Re: Accidental Phone Sex

1

Hm, thats kind of like gay chicken, but with a better payoff.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 03-30-08 10:58 PM
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2

This is almost exactly how I feel about Unfogged comment threads.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 03-30-08 11:04 PM
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3

Wasn't me. Couldn't have been. I was--I mean--I wasn't--I was dead at the time!


Posted by: Honest Abe | Link to this comment | 03-30-08 11:04 PM
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4

Here's a doozy, and then I have to go to bed:

The first time I taught a full class entirely by myself, it was composition at Nerd U. I had one total asshole in my class who was rude, combative, and personally insulting, so of course he was my favorite. For every assignment, he managed to fulfill every objective while undermining every aspect of the spirit of the thing.

For the "interview someone who is fundamentally different from you in some respect and write a thoughtful essay based on their responses" assignment, he picked a random name out of the Nerd U phone book and called it, at 3 am. He explained the assignment to her, to which she responded, "Fuck you. Leave me the fuck alone."

So he tried again. He found out where she ate lunch and sat outside, trying to catch her attention as she ran to class. "Fuck you," was the inevitable response.

As far as I know, that's as far as he took it, aside from a few glances up at her dormitory. He somehow folded this all into a really thoughtful essay about her and what kind of person he imagined she was. I'd have flunked anything less than excellence, and I later verified that he hadn't done anything untoward beyond the phone call and the one public hello, but it was a pretty damn good essay.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-30-08 11:19 PM
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(I also felt better about the fact that he was very clear about his name with her. If she had decided to report him, she had his full name. Not that it excuses it, but it's less scary. All in all, Nerd U was a weird place to begin with.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-30-08 11:20 PM
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6

Personally, I'd still flunked this guy for his essay, for not following the assignment properly.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 12:16 AM
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7

I'd go along with 6.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 1:59 AM
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8

Phone rape, rather than phone sex.

I'd have flunked the guy and made him repeat the assignment. Calling at 3AM is just stupid and he deserved to be failed for that alone: tracking someone down where they eat lunch is arguably criminal harassment, whether or not she reported it. He got away with being stupid and with criminal harassment, and you gave him a pass on his essay about it? Sheesh.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 2:01 AM
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9

See also which is possibly not safe for work, simply because of the url. It is a jpeg. It does have that word in the url. But it's a scanned, handwritten letter.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 2:26 AM
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There is a whole genre of Harvard lore based on responses to the obscene caller known as "the Action Man". Probably most of it is fanciful Esprit de l'escalier, but I do know one guy who attempted (without success) to turn the call into an interview for the school newspaper.

I wonder if the Action Man survived the introduction of caller ID.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 5:37 AM
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I had a friend in college who responded to a call by the Action Man by quickly and calmly saying, "Yes. I would like some action." This version of the Action Man immediately hung up.

I once had a long phone conversation in the late 1980s about "Bloom," in the middle of which I realized that I was discussing Allan while the person with whom I was talking was discussing Harold. Without mentioning this discovery, I just switched gears and started talking about Harold, too. I don't think she noticed. Needless to say, neither of us climaxed.


Posted by: Ben | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 5:50 AM
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12

I've done the same thing with the Nagels.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 5:57 AM
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13

OT (from Atrios):


Max Mosley, one of the most powerful men in world sport, was under pressure to resign as boss of Formula One's governing body last night after he was exposed enjoying a Nazi-style orgy with five prostitutes......
The Oxford-educated former barrister, who is president of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), reenacted a concentration camp scene in which he played the role of both guard and inmate.

I love British culture. They do the same things we do, but they're so much classier. Mosley attained heights that Bill Buckley could only dream of.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 6:12 AM
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He apparently did so in German.

He also resulted in the Screws' subeditor finally getting to use the phrase "NAZI SEX ORGY" in a front-page headline.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 6:21 AM
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The fact that he's the son of a jailed fascist leader whose wedding was attended by Hitler, makes it all the more mind-boggling.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:14 AM
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You had accidental phone sex with both Ernest and Thomas Nagel, John? That's weird, but I guess it doesn't surprise me.


Posted by: matt (not the famous one) | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:18 AM
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17

Apparently Samaranch of the Olympic Committte had major Fascist ties too.

