America, and anyone suggesting it is is a nutcase. The fact that the teacher didn't react like that in the moment suggests that he's really not that bright.

I was kind of prepped, before I clicked through the link, to think that "It's a college, everyone gets treated civilly when not being disruptive, that's not being chummy with evil people that's just how you have to teach a class." But the writer of the article was much sillier than I was expecting him to be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:55 AM
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13: I don't think I ever saw a Confederate flag in any classroom.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:57 AM
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Yeah? I mean, it's not just a Confederate flag: it's a confederate flag being used by a known white supremacist as a symbol of racial hatred. That's not an OK thing to display in a school, I don't think.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:00 AM
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10, 12: I get puzzled by Confederate flags; I don't live down South so I'm really not sure how common they are on people who are just ordinary assholes rather than active white supremacists. Like, Nazi regalia would be an easy call to regard as disruptive, because no one who isn't a nutcase wears Nazi symbols. Around here, no one wears Confederate flags, so it'd look like a strongly intentional political message. Wherever the article is, though, if there are enough people wandering around wearing Confederate flag stuff, while they're still all assholes, it gets harder to argue that it's disruptive to class.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:00 AM
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Some schools do have rules about what's appropriate attire and it's fine to go along with that, but you know if the dude had to take off his Confederate flag he'd make a stink about people who get to wear gay pride shirts or whatever, which is presumably part of the point of his White Student Union.

Being stymied by the pheasant thing was super stupid and the anecdote about how he broke out of the small-group discussion and the teacher had no sense of even how to deal with that doesn't speak well of the course dynamics to begin with, racist provocateur or no.

Seriously, the writer has some kind of non-sexual crush on this charismatic, devil-may-care eeeeevil supremacist and is afraid to challenge him for fear of being emasculated as a "pantywaist liberal" or however he characterized his own view of the student's view of him, and that's what this whole piece is about and not what it's like to have a racist in the classroom.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:03 AM
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14: I thought that also. Most of the rural people I know wouldn't take a bird like that. Hunting is done to demonstrate skill or because of the sheer fun of blasting away with a gun. Grabbing a frozen bird would do neither.

Also, freezing rain in the winter that follows a covering of snow (I googled a plot summary) wouldn't endanger any crop of which I'm aware.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:03 AM
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Seriously, the writer has some kind of non-sexual crush on this charismatic, devil-may-care eeeeevil supremacist and is afraid to challenge him for fear of being emasculated as a "pantywaist liberal" or however he characterized his own view of the student's view of him, and that's what this whole piece is about and not what it's like to have a racist in the classroom.

This is also exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:05 AM
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Seriously, the writer has some kind of non-sexual crush on this charismatic, devil-may-care eeeeevil supremacist and is afraid to challenge him for fear of being emasculated as a "pantywaist liberal" or however he characterized his own view of the student's view of him,

Yes, this. Maybe not so much a crush, but he's weirdly intimidated by him. The thing about being a committed racist is that you're guaranteed either stupid or for some reason irrational to the point of being unable to evaluate evidence; that the writer is afraid of coming into conflict on this stuff with the kid because he's afraid that the kid is going to come out of it looking like he's in the right is pathetic.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:06 AM
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if there are enough people wandering around wearing Confederate flag stuff...

It's always possible that they're not white supremacists, but just really big Dukes of Hazard fans.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:06 AM
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I get puzzled by Confederate flags; I don't live down South so I'm really not sure how common they are on people who are just ordinary assholes rather than active white supremacists.

Honestly, I think they were trendy for a while ten years ago or so, and are actually less trendy now. Literally just in terms of which brands are putting them on clothes. That's not to say that they're not easy to locate and buy, but they don't seem to be as common as they used to be, and I think the reason is superficial.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:07 AM
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If Tom Wolfe was still alive, he could write an update to "Radical Chic" about today's liberal intellectuals wringing their hands about how they don't know how to communicate with the sons of the South, and awkwardly trying to get down with country music.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:08 AM
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but just really big Dukes of Hazard fans.

Daisy Duke shorts sure are back this summer.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:08 AM
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24: I haven't read it, but maybe A Man In Full covers that ground.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:09 AM
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23: Still, your saying 'not as common' implies that they're still common enough to be unsurprising; where you are, it's different from showing up in an SS uniform, although the underlying message is pretty much the same.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:10 AM
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The more common problem is that most students (and people) have really poorly-thought-out, internally-contradictory beliefs. This student has unusually clear, consistent beliefs. So usually if you get a Confederate flag on a student's shirt, it's someone with generally muddled thinking on the whole subject. They are intensely loyal to the the minority kids on their football team, say, and would really get into a fight to defend them, and then also believe this bullshit about tradition and confederacy and blah blah blah. It's messy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:11 AM
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where you are, it's different from showing up in an SS uniform, although the underlying message is pretty much the same.

No - 28 to this, although written before I saw 27.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:12 AM
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it's different from showing up in an SS uniform

SS uniforms are so last year.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:12 AM
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28 -- yeah, and in general I don't think I'd expect a strict no confederate flag rule to be appropriate. But if you're a well known white supremacist? I think that's enough to push it over the line.

(As a note, this is, I think, happening in suburban Maryland near DC. Dunno what that means for regional dynamics.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:14 AM
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28: Yeah. I get enthusiastic online about how shameful Confederate nostalgia is and how it really should be treated like Nazi nostalgia. But in practice, encountering someone with some kind of confederate flag object or a "The South Will Rise Again" bumper sticker, I wouldn't expect it to be all that strongly predictive of more than the usual background level of racism, combined with an oh-look-at-me-being-a-bad-boy attitude. (It's probably predictive of not having less than the usual background level of racism, if you see what I mean, but not the reverse.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:16 AM
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@31

I think it might be Towson university. They've got a pretty notorious white students union that's been in the news recently.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:17 AM
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31: That sits wrong with me. Having different rules for what different people can wear in the classroom, on the basis of what they do outside of the classroom? It seems like a bad idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:18 AM
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underlying message

Misississippi's state flag includes the confederate flag now, Georgia's did until 2001, and the Dukes of Hazzard, so I think not quite.

I don't know how to deal with crackers either, but I do not think that everyone who's stars-and-bars friendly is like an Illinois Nazi.
I think that viewing public and private as split is about right in approaching others.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:21 AM
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The fact that the teacher didn't react like that in the moment suggests that he's really not that bright.

I interpreted is the teacher being insularly liberal and ivory-tower-blindered in a way that is quite familiar to me. He doesn't know any people who aren't like him, he is consistently surprised when it turns out there are people who have other experiences and belief sets and whatnot in his classes, and he is very worried about being accidentally unfair to people from impoverished backgrounds because he is so guiltridden about what an arugula-eating coastal elitist he really is. Pulling out "poor rural family" is a good way to get him to back off of anything.

It also sounds like he's not a very good teacher, though. Or maybe this is all just a good example of why I hated all my English classes.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:24 AM
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34 --- I don't think there's a clear line here though, because it's not like his white supremacist activities are carried on outside the university. They're primarily engaged in at the university, and he claims institutional sanction for them at one point.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:24 AM
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is = it as


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:25 AM
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37: Right, but the school let him have his official White Student Union, so they are institutionally sanctioned to some degree at least.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:26 AM
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I interpreted is the teacher being insularly liberal and ivory-tower-blindered...guiltridden about what an arugula-eating coastal elitist he really is.

This seemed so blatant that I felt like the writer was deliberately playing the role "guilt-ridden wishy washy liberal" and that Salon is basically trolling its readership.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:29 AM
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37- I don't understand what this has to do with the T-shirt rule. On campus, off campus, the point is that it's not happening in the classroom run by the professor at hand. Individual professors don't get to make up dress codes that are different for individual students. There would have to be some sort of university policy, and I don't see how such a policy could be written to do what you want it to (ban certain symbolic behavior in some settings, but only for certain people depending on other types of symbolic behavior in other settings).


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:30 AM
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Obviously this is kinda unfairly bringing in other evidence, but if we assume it is the Towson WSU, one of the guys involved was quoted by the SPLC as saying: "White Southern men have long been called upon to defend their communities when law enforcement and the State seem unwilling to protect our people". In that context I think a confederate flag is getting pretty close to cross-burning.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:32 AM
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Or, just to peddle the examples of muddy-thinking-confederacy: there are plenty of women/minorities/gay people with self-hating views. What do you do when the person with the confederacy bumper sticker is also Hispanic? It gets super muddy, quick.

It's fine if you want to pull them aside and say "Hey, this sends this message to me, and a lot of other people" from a place of mentorship. But it's not a great strict blanket policy to make a stink about it, in front of the class.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:32 AM
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40- I have interacted with a really irritating number of people who personify this caricature, this year. I feel like a quorum of the English department at my school could have written the article very sincerely. And then patted themselves on the back for all the personal growth they've just achieved.

(Some of my best friends are English teachers! I swear.)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:33 AM
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43 --- to be very clear, I don't think a blanket ban is appropriate.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:35 AM
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You know where the writer lost all of my sympathy? This exchange:

"It's been getting worse for you?" I asked.

"These interviews keep getting it wrong. They take out all the good stuff I say."

"It's a huge price to pay for this kind of celebrity."

"I guess I have to double down," he said. "I don't like this. I don't like this at all."

This was my moment. I thought maybe I could change something. There he was, after class, a scared kid ... and me, in loco parentis. But I wasn't sure what to say.

"Or," I tried, "you can just go silent."

He's having a sympathetic interaction with the kid, in a vulnerable moment, and he comes up with telling him to go quiet so people will leave him alone rather than pointing out that, look, I'm your professor and I'm treating you civilly because it's my job and because no one's all bad, but I agree with everyone who thinks your ideology is loathsome. People are hard on you because they think you're doing evil things, and I agree with them. If you don't want that reaction, try reconsidering the bases of your actions and beliefs.

