Saturday, October 09, 2004

K. Grease: Your Man in St. Louis

Was here to do discussions on the Prez Debate at Wash U. Walked around the Alma Mater early this morning. Felt just like New Orleans on Ash Wednesday (that's the day AFTER Mardi Gras, for those who are both non-catholics and non-drinkers).

After Mardi Gras is over, the streets are all dirty and damp, the expensive hookers are all still asleep, and the cheap hookers are doing the walk of shame back to their apartments. This morning at Wash U, I had the feeling that Tim Russert was fast asleep, and the guys with still cameras and follow-up deadlines were walking around feeling self-important, and hoping that someone would notice. The happiest person I saw was a young woman taking a picture of some trash. She was happy because another guy was taking her picture taking the picture of the trash. Presumably, the story would be, "Here, look, the day after Mardi Debate, all we Media ho's be tired, but here is a picture of someone taking a picture of trash." Made me wish I had a camera. How far can you push a regress?

Some other highlights:

  • The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus (No, I'm not kidding. WTF?) It had more cables leading up to it than a heart bypass patient. "And if we don't, we're gonna blow a 50 amp fuse."
  • The Rock the Vote androids were making merry, putting out bottles of Dasani in ice tubs, and getting ready for the show (noon to 4 pm, day after the debate, Dan Dyer, Shelley Fairchild and Wylde Bunch with St. Juste). The RtVers looked bright and cheery. I hated them; I hated them all. Look, people: I'll deny this if you quote me. But you go to college to drink strong spirits and get laid. You might even consider recreational drug use, though of course I'm opposed to that. No matter what, though, here's one thing for sure: If you and 100 other people are wearing identical t-shirts and putting water in tubs at 8 in the morning on a weekend, you MIGHT be a nutjob. Get with the program.
  • Right in front, tucked nearly under the bumper, of the RtV bus was Scion xB from FCUK.COM. It looked for all the world like vehicle sex of the canine sort. It struck me that the issue of this unholy union would be a Volvo full of extremely earnest young people. They would wear overpriced clothing and whine incessantly about how they identify with working people who couldn't afford either the Volvo or the clothing.
  • Two signs I saw sticking in the ground, unmolested, presumably reflecting either consensus among the WU community or fear of offending the hegemon: (1) "Give Bush the Pink Slip: Vote or Die!" and (2) "Religion is for the WEAK!"

Great debate, though. Most of the time the candidates made at least some effort to address the questions. I thought the last question was a little strange, though: "Mr. Bush, can you name three mistakes you regret? Now, Mr. Kerry, can YOU name three of Mr. Bush's mistakes that you regret?"

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

TtwbC comes through

Our man in Canada comes up big (comment in previous post, on PSM).

This is the sort of thing that academics should be mad about. Where's the outrage?

The fact is that most academics are fiercely in favor of free speech for everyone that agrees with them.

Rick, You Blew It

Rick Martinez wrote in his Oct 6 N&O column that Duke was cowardly, caving in to "political correctness" by allowing the PSM conference.

Even a moment's thought reveals this is absurd. It would have been much easier for us not to host the conference. There would have been less debate, fewer heated discussions, and fewer unsettling disagreements. In fact, we could just not have any discordant ideas at all, and never argue with each other. Duke could look like this.

But debate, discussions, and even unsettling disagreements are the reasons we have universities. True, if Duke had denied PSM, we would not have violated the 1st Amendment. It is also true putting PSM off would have denied our students, our faculty, and the larger community an opportunity to learn, and to speak out in opposition if that is their desire.

As a fellow conservative, I generally enjoy and appreciate Mr. Martinez's commentaries. But as a conservative in the academy, I recognize just how important a universal commitment to real freedom of expression can be. You are dead wrong on this one, Rick.

When I was asked by PSM if my Department would co-sponsor, I readily agreed, and gave money. Nonetheless, if you come to Duke's campus, you will find me outside, joining those protesting PSM's message. I disagree with PSM vehemently. But I defend Duke's decision to sponsor the conference just as vehemently. Note to Rick: C'mon over! You'll get angry. And you might even learn something.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

University Administrators Make Loco Parents

Article on new nannyism in student affairs "administration."

Well I know it wasn’t you who held me down
Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free
So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key

(Nod to TtwbC)

Shujaat on the Presidential Debates

Wow. For those who think that the Arab world likes the U.S., and just doesn't trust GWB.

My man, Shujaat. The cartoon with the two "podiums".

And, bizarrely, Al Jazeera's own editoral columnist, Jude Wanniski. Yes, that Jude Wanniski, the one who beat up Reagan for not being supply side enough.

Monday, October 04, 2004

How?

[[uber update: i did put a warning below, but let me be clearer: NOT WORK SAFE. NOT RETINA SAFE. SAFE SEX, THOUGH, BECAUSE THIS WILL DESTROY YOUR LIBIDO FOR SEVERAL HOURS. A kind reader's suggestion for vision balm. ]]

How Berkeley Can They Be? Very, it turns out. Yikes.

(UPDATE: As has been suggested, quite rightly, two warnings should be issued. (1) this site is NOT WORK SAFE. (2) if you have any aesthetic sense of the beauty of the naked human form, looking at this site will rob you of it. These are truly remarkably unattractive people, in every way.)

(And, in spite of his protestations, I have to give the nod to JB. I suspect that these are really not his people)