Author Archives: morgan

Reading: Trump’s ‘deals’ aren’t working out the way he promised – The Washington Post


The thing about marketing is – it’s pretty much a lie. The thing about political exchange is – it’s pretty much an exchange. When marketing replaces political exchange, we swap an exchange for a lie.

Which leads to this question: When Trump comes before the public to ask for another term, what’s the story he’ll tell about the economy? That his unparalleled dealmaking prowess led to prosperity of a kind the United States has never seen before? That’s what he says if you read his Twitter feed, but like much of what he says, it has zero relationship to reality.

Reading: The perennial ‘The Five-Paragraph Essay Must Die’ puffery

Source Slashdot discussions are usually pretty good: sharp, insightful. This one is the equivalent of themewriting. Uninformed, over-determined, mindless recitation of received ideas, with all options removed from the world of discussion. Posturing and posing – the trope of themewriting – passing for consideration. Just as teaching the theme passes for teaching. The discussion needs an intervention. This is your intervention: Read The Plural “I” by William Coles for a considered critique of the deceit of the five paragraph theme and an alternative curriculum. Out of print, so reprints are inexpensive. Or try a library.  Can’t be bothered to read? Try this interview with Coles by John Boe and Eric Schroeder, from Writing on the Edge.

Signs and Signals of 2018 from 1969

With a chaotic 2018 final, you look back to 1968-9 for warning signs, to wit: 
God, what a world it is! Strung up for saying a word out of turn! Slain for a sigh! Go on, attack anything you want! A bus, a train, a taxi-cab, a postal van, a victoria! A baby in a pram, if such is your fancy! A body in a coffin, if such is your fantasy! Nobody will stop you. Nobody will know. You can go barging through a hospital ward, lashing out at this man writhing in agony or firing point-blank at that man with chronic arthritis and no right arm. You can crucify as many phony Christs as you wish. And nobody will mind if you drown an alcoholic in alcohol, a pharmacist in formol, a motorcyclist in lubricating oil.
Boil infants in cauldrons, burn politicians to a crisp, throw solicitors to lions, spill Christian blood to its last drop, gas all shorthand typists, chop all pastrycooks into tiny bits, and circus clowns, call girls, choirboys, sailors, actors, aristocrats, farmhands, football hooligans and Boy Scouts.
You can loot shops or ravish shopgirls, maim or kill. Worst of all, nothing can stop you now from fabricating and propagating all sorts of vicious rumours. But stay on your guard, don’t trust anybody — and watch out for your back.
M Oulipo, aka. A Void
As in Paris, 1968, frustration is abundant, so hold on. Tightly.  XX OO

Reading: Serving at Cross’s Purposes. UW system rewards the suck ups.


As in U Wisconsin Systerm, so MnSCU. Quid pro quo has become systematized.

Why am I not surprised? Because as anyone who has been paying attention knows, the chancellors have been carrying water for UW System President Ray Cross and the Regents for several years now. These outsized raises are financial rewards for their not having opposed or obstructed a single top-down edict from Cross and the Regents–for their having carried out his orders like good soldiers or middle managers are expected to do.

Put differently, what both the raises and the punishment reveal is that these raises are payoffs, ex post facto bribes, or quid pro quo rewards for UW System chancellors having accepted without objection the destruction of tenure and shared governance; repeated massive budget cuts; unfunded tuition freezes; and the break-up and distribution of the UW Colleges and Extension to the four-year, comprehensive, and doctoral campuses, aka the UW System merger.

Looks like students need to go further afield to find an ethical university.

Reading: “The problem is Facebook,” lawmakers tell Zuckerberg’s stand-in

November 27, 2018 at 11:00AM


The kind of meetings we need to see more of: calling BS and distraction, calling for accountability.  As in this –

Allan took as a cue to ummm his way into another series of “we need tos”, and talk of “a number of problematic vectors” Facebook is trying to address with a number of “tools”.

which is in the working vocabulary of  administrators everywhere.

The session was largely filled up such frustratingly reframed waffle, as Allan sought to deflect, defang and defuse the committee’s questions — leading it to accuse him more than once of repeating the ‘delay, deny, deflect’ tactics recently reported on by the New York Times.

Waffle is the new trope for misleading.

Allan claimed not — claiming to be there “acknowledging” problems. But that empty chair beside him sure looked awkward.

Perhaps, after 35 years of hearing admin-speak out of the corner of my ear, I enjoy reading about a take-down a little too much. Waffle.