See, sports is for morons and Nazis.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:28 AM
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The elder Nagel was frighteningly kinky, like most Austro-Hungarians. No one in the phone-sex stalker world ever called him twice -- he always invited you to visit his customized basement. But the younger Nagel was a real gentleman.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:31 AM
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re: 17

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswald_mosley

His father.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:37 AM
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Mosley is a Goldbergesque figure. He started as a conservative with anti-war leanings, moved to Labour and the Fabian Socialists, and then started his own party in 1931. Before he started his own party he had been a fairly important figure, it seems.

The problem with Goldberg's book wasn't that there was nothing there, but that he needed to drag Hillary into it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:43 AM
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21

16: and Patrick!

20: something tells me John needs a politics thread, stat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 7:44 AM
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22

SPODE!!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:00 AM
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23

The thing is, though, that there are people in Britain you'd never imagine had been members of the government...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:08 AM
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24

6-8 suck. It was the first class I ever taught, seven years ago! I wouldn't waste your teaching advice on me now.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:24 AM
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17: Apparently Samaranch of the Olympic Committte had major Fascist ties too.

Ditto Avery Brundage, who as late as 1971 apparently said: The Berlin Games were the finest in modern history...I will accept no dispute over that fact. Brundage had a long list of political laundry including his racist reaction to the magnificent Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised fist display in '68 and his unsympathetic handling of the terrorism at the 1972 games. (He also opposed Jim Thorpe getting his medals back from 1912, a little tidbit I just learned was that Brundage competed in those events in 1912 and was of course beaten by Thorpe.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:26 AM
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Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley! Baronet Oswald Ernald Mosley!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:30 AM
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27

re: 24

Heh, I'm not sure why agreeing that your student sounds like someone who doesn't deserve to pass is something that sucks.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:43 AM
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28

Because (a) no one was hurt, (b) saying hello to someone outside the dining hall that serves half the campus is not harassment, (c) the grade was given seven years ago. I guess I'm a little sensitive because whenever I post a story about grading on my blog, if it doesn't end with "And then I failed the little fucker!!!!" I end up with 20 comments from people outdoing themselves to see who would have done worse to the person.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 8:48 AM
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29

I would have raped him in prison, but I'm not judging you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:01 AM
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30

re: 28

It's not really that. I think it's more that most of us have had students we i) should have failed and ii) didn't. So reading about other people's similar students sparks a reaction. It's not "I'd have been so much better at handling that" so much as "Jesus, another dickhead, I wish someone would fail those fuckers".

Also, I can understand liking a student who was cheeky, or didn't take the class seriously but not a 'total asshole'. This comes back to the gigantic chip on my shoulder, I suspect, but I have a very low tolerance for lack of respect.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:02 AM
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31

I've failed every student in every class I've ever taught.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:04 AM
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32

I would have raped him in prison as part of an elaborate Nazi prison camp fantasy orgy, but I'm not judging you.

Fixed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:05 AM
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33

31: I've failed the world. No teaching even required.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:06 AM
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34

the gigantic chip on my shoulder

Meh, I've seen bigger.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:07 AM
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Are you disrespecting my chip?*

* nothing insults a scot more. Never disparage a man's fried potato product or his alcoholic beverage.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:09 AM
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36

Chips have alcohol in Scotland? I take back everything I've ever said about boiled meat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:11 AM
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Don't listen to them, AWB, that sounds like work worthy of an A. The assignment sounds annoyingly vague and overbroad -- barring immediate family, everyone is fundamentally different from you in some respect, and a requirement that an essay be thoughtful should go without saying. The guy found a subject who wasn't a professor or a student of a different religion from him like most of his classmates probably did, he interviewed her over two or three meetings (for a broad definition of "interview"), and he wrote an essay that, since it was mostly guesswork, had to have been very thoughtful. While undermining every aspect of the spirit of the thing.