The writer is completely, but completely, spineless. If he reported that conversation accurately, the kid probably walked away thinking he had a genuine sympathizer who was just too intimidated by the PC police to be open about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:35 AM
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46 -- I'd already lost it by then, but yes. And that interaction seemed to me to be an opportunity to talk about narrative, and actually maybe teach the kid something about how fiction works in real life. Instead it's lifeless milquetoast.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:38 AM
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I found that article so annoying. The professor has a chance to work on opening his student's mind and he totally punts. "He'd never seen a rural community that wasn't (poor)." OK, at the very least, one can ask if that's historically true?

The student is assuming that his experience of life is universal, that he has seen everything there is to see and that his conclusions, based on his limited exposure to the world, constitute a complete reality. That assumption is inherently flawed, dramatically flawed. And his professor -- certainly in a creative writing class! -- should be challenging his assumptions, not just accepting them. Lots of college-age people think that they know everything. They're wrong.

Professors who are too scared of being embarrassed to push their students to think aren't professors, they're babysitters.

(Also, I really, really, really hate Windows 8.)


Posted by: Sarah Wynde | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:39 AM
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I kind of liked how surprised and disappointed he was when it didn't work, though. "But I TOLD him to STOP TALKING! Man, I can't believe he's still talking! Kids these days."


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:40 AM
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(Also, I really, really, really hate Windows 8.)

What if your Windows 8 were installed by somebody Hispanic?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:42 AM
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48 -- From the pheasant story, I'd say it's not that the kid is assuming that his experience of life in universal, but assuming that the fiction running through his head is reality.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:43 AM
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Right. I don't know where that kid grew up, but if he's in college in suburban Maryland, I sincerely doubt that he grew up poor enough to both (a) see wildlife killed by the weather as an important caloric windfall for his family, and (b) think that his experience was a norm. (That is, he might barely conceivably have grown up that poor himself. I do not believe that he grew up in a community where he perceived that level of poverty as a community norm.) He's not overgeneralizing from his actual experiences, he's bullshitting (whether consciously or self-deceivingly.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:46 AM
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Based on this, it's definitely Towson. I've been there! They're one of our department's neighbor/friend/rival colleges. Interesting.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:48 AM
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This seems less unique in its faults than another in a long series of liberals cowed by angry certainty, however negative and/or incoherent, and subconsciously attracted by the possibility of violence. That 3D-printed-guns twerp has gotten a lot of whip-me-again-big-strong-libertarian coverage from, as this author puts it, cringing liberals. A dedicated critic of liberalism might argue that this tendency arises from the weaknesses of contemporary liberalism's fundamentally consumerist premises (racism bad! domestic manufacturing jobs good! sexism bad! universal healthcare good!), but I speculate that it has a bit more to do with the reverence for subjectivity.

Also, if you can't (or fear to) engage and get a white supremacist to trip over his own arguments, you probably shouldn't be teaching at the college level.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:50 AM
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Hilariously, the author of the story mentioned did in fact grow up in a rural community and (apparently) often discusses rural poverty. Would strike me as kinda inept not to mention that.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:52 AM
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I'm kind of surprised by the amount of identifying detail in the Salon article. It took me maybe 2 steps to get from the CPAC quote and the flag t-shirt to an article with the student in question's full name.

I don't think the student deserves protection or anonymity for his public behavior (conference attendance, interviews with journalists, etc). But I do think professors have different, more protective, obligations to their students than you would of a coworker or something.

Also it seems weird, pedagogically, to be so open and public about a thing that he obviously felt like he couldn't discuss with the class (or the student) at the time. Is he assuming that no students will ever read this article?


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:56 AM
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56 -- I though that was pretty weird too.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:58 AM
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That was odd. I don't think it would have been wrong for the professor to write the story using names (Scott Terry, right?) but keeping it purportedly anonymous but obvious to anyone who thinks about it is screwy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:00 AM
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see wildlife killed by the weather as an important caloric windfall for his family

If you eat the whole pheasant population when it gets stunned by a storm, you run a very real risk of not making it through the winter with a breeding population.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:00 AM
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Also, eating that much pheasant in one sitting is a choking hazard.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:01 AM
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They aren't that big.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:01 AM
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62 convinced me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:03 AM
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To be fair to the kid, he's likely from a racist background. There's a good chance his parents brought him up to think that they really were the hardy peasantry perpetually on the edge of starvation, and actually would have beaten him in such a circumstance -- because they were crazy racists, which is not a world view I expect lecturers to be in the habit of endorsing, but w/e.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:03 AM
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According to Wikipedia, the WSU is not an officially sanctioned student organization. (it's also not listed on the university website).


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:04 AM
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63: Sure, but its being a shared myth doesn't make it lived experience. You know first hand whether or not you're actually going hungry (possibly he was), and whether the threat of hunger is a norm for all your neighbors (I do not believe this to be the case in any American community this kid could plausibly have come from).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:07 AM
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but if he's in college in suburban Maryland, I sincerely doubt that he grew up poor enough...

The minute that kid throws out the phrase "my kin" I start thinking his backstory is fiction. He would have been born in the 90's for christ's sakes.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:09 AM
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My kinship bring all the boys to the yard.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:11 AM
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It's this kid. He's from Poolesville. His dad's a high school history teaacher. I'm pretty sure it was just (highly effective!) rhetoric.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:12 AM
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65 -- yeah, I agree, the kid's definitely deluding himself.

It's just, he's the classic unreliable narrator, right? He's been flagged as such by the fact he's a racist wanker, and the English teacher should have the wits about him not to trust everything the charismatic racist says.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:12 AM
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"What is the most damage I can do, given my biography, abilities, and commitments, to the racial order and rule of capital?" - Joel Olson (1967-2012).

This is a question academics should ask themselves more often.

My very first protest, lo these many years ago, was against a White Student Union at the U of M. I wasn't in any classes with the organizers, of course, but it is hard for me to believe that anyone would have written an article like this in 1990. At least back then the milquetoast liberals had the decency to fall back on the whole I-disagree-with-what-you-say-but-I-will-defend-to-the-death-your-right-to-say-it spiel. Which was bullshit, but it sounded a little bit more extreme, at least.

I did like Warner's suggestion of entryism to his students who were angry about the WSU. We never tried that back in the day, but in this fallen age, I can see how it might be good for a larf.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:13 AM
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Yow, that Wikipedia article could use some editing:

nitially, Heimbach took a very conciliatory approach, stating in a Towerlight video interview that he aimed to "revitalize the political atmosphere in universities that seems to have been lost," and introduced himself to the leaders of the Progressive Democrats, and to the heads of Latino and sexual degenerate groups at a club fair shortly after transferring as a show of friendship, hoping "to promote good, positive debate, and create that sort of culture, where, even if we disagree, hopefully at the end of the day we can still go out for pizza together." When asked to define Western Civilization, he did so in purely cultural terms.

There's probably much more to fix, but 'sexual degenerate groups' popped out at me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:14 AM
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58 -- I think it's the other one, that guy not being a Towson student. The one who grew up in MontCo, and says he had liberal opinions until he was 15.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:14 AM
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71- the article about him is Metapedia, not Wikipedia. It's the white supremacist version of the real thing.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:16 AM
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That's not Wikipedia, that's Metapedia, the AU racist version.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:17 AM
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Ah. I am an idiot. The layout's exactly the same -- I guess I thought the article had gotten away unnoticed by sane people somehow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:18 AM
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71: first, that's Metapedia, not Wikipedia. Second, the article's second reference to "Sexual degerate groups" includes a hyperlink to this Metapedia article on "Sexual Bolshevism", so I'm pretty sure it's intentional, not something that users of that site would think needs editing.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:19 AM
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Pwed, but with a value-added link.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:19 AM
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Pwned, but with nothing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:20 AM
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Particularly after the failure of state-communism and working-class ethnic Europeans largely rejecting the attempt by the Judeo-Bolsheviks to enslave and destroy gentile society, radical Jewish supremacists began to mould Sexual Bolsheviks into a new proletariat. They feature as tools alongside other manipulated participants in identity politics currents, such as third-world immigrants and radical feminists.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:21 AM
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Sexual Bolsheviks sound kind of hot, actually.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:22 AM
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The do refer to someone as "who gives off a distinctly dykish vibe", which IDK, but that seems a pretty camp descriptor.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:22 AM
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I clicked through Urple's link, and am now feeling somewhat ill. It was the cartoon that did it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:28 AM
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That cartoon makes no sense. It's supposed to be a slippery slope, not a staircase one must ascend.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:30 AM
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If the teacher googled the student before the class started, he should have known that he came from an affluent DC exurb, and the ice storm argument is even dumber.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:31 AM
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80/82: I guess you could say Bolshevism is attractive in theory but pretty ugly in reality.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:33 AM
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That was the problem, the failure of logic.

There's something about that kind of anti-Semitism that creeps me out worse than other kinds of racism, probably for no better reason than the Nazi associations. Racism generally, I get angry or depressed, depending. Add in a cartoon with an anti-Semitic caricature, and suddenly it feels like I'm Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs. Not that it's morally worse than other forms of racism, but that it's creepier.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:35 AM
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I remember when teaching college that the professors (official liberals every one) used to LOVE having articulate and charismatic right wing students in class. Here is a charismatic foil with a frisson of otherness! Here is my opportunity to demonstrate my extreme professionalism and even-mindedness!

This seems like a particularly extreme (because white supremacy is not just reprehensible, but also taboo) example of a pretty common phenomenon.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:35 AM
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That cartoon makes no sense.

Word. Why is the pedophilia step below bestiality and necrophilia? The dead don't care and in theory the animals could be enjoying it. I demand more thoughtful racists.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:35 AM
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87: But the writer didn't demonstrate anything! It's like he wants to be praised for his sweet fadeaway jump shot when he didn't even shoot the ball.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:37 AM
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89 -- true enough.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:38 AM
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I demand more thoughtful racists.

Send them to college.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:39 AM
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Or, perhaps, to Jupiter.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:40 AM
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85: Let's not make broad generalizations -- that's what they do in Russia!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:41 AM
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87, 90: Also, what I said in 54. "Your strong emotions, however negatively expressed, make me reflect on my own feelings about myself and your manly haircut" is not pedagogically sound.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:41 AM
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In Soviet Russia, Bolsheviks sexualize you.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:42 AM
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95: Only if you have some information they want.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:43 AM
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96: Quit reading my dream journal, Moby.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:46 AM
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88: The attitude towards pedophilia among hardcore homophobes is creepy as hell. The theory goes that a pedophile might be attracted to opposite-sex children which is less bad than consensual adult homosexuality (and things like necrophilia and bestiality). This, incidentally, is an opinion that's been expressed by the GOP lieutenant governor candidate for Virginia.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:46 AM
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98: What. The. Fucking. Fuck.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:48 AM
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98: Oh good god.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:51 AM
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Does the sex of the sheep or corpse or sheep-corpse matter?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:52 AM
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One of the advantages of teaching philosophy here, and being Not From Here, is that all of my students assume I'm a screaming leftist and out to undermine their faith and such, and then when I turn out to be a screaming leftist but arguably a decent human being, I get good evaluations.

I haven't had anything too overtly political in classes here, so I don't know exactly what I'd do with White Supremacy Boy, but if his activities were outside my classroom, I wouldn't see it as my particular problem. I think the guy missed an opportunity to push him on his stupidass bigotry when the kid brought it up, especially because "Straight Pride" sounds like the kind of thing that some guys go through as like a Randian growing phase, and mocking him out of it (especially as another white guy -- don't leave it to the women and people of color to call these guys on their bullshit) might have been helpful.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:54 AM
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the GOP lieutenant governor candidate for Virginia

That guy is such a total basket case that even a nutter like Cuccinelli is backing away from him. I love that he's on the ticket.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:00 AM
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Obviously in a math class you shouldn't have politics coming up, but if I had a student wearing hate t-shirts I wouldn't feel comfortable not saying or doing *something*. Of course, at a public university you can't stop people from wearing the t-shirts they want to wear. I think what I would do is respond with a t-shirt of my own. I generally wear interesting t-shirts (often with unusual animals) and it's something students very much notice about me, and I don't wear political t-shirts when teaching (e.g. I have a Kerry 2004 t-shirt that I still like to wear, but not on workdays), but if I had a student wearing white supremacist clothing I would make an exception. Maybe the black power fist? Or something Malcolm X related? This one is maybe a little too much, but something along those lines.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:01 AM
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Re: confederate flags in the south. One of my friends in AL showed up in a t-shirt with a confederate flag on it. It was a band shirt with a line drawing of drooping flags (the other one was the AL flag) and various artfully arranged instruments. It was definitely jolting to all of us from the north (New York and up) but she didn't seem to get the slap-in-the-face offensiveness that we felt. I don't think we compared it to Nazi paraphernalia because she was already pretty defensive that we called it a racist symbol. Now she works for the state!

But it was pretty common down there. Lots on trucks, lots of Mississippi flags. I'd probably see one a couple times a week.

Also pheasants in the story obviously should have been quail or grouse. WTH racist due? Are you not up on hunting culture?


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:06 AM
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I'd also make sure to get a family picture (white brother and hispanic sister-in-law, hispanic brother, black brother and white sister-in-law) on my desk in the office, which I should probably do at some point anyway.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:06 AM
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To the OP, I'm closer to Cala's position ("I wouldn't see it as my particular problem") than that expressed in much of the rest of the thread. Not because I'm a cracker from the south, but because I have out-of-the-mainstream leftist political views that a lot of the country finds odious (and I went to college here), and I'd still like to be treated with basic civility in my day-to-day life rather than being everybody's self-righteous teaching moment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:06 AM
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We later had an interesting conversation about racism in the north and south with my flag-wearing friend. How our own parents were pretty racist but it wasn't as showy as southern racism. She was pretty surprised.


Posted by: hydrobatidae | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:09 AM
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I'm not that far off the same position. The t-shirts are right on the line of where I'd think it was the professor's responsibility to respond (that is, Nazi uniforms yes, Confederate flags we talked about as a hard case). But other than that, the story doesn't say the student did anything offensive in class other than being an ignorant ass about rural poverty. At that point, knowing that he's a white supremacist outside of class seems like largely not the teacher's problem.

I've been saying rude things about him because he made it his problem so ineffectually and counterproductively.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:09 AM
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107 is actually my reaction, too, if I didn't make that clear enough. I think if the dude were being actively super racist in the classroom, that would be a different issue, but it doesn't seem to have been the case.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:11 AM
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I get 107, but once you're having the conversation in 46, there's a shot at teaching the kid something about the subject matter of the class.

And the pheasant thing really is insufferable -- although I can imagine that some kid raised on a public school teacher's salary might consider himself poor in a place of gross income inequality like Poolesville, I'd have had a hard time not pointing out that, indeed, rural Maryland has plenty of non-poor people. It's not antebellum Mississippi or anything, but still.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:19 AM
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Yes. Part of the problem is that the teacher wasn't just indifferent and professional, but was REALLY EXCITED to have a white supremacist student in class.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:21 AM
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@112

Part of me still has a hard time accepting that it's not an act, at least in part.

He's trying so hard to come across as a limp wristed ineffectual liberal straight out of Rush Limbaugh's imagination.

On the other hand, E. Messily apparently encounters with folks like this on a regular basis. I guess I just don't hang out with the right (wrong) sort of liberals.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:25 AM
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I mean, maybe it's just Maryland? I don't feel like I really encountered any prior to this year. Or I wasn't paying attention.

(And probably I am being unduly harsh about the ones I do encounter. But I'm pretty fed up with being Reminded, in Very Serious Tones, about all the ways first-generation college students are Not Like Us.)


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:32 AM
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Like, Nazi regalia would be an easy call to regard as disruptive, because no one who isn't a nutcase wears Nazi symbols.

There was a nutcase in my neighborhood who hung a Nazi flag in his window, literally to be a nuisance to his neighbors. He had taken an intense dislike to his neighbors and gone to a fair amount of trouble to hound them out of their house (putting up lights that shine into their windows, leaving dead fish in his side yard adjacent to them, shouting at them). They had moved out (after renovating their house) and he was trying to ruin the sale of their house out of spite.

The interesting thing is that he didn't seem to be motivated by anti-Semitism. He said he was just looking for the most offensive flag he could hang. He considered the Confederate flag, but it just doesn't have the ooomph of the Nazi flag.

There was a story in the newspaper about the situation and he was pretty frank about hating his neighbors and hounding them. I think that story might have been enough for them to sue him for damages. According to the story, they're trying to sue and get back some of their losses while they rent elsewhere. Don't know how much the guy is going to be able to make them whole; besides his house, I don't know what assets he's got.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:39 AM
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putting up lights that shine into their windows, leaving dead fish in his side yard adjacent to them, shouting at them, wandering around naked, playing loud music through the open windows, painting his house crazy colors


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:41 AM
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114.2, Although you're probably sick of it, I really appreciated the reminder when I taught college freshman. I suck for not thinking about it, but there were so many things that my first-gen students got tripped up on that I never would have guessed without some serious detective work. Like normal asking for an extension because they had three tests plus a lab write up and looked like zombies wouldn't occur to them.
To the OP, it's odd that he gave it so much thought and worry and still didn't manage to handle this student in a way that doesn't make me cringe to read.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:44 AM
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If the cops couldn't stop him from that bullshit, they've got nothing on me.

For the record, my current neighbors say we're the best neighbors they've ever had, mostly because I don't let my pit bulls (that I don't have) kill their goats (that they no longer have).


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:44 AM
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I don't let my pit bulls (that I don't have) kill their goats (that they no longer have)

That's a right neighborly height to set the bar to clear.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:46 AM
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Yet their old neighbors (who make me look so good) couldn't clear it!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:48 AM
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The old neighbors didn't have pit bulls which did kill their goats?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:52 AM
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My New Year's resolution is not to let my nonexistent pit bulls kill my neighbor's nonexistent goats.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:53 AM
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Lee and a neighbor were sitting on the porch late last night and heard another neighbor's loud sex sounds and, after some discussion, yelled SHUT UP, which apparently had the desired effect. But I'm guessing Nia's birthday dinner tomorrow is going to be a little awkward if the indoor neighbor knows who was outside yelling, since they'll all be in one room. I have to admit, I immediately thought of Megan and the great neighborliness debates. In this case, I think yelling was probably ruder since it was midnight already.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:55 AM
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I'm hoping our pet gryphon doesn't kill the neighbors' moa.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:55 AM
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For this current year or the previous year?


Posted by: Opinionated imaginary goat | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:56 AM
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125 to 122.


Posted by: Opinionated imaginary goat | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:56 AM
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Why did you want the loud sex noises to stop? I mean, what harm were they doing? They'll end on their own at some point.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:57 AM
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But with a bang or a whimper?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:57 AM
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125: The upcoming state fiscal year (so July). My nonexistent pit bulls can do anything they want until then.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:05 AM
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Megan gets it exactly right.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:08 AM
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Looks like the list in 116 needs to be expanded.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:08 AM
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Let they who have never made loud sex noises yell the first Shut Up!


