Friday, March 27, 1998


From Dissent 4, 3/27/98

originally entitled:


by Chunk Wheeler

Recently, Irvine Valley College’s lamentable president, Raghu P. Mathur, took time out from his lies and illegalities to distribute an idiotic document entitled, “Civility: Where Has it Gone? How Can We Get it Back?”

Evidently, it was written or assembled by two instructors—one from Saddleback, the other from LA Southwest College—who shall remain nameless.

The document includes a section entitled, “40 Ways to Appreciate Yourself & Others.” Here, we find such remarkable advice as the following:

Buy a special gift for yourself to reward your efforts.
Keep the positive cards, notes and letters you receive.
Keep track of your achievements in a “win” journal.
Give yourself one compliment per day.
Have a “Brag Buddy” to share successes with.
Say to yourself at least ten times per day, “I love myself” or “I like myself.”
Make a photo copy of the palm of your hand and give yourself a “pat on the back.”
Laugh a lot with others; don’t join in the whining.
Have an appreciation party.
Have an appreciation break at work.
Verbally appreciate at least five people daily.

In yet another section of the “Civility” document, we find the following inspirational “work,” by one Dempsey Byrd:

ANYWAY—Dempsey Byrd

"People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
Love them ANYWAY.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selflsh ulterior motives.
Do good ANYWAY.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
be frank and honest ANYWAY.

People favor underdogs but only follow top dogs.
Fight for some underdogs ANYWAY.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got ANYWAY."

—Naturally, one of our contributors has a response to this nonsense:

Against Civility: Where did it come from? How can we resist it?

by M. Bakunin

The presumed demise of civility, much lamented by elites, managers and toady college presidents, represents an expression by the disenfranchised of the fundamental project of freedom: resistance.

It's instructive that the silly (and reactionary) platitudes offered in "Attitude" from "Navigating the Winds of Change" -- “Handouts Assembled by Saddleback College, Student Development Office" are credited to an ”Unknown” author. This seems right. “Unknown" is either a stooge or the nom de plume of management, of authority. He deserves his anonymity. He has earned it.

It's further instructive to see Fullerton college's president, subject to a very uncivil no-confidence vote, echo President Raghu Mathur in her recent LA TIMES interview, calling for same.

Civility is a petit bourgeois behavior, a conceit used by Imperial Britain, Imperial France and Imperial Margarine. But it's "not nice to fool" the powerful and civility is as quickly abandoned by them as it is demanded.

When somebody tells the truth, for instance.

It's like professionalism. This is a concept valuable to somebody, but who finally? Let them take your power away. Let them give $60,000 to their puppet slate. Let them exploit a process you've respected and tried hard to work with. Let them invite Nazis to your college district. Then, embrace your hard-fought political rights, set up a table, alert the community, write letters to the newspaper and, voila, you are behaving, of course, unprofessionally. You are uncivil.

Civility: polite disregard for workplace politics, polite disregard for Nazis at school board meetings, total lack of historical appreciation of workplace politics, unwillingness to engage others in discussion of politics, fear of prejudicing meetings or classes or students with political discussion.

Quiz: What defines civility? Lack of politics. Lack of power. Lack.

Uncivil: a vote of no confidence, talking about the president's illegal appointment, pinning down officials on their lies, calling a union undemocratic and homophobic and anti-Semitic and being right.

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