Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Non-Mungerian Podcastrianism

Yes. I'm pretty sure she'll get sued, but Mrs. Angus has done a podcast that does not involve Mike Munger (except for the fact that it was his generous invitation for us to sabbaticate at Duke for a year that lead to her book project)!

From the New Books Network comes a lovely 62 minute podcast of Marshall Poe interviewing Robin about her new Cambridge book (now out in paperback, people)!

Here's the link. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I tend to like "humor" where after a while you are thinking, "Wait.  Is this even funny?  Or is it offensive?  And am I the one being made fun of?"  Like, this, for example.

Because frankly I deserve to be made fun of.

Anyway, courtesy of Jackie Blue, Key and Peele in "Negrotown."


Monday, May 11, 2015

Things are getting better, not worse: Higher Ed Edition

Yesterday I read what could be the worst op-ed ever.

People, you know it was in the NYT!

Allow me to summarize the creepy, illogical, smug, moralizing of one, Mark Baeurlein

In the old days students idolized and hung out with professors, and the wise professors counseled them to live well.

Now students have little contact with professors, so they have reverted to their baser instincts and only care about money, while the professoriat simply pats them on their greedy heads and gives them undeserved good grades.

But there are just a few holes in the argument (hard to believe, given that the author is a english prof at Emory).

First off while he gives statistics about "low" (25% of seniors never talk to a prof outside of class) professor contact in the current era, he only uses anecdotes from himself and his buddy Todd to argue that, in the good old days, things were very different. Not exactly a convincing argument.

Then he goes back to the data, showing that in the late 60's many more students said they cared about “developing a meaningful philosophy of life,” than they did about  “being very well off financially.”

Today the numbers are reversed.

So far so good, but then Baeurlein implies that the sea change has come from the "fact" that students no longer hang out with profs after class!


Never mind that he hasn't proven that case, what about the simple fact that many more people and different types of people go to college now than in 1968?

In other words, perhaps we should consider that the change in the volume and composition of college students caused both phenomena that Bauerlein decries (to the extent that they even exist at all).

In 1972, 25% of people between the ages of 18-24 were enrolled in degree granting institutions. In 2012 the percentage was 41%. Colleges moved from a preserve of the elite to embrace a much wider economic and social demographic. Hispanic enrollment rates went from 13% to 37%, while rates for African-Americans went from 18% to 36%.

Bauerlein's good old days were elitist and kinda racist. But hey, at least the profs had disciples and were revered and the students didn't care about money. Because that's what really matters.