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:08 AM
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I would really prefer not to live near loud-sex-noise-producing Nazis.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:09 AM
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127: I didn't! I was inside trying to fall asleep and didn't hear any of it, only took the dog outside after she (dog) started barking, presumably because one of them yelled and the dog realized there were people on the porch. I'm not sure why they thought heckling was a good idea and didn't bother asking.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:10 AM
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Being hella loud getting your jollies is an invitation to those around you to pitch in with advice, encouragement or criticism.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:14 AM
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135: In the words of Herbert von Karajan, "Lauter! Lauter! Weniger!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:17 AM
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||

Ugggh, I like the Spurs, who have been my second favorite team for years, but I am getting awfully tired of "the Spurs win because they're just smarter than everybody else" articles. So annoying.

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:22 AM
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111: I'd agree.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:27 AM
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The Spurs are going to win because former Tar Heel Danny Green is going full-goose bombs away from 3-point land like nobody's business. It's been crazy (and awesome) to watch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:31 AM
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And that isn't a sign that their front office is just so smart: they cut him twice.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:34 AM
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Back in my TAing days I had one student who was a full blown Stalinist and another who had a soft spot for the Nazis (His favorite Weimar party was the authoritarian conservative one, but felt that given the choice between the SPD and the Nazis it was absolutely correct to ally with the Nazis. He was also part Jewish and a recent emigrant from the ex USSR.) The first was an excellent student, the latter a good one. I challenged their views but I sure as hell didn't mark them down for them. Nor did I think it made any sense to allow them to turn discussion sections into constant debates on their views. At some point you just force the class to move on to another point. But it's not up to you as an instructor to police your students' political views.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:45 AM
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I should be sincerely sorry to see my neighbor's non-existent children devoured by un-had wolves.


Posted by: Opinionated Waldo Lydecker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:32 AM
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I can't bring myself to read more than a few paragraphs into the article, which was clearly written by an idiot. I also can't imagine what I would do if I had a student wearing a Confederate flag shirt. It doesn't seem like silence would be the right answer, but I guess I wouldn't actually be allowed to kick them out. Upetgi's idea of responding with a t-shirt of his own is pretty interesting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:36 AM
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I had the totally bizarre experience a year ago of being at a conference dinner when someone at the table made a horrifically racist joke. I was too shocked to say much of anything. Everyone was. After about a thirty second silence someone said "that's... really not okay" and the culprit said something like "I'm sorry if I offended anyone here, but you know how they are" and we all exchanged awkward glances and ate in silence for a long time.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:37 AM
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Also, what the hell is up with the ending, where the professor is all "oh, white supremacists should not have to be spit on for being white supremacist activists....I just don't know what their social punishment should be"? Given that communities of color routinely deal with everything from routine, pervasive discrimination in employment to getting beaten and shot by the cops to massive structural inequality, I think getting spit on is pretty light weight.

I think what really frosts me about this article is Dr. Pantywaist's seeming belief that racism operates primarily at a rhetorical level, that it's a slightly more offensive and embarrassing thing than contact between, for example, Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky - that it is more a matter of incompatible and thus not-really-comparable worldviews than one of lived injustice. So basically, yes, spitting on someone "for their beliefs" kind of sucks - but spitting on someone because they actively promulgate an ideology which supports grotesque injustice doesn't really seem that disproportionate.

And also:

"Or," I tried, "you can just go silent."

He thought about that. "But then they just write whatever they want."

"For now," I said, "and it might get worse before it gets better. But if you don't feed it, it will eventually starve."

That isn't being supportive to a student; that is actually providing advice to a young white supremacist activist on how to handle media furor. If I did that and, for example, my union or my collective found out, I would be booted with extreme prejudice for being racist.

And there's the passage where he's pretty strongly implying that his personal distaste for the (historically fairly successful) radical left tactic of hassling and intimidating white supremacists in order to drive them out somehow adds up to feeling good about sympathizing with nazi-boy...that's classical hippie-punching right there. The next step seems to be alleging as how the Vietnam war would have ended much sooner if it weren't for all those awful, awful militant protesters yelling at the president.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:41 AM
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143.last: A t-shirt with the US flag circa 1865 would be good, but perhaps a bit understated. Maybe one of those fake band tour t-shirts showing Sherman's march to the sea and associated stops along the way.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:43 AM
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Maybe this one or this one?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:49 AM
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Or this one.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:51 AM
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Perhaps commission my dad's idea, a William T. Sherman Memorial in the form of an eternal flame shaped like the state of Georgia, from some metalworker in the Art department, and set it up in the classroom?

Eh, colleges probably have regs about that sort of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:53 AM
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144 -- "Racist assholes with no self-control? We know exactly how they are."


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:54 AM
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That isn't being supportive to a student; that is actually providing advice to a young white supremacist activist on how to handle media furor. If I did that and, for example, my union or my collective found out, I would be booted with extreme prejudice for being racist.

Right, that was my reaction to that bit of conversation. I can imagine screwing up a conversation that badly out of panicky conflict-avoidance (that is, I sincerely hope I wouldn't, but I can imagine it), but not walking away without realizing "My God, what did I just say?!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:55 AM
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I think Sherman is the wrong tack to take, as southerners have kind of a legitimate beef there. I'm not saying what he did was wrong all considering, but if someone was wearing Nazi t-shirts, a Dresden t-shirt wouldn't be my response.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:56 AM
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The author does come across as somewhat douchy, but his behaviour towards the student strikes me as mostly ok. He has an ethical obligation as an instructor to treat all students with respect and not discriminate based on his personal feelings about the students.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:56 AM
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For your standard run of the mill neo confederate type a t-shirt labelled American Traitors with a pic of Lee, some Soviet spy, and some American al-Qaeda type would seem appropriate.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 11:59 AM
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153: But look at Frowner's 145 (and wherever I quoted the same passage upthread). Not treating him badly in class, I'm absolutely fine with. But engaging with him about how, man, people sure treat you badly for your white supremacist beliefs, without saying that maybe the freaking problem is your white supremacists beliefs there, racist seems really screwy. Not getting into it at all seems okay, but once you're on the subject, you can't be blandly sympathetic about that kind of thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:01 PM
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152: Spoilsport. Sherman mostly did property damage.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:01 PM
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150: Yeah, most of us clearly should have been more confrontational, it was just kind of too weird to process.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:02 PM
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He has an ethical obligation as an instructor to treat all students with respect and not discriminate based on his personal feelings about the students.

In class, sure, to an extent. But he doesn't have an ethical obligation to make nice about the student's white supremacy either in class or, particularly, outside it.

And I'd argue that a blanket obligation to "respect" all students is really all about externalizing costs - you refrain from challenging the student who is known campus-wide as a white supremacist activist, and your students of color are injured by seeing their professor accept that it is a reasonable and acceptable intellectual position - even if one may, in the best liberal fashion, disagree with it - to feel that those same students of color are inferior and should live in segregation, and [implicitly] that the laws which have been passed to fight white supremacy should be repealed. Of course, the students of color probably won't say anything much, if my own experience in classes with homophobes is anything to go by, because it's very easy when you're already feeling marginalized and unwelcome to just keep quiet.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:04 PM
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For some reason I suspect there's a Warren Zevon song about Sherman's March, but maybe it doesn't exist. If it doesn't, though, it would be a good topic for a song in the style of Zevon.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:05 PM
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I kind of like the idea of a Sherman t-shirt. This on a t-shirt, for instance, would be pretty striking. Maybe just a close up of the head...in psychedelic colors.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:05 PM
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Though in a strictly military context I'm all for naming things after Sherman. Take things named after Lee or Jackson and rename them after Grant and Sherman.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:07 PM
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117 Like normal asking for an extension because they had three tests plus a lab write up and looked like zombies wouldn't occur to them.

One thing that surprises me in teaching is how often students ask for extensions. I never asked for one. I give people two weeks to do a relatively straightforward problem set, and they email me the night before it's due and ask for another week?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:09 PM
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The author of the article may be an extreme case, but it does seem like the default academic attitude of "everyone should be given a forum to express his or her ideas" becomes kind of pernicious. In a really minor way, it makes for horribly boring conferences when people keep droning on about wrong ideas, and in a more serious way it matters when we can't just officially move on and declare, say, austerity dead as a useful recommendation of economics. Some ideas are wrong and should be discarded once and for all. It's just as true of racism as it is of, say, a flat Earth.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:14 PM
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160: https://www.google.com/shopping/product/12630507595907282534?q=general+sherman+t-shirt&sa=X&ei=t8i4Ua6YHKaBywHJ1ICwCA&ved=0CA4Q1x0


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:15 PM
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@164

Awesome. Gotta get me one of those.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:19 PM
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re: 114.last

But I'm pretty fed up with being Reminded, in Very Serious Tones, about all the ways first-generation college students are Not Like Us.

In what ways does folk-wisdom say they aren't 'like us'? I'm not being sarcastic. I'm genuinely curious.*

* I am/was a first generation student but that's in the UK, so the social context is different.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:22 PM
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115: There was a nutcase in a neighborhood in New Orleans who constantly played his lute, literally to be a nuisance to his neighbors. I heard he moved out east though.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:27 PM
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One thing that surprises me in teaching is how often students ask for extensions. I never asked for one.

Even at your current institutions, students who go on to become professors at it or places similar to it are not anywhere near typical.

More snarkily, I'd imagine that students at your institution tend to be among the most assertive in their dealings with authority figures, in both good ways and bad, of all 17-22-year-olds.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:29 PM
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167: "Brave, brave Sir Robin..."

