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That student from hell

We’ve all had them, but none quite so annoying as the one that afflicted Dr Caitlin Zaloom of the NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. Dr Zaloom gave a simple enough project to her students, to go down to the Occupy Wall Street protestors in Zucotti Park and write an ethnographic analysis. It seems reasonable, but one student, Sara Ackerman, had a melodramatic breakdown over it. She has been ranting at the administration about it, and the emails have been made public.

Professor Caitlin Zaloom forced myself, and my classmates to do an ethnographic assignment on Occupy Wall Street a few months ago.
*No alternatives were offered, and we were instructed to interview only those people who were participating in the OWS movement– that means anyone, including criminals,drug addicts, mentally ill people, and of course, the few competent, mentally stable people that stationed themselves at Zuccotti Park

(**note: I did not meet any of the supposedly mentally sound, non-delusional people at Zucotti Park. All of the interviews that I conducted are on video, and clearly show that each person I interviewed—and believe me, for my own safety, I tried to interview the most seemingly normal people there—was either mentally disturbed or dangerous, scary or masked, or misogynistic and rude. I was cat- called at, gawked at, ogled, and called derogatory names.)

Way to pre-judge your subjects, Sara! Why are you taking a sociology course, again? I really would love to see her videos of the insane lunatics in Zuccotti Park.

Although it went against my core values, moral beliefs, and also made me feel unsafe, I ultimately did go to Occupy Wall Street with my class group—–two other young girls, who are quite attractive and thin, and don’t look particularly physically fit enough to take on a potential predator, rapist, paranoid schizophrenic, etc.—-just to see if I was being as melodramatic as Professor Zaloom made me feel I was.

***I won’t go into detail here, but let me just tell you that if anything, I had previously underestimated how awful Occupy Wall Street was, and I left the park feeling as though I had escaped an extremely dangerous—and even, life-threatening—situation.***

I’m glad Sara at least had the company of two other thin, attractive girls. What a horror it would have been if her classmates had been fat or homely.

Really, these videos had better document overtly criminal behavior, or yes, Sara is being as melodramatic as Professor Zaloom made her feel.

It turns out that the TA for the class, Jen, was also oppressing Sara.

During Jen’s 2nd and 3rd lectures, she mostly refused to call on me, even when Iwas the only student raising my hand.

Other times, I kept my hand up for about 75 seconds—a long time to keep one’s arm raised, by the way —and Jen still did not call on me, or she dismissed my questions, thoughts, and opinions.

Furthermore, when Jen did call on me, she was incredibly hostile, rude, and condescending—she acted in a completely different manner than she had before,and she seemed to change her behavior only towards me.

How dare an instructor not pay attention to Sara for 75 seconds. It must have been like torture.

My favorite part of Sara’s strangely punctuated and formatted rants, though, is this little bit.

Lastly, I have over 1,000 friends on facebook, and if Professor Zaloom does not resign, or is not fired by 9 am tomorrow morning, I will publish every single email exchange we have had, on my facebook account.

Every single email exchange has now been published. They are being posted far and wide. Professor Zaloom still has her job.

Who looks demented now?

(Also on Sb)

Comments

  1. janine says

    Lastly, I have over 1,000 friends on facebook, and if Professor Zaloom does not resign, or is not fired by 9 am tomorrow morning, I will publish every single email exchange we have had, on my facebook account.

    Did she also graduate from the bestest high school in the US?

  2. says

    Having “over 1,000 friends on facebook” has very little to do with having over 1,000 actual friends. Little Miss Delusional is a perfect example of today’s teabagging right wing.

  3. carolw says

    Poor little Sara! She had to go outside of her comfort zone and interact with real people. Call the waambulance. What a big baby. I’m sure she’ll fail, then she’ll call Mater and Pater to chew out Dr. Zaloom for not being fair.

  4. says

    Oh here’s a wonderful chance to give a lesson about objectivity and repeatability!

    Did any of the other students who surveyed OWS see any of this behavior that Sara did?

  5. forksmuggler says

    I got this email from a student who wasn’t even in any of my classes!

    “I emailed you once, and I email you again respectfully I am
    asking you what does transexuality, homosexuality have to do with Cultural diversity, I am seeking legal council from the American Center for Law and Justice, I consider this discimination and pushing such an immoral lifestyle on your students is dispecable. My next step sir is to write to the paper to inform people not only from my pulpit, toward prospective students, but also to the conservative public.”

    That was 8 or 9 years ago. Guess who still has a job?

    Preacher boy? Saw him stocking shelves at the grocery store last year.

  6. anubisprime says

    I wonder if Kwok was amongst her 1000+ ‘fwends’ on Facebook?
    Sounds like they have a certain style in common!

    Princess has a shock a coming methinks…it is called reality!

  7. damien75 says

    Isn’t it illegal tu publish private e-mails on the internet?

    Yes, Glen, I’d be pleased if you said more. What with Zaloom?

  8. says

    After skimming over the e-mails, I wonder if this woman isn’t mentally ill. J. Davies in the comment thread at the link puts it like this:

    I’m an NYU alum with a paranoid schizophrenic sister – these are disturbingly close to the sort of emails she sent me, our parents and her friends when her symptoms began to manifest themselves after her 18th birthday. Copious underlining, italicization, connections to seemingly unrelated or barely related people/events (in this case, Cornell West), the feeling and assertion that everyone is out to get her and perhaps most notably, the idea that her concerns and worries are so significant that others must drop everything to address them.

  9. says

    I was part of a training unit that – for space management reasons – was to move from campus to the downtown area in our small city of just over 150,000. In the staff meeting about the move several people were just freaking out that they might encounter a homeless person in the 3-block walk between the parking garage and the new facility. All sorts of accommodations had to be made for them.

    Some people are just scared to death of meeting anyone below their economic class. Knowing them for years, now that I think of it, they were all FOX news watchers.

  10. Emrysmyrddin says

    Wow, what a bigot. OWS protestors are mentally ill? Criminals? Rapists? Just…wow.

    Her Facebook wall is full of her ‘expose’ posts, and she has comment-tagged persons/orgs she obviously feels will give a shit (er, read, no one?); such as Ann Coulter and The New Republic Magazine. On a further page, TITLED IN CAPS LIKE ANY RATIONAL PERSON WOULD DO, she talks about the OWS as “illegal, violent, and vulgar”, which should apparently get her out of a sociology assignment. She also talks about “liberal rags” and “predatory journalists and sad, mentally ill, and envious people to camp outside those homes, as well as to harass their inhabitants”. All with FORMATTING MADNESS.

    I smell her political allegiances and her privileges, and they ain’t fragrant. Also, crimes against font.

    Taken from: http://www.facebook.com/notes/sara-ackerman/i-leaked-this-to-press-an-email-in-which-i-defend-jamie-dimon-to-that-bigot-zalo/10150458944477066

  11. says

    @Ibis3

    It is hard/impossible to determine someone who is hysterical due to sociological and ideological induced stress and someone who is schizophrenic by a letter. See for example Michael Bachman finding herself trapped by lesbians. Or the trading spouses God warrior woman. She may be delusional, even to the point of seemingly having hallucinations but I think that is still within the neurotypical response for heavy culture shock like this.

  12. Emrysmyrddin says

    Also: “Zaloom will have to lose her important job—which she received by hanging on to the coat-tails of her much more successful, more intelligent, tenured professor husband, Eric Klinenberg…”

    Delightful child.

  13. unbound says

    Wow. I guess there is a lot more oppression in college than I thought…even I must have been oppressed since I distinctly recall holding my hand up for a lot longer than 75 seconds for many of my classes.

    I would imagine dating here would be a living hell too.

    “Lois Einhorn: Listen, pet dick. How would you like me to make your life a living hell?
    Ace Ventura: Well, I’m not really ready for a relationship, Lois, but thank you for asking.” – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

  14. says

    Incidentally we shouldn’t demonize the schizophrenic by relating this behavior to them like that.

    when I rode Uni-transport one of the people I talked to often was a schizophrenic in treatment who was very polite and nice and would patiently explain to people about his condition to defuse awkwardness (his medication had apparently some obvious physical side effects that could be viewed as socially awkward)

  15. says

    As a math teacher, I don’t have to deal with the “other side” of subject matter issues. (The battle between Brouwer’s intuitionism and Hilbert’s formalism just doesn’t come up in introductory algebra.) By comparison, one of my friends teaches English lit and composition. He frequently encounters students who do not understand what constitutes an argument and don’t want to learn. They’re happy in their little cocoons and don’t want to be challenged. He’s given me some paraphrased examples of student comments in class or in their papers:

    “But the Bible says six days and that refutes Darwin.”

    “The author is a homosexual, so why should I pay any attention to what he says?”

    “The book has profanity in it. I don’t read books with swear words.”

    “But this is the way I feel, I have a right to feel that way, and I don’t have to justify it to you.”

    “You are disrespecting my religion by treating its content as a logical proposition.”

  16. Randomfactor says

    I hope Whirled Nuts adds her to her staff. She’s apparently not culturally resilient enough to be one of James O’Keefe’s faux hookers, the only other career path open to her.

  17. says

    Actually it really bugs me that the nice seemingly mostly rational schizophrenic man needed help finding a job but this asshole is going to be gifted one.

  18. ottomaniac says

    Holy crap. Here’s how I see part of this sequence going:

    Nightmare student: “This whole thing has been totally dangerous and stressful and is causing me to fail school and I’m really upset about it!”

    University: “Uh, okay. We’re referring you to the mental health center for some help, because you’re weirding us out.”

    Nightmare student: “You’re trying to say I’m crazy so you can dismiss my claims! I WILL NOT BE SILENCED!”

    I’m irritated at one of my own students right now, so this is slightly prejudiced, but seriously, Sara, shut up. You’re being unreasonable, and it’s making you look like a nutjob.

    These kinds of things piss me off so much, because Nightmare Students everywhere can essentially say whatever they like, but educators are bound by FERPA – so, by law, only one side of the story can be heard. At least this Nightmare Student is transparently in the wrong.

  19. flapjack says

    I’ve encountered this worldview before when at college, neatly demonstrated by a drama-queen flatmate who by co-incidence was also called Sara … I dubbed it “Anti-Copernican”- i.e. ‘Sara at the centre of the universe: everything else revolves around’.

