Who ever would have predicted?

Don't we already have enough rich, white "Teds" in the Senate?

Don't we already have enough rich, white "Teds" in the Senate?

What????  You mean it wasn’t a super-duper awesomely fabulous idea to appoint a man to the U.S. Senate with zero political experience and without him ever having proven he could win a single vote?  Who indeed ever would have predicted this

It’s an early poll, so take it for what it’s worth, but both Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Michael Bennet face an uphill battle for (re)election.  It couldn’t happen to more deserving white ruling-class d00dly d00dz!  Continue reading

Exams during Exam Week? revisited, in which I check my privilege.


Historiann goofs!

Hi all–thanks for your feedback on yesterday’s post.  I threw it together quickly–unusual for me–and I was more than a little embarrassed to re-read it in light of many of your comments yesterday.  I wrote as a tenured professor with a 2-2 load who has a grader to assist with our large (100 to 123-student) classes, and didn’t consider how differently grading final exams and papers is when 1) one teaches 3 or 4 classes (or more!) per term, and 2) doesn’t necessarily have a T.A. or a grader, and especially 3) if one is on a quarter system, with a super-short Winter Break and/or a non-existent break in-between the winter and spring quarters.  As Ann Landers used to say:  my slip is showing!  I used to teach a 3-3 load, and I used to have non tenure-track jobs–how easy it was to forget those pressures once they were no longer mine!  So, I apologize for being a clueless oaf.  You all were a lot more polite than I deserved–but as always, good manners are appreciated here!

I should also have written more clearly–it’s the piling on of all final work in the last week of classes that is objectionable to me.  Continue reading

Exams during exam week? Plus a fabulous frock.

Apparently, a lot of proffies start their winter breaks early by making final papers due during the last week of classes, and they even hold in-class finals then, too.


Hey, I’m all for the “let’s get this party started,” but really:  that just seems totally unfair to the students, not to mention unprofessional.  Exam week is for exams and the submission of final coursework.  Yes, grading sucks, but it pretty much always does, right?  (And, as much as it sucks, it’s not nearly as stressful as taking exams or writing papers!)  I can understand early deadlines and exams in special cases–such as when one needs to jet off to a conference that week (I did once attend a conference in London in early December), but I don’t think that’s the case for most of us, most of the time.  What do you do?  What do you think about exams administered before exam week? Continue reading

Thursday Round-up: chapping your a$$ edition!

elvgrensnowfunWell, friends:  we’re in the midst of a butt-chapping deep freeze, thanks to an Alberta Clipper that just won’t quit.  It’s -15 degrees Fahrenheit here in Potterville, and won’t get above freezing until sometime this weekend.  Those of you in the East might be enjoying a snow day today, so here are a few tidbits to warm you up and get your engines running this morning:

  • Chris Hedges asks, “Are Liberals Pathetic?”  (h/t Susie at Suburban Guerrilla.)  He writes that their “sterile moral posturing, which is not only useless but humiliating, has made America’s liberal class an object of public derision.”  He then goes on to contrast elite, sheltered liberals with working class men who “knew precisely what to do with people who abused them. They may not have been liberal, they may not have finished high school, but they were far more grounded than most of those I studied with.”  What do you think?  I think he’s onto something, but he also engages in a romanticization of a partcular kind of working-class masculinity that equates “fighting” with manhood only, and by implication slights the liberal coalition of today which is based on feminists and gays.  Can we get away from these gendered tropes for criticizing the left?  (Hedges himself identifies the intersection of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue that’s really to blame for Dem reluctance or even refusal to attempt real change.)
  • Hedges’ essay reminded me of an interesting piece by Joe Bageant on the absence of compassion among so-called “progressives” called “Shoot the Fat Guys, Hang the Smokers.”  I worry about this–it’s part of what I was trying to get at last year in most of my posts on Sarah Palin.  Laughing at or condescending to people isn’t a winning strategy.  Smugness will be the death of the left.
  • Clio Bluestocking brings us more tales from the Orwellian world of online teaching at her school–or, as Hacky McHackhack, the overpaid consultant puts it, “delivering education.”  Continue reading

Historiann's rogue's gallery: can you name that commenter?

Remember that Mad Men Yourself little game from last summer we had so much fun with?  Well, I thought it would be a great way to play a new game called “name that commenter.”  Here are some Mad Men-ized versions of some of the regular commenters at Historiann.  I’ve met all of these people in person, and some here have been with me from the very beginning of Historiann.com.  Can you guess who is who?  Images after the jump!  Continue reading

Best books of 2009: No girl writers allowed!


Many of you are probably making your holiday gift lists, and checking them twice, and I’m guessing that some of my smarty-pants readers are interested in gifting (or being gifted) some of this year’s best new titles, in both fiction and non-fiction.  Well, here’s a funny coinky-dink, courtesy of reader Kathie who tipped me off last month:  all of the very best books this year were written by men!  It isn’t just the STEM fields anymore, girls–apparently, we are clearly inferior at every professional and artistic endeavor:

  • In “Why Weren’t Any Women Writers Invited to Publishers Weekly’s Weenie Roast?” The Green Lantern Press writes, “Publishers Weekly recently announced their Best Books Of 2009 list. Of their top ten, chosen by editorial staff, no books written by women were included. Quoted in The Huffington Post, PW confidently admitted that they’re “not the most politically correct” choices. This statement comes in a year in which new books appeared by writers such as Lorrie Moore, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant, Rita Dove, Heather McHugh and Alicia Ostriker.”  (Who??)
  • Publishers Weekly explained, “We ignored gender and genre and who had the buzz. We gave fair chance to the “big” books of the year, but made them stand on their own two feet. It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male.”  But–we didn’t give it a second thought, beyond this odd acknowledgement of the bias of our list!  (Which implies somehow that in years before, when “gender and and genre” were not ignored, the ladies were the beneficiaries of some kind of literary affirmative action.)  Boys rule, girls drool!  Let’s take a closer look at that top 10 list, shall we? Continue reading

20th anniversary of the massacre at L'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal

Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Profs reminds us that today is the twentieth anniversary of the murders of women engineering students at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal on December 6, 1989.  Because of this terrible event, today is also the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women day in Canada, which has been commemorated since 1991.  In case you’re unacquainted with this terrible massacre, here’s a CBC link with a video clip of a report and a description of the murders (emphases Historiann’s):

A gunman confronts 60 engineering students during their class at l’École Polytechnique in Montreal on Dec. 6, 1989. He separates the men from the women and tells the men to leave the classroom, threatening them with his .22-calibre rifle. The enraged man begins a shooting rampage that spreads to three floors and several classrooms, jumping from desk to desk while female students cower below. He roams the corridors yelling, “I want women.” Continue reading