166: I think they're supposed to be incapable of negotiating bureaucracy and either unwilling to ask for (reasonable, available) help or unaware that it's available. So they suffer in silence and then drop out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:30 PM
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I'm genuinely curious about the question posed in 166 as well. I am/was a first generation college student as well, in the U.S.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:35 PM
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Oops, 170 before seeing 169.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:36 PM
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169 certainly isn't authoritative given that I'm not an academic. It's just the impression I've gotten from eavesdropping on these conversations over the years.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:37 PM
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168 is right. I'd never asked for an extension either. I assumed nobody else did, either until I started TAing. In retrospect, this was probably kind of dumb. In this (very unusual) class, students could get extensions for pretty much any reason, but the ones who knew to ask were clearly the ones who'd had the most success with getting systems to bend to their wants. Lying about grandparents death was not uncommon. Blasé cheating was the biggest surprise to me.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:38 PM
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I agree on dealing with non-class related stuff, but in the classroom or when dealing with the student privately for stuff related to the course, nope. With the two students I mentioned, I challenged them aggressively on their factual screwups and logical faults. I also very politely pointed out that the views were completely fucked up from a moral point of view. But mostly, I relied on other students to go after them. I'm not sure if this makes a difference, but given that the class was Europe 1914-45, it's not as if these kids were going off topic. I was far more aggressive when dealing with a fellow grad student who was a Nazi sympathizer. I've also gone off on people saying racist shit in social situations (and other times I just didn't have the energy) But as an instructor it would have been completely unacceptable to deal with my students in that way.

And I'd argue that a blanket obligation to "respect" all students is really all about externalizing costs - you refrain from challenging the student who is known campus-wide as a white supremacist activist, and your students of color are injured by seeing their professor accept that it is a reasonable and acceptable intellectual position

There's some truth to that, but it's not that it's a reasonable and acceptable position but rather that you have the right to express views which you, and more importantly, people in authority, find not to be reasonable and acceptable. In the case of Naziboy a couple students came to me after class and I told them as much.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:39 PM
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Ugh. On the one hand, the article is interesting insofar as it represents yet another take on the fact that a free and pluralistic society must tolerate the airing of views that challenge the very tolerance that makes a free and pluralistic society possible, and how that is always more challenging in practice than in the abstract. On the other hand, the triteness of the article reminds me of everything I hated about the movie Crash. [Moral of the story: Racists are people too!]


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:43 PM
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Lying about grandparents death was not uncommon.

This kind of nonsense makes me want to toss them into the meat grinder.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:44 PM
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176 is objectively pro-murder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:45 PM
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166: Basically what 169 says. In addition to the supposition that first-gen students can't navigate bureaucracy well or access help, there's also a supposition of unsympathetic family. I had a student who had to leave after one semester because her family wanted to save the tuition to send her younger brother to school. Her parents hadn't done any financial aid paperwork, and there were many thing she would have qualified for. Having to work is another thing that is assumed for first-gen students. But I think E. Messily's point is that the profs assume the kids were raised by assembly line workers who read at a third grade level and should be treated as if they are unused to the rigors of the ivory tower and all it's intellectual delights. Not Our Kind of People.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:46 PM
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This kind of nonsense makes me want to toss them into the meat grinder.

"That sausage you're eating? That's Granny! But don't worry, kiddo, now that she's really dead, I'm willing to give you until next Thursday to hand in that paper on Plato's Euthyphro!"


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:47 PM
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Ack, its! Why, autocorrect, why?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:48 PM
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At my grad school extensions were standard practice. I didn't now of any students who never asked for one, and many who never handed in a seminar paper on time. They were granted automatically and seemed to be infinitely renewable. In Undergrad U they were fairly common. I asked for them twice: once when a paper was due at about the same time as my thesis and once when an exam was scheduled in such a way that I'd be at serious risk of missing Christmas Eve with my family.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:48 PM
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I think E. Messily's point is that the profs assume the kids were raised by assembly line workers

Somehow I read this for a moment as meaning that the profs assume the kids were raised on an assembly line.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:49 PM
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I taught one section with a policy that an obit or death certificate was required to get extensions. I didn't enforce it.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:50 PM
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168 is right. I'd never asked for an extension either.

After failing to fully complete an end-of-the-quarter assignment, I had a professor call me at home, chew me out for not seeking an extension, and demand that I take an extension and finish the work. It was the difference between an A and a C in the class.

"I can't give you the same grade as [poor student]," she told me.

I had good reason to not be able to finish the assignment, and my professor knew it, but it never occurred to me that the rules could be waived for me.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:55 PM
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At my grad school extensions were standard practice. ... They were granted automatically and seemed to be infinitely renewable.

At mine, too, and this was an absolutely terrible policy. In fact, I'm going to end this comment now and stop thinking about it, because otherwise I'm going to start asking myself whether I might still be able to write up a seminar paper on Rousseau for a class I took 9 years ago.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:57 PM
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At my private liberal arts college - where I received an expensive and inferior education - we were supposed to be able to ask for extensions. However, when my roommate attempted suicide for the second time right when final papers were due and then dressed up as me and came into the dorm common room shouting that I had been the cause of her suicide attempts* and I was undeniably upset and stressed, I was turned down for even a few-day extension. It wasn't a serious enough situation, said the Dean of Students - requests for extensions around finals had to go through him rather than the professor. In retrospect, I wonder if he just plain disliked me for being funny-looking and queer and left-leaning. (It was a small enough school that this could have been the case even though I'd never been in any trouble.)

*The poor kid had pretty serious obsessive-compulsive disorder and ridiculously neglectful parents (who did not even show up when she had been saved from death the first time around - by me, no less, since I was the one who figured out that she'd overdosed and pushed our confused RA to call 911 - and generally were No Help. She was not a first generation student, for the record.) I don't think I drove her to suicide attempts, although I am confident that she felt rejected by me - she was far needier, more clingy and more in need of support than I knew how to deal with and after the first suicide attempt I did actually dial back on time spent with her. I was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing, and while I wish I had the skills to be a better friend to her, I was coming off of a pretty bad and lonely adolescence and just didn't know what I was doing, plus I was miserable.



Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 12:57 PM
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185 brings back horrible memories.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:02 PM
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185 I'd seen that happen with other students so I had a self imposed policy of finishing everything no later than a couple weeks after the end of the semester.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:02 PM
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On a related note, I wonder if I'm still ABD, technically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:04 PM
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184: I had the same grade reduction for too many absences at a discussion section, but no helpful phone call or even an e-mail.
186: That's awful. Similar situation for a friend whose father died suddenly, with many details that complicating the horror of the situation. I hope those people get their karmic reward.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:05 PM
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However, when my roommate attempted suicide for the second time right when final papers were due and then dressed up as me and came into the dorm common room shouting that I had been the cause of her suicide attempts* and I was undeniably upset and stressed, I was turned down for even a few-day extension. It wasn't a serious enough situation, said the Dean of Students

They're not like you or I. Deans, I mean. You don't know what they've been through. Where he comes from, this might happen every day of the week!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:07 PM
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there were so many things that my first-gen students got tripped up on that I never would have guessed

Definitely, and the actual content of the reminders/discussion is mostly fine. If it were presented (and received) in a more deadpan matter-of-fact way, I don't think I'd have a problem with it. It is always good to keep in mind that other people may be coming from a different place than you are.

It's the underlying astonishment/fascination that bugs me. At my current institution, anyway, it all has an aura of "just think about how bizarre the life of these savages must be!"

To 166/170, some has been about dealing with bureaucracy, attendance, general college behavior, etc. Those are more understandable. Some has been "don't get angry and give up on your advisees if they don't email you back on the same day- remember that some people don't have internet access at home, so they have to go to the library" and "keep in mind that some students will want to schedule their classes in a way that allows them to have a part time job, and this is a legitimate concern so you should let them do it." Those are more irritating.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:07 PM
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Are the Stars and Bars more incendiary than the Hammer and Sickle? Is it ok to wear a Che T shirt? Mao?


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:13 PM
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Yes they are; yes, a Che t-shirt is less offensive; yes, a Mao t-shirt is less offensive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:15 PM
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194. Why? Pretty odious people, if not on the level of Jimmy Carter.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:17 PM
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166/170: Sorry, just thought of another one that is lousy. Some folks assume that first-gen students view college as another level of high school required for a decent job. As such, they tend to major in "practical" things like business or pharmacy rather than high-minded pursuits. (Hope it's clear this isn't my view.)

192, yuck, and I hope I got you right in 178.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:20 PM
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Not associated with an ideology devoted to the subjugation of people who are or might be in the same classroom. There is no one who will reasonably take a Che t-shirt as an expression of hostility toward them (rather than probable disagreement with their policy positions).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:21 PM
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As an avowed Mao hater, on this blog and elsewhere, I'd say that all things considered Mao was way way worse than the Confederacy.

But with that said there's a key difference: a Confederate flag t-shirt worn by a US college student plausibly signals that the wearer of the t-shirt is in fact racist and likely to do racist things in the present time, whereas a Mao t-shirt usually symbolizes nothing at all other than a fashion statement.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:21 PM
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In grad school with its 10-week quarters, no one but no one turned in their seminar papers on time. Apparently it had long been the policy that the incompletes could float around until you needed the grade for a degree, but shortly after I got there they made a rule that you had to start each new year with all your grades made up. So basically everyone wrote all the their papers in the summer.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:25 PM
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193: Mao t-shirt are meant to be ironic.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:26 PM
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Nihao Mao!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:29 PM
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198 Yes. Also that the wearer is an idiot or has seriously fucked up views but ones that because of the realities of this society pose no danger whatsoever to anyone.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:29 PM
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Mao t-shirt usually symbolizes nothing at all other than a fashion statement.

The inferred racism of the confederate t shirt wearer I get, but the pass on the Mao t shirt I don't. Too many wrinkles for the irony.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:30 PM
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Are the Stars and Bars more incendiary than the Hammer and Sickle? Is it ok to wear a Che T shirt? Mao?

Yes.

"Being a controversial political figure who did some good and some harm" is not the equivalent of a symbol which, though used with thoughtless chauvinism by some, is used as a racist reference by others - so I think Che is no more controversial a t-shirt figure than, huh, FDR or Susan B Anthony or someone.

Mao? A Mao shirt is in pretty poor taste, particularly around people who suffered under Maoism. I'd argue, though, that the issue at hand is more complex (I don't think that "should the south have been able to secede and remaine a slavocracy?" is as legitimate a question as "what was a viable way to govern China after colonial rule, Nationalist rule, a civil war and about a million other crises?") and that the image of Mao is used differently in China than the Confederate flag is used in the US. Not only are Mao items a huge tourist deal but you'll see people wearing or referencing images of Mao ironically as an artistic or political statement. A Mao t-shirt isn't a dogwhistle about how great it would be to oppress the various tribal peoples or the Mongolians (even though there are certainly nationalists who want those things).

Also, both Che and Mao are not US figures and their deeds don't resonate in the same way as does the matter of the civil war. Again, I think it would be in pretty poor taste to wear either t-shirt if you were around Cuban exiles (even though a lot of those people are pretty far right and I certainly don't mind epater-ing them) or sorta-recent Chinese immigrants. And you'd probably look a fool, and I wouldn't be against someone having some pretty sharp words for you.

But that's not the same as some white kid wearing a shirt that is strongly associated with white supremacy and support for the slave South in a country that is still riven by racism and the aftermath of slavery and that war.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:31 PM
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I want a t-shirt with a drawing of Mao wearing a Ché t-shirt and waving the Stars and Bars.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:35 PM
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In 1998, someone scolded me in a bar bathroom for wearing an FMLN t-shirt. He seemed like a middle-class white kid; I wonder if he was a Cuban with broad anti-revolutionary sympathies.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:35 PM
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I hope I got you right in 178

Yes, good job.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:36 PM
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I'm sure this variant on the Stars and Bars t-shirt would be offensive to somebody, but I'm not sure to whom.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:40 PM
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I want a t-shirt with a drawing of Mao wearing a Ché t-shirt and waving the Stars and Bars.

I would wear it.

I remember when I was growing up that kids of Irish ancestry would proclaim support for the IRA. I never had a problem pointing out that the IRA were a bunch of terrorists, whatever one's opinion on the Irish Question.

Tribes have long memories.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:40 PM
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The Fenians had class though.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:41 PM
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Are the Stars and Bars more incendiary than the Hammer and Sickle? Is it ok to wear a Che T shirt? Mao?

The tree of the analogy ban must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of trolling comments.

There was a nutcase in a neighborhood in New Orleans who constantly played his lute, literally to be a nuisance to his neighbors.

Hilarious. That's almost like trying to attract noise complaints with a clavichord.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:42 PM
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There was a nutcase in a neighborhood in New Orleans who constantly played his lute, literally to be a nuisance to his neighbors.

I'm imagining the "Brave Sir Robin" song, continually updated to describe his neighbors' foibles.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:45 PM
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whereas a Mao t-shirt usually symbolizes nothing at all other than a fashion statement.

Do people actually wear Mao shirts? I'm pretty sure 95% of my students don't know who Mao is.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:45 PM
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I've never seen a Mao t-shirt. Che perhaps.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:46 PM
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212 was pwned by LB.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:47 PM
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The problem with Che, or any other communist revolutionary, is that they are firmly associated with the belief that democracy and civil liberties are evils that must be suppressed; that those who have different views about how an economy should be structured should be thrown into jail or killed. That was what lay at the base of the split between communists and other left wing socialists back at the start of the twenties. The difference between Che and senior figures in Pinochet's Chile in the aftermath of the coup is that the latter overthrew a democracy while the former a dictatorship. Other than that they're the same.

I'm wondering how people here feel about those who worship the fascist dominated armed resistance in post 1945 Poland. While many of its members were not fascists, but rather just joining whatever anti-communist resistance movement they could find, the leadership was mostly full blown fascist. Unlike other European fascist movements they fought the Nazis, so they're not tainted with collaboration. There are squares named after them all over Poland, resolutions passed honoring their struggle. They and the their symbols, which include the symbols of the thirties era Polish fascist movement, are very popular these days among a significant segment of young Poles.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:47 PM
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198: how many times do I have to tell you that Mao was one of the 20th century's greatest leaders? . Between refusing to acknowledge Mao and refusing to acknowledge Ron Paul I don't know what's wrong with you people.

More seriously, the Mao case is actually an interesting example of why trying to straight-up define a hateful ideological position (as opposed to directly hateful speech or hateful behavior) and just censor it out of academic environments is a problem. Trying to understand Mao's legacy gets you into some brutal and complicated stuff, and it's entirely possible you could have a Mao defender in a classroom with a kid whose parents were victims of the cultural revolution, in fact that could be an incredible dialogue. But there's no doubt it would be tricky.

Or take the odious Niall Ferguson and his defense of the British (and contemporary American empire) -- he gets extremely close to arguing that colonial people need Western rule to incorporate Western values. He does it in a polite way though. Hard to argue that an argument between Niall Ferguson and someone from India / Africa opposing his arguments doesn't belong in the classroom.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:48 PM
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El odio como factor de lucha; el odio intransigente al enemigo, que impulsa más allá de las limitaciones del ser humano y lo convierte en una efectiva, violenta, selectiva y fría máquina de mata.


Posted by: OPINIONATED SLIGHTLY EDGIER BOB MARLEY | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:48 PM
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And what if your t-shirt has Andy Warhol's portrait of Mao on it? More or less offensive than a plain old Mao t-shirt?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:48 PM
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Actually, one of my first thoughts looking back on the Mao thread was that trading away DS for Shearer's continued presence was a terrible bargain. I actually agreed in principle that Shearer should be able to post (I guess for the same reason I like the freedom to express lousy ideologies in the classroom), but from a consequentialist perspective it sucked.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:51 PM
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219: That was a soup can, racist.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:52 PM
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The tree of the analogy ban must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of trolling comments.

McQueen gets it. Christ, people, "if I'd come home without my jacket and some dead pheasants my kind would have beat me" = "what, why is the Confederate flage more offensive is an actual southern classroom with black people". The point is to screw with the discussion.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:54 PM
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221: can we agree that Andy Warhol t-shirts are the most offensive of all?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:56 PM
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209: I never had a problem pointing out that the IRA were a bunch of terrorists

So are the US Army, but you still see people signing up for ROTC.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 1:59 PM
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The point is to screw with the discussion

Well no shit. But the hate on the Volvo driving, latte sipping liberal college prof was boring. The kid is out there challenging assumptions, which the bien pensant find shocking. He has the right to his odious views.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:04 PM
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So are the US Army

War criminals sometimes, but terrorists? You have a different definition than I.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:06 PM
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Just curious TLL, would you express things the same way with someone with pro-Al Qaeda views?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:10 PM
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178: It's tricky. I can assume here as a general rule that a majority of my students are married and working full-time while trying to take my class. And I regularly tell all my classes about the nice little button that they have to click in order to show that they're interested in scholarships after I discovered that our top students had no idea that they were eligible for money (in part because the IT interface is crap.)

So I think it's actually good to remind faculty (who by and large aren't first gen college students) that things like having clear deadlines announced well in advance are good when you have a student population that needs to schedule time off for exams. The "aura" is annoying, true.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:10 PM
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There's no-one in the States who literally fears being brutalised by actual hometown Maoists. There are millions who have to worry about racists.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:11 PM
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someone with pro-Al Qaeda views

If they're polite, they're "challenging assumptions".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:12 PM
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226: Consult the archives for my views on how ridiculous a term "terrorist" is. I mean, if you want to argue that "non-state actor who uses political violence" is morally hugely different than "state actor who uses political violence," I think you're deluding yourself. Especially given what we've seen in the current US wars, where half the men with guns are Filipino or South African mercenaries, and the other side is not-so-secretly sponsored by our ostensible allies in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The state/non-state distinction gets pretty blurry in those circumstances, especially when you have multinational corporations charting state policy.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:15 PM
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229 is very wrong. Lots of Chinese citizens go to school in the US.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:15 PM
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192 It's the underlying astonishment/fascination that bugs me. At my current institution, anyway, it all has an aura of "just think about how bizarre the life of these savages must be!"

As a first-generation college student myself, I find this pretty weird. I guess I might suffer from the opposite bias of thinking there shouldn't be anything difficult for students to figure out about how to navigate college.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:17 PM
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232: ...and they fear being jumped by gangs of Maoists as they walk to class?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:18 PM
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Just curious TLL, would you express things the same way with someone with pro-Al Qaeda views?

