Links October 4, 2022

With my family no longer in crisis because of service and school disruptions during COVID, I’m changing up what I’m doing here and in the substacks. In addition to the usual education and family life posts, I’m returning to my blogging roots. I’ll link to and write about the eclectic politics and culture topics that have always amused me.

More random. And just more.

I haven’t written a higher education article in ages, but that might change. With all my research on community colleges and technical colleges as part of our efforts to help Ian, I have a backlog of information. In the meantime, I’ll link to some hot topics.

One hot higher ed topic du jour: An adjunct professor at NYU who taught the notoriously difficult organic chemistry class was fired, after students filed a petition complaining that he graded toughly. Did the privileged students bully an adjunct professor? Some say that college freshmen should not be graded at all.

In education news, a third of public school children were chronically absent after classrooms re-opened. New York City has backed down from radically changing their elite public high schools.

Family welfare: New York Times explains that povery in rural ares is very tricky to support, because social services come through the schools — but it can be impossible to get to them. This NYT editor took her autistic son to Mets games this summer. “My son will need some way to pass the time when I am gone. And baseball is nothing if not a pastime.” Post-pandemic, spending on children is dwindling. (I have some quibbles with how federal money on children was tabulated. For example, the federal government gave more money to schools, but did children directly benefit from those school expenditures? Debatable.)

Celebrity culture. Last week, I wrote that the American media wasn’t doing a great job covering celebrity issues and instead just reprinting press releases from powerful public relation firms. The next day, Kim Kardashian got in massive trouble for promoting some crappy cryptocurrency her millions of followers, adding to her billion dollar fortune. Just hours before that decision, I wrote on my blog:

On the other, the Kardashians are more than just Barbies on tv. They seriously own billion dollar companies. They earn huge profits from their lip gloss, underwear, even socks. They have millions of followers on social media, where they sell their followers more garbage. They turned their bodies into silicone, bulimic, distorted, exaggerated versions of women, which totally fucks with young girls’ images of themselves. If they have an opinion on anything, they make a call to Hoda and they’re on your television the next morning. They are more than celebrities. If Kim ran for public office, she would win. 

So, even dumb things like a sex tape is of the “public interest” when it concerns someone with that much soft power. 

There’s also a problem when the media portrays a celebrity in glowing terms, when there is a mountain of evidence and tons of Internet buzz, which says the complete opposite. The media is supposed to pay attention when a whole lot of people are talking about something. When they are on a completely different page than very credible sources, then they look like idiots and people lose trust in them. If they publish the lies of celebrities on page six, and people know it, they won’t believe what that same paper puts on the front page.

Cooking: At this weekend’s party, my brother made great steak and chicken using this Korean-inspired marinade.

Picture: Quebec City, Summer 2022