  20. says

    Let’s see… Allows her views of reality to be dictated entirely by her prejudice? Check. Believes herself to be constantly victimized by society in spite of her privileged upbringing? Check. Has an endless sense of entitlement and psychological need to assert her authority? Check.

    She’ll make the perfect right-wing pundit. Or brownshirt.

  21. Kevin Anthoney says

    I presume the idea behind going there with two attractive, thin women was that the rapists would attack them first, giving Sara time to get away. Although there’s an obvious flaw with that plan, given the sheer number of rapists at Zuccotti Park.

  22. Gregory Greenwood says

    I take it that Ackerman is a proud member of the 1% then? She certainly has the overweening sense of entitlement and the near-incoherant outrage that is engendered in such people by the realisation that those dirty proles OWS people would dare demand something so horribly repressive as social justice…

  23. mommiest says

    Um. There were a lot of women at OWS demonstrations all over the place, and apparently they felt safe.

    She must have found the only Occupy protest at a state prison. For Men.

  24. says

    Do you think that perhaps miss “75 seconds is torture” was probably not called on and spoken to slightly derisively because maybe she was one of those students (like myself) who answers every single question every single time and they want to give opportunity to other students to answer questions? Or perhaps she’s the type to ask questions constantly that tend to irritate other students and the professor… like asking a multi-part question just before the end of class? (Those students need to be throttled)

  25. says

    Who’s demonising the schizophrenic? This type of behaviour (see her Facebook page) can be a sign that someone is mentally ill. I’m concerned that she’s being treated *as* a problem (she’s been suspended from the university), when she might actually *have* a problem (an undiagnosed mental illness).

  26. frog says

    This is what we native NYers call “an asshole.” I think I can reasonably speak for about 80% of the city in wishing this shithead goes back to East Bumblefuck (or wherever she popped out of, doubtless buoyed on a cloud of rainbow sparkles).

    Why do people who are completely unprepared to encounter a cross-section of humanity insist on moving to one of the most densely populated, multicultural cities in the world?

    What did she think she would find at NYU? It’s not a closed campus like Columbia–how does she get to her classes? Does she live in an uptown apartment and take a limo to the door of each building?

  27. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    “You are disrespecting my religion by treating its content as a logical proposition.”

    Why yes little Timmy, yes I am. Good for you for recognizing that.

  28. says

    Gee, my college-student daughter would have jumped at an opportunity to go to study demographics at OWS.

    But since she didn’t have that opportunity, she hopped in a car with friends and went to OWS in Zucotti Park and became part of the demographic. I was so proud of her!

    To a person like Ms. Ackerman, my daughter would be really scary, armed as she is with a rapier(-sharp wit in an argument), a strong sense of intolerance (for religion), and a tendency to try to snuff (out bigotry and stupidity in) people she meets.

    This comment from Ms. Ackerman: “Zaloom will have to lose her important job—which she received by hanging on to the coat-tails of her much more successful, more intelligent, tenured professor husband, Eric Klinenberg…” made me think “Oh, she’s attracted to the husband, and is jealous of the wife and is trying to get her out of the picture and ally herself with the husband.” Pure speculation, of course.

  29. Crow says

    Please stop referring to people as “schizophrenic”. It’s horribly inappropriate to identify someone by a mental disease they may have.

    When someone is called a schizophrenic, the word tends to describe them as a mass of symptoms that defines them. Saying a person has schizophrenia better describes a complex person who is diagnosed with a disease.

    I realize that typing out “person with schizophrenia” is asking a lot of your fingers but it shows a lot more respect and compassion to explicitly state that these are actually people, and not objects of mental disease.

    Thanks.

  30. says

    *No alternatives were offered, and we were instructed to interview only those people who were participating in the OWS movement– that means anyone, including criminals,drug addicts, mentally ill people, and of course, the few competent, mentally stable people that stationed themselves at Zuccotti Park

    Am I the only one imagining her wandering around with this attitude of clear disdain to everyone there and then acting offended that people are treating her poorly?

  31. Zinc Avenger says

    The typical conservative “Why do people the people I treat with contempt not like me?”.

  32. magistramarla says

    I dealt with nightmare students like this when I was teaching high school. Parents would march into the school to complain if any teacher dared to present the possibility of world views different from their own to their precious, coddled babies.
    It is a true shame that these unprepared students are actually accepted into college and are now annoying college professors.

  33. jenl says

    Do you think that perhaps miss “75 seconds is torture” was probably not called on and spoken to slightly derisively because maybe she was one of those students (like myself) who answers every single question every single time and they want to give opportunity to other students to answer questions? Or perhaps she’s the type to ask questions constantly that tend to irritate other students and the professor… like asking a multi-part question just before the end of class? (Those students need to be throttled)

    I’m seeing her more as a student that asks a question that is *at best* tangentially related to the teacher’s point – Instructor: “What have we learned from observing at Zucotti Park?” Sara: “I really have to repeat that I think it was inappropriate for us to have been given this assignment, because…” Instructor interrupts with “I’m sorry, Sara, but that’s not relevant to the question. We’ve discussed this multiple times, and any further discussion needs to be outside of class time. Moving on.”

    And then that student just WILL. NOT. LET. IT. GO.

    In which case Sara is right that the instructor is specifically, intentionally, not calling on her, because the instructor knows from experience that what Sara so desperately wants to say is essentially “you’re mean”. Followed by the same argument she’s already been asked to keep outside of class time.

  34. Luc says

    Sooo what about the ethnographics of OWS? Is it just a bunch of old white guys, too, or what?

  35. says

    Isn’t it illegal tu publish private e-mails on the internet?
    — damien75 (#12)

    For your stimulating and informative display of Dunning-Kruger in action, you win ONE INTERNETS!

  36. raven says

    There are a lot of Saras out there.

    We had one at my undergraduate school. He was a weird guy, very smart but not really good at interacting with people.

    A few years back on a visit, I used the elevator in the library. There was a poster on the wall with a picture of some guy, wild eyed and disheveled.

    It said, Banned from the library. If you see this person, notify the librarians and security. It was….him.

  37. thegoodman says

    Oh my. This poor girl has some serious issues. She is what would often be described as an “attention whore”. Well she certainly has gotten some attention. I have a feeling she is going to have a difficult time finding work if a quick google search will lead you to pages of at best drama filled and at worst completely psychotic emails.

    I have a feeling she would sympathize with Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.

  38. Irene Delse says

    Of course, it’s perfectly possible that Ms Ackerman suffers from schizophrenia and is also an asshole.

  39. hamburger says

    Well, the classroom and street behavior resembles at best agitated ADHD(ish) behavior. The written rants sound like those often written by people who are predromal.

    I hope she gets help soon.

  40. says

    We Are Ing @41:

    Not really right to speculate on her sexuality and dismiss..even though she did open the door for it.

    OK, I see your point, and I appreciate being called on it if it is justified and reasonable.

    Honest question: Why is it OK to speculate here on so many aspects of her behavior, personality, and mental health, but not on one aspect: her possible interest in a person and how it might affect her behaviour toward another person? I really don’t think I speculated on her sexuality, just on a possible attraction, which actually I was thinking of as in psychological, not sexual, terms. Anyway, if I was over the line I apologize.

  41. says

    Honest question: Why is it OK to speculate here on so many aspects of her behavior, personality, and mental health, but not on one aspect: her possible interest in a person and how it might affect her behaviour toward another person? I really don’t think I speculated on her sexuality, just on a possible attraction, which actually I was thinking of as in psychological, not sexual, terms. Anyway, if I was over the line I apologize.

    Because extra onus is put on women in that regard. Would the presumption have arisen if it was a male student complaining about his male teacher’s tenured wife?

  42. says

    Also it isn’t really appropriate to speculate too much on her mental state. I still argue that even delusional behavior like this could be from extreme culture shock.

  43. says

    @JenL:

    Oh god, those are the worst kinds! At least with the “anyone but Kat” types (myself) and the “big question at end of class” types they’ve got at least some academic reason to be making their professors and classmates irritated. With the “this is tangentially related” types, they’re just playing their own opinions on the rest of class when the rest of class either is well aware or doesn’t care about those opinions.

  44. raven says

    I doubt she is particularly wealthy.

    NYU doesn’t sound like a real expensive school much less a bible college.

    IIRC, the really wealthy christofascists go to Regents, Liberty U. or some expensive bible school somewhere out in the hinterlands (Hilsdale). Where they can be coccooned for 4 years in an echo chamber while they find a suitable mate from the same cult.

  45. interrobang says

    On behalf of all non-stuck-up Saras out there, I humbly apologise. We’re not all like that, honest.

    I think this post is Exhibit A demonstrating the conclusion of that study from a while ago, that conservatives really are more fearful, paranoid, and xenophobic than everyone else.

    Shorter modern right-wingers: “Eeeeew, I can’t leave my safe enclave! I might meet a homeless person, eeeeew! Why can’t they just, like, go away and stop being all icky and homeless and stuff?”

  46. says

    @Raven

    More likely one of the 53% people who like to talk about how shat upon they are and present their willingness to take it as a sign of saintliness and righteousness because they’re not uppity like the OWS folk about it.

  47. says

    We Are Ing,

    Thanks for explaining your earlier comment. Yes, I think I would have had the same thought if the genders had been reversed, or even, in fact, if it were a same-sex situation. Ms. Ackerman’s comment about her professor’s spouse was deeply admiring at the expense of her professor. And why would she introduce his name and qualities into a dispute between the professor and student, anyway, unless he is somehow relevant to her thinking on the matter?

    It’s all speculation, anyway.

  48. ischemgeek says

    I’m reminded of the girl in my high school who made a repeated Big Damn Show of being a creationist and wanted to be given all sorts of accomodation for it (including but not limited to being given full marks for ID answers and being allowed to answer test questions with religious screeds). The school’s solution (to its credit) was to let her sit out of biology when it covered evolution (so she’d quit disturbing the class with loud and obnoxious religious rants – like most creationists I’ve met, she felt “Freedom of Religion” meant “I get to do what I want and you all have to shut up and listen and not challenge me in any way.” ) and give her 0 on the units that she sat out of. She challenged it to the school board and the province and recieved the same response. She made a show of wanting to sue but apparently she couldn’t find a lawyer willing to take the case.

  49. truthspeaker says

    It’s against her moral beliefs to interview people?

    Sociology might not be a good fit for her.

  50. gshevlin says

    In a few years time when this lady tries to get a job in the Real World, she may wish she had not behaved like an entitlement-ridden whiny little sh1t, and, worse still, insisted on proving it online where the records will be available for perusal by prospective employers.

  51. Rey Fox says

    Why is it OK to speculate here on so many aspects of her behavior, personality, and mental health, but not on one aspect: her possible interest in a person and how it might affect her behaviour toward another person?

    It just seems like a stretch in the absence of any more concrete evidence such as extensive communication with said male professor. The more parsimonious explanation is that she’s just using the internalized sexist meme of a woman riding a man’s coattails by marriage to try to discredit that woman and climb up on her.

  52. chigau (同じ) says

    Back when I was an undergrad, on the first day of class we recieved a hand-out (on paper!) of the course outline detailing all the assignments, quizzes and exams.
    These did not appear to be negotialble.
    If something was too distasteful, we could drop the class.
    If the class was required, we could rethink our major.
    We were young!
    We could do anything!

  53. says

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    “You are disrespecting my religion by treating its content as a logical proposition.”

    Why yes little Timmy, yes I am. Good for you for recognizing that.

    Ha! I do believe that is a perfect example of my friend’s response to his irked student. But little Timmy was not mollified.

  54. Agent Smith says

    Presumably, Sara is at NYU to learn. But it sounds like she’s just there to have her prejudices confirmed. That’s a remarkably trivial benefit to get in return for paying tertiary fees. If her parents are paying, then “down the drain” says it all.

    Having made up her mind that protesters are intrinsically defective, and often dangerous, she caterwauls at length at having to interact with these people. She also doesn’t seem to give a shit about maintaining good relationships with her tutors. I don’t see honors in this one’s future.

  55. Aquaria says

    Whatever else you can say about the link @71, the ultimate irony is this:

    The picture is on a web page for Uri L’Tzedek, a youth group for Orthodox Jews devoted to…

    Social justice.

    And she didn’t get what OWS was about.

    Fucking unbelievable.

  56. Stray Cat says

    It’s depression how many of the comments on the link treat her babbling rants and threats as if they’re reasonable. This kid is essentially a self-absorbed bully.

  57. shouldbeworking says

    Sara needs a serious sharp lesson in the meaning of advanced education.

    I once caught a student cheating on an exam. His response ” you can’t give me zero note exam cause I didn’t cheat on every question.”

    I explained to him my two rules for cheating.
    1. Don’t get caught.
    2. Don’t cheat from your friends because they are not as smart as you hope they are.

    He didn’t understand.

  58. thematrix says

    Hrm, reading this, just after watching the depiction of the Occupy movement on CSI Miami, freaks me out a bit.

    The last CSI Miami episode left me with such a bad taste, I won’t be watching that one anymore, no amount of Eva La Rue’s cleavage is worth having to watch the unwarranted glorification of police brutality and depiction of anything leftist as bad.

    This girl is probably their biggest fan, it shows the world the way she thinks it is, with her, the good and them, the evil, with any and all means allowed to get her own way.

    This is egocentricity taken to extremes, a bigoted, uninformed worldview put on display.

    Meh, I wish there was a way to force people to be educated.

  59. deephlat says

    Whether or not she has schizophrenia is meaningless, she is just as blameless either way. If you were her and had her brain and experiences, you would do the same thing.

  60. says

    Agent Smith @75

    Presumably, Sara is at NYU to learn.

    Sadly, this may not be the case. I find that far too many students go to University in order to get a degree. If they can accomplish this without learning, they are just as happy. They seek the credentials, but not necessarily the skills, knowledge, and intellectual experiences.

    For too many people, universities (even expensive private universities) are becoming “the high school after high school”.

  61. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    Sad.

    Odd, though, how threatening an actual grass-roots organization can be to one who appears to have been raised on astroturf.

  62. capnxtreme says

    I can get behind OWS, it’s a movement I agree with, but it’s depressing to see it maligned or dismissed out of hand by privileged college kids from rich families who have never before ventured outside their comfort zone. These people, unfortunately, are our future. I’m finding it increasingly difficult day after day to express hope for humanity.

  63. says

    The picture is on a web page for Uri L’Tzedek, a youth group for Orthodox Jews devoted to…

    Social justice.

    Well, yeah, but not for those stupid poor people.

    I mean homelessness and other difficulties might be something to worry about down the road, after serious social issues like affluent students having assignments that they don’t like have been addressed.

    (Not a comment on Uri L’Tzedek, just the one member)

    Glen Davidson

  64. shouldbeworking says

    I can see why Sara would go public after that polite, well written response from NYU outlining the proper procedure for filing complaints.

    Who knew that an enthogrphic study would put one in contact with shudder ethnics!

  65. jacobfromlost says

    shouldbeworking: 2. Don’t cheat from your friends because they are not as smart as you hope they are. He didn’t understand.

    Me: How ironic, lol. When I was teaching high school, I had a particular freshmen who flunked my class, returned the next year, and about three months into the year exclaimed, “Hey! Isn’t this what we did LAST year? Why are we doing it again?” He was really concerned, as if I had pulled a fast one by teaching the same curriculum two years in a row.

    That’s when I explained that he flunked the class, which is why he was repeating it (and why all the kids around him were a year younger than he was, as he didn’t seem to notice that either). He really, truly did not understand. He thought 9th grade English was different every year, and apparently thought the same of all his classes–that the curriculum was vastly different year to year in the same grade/level. (As if Algebra I this year would be different than Algebra I last year, or the year before.)

    This really blew my mind, and gave me a glipse into why the kid thought school was pointless. He apparently thought all the information was arbitrarily changing from year to year–history, math, science, etc, was changing from year to year, so that demonstrating that you “learned” something was only a game to pass the class, like memorizing movie trivia for this year’s movies when the movies (and trivia) would be different next year.

    Part of the reason for his confusion, I think, was that the students in my district were not required to pass any classes in middle school. Flunk everything (or almost everything) in 7th grade? Go on to 8th grade classes. Flunk everything in 8th grade? Go on to high school. Your high school teacher says you have to pass your classes or take them over again? They simply don’t believe it until they are taking the classes over again–even if juniors or seniors are sitting next to them, living/breathing evidence of people repeating freshmen classes. (And later I found out this is common practice. Districts, parents, and middle schools don’t want older, bigger, failing students around, so everyone tacitly agrees to let the high schools deal with it. I don’t know what the solution is, but when middle school students learn they don’t have to pass anything, the flunking problem gets worse–and teaching students they don’t have to pass their classes seems to be the wrong lesson. But maybe that’s just me.)

  66. Emrysmyrddin says

    A header from another of her public Facebook notes:

    A saga: How an NYU professor won the battle, but lost the war (dot dot dot and entirely missed the point of her job) (when she’s lucky to even be employed) (dot dot dot when her academic focus is **labor rights**)

  67. skmc says

    Who looks demented now?

    Not Ackerman; from where I sit she looks willfully ignorant.

    My father is demented. He scored literally zero points on his last mini mental state exam. And he tries so hard–learning and re-learning basics like how to turn on his radio, how to read the clock, how to use the phone I programmed and color-coded so he just has to press “1” to call us from the long-term care facility a few miles away. He learns, he forgets, he tries again.

    Willfully ignorant bigots are doing the opposite of that.

    That’s why non-neurotypical states make exceptionally poor metaphors for willful ignorance and bigotry.

    (And I do understand that the OP was practicing a bit of turnabout rhetoric; I’m just riffing off of that since it is very common to use mental/neurological illness as a metaphor for bigotry in other contexts. I am also extra-mad at people who refuse to use their brains, given that there are folks out there who would give anything to have a brain they could use.)

  68. shouldbeworking says

    @88
    We have the same thing here, a student can’t fail until high school and then there’s a small reality hit. I once gave a class a take home make up exam for physics. I would record the average of the in class and take home exams. One student got 9% on the take home and another who faild the in class exam decided not to take the exam home. Both parents contacted the principal and complained that the exam was unfair.

  69. says

    There is something about the way she writes/speaks that reminds me of a woman I know who at the age of thirty-five still thinks she is a fairy princess. She too gets seriously pissed off when the outside world breaks into her little bubble.

  70. says

    Suggesting the child suffers from schizophrenia or is an asshole is a bit of an insult to schizophrenia patients and assholes.

    Mental patients have pathology that explains their actions and (legally at least) excuses them to a degree. Assholes generally know where the line of good taste is.

    This silly bint is just a spoiled little rich girl who will likely end up marrying a closet homosexual and attempt to run for president, A’la Michelle Bachman.

    May whatever god she believes in give her comfort, because no one else with half the sense of a rock is going to.

  71. Azkyroth says

    Is “entitlement” the same as “priviledge”?
    or is there a big overlap?

    Privilege is having advantages that others don’t not because of anything you did, but because third parties treat you differently from those others because of the group they perceive you to belong to.

    Entitlement is feeling that you deserve it.

  72. Azkyroth says

    Incidentally we shouldn’t demonize the schizophrenic by relating this behavior to them like that.

    True.

    On the other hand, people whose behavior actually fits the pattern of paranoid-delusional illnesses or personality disorders shouldn’t be dismissed as “just assholes.”

  73. NitricAcid says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was ticked off at CSI:Miami’s portrayal of OWS. Of course, I’m used to them relying more on cleavage than the ability to know what’s going on…I distinctly remember the one actor talking about “a chemical called heptan-2-one”, and pronouncing it to rhyme with the number “one”, rather than “bone” (it’s a KETONE, it rhymes with acetone, butanone, and ketone!).

  74. brainfromarous says

    Whatever other issues Sara Ackerman may have, I’ve been to Zucotti and believe me, it’s a three ring circus.

    You cannot swing a copy of the DSM without hitting some mentally-deranged character. Not to mention the criminal lowlifes infesting the place.

    Hate Goldman-Sachs? Fine. Want to reform the financial system? So do I. But that doesn’t make OWS any less of a disgrace.

    In the future, though, perhaps Sara Ackerman should write about something that PZ would take more seriously.

    Like, for example, being invited for coffee in an elevator?

