|Turkey, oven, electrocution, slit throats|
Good for him, I guess.
It contained the usual bromides (plus some Board brown-nosing).
It also included an Orwellian element: “I am thankful for health [sic] of our institution and district as we work together with transparency and collaboration.”
That reminds me of one of Raghu Mathur’s favorite ruses, the "false paper trail" gambit, which we explained in Dissent 19 (2/1/99):
It works like this: you write someone, misdescribing some event (or including some lie) the acceptance of which by others would be to your advantage. When the letter’s recipient, who is in a position to know the truth about the event in question, fails to correct the distortion (as is likely, for he naturally feels that he has better things to do), you then cite the letter as proof that an independent witness to the event (namely, the letter’s recipient) views [the event] just as you [want them to]. Voila!
In March of last year, [IVC President Raghu] Mathur received a letter from State Academic Senate President Bill Scroggins that essentially rebuked Mathur for his self-serving revisionism in a letter to Scroggins that referred to an earlier conversation. Scroggins wroteOf course, ruse-wise, compared to Mathur, Roquemore is a pipsqueak piker; the former was and is a veritable ruseological polymath, the Napolean of slime. In this instance, the latter is thinking, I suppose, that if the Accreds (and others) see these uncontested references to “transparency and collaboration” (T&C), well, then, they'll think that there must be a whole lotta T&C goin’ on!
“Your letter inaccurately attributes your actions...as based on my advice. As you very well know, my advice to you was to meet the legal requirements for effective academic senate participation...The Academic Senate Vice President...was a party to our telephone conversation and will confirm that this was my advice to you.”
2. PHILISTINES. I went to my bro’s family’s Thanksgiving Day extravaganza yesterday (enormous turkey included; my folks brought a ham; meat, meat, meat). I love his family, especially the kids, but, gosh, next time I’m bringing a pair of Sony MDR-NC200Ds (noise-cancelling headphones). Between the caterwauling, colliding kids and skunky, skittering canines, I don’t think I heard a word anyone said to me. I do believe I suffered PTSD by the end of the evening.
Later, at dinner, I compared my niece Natalie—she very nearly had a tantrum over some trifle—to the ill-tempered kid on the old Twilight Zone episode, the one who turned "bad" people into jack-in-the-boxes—whereupon some old guy (ex-military) complained loudly about how lousy TV is today. "Crap," he called it. I looked at him and said, “Really? In my opinion, we're experiencing the Golden Age of TV!” Horrified, he responded with a round of sloppy, beslobbering harrumphitude, which was immediately accompanied by my father’s similar jowl-jiggling stylings.
It was hopeless. Mine was a vegeterarian comment in a meat-eating conversation.
I thought, but did not say, “Philistines.” In fact, I said nothing, 'cept, "Breaking Bad was good."
Years ago, I recommended to my folks that they watch Mad Men. Thought they'd like it. They saw one episode and declared the show to be "immoral." (And yet my folks aren't prudes: you should see my dad's callipygian sculptures; he's an "ass" man, he is.)
|Biting and scratching; the price of love|
Meanwhile, an old friend wrote me about her new appreciation of The Cat:
I am now officially a cat person. Olie curled up by the fire and simply demanded that I stop my nonsense. Totally irresistible.I, too, feel especially appreciative of my own cat, young Theodore, who routinely demands that I cease my bookish ways and just play with him, an enterprise that starts with the flying of fake birds and increasingly culminates in his pouncing upon my left forearm and tearing and biting it to pieces (I protect myself with a towel, but with limited success).
“You silly, flesh-eating cat,” I say.
Despite these entertainments, he’s a remarkably sweet cat. He's a good influence on me. He's calm, patient, good.
And he’s seriously charismatic. He has numerous female admirers, namely, every woman he ever meets, darned guy.
|Young Theodore, resting|
|Young Theodore, yawning|
|And be transparent, too!|
They stared at me, uncomprehending.
I grabbed their laptop (I bought it for them a couple of years ago) and showed them the site. We watched a video by an academic nutritionist, who remarked on vegetarian and nonvegetarian diets. (My folks are fully loaded with opinions about diet and health.)
My folks stared at the screen and said nothing.
“She’s giving you an overview of her understanding of what we know about diet and health,” I said. “And she seems to know what she’s talking about. She’s at New York University.”
To use one of my dad’s own expressions, he stared at me blankly, as though he “didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.”
My mom commenced making an irrelevant comment about the nutritionist’s age. The theme from the Twilight Zone played in my head.
OK, I moved on to a video about education by psychologist Laurence Steinberg (Temple U). This particular video concerned the topic “Why Some Races Outperform Others” (see).
I love what Steinberg has to say. My folks, however, didn’t seem to know what to make of it all. It's as if I were showing them a video about the life of the aphid.
I do wish they’d use their laptop and surf the web once in a while. But, after years of my and my sister’s encouragement, they seldom do. They can barely turn their TV on and off. About once a week, they call me, saying, "The TV stopped working." I go down and fix it for them.
There's never anything wrong with it. My dad seems to press buttons randomly and is inevitably puzzled by the results. In silence, I watch him fumbling, struggling. There isn't much I can do.
Finally, I found a video about “public art” and played that. (My folks love art; they're potters.) An artist was explaining some of the limitations of public funding of art and the need for the public to catch up to the “conversation” going on among artists.
Detecting my folks’ incomprehension, I briefly touched on some of these themes, especially the point about “conversation.”
My dad thought a bit and then said, “You know, down at our studio, you don’t want a lot of conversation. Can’t get anything done.”
5. GAGA. Check out this cool video: