What are you thinking about?

Anything you care to share about:  the terrible weather, horrific job scene, disasterous economy?  The restructuring of (some?) universities in the UK? 

If you are not in the USA, is your government looking any less disfunctional?

What about what you are teaching?  Writing?  Reading?  Viewing?

What’s the world look like from your point of view?

28 thoughts on “What are you thinking about?

  1. Well, I’ll start it off. I have been thinking of NY City and the Whitney Biennial. That’s led me to their web site, and on to an interview with Roni Horn, and her portraits of her niece. I can’t find a publically available video of the interview, but here’s the web site.

    In searching youtube for a video, I discovered the subject of the post that should shortly be above this one.

  2. I was thinking about how, after having spent the last few hours shoveling snow, I really don’t want to vacuum my apartment, but how I really should. I should also be reading some Emer de Vattel for my class next week, but it’s the sort of stuff that is at the same time very interesting and very tedious, so the vacuuming seems even more attractive.

  3. Matt, I just added the pic of DC; are you all getting it as bad? And why does someone in an apartment have to shovel snow? I thought that was solely for people who own driveways and/or responsibility for sidewalks.

    How about hot sweet tea and a novel?

  4. In Philly we got about two feet of snow. It wasn’t terrible for shoveling as it was pretty light. But I had to dig my car out of the snow so that I can drive my wife to a horseback riding lesson tomorrow. That took a lot of work. I sort of like shoveling snow, so I also shoveled about a block and a half of sidewalk so that I’d be able to walk to the train Monday morning, and helped another woman dig out her car, too. The maintenance people did eventually come and do a lot of shoveling. They work very hard, but wouldn’t have done what I needed done.

    I did eventually make some nice coffee and will go join some friends for dinner soon. That will be nice, but then it’s back to work- new teaching preps make one busy.

  5. I’m in Chile, in summer. Our first female president, Michelle Bachelet, from the Socialist Party, is ending her term in office, with record popularity, although her successor, Sebastian Piñera, is a rightwing billionaire. I don’t see that having a woman president, with basically a motherly image,
    advanced the situation of women much, but at times changes are subliminal or subconscious and take time to manifest themselves. I’m reading Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives) by Roberto Bolaño, a Chilean novelist, a good read, but he is machista. The other book of his which I read, 2666, is basically about femicide in Ciudad Juarez, called Santa Teresa in the book, and while far from feminist in its perspective, depicts with great mastery the oppression of women. As to philosophy, I’m trying to make my way through the article on Heidegger’s Aesthetics in the Stanford Encyclopedia: worth the effort. I’m on vacation, but otherwise, I work with a small, informal discussion group about the theory of education, with an emphasis on creativity.

  6. I am thinking about how our universities in Canada are making more and more decisions on budgetary grounds rather than academic grounds. At my place, there is a group of Humanists of which I am part that is fighting our Dean who is trying to repeal our Humanities Language Requirement. We are apparently the only university in the province that requires that students in the Humanities take a second language (in what is, shall I remind you, an officially bilingual country). Shocking, isn’t it? And costly, thinks the Dean. So down the drain with it and let’s save all the money.
    So many decisions are taken with $$ in mind that it is sickening. That is just one of many examples. SO… I am thinking maybe I should retreat to a desert (warm, southern) island and read all the books that have been piling up on my shelves and that are calling me names (“slacker”, “lazy fool”, etc.) for not reading them… sigh…

  7. i’m thinking about how i don’t quite understand the bad rap Obama is getting lately. i’m from Canada – you know, that reputedly democratic and politically peaceful country? yeeeeaaaaah…. we dont’ have a government right now.

    Stephen Harper, our prime-minister and the un-dead embodiment of evil, decided to prorogue parliament so that he could avoid questioning over the possible mistreatment of afghan detainees. frankly, i think the US government is looking pretty ok right now. set aside the health care bill – the debates surround which blow my mind every day – congress is still more productive than it has been in decades, and seriously, as long as those reps and appointees are showing up to work instead of taking a three month hiatus for sketchy reasons, i’d say it could really be a lot worse.

  8. I’m trying not to think about hearing the results of a job interview tomorrow (not feeling very optimistic) and am procrastinating wildly on the internet rather than concentrating on my thesis.