  75. MikeMa says

    Sara may just be lazy. She might never have been required to work for anything prior to this.

    The ‘pretty, thin other students’ thing might indicate a self-esteem issue but considering her other, deeper issues, maybe that can wait.

  76. Marcus Hill says

    “no alternative was offered”? I offer my students alternative activities if the planned activity is tightly time bound (an organised visit, group presentation or other such thing that the individual can’t do alone at a later date) and they can show (with evidence) that they were incapable of doing the planned activity on the planned day. This generally means they have a doctor’s note.
    I train teachers for a living. This student’s expectations are akin to one of my students asking for all his/her placements to be in nice schools in affluent suburbs. She needs to rethink either her expectations or her choice of course.

  77. Aquaria says

    Well, yeah, but not for those stupid poor people.

    I mean homelessness and other difficulties might be something to worry about down the road, after serious social issues like affluent students having assignments that they don’t like have been addressed.

    I think the most painfully ironic thing you have to get from this is that this numbskull prides herself on the “work” she did in El Salvador, which has some actual, you know, poor people.

    But maybe she has that idea that you can’t do something about X because people somewhere else have it so much worse, as if you have to put up with the former until the latter is fixed.

    (Not a comment on Uri L’Tzedek, just the one member)

    There’s always at least one idiot in every social justice group.

    Always.t way to get kosher slaughter changed).

  78. Aquaria says

    I see that my paragraph about some of the things that Uzi L’Tzedek does got cut off. Oh well. I can’t be arsed to write it again. If I could remember what I wrote.

  79. Azkyroth says

    Sooo what about the ethnographics of OWS? Is it just a bunch of old white guys, too, or what?

    ….

    Whether or not she has schizophrenia is meaningless, she is just as blameless either way. If you were her and had her brain and experiences, you would do the same thing.

    That’s trivially true but she had an active role in developing that brain and that experience and can take responsibility for it.

    Of course, you’re just flogging a stupid strawman, so…

  80. carlie says

    Wow, what a whiner. I love this part from one of her emails:

    t is very unclear to me why no one from NYU’s faculty, administration, or your ownoffice, alerted me to this process until today, the day before I ‘threatened’ (in your words), to go public, despite the fact that I have been in touch with you regarding thisvery contentious situation for about 2-3 month

    Probably because that process is in the student handbook, which is freely available to all students and which is your own responsibility to read. Sheesh.

  81. says

    As I said on facebook:

    I am entirely loathe to deny Sara the right to be afraid for her safety in an environment that even we admitted wasn’t exceptionally free of misogyny. However, a person so afraid of mingling with The Other really should reconsider how well-suited they are for any line of studies that requires ethnography.

    Did any of the other students who surveyed OWS see any of this behavior that Sara did?

    uh… guys? Women have been on occasion treated like that at OWS (she didn’t make up the story about the rape, either). I have some doubt as to whether that behavior is more common at OWS than on campus, but confirmation bias that might have made her remember it from the former instead of the latter isn’t the same as completely making up shit.

    After skimming over the e-mails, I wonder if this woman isn’t mentally ill.

    so did a bunch of other people, which is why she’s been sent to counseling and to the health center several times. Apparently she’s sane, just deeply confused about reality and deeply entitled.

    but I think that is still within the neurotypical response for heavy culture shock like this.

    yep.

    Do you think that perhaps miss “75 seconds is torture” was probably not called on and spoken to slightly derisively because maybe she was one of those students (like myself) who answers every single question every single time and they want to give opportunity to other students to answer questions?

    I was thinking the same thing. In some classes, I’m one of those students, and when I notice that the prof is starting to ignore me in favor of someone, anyone else (yes, even to the point of ignoring me when no one else is raising their hand), I don’t take that as a personal vendetta against me, I take it as a sign that I’m not actually there for private tutoring and other students are supposed to get a chance at participation, too

    Why do people who are completely unprepared to encounter a cross-section of humanity insist on moving to one of the most densely populated, multicultural cities in the world?

    remember when Teabaggers came to protest in DC, and were complaining that the public transport was overcrowded? Back then, there was some speculation about just how the permanently-rural population imagines cities to function, and someone put forward the idea that they treat cities like amusement-parks. So in this case, NYC would be “diversity” and “coolness”. It’s not supposed to have real minorities and real poor people and real social issues.

    It is a true shame that these unprepared students are actually accepted into college and are now annoying college professors.

    no. the shame is that universities are treated like places you purchase a degree at, instead of learning facilities; and that parents get to have so much involvement in the education of their supposedly adult children. Because it’s precisely these spoiled brats who need the culture-shock of a diverse university most, but as it is, they feel entitled to a degree without it and their parents make sure that’s exactly what happens.

    Also it isn’t really appropriate to speculate too much on her mental state. I still argue that even delusional behavior like this could be from extreme culture shock.

    quoted again, just because it needs to be.

    And to all the people using terms like “drama-queen” and “attention-whore”: PLEASE DON’T. we have a much less bigoted word for that, it’s “drama-holic”

  82. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    Whatever other issues Sara Ackerman may have, I’ve been to Zucotti and believe me, it’s a three ring circus.

    You cannot swing a copy of the DSM without hitting some mentally-deranged character. Not to mention the criminal lowlifes infesting the place.

    I’ve also been to Zucotti Park, and I saw people collecting signatures for an anti-fracking petition, socialists hawking socialist newsletters, a scruffy girl busking with her guitar, people distributing free ice cream, overzealous vegans, weirdos, nice people, obnoxious drummers, a spontaneous jazz quintet (obviously not at the same time as the drummers), and extensive library maintained by people passionate about knowledge and learning, a large meeting of protesters to discuss security issues at the park, a person in medical distress being helped by fellow protesters, weirdos, nice people, tourists, and much more.

    I didn’t see any criminal lowlifes, but then, I have no idea what a criminal lowlife looks like. I have to ask, how do you know if a person is a criminal lowlife, unless they are committing a crime in front of you, or have actually confessed to being convicted of one? Also, is your assessment of their mental health based on appearance only or actual conversations?

    Sounds like you’d be best friends with this entitled brat of a college student. Your preconceptions have clouded your judgment in the exact same way hers did.

  83. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    Whether or not she has schizophrenia is meaningless, she is just as blameless either way. If you were her and had her brain and experiences, you would do the same thing.

    Yes, and my particular brain and set of experiences leaves me no choice but to point out how silly her brain and set of experiences have left her.

  84. carlie says

    If she was that scared, all she had to do was request a chaperone. She could have suggested in class that all the students go in groups, or she could have asked the teacher or tutor to go with her. But she didn’t; according to her own emails, she started out with demanding an alternative assignment and doubled down every time after that.

    That’s trivially true but she had an active role in developing that brain and that experience and can take responsibility for it.

    Carl Sagan: “We are, each of us, largely responsible for what gets put into our own brains.”

  85. says

    If she was that scared, all she had to do was request a chaperone. She could have suggested in class that all the students go in groups, or she could have asked the teacher or tutor to go with her. But she didn’t; according to her own emails, she started out with demanding an alternative assignment and doubled down every time after that.

    We’re talking about the genius who obviously hasn’t read the student handbook, and blames other people for that. I doubt the idea of a chaperone or a nice, big, protective group occurred to her. She went straight for the “but I don’t wanna” because that’s I imagine it’s what she’s used to doing and getting away with. So it doesn’t actually say anything about whether she was genuinely scared, or lazy, or just ideologically opposed to getting within talking distance of a progressive

  86. Brownian says

    In the future, though, perhaps Sara Ackerman should write about something that PZ would take more seriously.

    Like, for example, being invited for coffee in an elevator?

    Did that actually sound cogent to you when you wrote that, brainfromarous?

    Perhaps you should add the word ‘brain’ to your username a second time. I understand that you’ve succeeded in fooling yourself, but illusion is not as compelling to the rest of us.

  87. Daniel-San says

    Love some of the other gems in her writing….


    why don’t you try to apply your ideals to North Korea (never mind, you can’t get in there, and neither can I), or Dubai (you actually can go to the UAE, whereas this would be trickier for me, since I’m Jewish and have Israel stamps all over my passport—that’s okay, I’ll take free speech, freedom of religion, freedom to where whatever I want, any day, thank you), or **most importantly** Abu Dhabi (that way you could kill two birds with one stone—support NYU and its campus there, and also, see what happens when you attempt to fight genuine injustice).

    And also:


    I am happy to discuss this issue further, with any **rational**, **humanistic**, **person** who can see past my privileged upbringing.

    Yep………

  88. says

    Students like this are why I’m burned out. There seems to be an odd perception in many of my students that college should not challenge their assumptions, and that the material can have no bearing on their lives outside memorization and recall. They respond with anger and confusion when asked to do more, to the point where they sabotage performance reviews.

    They don’t seem to have a conception of learning which includes that challenge to previous concepts.

    And if I read one more paper which uses random websites as research sources, refuses to use spell check, plagiarizes and on a student’s disappointment with college because it’s not like in the movies, I may turn right into the biggest curmudgeon ever.

  89. says

    For heaven’s sake, it’s not culture shock. The girl’s a senior at NYU. It doesn’t even have a campus. It surrounds Washington Square Park. The gay pride parade ends there; to the east is Broadway and to the west 6th Ave. It’s smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. There are protests there, in Union Square, in Thompson Square, and in every other park.

    She is a ridiculously entitled kid who’s making claims about associate professors and tenure, spousal hires, the Constitution and numerous other subjects she knows zero about. She actually suggests the university president is “making himself scarce” because he wasn’t present for her unannounced visit, and threatens him with who she knows.

    She also says quite clearly in one of her emails that the dean did in fact give her an alternate assignment – to study the police response to OWS. She just didn’t do it. She isntead chose to blame (and threaten) the TA for not letting her disrupt the class.

  90. says

    “Of course, it’s perfectly possible that Ms Ackerman suffers from schizophrenia and is also an asshole.”

    I don’t know why everyone is speculating on her potentially having a schizo disorder. I’m not a psychologist, but nothing she’s done appears to me to indicate a schizo spectrum issue.

    On the other hand, she would probably get a near perfect score on a narcissistic personality disorder test.