I mean, I'm assuming that you had good reasons not to be afraid for the woman, and that you were correct in so thinking. The latter is confirmed by your phone call; the former depends on details about your student and stuff. If you got the essay and were freaked out until you checked to make sure the woman was still alive and not planning to press charges, yeah, the story might be more scary than funny.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:15 AM
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30: I've definitely gotten a lot better since then at confronting assholes in a useful way (and I did confront that student, often, about his methods and his attitude, which was usually deeply respectful toward me but contemptuous of his peers, which is its own problem). I have a student this semester who is obviously extremely insightful, passionate, and motivated, but she is really frustrated with her classmates all the time. We have long talks about it, and she's learning a bit how to frame her responses in more productive ways for discussion. But I think I see myself in those cocky undergrads who need to settle down their egos a bit, and I'm somewhat compassionate towards them, even as I see them in need of help and instruction. It really took grad school to make me realize that I was among very impressive intellectual peers, and so I stopped being such a dick.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:16 AM
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people outdoing themselves to see who would have done worse

After deciding against going tenure-track, I second-guessed myself constantly. It was unfair, but I started slipping "so how are the kids?" into conversations with colleagues who taught.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:16 AM
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40

Stout and porter suck big time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:22 AM
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41

No one tells me what to disparage and not to disparage. I also disparage all forms of whiskey, especially scotch.

And oatmeal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:23 AM
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42

Stout and porter suck big time.

Spoken like a true alcoholic.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:23 AM
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43

Not necessarily so, ogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:28 AM
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44

But I think I see myself in those cocky undergrads who need to settle down their egos a bit, and I'm somewhat compassionate towards them

I don't think I, personally, was one of those cocky undergrads. So I'm not really naturally inclined to sympathy.

But, sometimes, yeah, it's easier to be compassionate. Other times, I think what they need from their teacher is a good (metaphorical/intellectual) beating. I suppose it all depends how the arrogance is framed. Someone who thinks they are God's gift better be really brilliant, or the urge to repeatedly pwn them gets hard to resist.*

* childish, and chippy, but, it's a natural emotion.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:31 AM
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Oh, definitely, and I've definitely had a few God's-gift types who were actually quite dumb and were bad writers. Those are the worst. At least a truly intelligent person has the capacity to recognize the possibility that he could learn more. I don't even know how to make a dent in the ones who are too dumb to know they're not geniuses.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 9:49 AM
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46

28: Aw, we just want to hear more stories about you being mean to people!


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 10:12 AM
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47

I don't even know how to make a dent in the ones who are too dumb to know they're not geniuses.

I carry a heavy stapler to class for this purpose.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 10:31 AM
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48

I would have set him on fire.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 10:34 AM
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49

I don't even know how to make a dent in the ones who are too dumb to know they're not geniuses.

The time I made a concerted effort to reshape a student's self-perception was probably the biggest teaching failure of my shortish career. It started with my making her cry, a lot, and ended with her making vicious passive gestures at me, like writing about me in a student mag---that she then gave me---and reviewing the class with demented, over-the-top hatefulness.

That student has since gone on to become a grad student (yus, I've google-stalked her every once in a while), so I have every confidence that she's suffered from some arrogant git of an undergrad as well, even if she doesn't look back on her freshman self with regret.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 10:44 AM
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Well, I assume that with the dumb ones the poor grades they get will be as good of an indication as any. This has the potential to be more true if the smart ones get good grades as long as they do what they have to do.

My personal view is that you have a duty as a teacher and also as an evaluator. You have to preserve the integrity of the evaluation process. So I don't think you can justifiably fail someone because they undermine your attempt at educating them. That is confusing the two roles. You have to try and fulfill your first role without resorting to the punative power you possess in your second role. If they fulfill the obligations of the class/assignment, you have to pass them. Some might try to define the obligations of the class as submitting to some particular learning process, but as a techie accustomed to reasonably objective standards for mastering class material, I am inclined to view that position as a load of crap.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 10:57 AM
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49: I, too, have had a student write an article in the student newspaper to complain (obliquely) about a grade he received from me. Annoying little twit.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:06 AM
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So I don't think you can justifiably fail someone because they undermine your attempt at educating them.

Agreed; not only can you not fail them, I'm not sure of the advisability of getting involved in their growth as cooperative members of the academic community. I'd take a slightly different stance toward students who clearly have grad school in their futures, I suppose, but otherwise I think I'd find mentoring in that sort of way far too risky, because exhausting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:12 AM
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Not only that, I just found the article online! Good times.