  9. I’m dealing with the same problem I have every winter: I’ve taken on too many commitments and am feeling anxious that I won’t be able to take care of them all. I suspect the experience is rather like what our students go through.

  10. I’m thinking about how I ought to teach consequentialism to my applied ethics students. This is my first post outside of grad school, and I’m doing this by the seat of my pants.

    Though, there are lots of good resources out there, I can’t help but feel underprepared all the time.

  11. I’m in Tallahassee Florida remembering a recent article about how people are connected to the earth and grieve the loss of flora and fauna in their near environments. We’re a mile from a stretch of Highway 90 that’s being widened.

    I just drove a mile of it and back to buy food. More trees down, more homes and parks denuded. I’m feeling down. And understanding why.

    But the weather’s pleasant — in the 50s — and it’s a bright but not really sunny day. Typical winter weather here.

  12. I am thinking about cutting my golden handcuffs that keep me in a job that pays well but that I loath. I could then spend more time (at least 20 hrs/wk) concentrating on pursuing the masters in philosophy I started in fall, which is so much fun now that I am actually taking graduate seminars. Then thinking about how little I would earn if I’d even get a job with that degree and wondering if I should just stick it out at my job. Which then also leads me to thinking about how ridiculously backwards our society’s money-based value system is: Paper shufflers in the business world are paid far more than people who educate future generations.

  13. Kath73: Is it an academic job? Or at least a desired job? Do what you can NOT to take it as an assessment of your abilities – unless it’s positive, of course! There are just too many factors that end up swaying a committee to its often not very rational decision.

  14. I am thinking about the very interesting workshop I have ahead of me this week about neuroscience and the law, with groovy peeps like Jeannette Kenneth, Walter Glannon, the other Walter, Stephen Morse and other really cool people in the field. I need their input to pull together a real neat PhD proposal that will get this dinosaur a PhD position.
    I am also thinking about the 4 job applications I need to send out every 4 weeks in order to keep my unemployment benefits. It is soooo stupid to have to waste time to apply for jobs I don’t want.
    I did apply for a regional euthanasia assessment boards, we have them of course, as I am in the Netherlands. Just when I applied, Terry Pratchett said a lot about wanting to have those boards in the UK, but made the silly distinction that people should be 45 or older!! Such agism. Here’s a blog on it, and my comment right below at the Philosophers\’ eye.
    I have also been brooding on a post on here about why the Gaza issue is a feminist issue, but I am a bit reluctant because it’s all so Highly Sensitive. I guess I will just have to brave it.
    Oh and there’s this matter that really needs a post, the sexting case where only the underage girls who made the pictures got those ridiculous sentences and the boys spreading the pics went free?
    Maybe someone else can pick that one up!

  15. I was surprised to read from your Canadian writer, Katems, her surprise about the bad rap Obama’s getting,etc.

    I wish I could say I feel ok about things in the U.S. but the more I know, the worse I feel. The rigid, reactionary poltical right here is very loud and aggressive and where is the left? It seems almost non-existant. I read Salon, love Joan Walsh, Alternet, Counterpunch and try to stay up with the NY Times, Post,etc.
    Things do not look good to me at all as far as American Justice. Look what the Supreme Court just did?? That’s pretty frightening. And there is a hysteria in the US right now using the sex offender laws (AWA) that is so reminiscent of the Salem witchhunts, it’s unreal. I would not compare men who are scumbags with the women and gays burned as witches. But there are at least a few parallels.
    The AWA has changed the sex offender laws so that what used to be minor and a misdemeanor, i.e. public urination, streaking, walking around nude in your own house ….(yes, someone is on the registry for this because neighbors saw him…reported him…he’s now on the registry…for all the world to see), Romeo/Juliet cases and there’s tons of those http://www.ethicaltreatment.org/index.htm
    It’s frightening how many of the people on the registry now are CHILDREN !!
    I’m a mother whose mentally ill son was falsely accused of sexually abusing a child …she grew up, recanted, gave a deposition (a very strong one)..BUT, he’s still on the registry.
    I’m 69, a psychotherapist and spend much of my time trying to do something about these laws. It’s not what I envisioned for my old age. But so many people are hurting. I care so much about the falsely accused, which there are far too many. See WitchHunt with Sean Penn. See “The Wrong Man”.
    I write to men in prison for crimes their child or stepchild committed against them. Why? so many reasons. Anger, resentment about losing privileges..most helped by an adult to lie. These laws are a boon to unscrupulous politicians, incompetent but costly lawyers, drama-driven media, esp. Nancy Grace and very very few people care.
    Is the US in good shape. I campaigned for Obama. But he cannot do it alone. And it looks like he’s too alone to me.