  91. RahXephon231 says

    @mouthyb

    This is just my perception, but I think this behavior is due to the feelings people have that degrees are not a luxury but a necessity. Couple that with how expensive school has become in the US and people do feel a sense of entitlement to that degree, as if they “bought it”. I think that sentiment would be a lot lower if school were either much cheaper, or if societal pressure to go to college were decreased on kids, especially ones who don’t need a degree or won’t fare well in a more advanced academic environment. The more I’ve gone (I’m a Junior) the more I realize that university isn’t the place for everyone, both intellectually and emotionally.

  92. jessie says

    She’s a metropoliitan studies major and is scared of the OWS protest? In the daytime, with other people with her? That’s ridiculous.

    It’s a good thing she didn’t try ecology. I’ve made ecology students go outside where there are wild animals when it’s -20 C.

  93. julian says

    What a bullying, obnoxious, self centered little brat. Not only does she refuse to do the work her class requires, she insists on threatening and belittling her subject, her instructor and the material.

    Fail her. Toss her out and never let her back in.

  94. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    There is a letter posted by TSFH … http://www.facebook.com/notes/sara-ackerman/from-mary-louise-pratt-head-of-sca/10150457767772066

    Apparently from the department head, trying to reasin with Sara. It says, in part:

    Let me try to spell things out for you here. By the rules of the university, professors are responsible for the academic content of courses, including assigned work. Students do not have the option of declining to do particular assignments because they do not wish to, or find them distasteful. Assignments can be adjusted if and only if students present compelling reasons for why they are unable to complete them. The reasons you have presented, while strongly felt, are not compelling by the university’s standards. In the absence of compelling reasons, university officials have no power to intervene in the workings of a course. That is an essential element of academic freedom.

    Let me try to spell out why your reasons are not compelling, even though for you they are principled and strongly felt. One of the university’s central roles in society is to produce educated citizens. One of the key components of that process is teaching people to engage with and reflect upon people, ideas, actions and norms with which they profoundly disagree, and which they may even find repugnant. The ability to engage in this way is the basis for the peaceful dialogue that sustains social life and enables societies to address sources of conflict. Ethnography is an academically established method for engaging others across lines of social and cultural distance and difference, and that is why it is part of the training your major provides. Ethnographers’ work takes them all the time outside their comfort zones, and this is essential to their work. With respect to the ethnographic assignment, the fact that you disagree deeply with the people you are assigned to interview, or even hold them in contempt, is entirely compatible with the ethnographic task and its educational goals.

    “They are icky, scary people and I’m not going to go near them” makes as much sense for an Ethnography student as “they are big, smelly scary animals and I’m not going in that pen” does for a vet student.

  95. carlie says

    It’s a good thing she didn’t try ecology. I’ve made ecology students go outside where there are wild animals when it’s -20 C.

    I have had students be scared when we went out in broad daylight, in the warm fall, on campus walking/cross-country trails that are within half a football field length of the dorms, simply because all they could see around them was trees.

    She is a ridiculously entitled kid who’s making claims about associate professors and tenure, spousal hires, the Constitution and numerous other subjects she knows zero about. She actually suggests the university president is “making himself scarce” because he wasn’t present for her unannounced visit, and threatens him with who she knows.

    Oh yeah. I snort-laughed at her “I know for a fact that associate professors don’t have tenure”. And good university presidents aren’t actually on campus often; they’re out raising money for the university. They aren’t paid that much to sit in their offices waiting for students to walk in without an appointment to complain.

  96. ljbriar says

    @106 You beat me to the punch with everything I was about to say (my first comment too! Darn it!), and I applaud you. I hadn’t thought to frame it in the context of a confirmation bias, but certainly the treatment of women (along with many other minorities) at OWS has been discussed up one side and down the other, so I doubt she is making things up about getting cat-called and other things like that.

    And I will remember the term “dramaholic”. That is much, MUCH better than the gender-based terms.

    All this said, this does not sound like a student I would have ever wanted to give piano lessons to, and I sympathize with the educators who have posted here about students who insist on bringing their religious and political views into every class, regardless of its content. I remember taking the Bible and Literature back in university, and there were definitely several students whose hands the professor stopped acknowledging after the first two weeks or so.

  97. says

    I snort-laughed at her “I know for a fact that associate professors don’t have tenure”.

    I think it was even worse! IIRC, she knows, for a fact, that they “can’t get” tenure.

  98. Stacey C. says

    I’m amazed no one has yet mentioned her utter lack of comprehension of the first amendment. That always drives me nuts. The ONLY person who can violate your first amendment rights is someone acting as an agent of the government. NYU is a private institution. Therefore they have every right to tell you to shut up in the context of the learning environment. You are totally free to leave if you don’t like what’s going on. I’m sure there are more conservative professor’s whose courses you would enjoy. Even at my private, northeast liberal college we have a resident conservative. Stop abusing the Constitution. Read it before you reference it. ARGH. (sorry for the rant, pet peeve poked)

  99. says

    I have had students be scared when we went out in broad daylight, in the warm fall, on campus walking/cross-country trails that are within half a football field length of the dorms, simply because all they could see around them was trees.

    That is so sad.

  100. erk12 says

    And I will remember the term “dramaholic”. That is much, MUCH better than the gender-based terms.

    I like drama llama. I don’t think it’s gender-based, and llamas are funny.

  101. Larry says

    So sorry, Princess, that no one seemed to be able to give you the attention you so obviously and richly deserve.

    We can, however, diagnose and itemize your personality disorders to the 27th decimal point, if it will help.

  102. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    Her emails show she’s unaware of one minor internet tradition. She didn’t demand an expensive camera.

  103. What a Maroon says

    @Stacey C.,

    Yeah, I noticed it too. What people like her fail to understand is that the First Amendment doesn’t excuse you from the consequences of your speech (hell, even the government can tell you to shut up if, for example, you’re disrupting a trial or a legislative session, and if you keep on they can throw you out).

    No one stopped her from having her say (I doubt anyone could), and now she’s paying the price.

  104. dianne says

    I have had students be scared when we went out in broad daylight, in the warm fall, on campus walking/cross-country trails that are within half a football field length of the dorms, simply because all they could see around them was trees.

    A friend of mine works or used to work (I’ve lost contact with him) at one of the tougher high schools in Chicago. He took some of his students, including some on probation or whatever the juvenile equivalent is, out to the country for an overnight field trip. They were terrified. People do get scared when they go outside their comfort zone, even people used to a high degree of danger in their everyday lives. But that’s part of what growing up is about: going outside your comfort zone and facing your fears. Which is why one reason why Ackerman’s complaints don’t make sense. Plus how’s she ever going to get a job in her field if she’s scared to talk to people in downtown NYC in broad daylight?

  105. jacobfromlost says

    mouthyb: They respond with anger and confusion when asked to do more, to the point where they sabotage performance reviews.

    Me: It’s a problem even before college. There is a big push to accommodate students, learning styles, even attendance patterns, etc, and I’m all for that (well, much of it). But at a certain point, students figure out how the game is played, and if you ask them to do anything that may take some effort (as substantive learning usually does), they start acting out, wanting “accommodations” that result in a watered down result (it’s very common for kids to demand to know exactly what they need to do to get a 60% and no more, and want you to “teach to that 60% goal”, as it were–often as a second time around as they got a 20 or 25% previously).

    And at a certain point, the students start setting the standards, or at least the teacher becomes more and more accustomed to (trained to?) chasing standards set by the students, reinforced by parents (who are often less concerned with learning and more concerned with passing), and supported by administrators who have less power over students and parents than they have over teachers. Students quickly figure out what the buzz words are…that teachers are not taking their “feedback”…that the teacher is not “working with them”…that “everyone will flunk” if the teacher doesn’t change, etc, and it doesn’t matter if this isn’t objectively true as the idea of “student centered learning” is taken to absurd degrees.

    I’m all for student centered learning, but when children figure out that “student centered” means they get to decide what is taught, how much is taught, how difficult the assignments will be, WHAT the assignments will be, and how high the teacher will jump every time they say “jump”…something is very wrong and education has been thrown out the window.

  106. truthspeaker says

    This discussion makes me glad I graduated college in 1992 and that I didn’t go into teaching.

  107. Katrina says

    She seems to be particularly upset that her professor compared OWS to the “Arab Spring”.

  108. victortanner says

    Well, she definitely has a future of medication ahead of her. I wonder if her mental illness would even show up if she had gone to a private Christian college that might see her paranoid behavior as acceptable?

  109. frog says

    Jadehawk, I had never before thought about the patent sexism of those terms. Thank you for bringing it to my (and perhaps others’) attention. Dramaholic (or drama llama) it will be henceforth!

  110. doktorzoom says

    I snort-laughed at her “I know for a fact that associate professors don’t have tenure”.

    I think it was even worse! IIRC, she knows, for a fact, that they “can’t get” tenure.

    “Associate, “Adjunct,” whatever. They’re just words after all.

  111. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Okay, so this student is a complete drama-holic and she’s outright lying?

    Ackerman says that after her email blasts, she was offered a deal for her silence on the matter. She says that NYU offered her an A in the course as long as she stopped talking about the situation.

    When reached for comment about the situation, NYU Vice President of Public Affairs John Beckman replied, “Federal law prohibits the University from talking about an individual student’s academic or disciplinary record, so this is all a bit difficult to discuss because I cannot comment with regard to any specific student. But let me say this: when a student raises a complaint, we look into it, and we take it very seriously. We received a complaint from a student about a particular fall class in the College of Arts and Science; we looked into the complaint and found the accusations were unwarranted. With all complaints, we try to come to some sort of common-sense resolution, but that does not involve offering ‘A’s, and we do not give grades or credit for work not completed.

    [My bold.]

    What’s the point in lying? If NYU did offer her an A, she should have taken it and shut the fuck up– no need to do the assignment after that, is there? On the other hand, lying about it just makes her look even worse than she already does.

  112. doktorzoom says

    She seems cut of the same cloth as the privileged frat boys who, when I was a grad assistant teaching first-year writing at the University of Arizona, would insist, “You need to give me a good grade–after all, my parents’ taxes are paying your salary!

  113. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Also, way to give yourself a Google problem, Ms Ackerman.

    Those emails are probably something that you don’t want a prospective employer to see.

  114. says

    Well, she definitely has a future of medication ahead of her.

    Oh, just shut the fuck up, already.