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:12 AM
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I'm not sure of the advisability of getting involved in their growth as cooperative members of the academic community.

Oh, I agree. It was a complete failure on my part: presumptuous, intrusive, judgmental, counter-productive, everything.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:17 AM
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Yeah, in loco parentis sort of stops at college. It's one reason I always thought being an RA would be dreadful (for me personally). Of course, the calculus changes again when you're talking about grad students' relationships with their advisors.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:36 AM
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Why would being an RA be dreadful? In loco parentis?? You've got to be joking. I always made it clear to my students that I didn't care what they drank or smoked or who they fucked or whatever other arcane rules I was probably supposed to be administering. I had two rules: (1) don't fuck up the bathrooms (which were communal), and (2) don't pull the fire alarms in the middle of the night during finals week. Those seemed to me to be reasonably easy to follow. On the other hand, if anyone broke these simple rules, as a few unfortunate souls did every single year, I absolutely brought down the hammer without mercy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:59 AM
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Why would being an RA be dreadful? In loco parentis?? You've got to be joking. I always made it clear to my students that I didn't care what they drank or smoked or who they fucked or whatever other arcane rules I was probably supposed to be administering.

Well, sometimes your bosses expect you to be administering the rules to a certain extent.

In that situation your position would be much more awkward.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 12:26 PM
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Why would being an RA be dreadful? In loco parentis?? You've got to be joking.

Oh, I just always had some idea that it would involve mini-therapy sessions with students at times. A valiant endeavor for those students who need it, just not for me personally to be in a therapist's role.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 12:26 PM
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I was an RA for a year, and I hated those RAs who were in it because they wanted to give mini-therapy sessions. There are professionals for that. As the RA, my job was to give people their telephone numbers.

As for rule enforcement, I leveled with the residents on my floor: Look, you know you're not allowed to smoke pot in your rooms, so if you're gonna do it anyway, at least do me the favor of not letting me catch you, okay?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 12:34 PM
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There are professionals for that. As the RA, my job was to give people their telephone numbers.

It occurs to me that things have changed a bit since I was in college; I'm sure there were campus counselling services, but I think they're much more prevalent now.

I'm occasioned to think about it now because my work partner's daughter (college junior now) has just started as an RA at a school where one of her best friends actually died of a drug OD after a party a year ago. All sorts of horrible things went on both beforehand and in the aftermath, including blaming of RAs for not having caught the situation in the making (reckless, promiscuous, self-destructive behavior), then for not providing enough grief support to surviving friends, such that some of them left school. Oh lordy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 12:46 PM
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I was an RA of the Brock Landers/Blume school. Also: smoking pot in your room? I don't care. Dealing pot out of your room? You will get busted and I'll have to fill out a shitload of paperwork, making me hate you forever. Don't do it.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 12:54 PM
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59: There are professionals for that.

Don't know the specifics in Blume's school, but RAs often seem to be intended as a community-based form of peer counselling / emotional support / etc. Not a job I would like either, but there are questions with the professionalization of counseling too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 1:03 PM
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After observing various nasty things happen at MIT, I would never work as an RA for fear of liability.


Posted by: mpowell | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 1:12 PM
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I too have fallen for the "this is someone I know, playing a trick on me" line of thought, somewhat encouraged by the caller. I suspect they take advantage of it a lot.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 03-31-08 11:28 PM
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The thing is, though, that there are people in Britain you'd never imagine had been members of the government...

Like the current placeholder at the Home Office.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04- 1-08 1:11 AM
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61: Dealing pot out of your room? You will get busted and I'll have to fill out a shitload of paperwork, making me hate you forever.

The best RA at my first college was busted the year after I left for dealing hard drugs. I don't know all the specifics, but it seemed fairly suspicious to me that, at a small-town, almost entirely white college with an at-least average amount of illicit drug use (and an above-average amount of cannabis use) the only guy to get busted for dealing was African-American. He was a such a good guy too. Got me out of a scrape with some fellows who didn't like my politics that could have turned really ugly, and without bringing down the hammer on them either.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04- 1-08 5:39 AM
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