Sure. I would disagree with their idea that the United States foreign policy is the source of all evil in the world, but I have no problem with their desire to rid the Arab Peninsula of the House of Saud.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:18 PM
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232: Yeah, in the US, where the Maoists are literally an ocean away. A fear back home, but they're not actually expecting the Maoists to catch a flight over to kick their ass or anything.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:18 PM
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232: Fair enough, and I believe it's already been mentioned that you might not want to wear that kind of shirt around someone likely to have personal experience with the subject. However, the wearer of a Mao t-shirt is on balance probably less likely to be dangerous to others due to their Mao-like beliefs than the wearer of a Confederate t-shirt is likely to be dangerous to others due to their Confederate-like beliefs.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:18 PM
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Many of them spend their summers in China, and essentially all of them have close family still in China (or else they wouldn't be allowed to leave the country for school).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:21 PM
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half the men with guns are Filipino or South African mercenaries

Then it's not the US Army, is it. For all the love Gen. Sherman was getting earlier, I would assume that I needn't remind you of his most famous quote.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:21 PM
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239: "You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end"

"You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about"


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:24 PM
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If Tom Wolfe was still alive,

Tom Wolfe is still alive, Ned. You can resume masturbating.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:25 PM
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231 You of all people arguing that there is no difference between the US targeting radical Islamists around the world and normal warfare between armies?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:27 PM
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This "We need to make some accommodations for people who are unused to this environment" "You condescending asshole, stop patronizing" argument is certainly a refreshing example of a topic where there is not a received set of accepted liberal opinions.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:28 PM
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Ummm, violent hate crimes by racist whites against blacks are rare in the extreme. This isn't 1925. (State violence through incarceration is another matter, but it's hard to see the claim that a student could never argue in a classroom that, say, U.S. incarceration rates were justified by actual levels of crime). It's not a realistic threat of getting jumped on the way back from class that's the issue, it's that white oppression of blacks Happens/Happened Here and feels like a Live Issue to an American in a way that some foreign atrocity doesn't. But we have plenty of immigrants here; something that feels distant to us could easily feel live to them.

My stepmother worked with a theater company to stage the experience of African immigrants in her town who came from warring communities and were scarred by genocide. There were cases where soldiers from one ethnicity who had likely killed and raped people in the home country were living down the street from members of the ethnicity they had victimized.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:33 PM
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Has anybody brought up a t-shirt of Mao waving a Confederate flag? Food for thought.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:33 PM
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244.1 I thought they were pretty common inside prisons.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:38 PM
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The Che t-shirt issue is complicated by the fact that that's just a great picture, graphically. People wear it to express kind of leftist beliefs, but only one in a thousand people with a Che image means anything more specific than leftism. No one wears a Castro t-shirt, because Castro's ugly.

This is the same sort of argument as the Confederate flag meaning vague Southern heritage bad-boy-ism rather than actual racism, but I think (a) the argument is at least sometimes true in the case of the Confederate flag (that is, people should be exhorted not to wear it, but it's not always going to mean they're white supremacists), and (b) it's much, much more likely to be true for a Che t-shirt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:42 PM
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The Che t-shirt issue is complicated by the fact that that's just a great picture, graphically

The most effective propaganda is great art first.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:53 PM
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243 is certainly a refreshing example of an interesting interpretation of the comments to which it seems to be referring.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:55 PM
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Going on about the oppressed sharecroppers of Poolesville isn't challenging assumptions, it's trolling.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 2:58 PM
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239, 240 HOLD THE FORT FOR I AM COMING


Posted by: Opinionated Sherman | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:00 PM
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And really now, standing up against the ongoing genocide of Euro-Americans?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:06 PM
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239: I wonder if you're thinking of Sheridan. I can't think of a particularly bad Sherman quote.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:06 PM
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For all the love Gen. Sherman was getting earlier, I would assume that I needn't remind you of his most famous quote.

I don't speak the language of trees.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:09 PM
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I can't think of a particularly bad Sherman quote.

I think maybe some of his comments on Klinger would now be obviously homophobic.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:10 PM
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Cmon. LB "War is Hell". He said that and other things like it many times. He was of the "Kill em all and let God sort it out" school.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:11 PM
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"I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy."


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:12 PM
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(257 to 253. That's not his most famous quote, but it's pretty unpleasant.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:13 PM
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Oh, I'm slow, 139 just meant "War is hell." In context, I read it as attributing something dramatically racist to Sherman. (Which, if you look, there's some pretty awful stuff from the Indian Wars, but nothing that I'd call a particularly famous quote.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:13 PM
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I wonder if you're thinking of Sheridan

While Gen Sheridan said it, I don't doubt Gen Sherman felt similarly.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:14 PM
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"The essence of war is violence, and moderation in war is imbecility" - Jacky Fisher.

"I'd walk from St. Petersburg back to London for another dance with him" - Jacky Fisher's Russian princess dancing partner.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:14 PM
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Regarding looking over your shoulder for Maoists, the only student who seriously needed to do that in recent times in the US was Bo Xilai's son, and he was actually a Maoist pursued by less-Maoists.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:17 PM
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239: So we're back to "no true Scotsman?" If the US military, primarily the Army, is hiring mercenaries to carry out its strategic objectives, then at the very least we can say that they are proxies of the US Army. Many, many armies throughout history have had a significant mercenary component -- do you think that the presence of Hessians who were trying to keep the US from existing in the Revolutionary War somehow precluded the identification of that war as between the UK and the US? What is your argument?

242: I'm not arguing that there are no differences between conflicts, that would be absurd. I am pointing out that you are on very thin ice in propounding the view that the mere fact of one belligerent's legitimization by a state gives it a moral pass for its actions in a conflict. Which is what, I am arguing, the identification of non-state actors who are party to a violent conflict as "terrorists" is attempting to do.

I mean, it's not as though I'm alone in raising this point politically or linguistically*. Virtually everybody has their favorite group of irregular warriors from one period or another who they invest with all sorts of fine qualities and moral correctness. Obviously, as with the case of resistance fighters before, during and after WWII, guerrilla war can make even stranger bedfellows than politics in general. I don't have much respect for those "consistent life ethic" assholes, given their opposition to reproductive freedom, but at least they are consistent. Most everybody else likes to pick and choose as though they're in the candy section of political violence. My argument is that doing so is foolish, and counterproductive.

*What is the precise, moral difference between these fellows:
terrorist
franc tireur
militant
freedom fighter
guerrilla
irregular
enemy combatant
militia member
resistance fighter
paramilitary
social bandit
maquisard

And then, as these types of people all use violence as an aid to accomplishing certain political goals, how do they necessarily differ from a soldier, sailor, airman or marine?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:18 PM
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Sure "freedom fighter" is the flip side of "terrorist" and history is written by the victors. But I do think there is a difference between a nation's military and an ad hoc group, no matter how politically legitimate.

Using mercenaries for tasks the military either won't or can't do is already problematic. Using the mercs for plausible deniability is right out.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:30 PM
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What's more, things get even blurrier when you think about what financial incentives, if any, may be motivating these various types of fighters. A soldier, by definition is supposed to receive pay. Of course, states often go broke fighting wars, so soldiers wind up pillaging. Contrarily, your politicized bandit or pirate is allegedly motivated primarily by expropriative aims, but that hardly precludes a complimentary political motivation. Where do you put, for instance, rebellious slaves/maroons? Clearly, they have an overwhelmingly personal, economic motivation for their actions, but presumably many of them have thought about the political implications as well. Then too, there's the whole question of what we can properly call a "state." Lots and lots of rebels, not least of them the Confederates, are at some pains to represent themselves as the armed forces of a legitimate political entity, which deserves recognition. I doubt many people on this blog would argue that the FARC, for instance, deserves such endorsement, but what about the EZLN? Or the ANC? Or the PKK?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:32 PM
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half the men with guns are Filipino or South African mercenaries

Honestly, what are you talking about? Is there some specific thing you have in mind here?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:33 PM
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217: Dude, I won that argument. Mao was a nutjob. Also, fashion hasn't changed in 30 years, and Led Zeppelin sucks.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:36 PM
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263 -- That argument points to a pretty important issue in our spectacularly failing Military Commissions experiment. The government charged Mohamed Jawad with murder in violation of the laws of war, basing the crime not on how or why the homicide took place, but on Jawad's supposed status as an unprivileged belligerent (aka a pre-teen who allegedly threw a grenade at a passing convoy). The Commission rejected the argument, holding that status isn't enough, under the law of war, but there has to be something about the act of killing. Then the case completely collapsed when his coerced confessions were thrown out, so we didn't get appellate ruling on the issue. But the Commissions have been pretty consistent with this.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:37 PM
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266: Well, I'm engaging in a bit of hyperbole, but are you denying the extensive use of mercenaries in recent US conflicts?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:50 PM
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266: Is it that you want me to call them "contractors?"


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:51 PM
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213: My husband has this Chairman Meow t-shirt, but obviously it's not meant to be a political statement. Apparently "mao" is Mandarin for "cat" so it's extra funny.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:52 PM
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265 I don't think that the cause the group represents should be a factor when it comes to how we treat the legal status of the group. That should have to do with legal status as a state, territorial control, and the degree to which they're a well organized more or less centrally controlled group. The cause and the conduct of the group are the key factors when it comes to whether or not they're morally legitimate. In Charlie Carp's example my view would be that if the person was a member of the Taliban his act wasn't criminal (though he can be detained as long as were engaged in a war with the Taliban). If he was just some random kid it was. I believe that that distinction is reflected in the Geneva Conventions which also, IIRC, distinguish between official state sponsored combatants and those of non state groups.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 3:54 PM
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I have a version of this t-shirt, but like Chairman Meow I think it's clearly not actually making a statement about communism.

There's also this awesome t-shirt.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 4:03 PM
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272 -- He was a random kid, so it would be a crime under the laws of Afghanistan, but not under the laws of war.

If he had been a member of the Taliban army, he'd have been a child soldier, which brings another treaty into play.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 4:05 PM
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245: 205 has got you covered.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 4:14 PM
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273: I love the second t-shirt link so much.

One of my work functions involved going to a shooting range where I bought a t-shirt that I wear all the time biking around SLC. I wear it ironically because I'm incredibly opposed to guns, but this is Utah, so I don't think anyone else is in on the joke.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 4:19 PM
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guerrilla war can make even stranger bedfellows than politics in general

Boy, howdy. The OSS took care of Uncle Ho because he was good at killing Japs.


Posted by: Tasseled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 4:20 PM
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269, et seq. Ah, no, there certainly are some mercenaries. The tremendous bulk of "contractors" in fact do mail, food, laundry, maintenance, very literal guard duty (gates, etc), cargo driving and flying, interpreting, and a great amount of building of horizontal and vertical structures.