    I wonder if her mental illness would even show up if she had gone to a private Christian college that might see her paranoid behavior as acceptable?

    That would be unlikely given that she’s Jewish.

  115. glendenb says

    Reading these emails reminded me of my college and grad school days when I could watch people unravel over the course of a couple weeks due to the stress. It was usually someone who had always had an easy time of school – someone very bright but very narrowly focused. It was usually (not always) someone very conventional who regarded professors as near perfect sources of authority and learning and felt betrayed when they weren’t.

    They would realize their workload was huge and they’d feel overwhelmed and convince themselves they were going to fail and their brains would short circuit. And they’d dissolve over a few weeks, getting a bit nuttier every day until something would snap and they’d focus on one thing obsessively. From the outside it looked nutty but it was how they burnt their stress off. Once they got past the stress (finals, papers turned in), went on break, they’d come back and be fine. It’s not clinical its not having enough life experience to manage a high stress circumstnace.

  116. geekgirlsrule says

    First, we really need to quit equating “stupid, cruel and an asshole” with mental illness of any sort. There are plenty of stupid, mean assholes out there who aren’t crazy, and damn few of us are qualified to make the distinction.

    Second, students like this are why I ultimately decided finishing my Master’s and getting a PhD were not worth it. High schools are, for the most part, afraid of failing students because of parents threatening to sue and all that. A friend of mine’s mom had to threaten to sue the school district to get them TO fail her son because she didn’t want him graduating when he didn’t deserve to.

    Third: I prefer the terms “Drama Merchant” or “Drama Factory,” myself.

  117. NitricAcid says

    A friend of mine one attended a small Lutheran college in a “city” of 9000 people. Many of her friends were afraid to go “downtown” at night because they were scared of the “big city”.

    If you live in a city, you can go downtown. If you live in a town, do you go downvillage? Downhamlet?

  118. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    SC:

    She also goes into a bizarre little rant about Harvard allegedly “swapping” Larry Summers for Cornel West. Strange, wrong, and irrelevant.

    I thought it was some sort of threat.

    ——->>>>>On a side-note have you ever heard of that mega-university in Cambridge, Mass. called Harvard?

    Long story short, they had a few disputes between a tenured professor, and a big man on campus, and look what happened in the end:

    They swapped him:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers

    For him:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornel_West

    And got a PR nightmare—-does anyone see the parallels? Or do I have to continue to spell it out for you, as I have been for over 2 months?

    Apparently Sara sees herself as kind of a big deal. And she’s not afraid of threatening NYU professors and deans.

  119. says

    The amount of entitlement pouring off her writing is insane. Talk about an extreme reaction to not liking an assignment. As an undergrad I had to attend an A.A. meeting and write a paper on it. I felt uncomfortable going to a meeting (part because they were all in unfamiliar, more dicey areas and part because I don’t particularly agree with the 12-step model), so I just took an anthropology friend who was interested along with me. It didn’t even occur to me to try and get out of it or do an alternate assignment. Typically when a professor gives you an “in-field” assignment like that there is a good reason for it.

    And if I read one more paper which uses random websites as research sources, refuses to use spell check, plagiarizes and on a student’s disappointment with college because it’s not like in the movies, I may turn right into the biggest curmudgeon ever.

    As a TA I totally agree. Graded research papers for an undergrad psychology class and never wanted to rip my hair out more. One of my professors got a good laugh at me because he walked by the office I was in while I was ranting at the computer screen. Got some entitled kids in there too, trying to get the professor to change the grade I gave them. I’m sorry, but if I take the time to correct (in detail) the rough draft of your paper, explaining what you did wrong and why it is incorrect, then you turn in the exact same paper uncorrected for your final, you aren’t going to do well (especially when it was in writing in the syllabus and reiterated every class prior to turn in that uncorrected errors would count off double). /headdesk

  120. says

    RahXephon231: I agree, I think that’s part of it. One of the papers I submitted to get into social science grad school was on the creeping tendency of business terms, values and discourse to proscribe non-business areas (like education). The customer is right, according to the tag line of several major businesses. In education, the student CANNOT start out right. If they do, they gain nothing from the experience of college.

    And college is NOT for everyone. I used to think that was snobby of me to say, but the last five or so years of teaching have cured me of false egalitarianism. Some people only make the class worse, and never manage to learn. (Also, while I’m on that subject, some students threaten violence, threaten lawsuits, threaten to get me fired because I’m somehow disrespectful of their religion, threaten to report me because I’m being mean about plagiarism, threaten to report me because of the tattoos, etc.) If I didn’t give a shit, I don’t think most of this would bother me, but I do. I do give many shits, but no matter how many shits I give, I can’t reach those students. Honestly, it’s made reaching the students I can reach very difficult; the other ones tend to be so emotionally taxing that I’m just done before I get to the good ones.

    jacobfromlost: I have had students who watched movies instead of did the traditional work associated with high school, and students who managed to never write a paper, etc. This sets their expectations, along with the stuff you were talking about, and they don’t know why they should start now. It’s the most depressing thing, ever, to deal with. The most heartbreaking are students who are first in their family to go to college; they want to succeed, but they have to make up ALL the stuff they didn’t have before in that first semester, and tend to drop out, instead.

    I was training new editors at my second job yesterday and when they found out (2nd and 3rd year students) that they were going to have to add up time and pay to file timesheets, they were upset. After all, we hadn’t told them that they would have to add to edit a newspaper. And editing was too much work for them, they said. That differential between expectations of work keeps popping up. I try to cheer myself up by thinking that at least I won’t have too much competition in the job market.

  121. Tyrant of Skepsis says

    Uphamlet girl she’s been living in her uphamlet world
    I bet she never had a cow barn guy
    I bet her mama never told her why…

  122. says

    KJ: That’s why I’m refusing to assign papers this semester, just exams. I’ve been reading them for five years, and I cannot do it again. If I’m teaching a classroom full of seniors and I have to ask four times for students to use spell check (again), and I get creative writing, not a research paper (in a science class), I’ll die of liver failure before the end of the semester.

    I used to give meticulous feedback, spending twelve hours a week grading, and I can count on one hand the number of students out of about fifty who responded to that feedback without me threatening to keep failing them until they managed to get it right (and I did, which caused complaints.)

  123. kemist says

    I do not think she has any mental illness per se. At least, it’s impossible to tell just reading those rants. It most probably isn’t paranoia she is displaying, just great exageration.

    From the theatrical nature of her behavior however, she may have what is called ‘histrionic personality traits’.

  124. changeable moniker says

    SC: “to the east is Broadway and to the west 6th Ave”.

    FWIW, that freaked me out for a second or two.

    Apparently I only know Midtown. :)

  125. Algernon says

    This girl is delusional, and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I mean, where are her parents and do they know their daughter is having a breakdown? Yes, she is probably a spoiled brat and a rich kid. They go crazy too.

  126. says

    I thought it was some sort of threat.

    But it’s so strange. West, the tenured professor, left in like 2002. Summers, the president of the university, resigned (after a no-confidence vote) in 2006 and was replaced by Drew Gilpin Faust.

    What parallels is she talking about?

  127. Rey Fox says

    I am happy to discuss this issue further, with any **rational**, **humanistic**, **person** who can see past my privileged upbringing.

    Presumably, she won’t be talking to herself then.

  128. says

    For heaven’s sake, it’s not culture shock. The girl’s a senior at NYU. It doesn’t even have a campus. It surrounds Washington Square Park. The gay pride parade ends there; to the east is Broadway and to the west 6th Ave. It’s smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. There are protests there, in Union Square, in Thompson Square, and in every other park.

    other than the senior part (and I’m not convinced that it would have been impossible to insulate oneself for 3 years until forced to confront otherness), how is that an argument against culture shock, rather than for? Meaning, I don’t think the argument was that OWS was giving her culture shock.

    She is a ridiculously entitled kid who’s making claims about associate professors and tenure, spousal hires, the Constitution and numerous other subjects she knows zero about. She actually suggests the university president is “making himself scarce” because he wasn’t present for her unannounced visit, and threatens him with who she knows.

    I don’t think anyone disputed this?

    “They are icky, scary people and I’m not going to go near them” makes as much sense for an Ethnography student as “they are big, smelly scary animals and I’m not going in that pen” does for a vet student.

    yep. like I said in my first comment: I won’t deny her the right to be scared pissless, but it’s obvious she’s in the wrong field of study if strangers scare her like that.

    I have had students be scared when we went out in broad daylight, in the warm fall, on campus walking/cross-country trails that are within half a football field length of the dorms, simply because all they could see around them was trees.

    O.o

    NYU is a private institution.

    is it? For some reason I assumed it was public (I guess the comment about it being the 3rd most expensive university should have tipped me off :-p), hence I didn’t bother commenting on the 1st Amendment stuff

    If you live in a city, you can go downtown. If you live in a town, do you go downvillage? Downhamlet?

    main street. That’s usually the extent of a “downtown” in such small places, anyway :-p

    I thought it was some sort of threat.

    I thought it was a “no freedom of speech”, evil commies are punishing people who say things they don’t like, etc. (Summers is a neocon economist of “greater variance, therefore no sexism” fame; Cornel West is a black activist liberal academic). But a threat actually sounds likelier, in hindsight

  129. says

    FWIW, that freaked me out for a second or two.

    Apparently I only know Midtown. :)

    :) Broadway’s a killer. I live by the grid. Don’t even get me started on the West Village (where I’ll be this weekend – yay!).

  130. says

    Uh-oh, mouthyb, I’m teaching a new course this term and I’ve persuaded myself to go the other way: only papers and in-class presentations, and no exams. I’m hoping to avoid the grading meltdown by giving short, highly focused writing assignments.

  131. says

    I like drama llama. I don’t think it’s gender-based, and llamas are funny.

    Llama’s spit when they get upset or angry.

    Someone needs to check and see if Sara is spitting.

  132. Algernon says

    If she is so privileged, perhaps she should not be in a university and should spend some time volunteering for a nice clean charity that she likes and/or take up some hobbies that give her pleasure in life. If she is that privileged she should not need to worry, as work is not really an issue and she likely will be able to find a nice person to settle down with in a safe conventional life without ever needing a degree, which from what she writes seems like the kind of life that would agree with her.

