blue bits. red rocks.


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A balanced, well-ordered society requires a balance of virtues. Our society increasingly values a morally stunted intelligence, along with “entertaining” skills that themselves lack moral compass. The direction in which this is heading should frighten even those at the top of our current heap. Standardized tests will not succeed for long in preventing an amoral public life from devolving into a war of all against all. Meritocracy and its De-merits

On Paying College Athletes


It occurs to me that the debate over whether or not college athletes should be paid is really a debate between three groups of people.

  1. People who think college athletes should be paid because talented and hardworking people should be appropriately compensated.
  2. People who think that college athletes should not be paid because I don’t know amateurism or something.
  3. People who think semi-professional sports teams are a distraction from the core mission of a university.

I suspect that group #2 is probably a pretty small group. And group #3 is primarily composed of people who don’t much like sports.

Count me in group #3. Though to counter the assumption, let it be stated that I love sports but big time collegiate athletics is a perversion of the core mission of the university. Tainted with corruption and all sorts of foulness. And paying athletes is just another step in the metastasizing of the cancer that serves to unravel our once model university system.

Just a quick hit here, but a few points:

  1. Approximately 90% of all Division I schools don’t take in enough revenue to fund their athletic programs. That’s even before figuring in accounting shenanigans and other underhanded bookkeeping tricks. And, in an age where tuition costs are skyrocketing (though due to diminished state and federal government financial support), how would paying athletes not exacerbate this condition?

  2. For the most popular sport, college football, this unfolding issue is going to become ever more troublesome to NCAA and university athletic administrative overlords. Whether paid or unpaid (though it hard for me to consider tuition and boarding an irrelevant pittance, given that it certainly exceeds what unskilled labor could reap an individual at the same station in life, and even is greater or equivalent to what minor league sports organizations pay their players), this may prove to be a massive financial hit to the business of college sports.

  3. It detracts from the education of university students. Granted, I know that the mission of the university is multi-faceted, encompassing research and other aims (i.e, Christian universities, medical colleges, etc.), but focus on all of these does indeed take away from education.

  4. Collegiate sports should ideally be for all the students, to create a more rounded person. Not a tiny contingent of pampered superstars, with the rest of the student body reduced to spectatorship. That should be entirely confined to the realm of professional sports.

But grad students graduate, 20-somethings make families, and rents go up. Struggling writers in 1954 could flee to tenured positions in academia; their counterparts in 2014 will find no such refuge. Nearly three-quarters of all instructional staff at colleges and universities today are not on the tenure track. They’re insecure, contingent workers, an army of cheap and casual labor that make the universities go. While young writers can afford to do the kind of intellectual journalism we see at the little magazines, older adjuncts teaching five classes can’t. Writers and academics who fret over the fate of public intellectuals may think they are debating vital questions of the culture. But their discussions are myopically focused on the writing habits of a rapidly disappearing elite. The vast majority of potential public intellectuals do not belong to the academic 1 percent. They are not forsaking the snappy op-ed for the arcane article. They are not navigating the shoals of publish or perish. They’re grading. The responsibility of adjunct intellectuals

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There is no evidence from any other nation that replacing a public system with a privatized choice system produces anything but social, economic, and racial segregation. Understanding the Propaganda Campaign Against Public Education

I am the first person to admit that I’m an insensitive jerk, but the next person who says “trigger warning” to me is going to get sucker-punched. Oops, I should have put a TW on that: violence. OK, is going to get a serious talking to about the relationship between the Real, the Symbolic, and the Imaginary (TW: Lacanian theory may cause headaches). I insist that there is a difference between an act and its representation. Let me put it this way: A character in a novel who beats his wife or a sociological study of domestic abuse is not the same thing as getting beaten. It demeans and diminishes real trauma to argue that consuming literature, art, history, and social science is an act of violence. Trigger Warnings Trigger Me

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Because education = jobs (as well as income and social mobility, not to mention quality of life), it seems to me preposterous to talk responsibly of any real “equality of opportunity” without also talking about extinguishing this nation’s method of financing K-12 education—the property tax. Seldom has such an insidious joke been perpetrated on the Great American Majority, and especially the poor: while upper-middle- to upper-class public schools are showered with loot derived from their affluent physical surroundings, others must make do with the limited resources derived from quite limited “estates,” which are limited, in large part, because of earlier-limited educational opportunities. The social crime of education financing

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