There's usually a fair few contractors providing training and instruction.

Now, there may well be some that are actively participating in the really nasty part, but, frankly, that's overwhelmingly more likely to be a uniformed member of the armed forces than anything else. It seems there must be some availability bias at work here because, well, we've all heard of blackwater assholes doing horrible things. The reason that we have heard of that so much is because it is truly outrageous--aside from the bare facts of killing, there's the fact that those are the kind of things we try to reserve to state power.

The overwhelming bulk of contractors or PMC folks are easily accounted for, and the "extensive use of mercenaries" in US warmaking is really eliding an important distinction between what they do.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 5:11 PM
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Further, when those outrageous things happen folks should absolutely let their elected representatives know how unconscionable that is, and that folks in responsible positions should be fired or incarcerated or something.

I feel the same way about the "legit" deaths in wars of choice (and very very few are not wars of choice!).


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 5:16 PM
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From the OP, this is interesting: "This was the beginning of what I saw to be the primary means of his instigative expression: not the racism I was expecting, but an insistence on intellectualizing a kind of redneck order of the world."

I believe this is much more common than that professor realizes. Most people with strong beliefs of any kind, but especially beliefs that are controversial or unpopular, have intellectual arguments to support them.


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 5:20 PM
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Uncle Ho

Look TLL, we tolerate your retrograde politics, but the slut-shaming is a step too far.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 5:28 PM
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OP reminds a bit of Bérubé's discussion in What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts of his experience with a conservative student in a lit class. As I recall, the student was not as outwardly offensive but did spout some pretty offensive views. And I believe MB related having some more substantive discussions on the views expressed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 6:48 PM
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247: I'd spin that slightly differently. I'd say that wearing a Confederate flag is, at best, advertising your indifference to Civil War history and the long years of oppression that followed - that is to say, even in the best of circumstances, it's inherently racist in a pretty nasty way. Wearing a Che t-shirt indicates indifference, at least, to the depredations of Cuban Marxism.

It seems fairly obvious to me that the more remote a bit of villainy is, the more forgivable it is that people neglect to concern themselves about it. Moreover, I think Cuban Marxism is a lot more ambiguous issue than American racism. Certainly Che benefits because of the despicable nature of his enemies.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:02 PM
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272: I believe that that distinction is reflected in the Geneva Conventions which also, IIRC, distinguish between official state sponsored combatants and those of non state groups.

And who drafted those agreements? Sure wasn't anarchists, I'll tell you that!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:33 PM
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apostropher! Hey, I don't want to offend you, but from afar it looks it looks like your state legislature has been taken over by total asshats.*

(It's not as if I have much room to comment--my state is certainly run by clowns--but for some reason I always thought of NC as somwhat more sensible than that. Admittedly I don't follow NC state politics very closely. Maybe you're just getting an unsual amount of national press recently.)

(Although it looks like money may be involved. Of course.)

*NB: this is one of I think roughly two dozen recent articles I've seen, in which someone in your legislature is proposing or doing or saying something batty.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:39 PM
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Yeah apo, what's up with that?

(Apo noted the disaster quite early on election night as I recall.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:43 PM
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278: Okay, well, now I am confused about whether I have been deliberately obfuscatory or whether you are deliberately misreading, or if we are just two ships that pass in the night.

My point was, if the US military has engaged private citizens to prosecute aspects of its current wars, up to and including firing shots in anger, then I contend that the only actual differences in the way we conceptualize the actions of those people and of so called "terrorists" are (a) the arbitrary cloak of legitimacy provided by the state, and (b) the degree to which an observer's political preferences match up with those of the subject. And, furthermore, I would extend this to uniformed troops that are inarguably part of some national military apparatus, because if we eliminate the arbitrary reliance on state legitimacy (which, as an anarchist, I do, of course) then we're left with nothing but whether our politics match up.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:43 PM
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(Apo noted the disaster quite early on election night as I recall.)

Ah, okay--maybe he's aware. I hadn't been paying much attention until recently, when it just seems like story after story has been in the news.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:50 PM
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286, 288: Actually, early the next morning.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:52 PM
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See, I was all ready to play "Florida, Texas or Arizona" when I saw this headline, but then it turns out it was Ohio, of all places.

http://www.alternet.org/cop-shot-litter-kittens-front-screaming-children


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:52 PM
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I feel like Natilo is violating the analogy ban in spirit here. We should be able to agree that no matter what you think of terrorists or the US military they aren't exactly the same thing as each other. So really the argument is that the US military is analogous to terrorists in some important way. Of course that then descends into arguing about whether the analogy is correct, rather than whatever the original point was, which is exactly why analogies are banned. You can't get around the analogy ban by just saying different things are exactly the same as each other to avoid using the word analogous.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:53 PM
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290: That's some pretty fucked-up shit right there.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 7:59 PM
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Of course, "The cats were located within the wood pile and euthanized" is pretty brilliant understatement, if you're a fan of that kind of thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:02 PM
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291: I feel like Natilo is violating the analogy ban in spirit here.

I haven't had any spirits for a couple of weeks. Just vinous and malt liquors.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:11 PM
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We should be able to agree that no matter what you think of terrorists or the US military they aren't exactly the same thing as each other.

Right, but I'm not arguing that. My point is that political violence, or violence in furtherance of political aims, is essentially similar, regardless of what type of entity practices or authorizes it. Some CIRA paramilitary waving an Armalite around in Derry is performing the same type of action as a French tank commander in Sierra Leone, simply with different political aims.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:30 PM
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What's the difference between an animal control officer and a future serial killler?

The future serial killer doesn't kill the kitten while children can hear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:33 PM
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285-289: We officially have the worst state government of all 50 right now. And because of the redistricting in the wake of the 2010 census, it's probably locked in until 2022. They are destroying the state and it's heartbreaking.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:36 PM
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297 was me, natch.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:37 PM
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Dude! The Replacements are getting back together to play some shows!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 8:39 PM
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. Certainly Che benefits because of the despicable nature of his enemies.

The "enemies" of the revolution very quickly included plenty of people who were anti-Batista.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 9:30 PM
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I thought there was too much money in politics now for one person to buy the entire legislature of one of our 10 most populous states. I guess that was... no, naive isn't quite the word.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-12-13 10:16 PM
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but felt that given the choice between the SPD and the Nazis it was absolutely correct to ally with the Nazis.

Perfectly compatible with being a full on Stalinist up to 1934. The "third period".


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 1:53 AM
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Sexual Bolshevik


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 2:01 AM
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300: You won't see me in a Che t-shirt. But I have to admit, I really admire the shirt linked in 273.2.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 6:34 AM
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My guess is that most of the people in Che shirts aren't even thinking 'left' but it's more about the romance of revolution. And the great graphic.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 7:54 AM
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305: Mine too, but, as I say in 283, I don't think that lets them off the hook.

A friend of mine went to China in 1980 or so, and, with ironic intent, brought me back a Stalin poster. I had it on my wall for awhile - again, ironically - but later decided that wasn't such a good thing. I still think that's the right call, and I would so advise the folks with the Che shirts.

As I said, it's not like they are wearing the Stars and Bars, but it's still a bit soon for that sort of thing. Maybe in another few decades.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 9:00 AM
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I lived in a house once with 4 other people and we had a poster of Stalin on the back of the toilet door. The thinking was it would make people hurry the fuck up.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 9:05 AM
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And then there's this guy--
http://www.shortnorth.com/WinceOnFire.html


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 9:18 AM
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271
Actually, 'Mao' (last name) is a homonym of 'mao' (cat), but they are different characters and tones. The last name Mao is the exact same character and pronunciation as 'fur' (mao) though, which even further ties into the cat theme.

On topic, I remember my parents reading a book to me a kid's book set Sweden during WW2. At some point the main characters, two children, are to take the train across the country, and before they leave, their mother tells them not to talk to any Germans. On the train is a German refugee and her son, and she offers the children some food. The children are torn, because the woman is being nice to them, but they've been told not to speak to Germans. They ignore her, and the woman gets really upset and goes off on how rude Swedes are, and how she's just trying to be nice and everyone treats her like crap. I don't remember anything else about the book, like the title, but I remember this part vividly because it was the first time I realized that one's ideology/worldview (anti-Nazism) might conflict with interpersonal/private morals (politeness).


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 9:31 AM
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I want a shirt with this on it, and I don't care what you think of Che.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 06-13-13 11:58 AM
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i for one dont doubt heebie and co. would treat a white suprematist nicely in person, it's treating a person of "color" nicely what is a challenge for you all i suspect
i'm surprised LB is getting so worked up about this, a swpl site is a swpl site
well, treating republicans well seems like a challenge for them too, but that's just mere fighting for resources


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 5:57 AM
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i for one dont doubt heebie and co. would treat a white suprematist nicely in person, it's treating a person of "color" nicely what is a challenge for you all i suspect
i'm surprised LB is getting so worked up about this, after all a swpl site is a swpl site
well, treating republicans well seems like a challenge for them too, but that's just mere fighting for resources


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 6:51 AM
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And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 8:53 AM
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And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?

O HAI
WE'RE IN UR CAPITAL
BURNING UR PRESNIT'S HOUSE


Posted by: Opinionated LolCochrane | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 9:00 AM
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They are destroying the state and it's heartbreaking.

I remember that feeling. My sympathies.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 9:05 AM
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They are destroying the state and it's heartbreaking.

I remember that feeling. My sympathies.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 9:05 AM
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Wow, I did not know that outside groups spent $2.6 million to influence the NC Supreme Court election last November.

Center for Public Integrity investigation. Lots of remarkable details at the link.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06-14-13 9:40 AM
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