    This is why I can’t even *quite* see this as a pure spoiled-brat issue. As unpleasant as she is, this seems a lot more like an intelligent young woman who has some kind of mental illness that she is deeply aware of and therefore enraged to find herself in contact with through doing something that is clearly triggering a complete breakdown. Then comes the desperate desire to control the fuck out of it all, which is probably why she can be so damned off her cracker and no one seems to have told her. Who knows what, manic phase, paranoid, no idea… but she seems about a degree short of GOATS ON FIRE to me.

  133. says

    The only thing I know about students and their writing skills is from the peer-review assignments from last semester’s “writing in the Social Sciences” class.

    It was tragic. Not only were their essays kind of… basic(I wasn’t stuck with anyone completely missing the point or not knowing how to use spellcheck, fortunately), they were whining because I used complex sentences(which they labeled run-on sentences) and “scholarly” words

  134. says

    other than the senior part (and I’m not convinced that it would have been impossible to insulate oneself for 3 years until forced to confront otherness), how is that an argument against culture shock, rather than for? Meaning, I don’t think the argument was that OWS was giving her culture shock.

    Oh – I might have misunderstood. I thought people were suggesting that she was from a rural or monolithically conservative area and shocked by the big city. If people were using “culture shock” to suggest that she had contact or the threat of contact with non-elites and felt afraid and dismayed, I agree. Of course, she’s in a sociologically-based course program in one of the most metropolitan universities in the world, so culture shock should be what she’s striving for (she should also be familiar with the concept from her introductory courses).

    is it? For some reason I assumed it was public (I guess the comment about it being the 3rd most expensive university should have tipped me off :-p)

    Yes. It’s logical to assume it’s public, but SUNY and CUNY are the public NY systems. NYU is private, like the University of Chicago.

  135. says

    If you can not use scholarly words among scholars…

    the argument of that student was that I was writing for a 300-level class, not a scholarly journal.

    The fact that this was a 300-level class that was supposed to teach us how to write for scholarly journals seems to have gone straight over his head.

  136. SallyStrange, FemBrain in a FemBadge (Bigger on the Inside!) says

    NYU is a private institution.

    is it? For some reason I assumed it was public

    It’s easy to mix up. There’s CUNY, the City University of New York, and SUNY, the State version thereof. Those are the public (terribly underfunded) schools.

  137. says

    PZ: Luck be with you, sir. I’ve not had good experiences.

    Jadehawk: Heh. I used to assign peer review assignments in part so that students could see how the class looks from my end. The really good students were always shocked. I thanked them for helping their fellow students (because sometimes they really tried to get the other students interested, only to be shrugged off for trying too hard).

    It was a little satisfying to see them also have that moment when they realized that their passion and commitment to learning was not universal. I’d like to hope that they were slightly more appreciative of good teachers afterward, not that they weren’t before.

  138. christophershelton says

    I have spent a lot of time at Zuccotti Park, and I would actually say that it is not unreasonable to feel a little worried for one’s safety. Without doing anyhing wrong you might get pepper sprayed, hit with a baton, or tackled by the NYPD. I have had viscious sexual and classist slurs hurled at me by the bankers walking by, and by the Brookfield Security guards. If you are sensitive to having your first amendment rights violated, in the real way (by agents of the govt. as opposed to by profs at your private institution), then it’s a scary place to be.
    If it’s civilians you are worried about, however, I personally find the area directly surrounding NYU (Washington Square Park and the west village) to be of greater concern. I’m sure simple crime statistics could back me up on that. If you are really more worried about the general public than the police, then Zuccotti is a pretty safe place to be. You are guaranteed to be in sight of at least a dozen law officers and a towering surveillance unit capturing everything that happens around the clock.

  139. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Algernon:

    This girl is delusional, and I don’t mean that in a condescending way. I mean, where are her parents and do they know their daughter is having a breakdown?

    Well, according to one of the emails that the dean sent to Sara, her mother was in at least one of their meetings. So yeah, mom knows there’s some sort of problem:

    Sara, this seems to be a continuation of the same matter about which I met with you and your mother a few weeks ago after the disruption in Professor Zaloom’s class. At that time I advised you that further disruptions would not be tolerated. The University has offered support through Wellness Services to assist you in dealing with the situation in a more productive manner, and I have advised you of the formal mechanism for filing a complaint. I truly hope you take advantage of these resources. Please understand, however, that if you engage in any further forms of disruptive or hostile behavior, you may be risking your standing as a student at the University.

    SC:

    But it’s so strange. West, the tenured professor, left in like 2002. Summers, the president of the university, resigned (after a no-confidence vote) in 2006 and was replaced by Drew Gilpin Faust.

    I was just focusing on what Sara wrote, not the situation she was referring to. My bad.

    I’m not really surprised that she’s totally confused about what happened at Harvard. This entire ordeal is just so freaking weird.

  140. says

    @Mouthyb: Smart move, though sad that has to be done. I thought the professor was a bit crazy to be giving a general psychology class of 80 a 7-10 page research paper (when these mostly-freshies had never had to write that much). Grading 40 of them made me question my sanity more than once =P Professor gave them a sheet labelled “Things NOT to do” before even rough drafts were due and I think some of them went out of their way to hit every single thing on that list. No in text citations, quotes without sources, improper formatting out the wazoo (is 12 point Times New Roman that bad a font that you want to use everything but that?) ::rams head into wall:: And I still want to be professor when I grow up, what’s wrong with me? =P

    Though I have to admit, I do prefer papers to exams as a student (especially in grad school where I have yet to see a multiple choice exam). Even though I study like mad and do well I never feel really prepared walking in to take the test. Though at times especially now as a grad kid I would kill for a multiple choice test. They seem so much easier after being pummeled by essay tests.

  141. David Marjanović says

    Lastly, I have over 1,000 friends on facebook, and if Professor Zaloom does not resign, or is not fired by 9 am tomorrow morning, I will publish every single email exchange we have had, on my facebook account.

    *chortle*
    *blurt*
    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Do you think that perhaps miss “75 seconds is torture” was probably not called on and spoken to slightly derisively because maybe she was one of those students (like myself) who answers every single question every single time and they want to give opportunity to other students to answer questions?

    I was thinking the same thing. In some classes, I’m one of those students

    I was one of those all the time till, very early in grade school, the teacher simply told me to give everyone else a chance. I very quickly became… well, sometimes a little bit too shy about raising my hand. :-]

    I have had students be scared when we went out in broad daylight, in the warm fall, on campus walking/cross-country trails that are within half a football field length of the dorms, simply because all they could see around them was trees.

    For crying out loud. Reminds me of the dwarf in OOTS who is convinced all trees are out to get everyone.

    Where did they come from? Flat prairie, and never seen more than two trees at once???

  142. Luc says

    So am I the only one more interested in the ethnographics of OWS than in some student I’ve never heard of (and never will hear of again)?

  143. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    or the city; in most city parks I’ve been in in the US, you can see at least one end at all times.

    Then again, my Wife’s roommate’s boyfriend once got lost in the forest on the campus. Of course, there were five trees and he was drunk, so . . . .

  144. says

    KJ: I don’t think undergrads get a lot of training reading for detail and content before college classes, to be honest.

  145. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Yeah, I’m sending this to my best friend, as she is considering going into teaching, probably at college level. Forewarned is forearmed and all that. And it reinforces my decision to not go into teaching myself.

  146. may2788 says

    When I was an undergrad I took an ethnography course to satisfy graduation requirement. My class was given a similar assignment, not specifically at OWS, but to find a similar social situation and do a cultural analysis. At the time, I was struggling through social anxiety which, while never formally diagnosed, had plagued me all of my life and had spiked as I transitioned to the campus environment. I spoke in private with my professor about this and my severe discomfort with such an assignment at the time. He was understanding, and modified the assignment for me so that I could find something that I was not so uncomfortable with. I eventually finished the assignment and made him aware of my appreciation.

    Sara sounds like a quite unpleasant person; anyone who uses threats to get what they want lends themselves to an understandable reproof of social disapproval. But consider this: Sara and I are equals here; we had essentially the same problem, significant and uncommon (amongst most students) fear and anxiety surrounding the situations we were assigned to immerse ourselves in. They both stem from an irrational sense of panic around groups of people; neither of us are “justified” in our discomfort, but we still feel it.

    I do not see any reason why Sara’s professor should not have responded like mine, and modified the assignment such that the great anxiety surrounding the assignment, which we both experienced, could be more easily dealt with. If the released emails are a true reflection of reality, then Sara attempted to go through the exact same channels to address her issue as I did, and where I was met with understanding she was shown apathy. From that point on, she becomes more and more unpleasant, but the reality is that at that time, her professor was well aware that, for whatever reason, Sara, much like myself, would have a lot harder of a time with this assignment than her fellow students.

    So I wonder why any instructor would not understand this and attempt to help ease the situation. Mine did, never inquiring as to specifically why those types of situation scared me so much. And I could not have answered him if I did, I had no ideas as to the origins if my irrational fears. It is reasonable to guess that Sara’s irrational fears come from the deluge of right-wing media that attempts to portray the Occupy sites as a modern day Sodom. The question that I wish to pose is, should it matter?

    I would be lying if I said that I have full and complete sympathy for Sara. She clearly wants the attention she is getting for all of this, and, if she can’t get her way, will do her best to publically humiliate her professor. For that, she deserves, I believe, a certain level of dismissal. But in our rightful backlash against her mild brand of terrorism, I see no acknowledgement of the true nature of the position she was put in from the beginning, the problem that no one cared she had. I understand that problem. I’ve lived that problem. It’s not fun. It is from then on that things got out of hand, but at the end of the day I have to wonder what how I would have felt if I had had Professor Caitlin Zaloom instead of someone who saw my predicament and was willing to help. Who knows, maybe then I would have been a “Student from Hell.”

  147. says

    But consider this: Sara and I are equals here; we had essentially the same problem, significant and uncommon (amongst most students) fear and anxiety surrounding the situations we were assigned to immerse ourselves in. They both stem from an irrational sense of panic around groups of people; neither of us are “justified” in our discomfort, but we still feel it.

    No. That’s not essentially the same problem. I had essentially your problem. She doesn’t. Hers is not a general shyness but a very specific political bigotry. She is not shy. She is an entitled bigot.