  16. Sue: I live in Chile and my nephew, age 25 or so, was arrested for urinating behind a tree in Central Park in New York and fined 250 dollars, which for him is a lot of money.
    That seems weird to me. He is not an exhibitionist and I know from experience that public bathrooms are not that common in New York City.

  17. Amos
    Imagine being arrested, put on a public registry for 10 years (yes, that’s what it is for this now ), being suspected by most who see the registry of being a pedophile, having to pay a LOT more than $250..most would pay $5000. for something like this here. (if you’re lucky) and having all kinds of rules about not being around children for those ten years or even living near a school,etc. It’s gotten pretty horrible here in the US about these laws.

  18. Amos, that’s quite a worrying story about your nephew. I can see the point of the law, but surely they could have let him off with a warning.

    From a very different direction: our son was assaulted on the NY subway today. There seems to be a routine we’ve only just learned about: punch someone sitting next to the door and then kick whatever they drop out. Fortunately, I guess, he kept his iphone and lost a lens for his glasses. And he was, of course, very shocked.

    Hippocampa, all best wishes for the job situation. Do you have to go stand in an unemployment line?

    There are so many great comments here! Suetiggers, hurrah for your efforts!

  19. This is a bit late but I had an interview for a “good” job last week and I’ve been thinking about it all week. Waiting for my turn, I spoke with another candidate, an older, already once retired man who found retirement boring and decided to return to the workforce. He made several disparaging remarks about the level of pay the job would provide to which I replied, “this is one of the best paid jobs in this town, that’s why there is over 40 interviews today.”

    He then blamed the college students in the town for taking jobs at next to nothing pay instead of blaming the state agency we were interviewing for who sets the level of pay for all jobs and you are not allowed to negotiate anything related to pay. A fairly recent grad myself, I asked him where he thought the students should be working when the state agency was virtually the only place hiring and had non-negotiable salaries.

    His brilliant solution was that every grad should move to a larger city where they could negotiate for better pay. I asked him when was the last time he interviewed and negotiated salary and he said, “1974.”.

    I told him that my friends who had moved weren’t being hired and when they were, they were typically lucky to get whatever they could, and that the business world had changed since 1974. He then said that my generation lacked the “guts” necessary and THAT was why corporations (and even a state agency) paid us like we don’t matter.

    This assertion that there is something lacking or unworthy about my generation has been on my mind ever since that day.

  20. But Jenna, he was only interested in blaming younger people; he clearly wasn’t interested in understanding what is going on.

    Another vote for Palin, I suppose.

  21. JJ: Sorry about your son. Those things take a while to get over.

    Conway: Thanks for the tourist information. My point is that in most cultures I know males urinating behind park trees or behind car doors is accepted behavior. I know that females don’t have always that possibility, although at times duly shielded by a friend they do use the privacy of a park tree or bush. Thus, it seems strange to me that it is considered to be a serious offense in the U.S.

  22. My point is that in most cultures I know males urinating behind park trees or behind car doors is accepted behavior. I know that females don’t have always that possibility, although at times duly shielded by a friend they do use the privacy of a park tree or bush. Thus, it seems strange to me that it is considered to be a serious offense in the U.S.

    In Russia you’ll see nearly as many women as men peeing outside. More importantly, though, while urine is usually mostly sterile, and so it’s not a huge health problem, public urination does make places where it’s done smell like a sewer. People get used to it, just as they get used to trash being thrown all over, but it should certainly be discouraged. (This isn’t to say I agree with the penalties in many places, but treating public areas like a toilet really is disrespectful, even if it’s common, just as is throwing your trash on the ground, even if its common in many areas.)

  23. Suetiggers, thank you. He’s fine now; the police were very helpful and friendly. I think he was quite disoriented at first. Apparently it is not a good idea to be using your iphone on the NYC subway. The police said they get 4 or 5 snatched each week.

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