Thursday, February 03, 2011

Attendance Forecast

How to forecast class attendance by looking out your office window:

When the weather is gray and cold, it will be too miserable outside for students to want to make the trek to class and so attendance will drop off.

When the weather is gorgeous and sunny, it will be too nice outside for students to want to spend time in class and so attendance will drop off.

It's a lose/lose situation. There is simply no such thing as good weather for classes.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Zizek On Egypt


What cannot but strike the eye in the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt is the conspicuous absence of Muslim fundamentalism. In the best secular democratic tradition, people simply revolted against an oppressive regime, its corruption and poverty, and demanded freedom and economic hope. The cynical wisdom of western liberals, according to which, in Arab countries, genuine democratic sense is limited to narrow liberal elites while the vast majority can only be mobilised through religious fundamentalism or nationalism, has been proven wrong. ...
The hypocrisy of western liberals is breathtaking: they publicly supported democracy, and now, when the people revolt against the tyrants on behalf of secular freedom and justice, not on behalf of religion, they are all deeply concerned. Why concern, why not joy that freedom is given a chance? Today, more than ever, Mao Zedong's old motto is pertinent: "There is great chaos under heaven – the situation is excellent."
Where, then, should Mubarak go? Here, the answer is also clear: to the Hague. If there is a leader who deserves to sit there, it is him.


How Not To Sound Stupid

An excellent post on how not to sound stupid when talking about recent events in Egypt:

The past few days I have heard so many stupid things from friends, blogs, pundits, correspondents, politicians, experts, writers that I want to pull my hair.  So, I will not beat around the bush, I will be really blunt and give you a handy list to keep you from offending Egyptians, Arabs and the world when you discuss, blog or talk about Egypt.  Honestly, I would think most Progressives would know these things, but let’s get to it.
  • “I am so impressed at how articulate Egyptians are.”  Does this sound familiar?  Imagine saying this about a Latino or African American?  You don’t say it.  So don’t say it about Egyptians.   Gee, thank you oh great person who is of limited experience and human contact for recognizing that out of 80 million people some could be articulate, educated and speak many languages.  Not cool.  Don’t say it.  You may think it, but it makes you sound like a dumb ass. ...