  148. Algernon says

    To be honest the professor has no obligation to modify anything unless she goes through the office of disability services. Also, while it is painfully obvious that this person has a mental disorder of some type, she never told the professor that or anything like it.

    The prof ins’t a mental health professor and can’t go diagnosing people and tailoring their class to it.

    Also, if I knew that as a student I would have raised holy hell. Why should I have to bust my ass and put myself at risk, pushing through things that may terrify me, just because I am too shy to confront a prof about it!?

  149. RFW says

    On one of the English online newspaper sites, there was an article about employers’ dissatisfaction with the current crop of university graduates. They simply don’t understand the concept of working for pay. The article mentioned one gal who was useless in the job she was hired for, didn’t do a lick of work, was fired, and retorted “You can’t fire me. I have a degree.”

    Exact same mindset, I’d say.

  150. says

    Random things from the e-mails I can’t figure out:

    *I have all of these emails printed out. I have also forwarded them to every member of my family, friends that I trust, and other ‘people’.

    “people”? what the fuck are “people”?

    Not only did Professor Zaloom refuse to give me an alternative, but she also threatened to give me an F on the assignment

    I’m… not entirely sure what’s going on in this sentence. How can this be a “not only… but also…” kind of sentence, when being given an F on an incomplete assignment is a logica consequence of not completeing an assignment? Is she whining because she won’t be getting partial credit, or what?

    The fact that Professor Zaloom thought it was appropriate to send students between the ages of 19-23 to a dangerous site is in and of itself, a horrifying thought

    19-23, while young, is entirely adult. I don’t understand what she’s implying there. I lived in a foreign country by myself(-ish) for a year at 17, and 19-23 happens to be the age of a lot of soldiers the US has shipped off to much more dangerous places to fight their wars (also approximately the age people do their gap year travel as well as join Peacecorps). Whence the conviction that it’s wrong to send people to face real-world scenarios at that age?

    He’s even on Wikipedia! This guy must be kind of a big deal…

    The internet. It does not work that way…

    I don’t know why telling the truth is now being interpreted as a threat.

    because if it weren’t the truth it wouldn’t be threatening…? I don’t understand what she imagines the word “threat” means.

    I have evidence that the university did not protect me when a professor indirectly threatened my safety

    wut. I really want to know what she thinks the word “threat” means.

  151. kemist says

    Who knows what, manic phase, paranoid, no idea… but she seems about a degree short of GOATS ON FIRE to me.

    People with histrionic personality traits frequently exagerate or blatantly lie in their plea for attention, and are extremely theatrical. It does not mean they actually believe their own words, or have lost contact with reality. It’s simply how they function in their relationships with other people to obtain what they desire, from insurance money to getting a spouse not to leave them.

    Personality traits are not mental illness diagnosis per se, but they can have an impact on the treatment of an eventual mental illness, or predispose one to certain mental problems in stressful situations.

  152. anbheal says

    Yes, SC,OM!

    There are so may dog-whistle references in both these particular letters of hers, as well as her older posts, that Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich know as well as the back of their Willie Hortons.

    (courtesy of the comments at:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/12/ron-pauls-shaggy-defense/250256/)

    “Occam’s Racist: The notion that when confronted with multiple competing hypotheses for why a person published dozens of overtly racist newsletters over several years, the simplest and best explanation is that they are actually a racist.”

    Same principle applies here — it could be all manner of neurological maladies, or professorial insouciance, or administrative neglect, or small-town heebie-jeebies, or some genuine unpleasantness from a few OWS outliers…..but it walks and quacks like an ideologically strident bigot from a gated community.

  153. says

    Also, while it is painfully obvious that this person has a mental disorder of some type, she never told the professor that or anything like it.

    she’s in fact quite adamant about not having any mental health issues whatsoever.

  154. Moggie says

    Her fear could be genuine, depending on what she has experienced in the past. That’s the one part of the story where I can sympathise, if she’s on the level about that. But I must admit that the rest of her writing gives me a nasty little suspicion that this claim to be afraid is something she thought of after she realised that it would play better than her ideological objections to OWS or her aversion to work. If you’re afraid, why harm your case by flinging all that other poo? Why freak out about the referral to “Wellness Services”, who could both help with coping strategies, and let the college know that you really are suffering?

    Still, at this point we don’t have the full story, and the timeline isn’t clear (to me). If more emerges, I suppose it’s possible that things will look better for Ackerman, though frankly I doubt it. And if nothing else, I believe she should be expelled for crimes against punctuation.

    Protip: when threatening someone with blackmail, conventional wisdom suggests that you should do so privately. Also, boasting that you’re totes going to have an op-ed published because of your family connections in the media doesn’t look good for either you or those family friends. You’re supposed to be able to go to print because of the thundering injustice you’ve been subject to, not because daddy had a quiet word.

  155. says

    Whether or not she has schizophrenia is meaningless, she is just as blameless either way. If you were her and had her brain and experiences, you would do the same thing.

    Yes if I was her I’d be her. Thank you that contributed a lot.

    Oh – I might have misunderstood. I thought people were suggesting that she was from a rural or monolithically conservative area and shocked by the big city. If people were using “culture shock” to suggest that she had contact or the threat of contact with non-elites and felt afraid and dismayed, I agree. Of course, she’s in a sociologically-based course program in one of the most metropolitan universities in the world, so culture shock should be what she’s striving for (she should also be familiar with the concept from her introductory courses).

    Nope. I was saying she’s so insulated from other opinions forcing to face their existence is causing stress.

    —————————————————

  156. says

    THIS is what happens when you treat your child like she’s a “special snowflake”, give in to every demand and tantrum, take care of all their problems with teachers and other children (without addressing the underlying issues with your own child), and never, never discipline the little fuck-trophy.

    THIS is our future, folks.

  157. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Jadehawk:

    she’s in fact quite adamant about not having any mental health issues whatsoever.

    But she’s also a liar. She claimed the university offered her an A in the course if she shut up.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see a well respected school doing that to silence a student who hasn’t, you know, actually suffered any sort of injustice.

  158. Moggie says

    WMDKitty:

    THIS is our future, folks.

    Well yeah, maybe. But I’ve been hearing that complaint from lecturers since I was at– sorry, since immediately after I was at university, and I’m now an old fart. We muddle on. Also, wouldn’t OWS claim that they are our future?

  159. says

    Nope. I was saying she’s so insulated from other opinions forcing to face their existence is causing stress.

    That’s stretching “culture shock” beyond usefulness. It’s also, again (my earlier point), impossible in this case. As a senior at NYU, she has not been insulated from those opinions. She just detests them, and is disgusted by these protesters, because she’s a right-wing ideologue.

  160. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    PZ:

    I’m teaching a new course this term and I’ve persuaded myself to go the other way: only papers and in-class presentations, and no exams. I’m hoping to avoid the grading meltdown by giving short, highly focused writing assignments.

    Sarah Lawrence College, where I went, prides itself on requiring papers rather than taking tests (essentially a mini thesis for every course). I think it’s brilliant in forcing kids to learn how to think and to write, and it’s often a better way to expose how much or how little the student has actually absorbed and engaged with the course material. I’m not sure how well that would work for hard science courses, though. For my intro genetics class we did have a standard exam with multiple choice and short-essay questions; there wouldn’t have been any other way for the prof to gauge how broadly we learned the quantifiable material.

    I made a complete ass out of myself in that class (though I did get an A). Prof wrote the word ‘discrete’ on the board to describe two separate events. I “corrected” him—yeah, right out in class—on his spelling, noting that the word was spelled “discreet.” He then corrected me, noting that my vocabulary was homonym-deficient.

  161. David Marjanović says

    I think this post is Exhibit A demonstrating the conclusion of that study from a while ago, that conservatives really are more fearful, paranoid, and xenophobic than everyone else.

    Well, duh. Conservativism is the fear of change.

    I once caught a student cheating on an exam. His response ” you can’t give me zero note exam cause I didn’t cheat on every question.”

    I explained to him my two rules for cheating.
    1. Don’t get caught.
    2. Don’t cheat from your friends because they are not as smart as you hope they are.

    He didn’t understand.

    Well, you didn’t explain why you gave him 0.

    You gave him 0 because you couldn’t know which questions he had cheated on.

    the students in my district were not required to pass any classes in middle school

    *headdesk*

    That’s it. You can close America, turn the lights off, and go home.

    High schools are, for the most part, afraid of failing students because of parents threatening to sue and all that.

    What I just said.

  162. says

    @SC

    You can still largely insulate yourself from the opinions of others even if you have to interact with them. I think her world view is so sheltered and unchallenged that she perceives any other as a threat. Before this she has dealt with it by avoiding it and retreating into elitism or denial.

  163. says

    “First, we really need to quit equating “stupid, cruel and an asshole” with mental illness of any sort.”

    Honestly, I’m starting to think it needs a DSM entry, ‘cuz a lot of people take being a “stupid cruel asshole” to pathological levels.

    On the other hand, yeah… it’s not really helping the existing stigmas against mental illness.

    On the third hand, this person clearly has some mental issues. Hyperfocused on a possibly-only-perceived slight, finding “creative” ways to avoid blame, going all ranty about it, making grandiose claims (i.e. her claim of “connections” to major publications), threats to “out” and/or “ruin” the person/people/organization that– you know what? THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF MANIPULATIVE SHIT MY EX WOULD PULL.

  164. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Ing:

    Sane people lie…blatantly and pathetically.

    Oh, no doubt. I’m not saying that Sara is mentally ill (nor do I think it’s my place to armchair diagnose), what I’m saying is that we can’t trust a good goddamn thing that she says.

  165. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    never, never discipline the little fuck-trophy.

    Oh my god. . . ‘fuck trophy.’ I heart you so fucking hard.

  166. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    I read through (most of*) the emails, but I’m still confused on one point. Did she ever say why she didn’t complete the alternate assignment?

    *There’s only so much format abuse I can hack.

  167. anbheal says

    I appreciate the comments about genuine fear. But this fails the sniff-test. I have aunts and provincial friends who avoid cities like the plague — that’s where those….OTHERS (insert epithet here) live. I have suburban friends whose shoulders stiffen every single time a black man passes. Every single time. When they actually come in for a concert or a ballgame, they pay a fortune for a mid-town hotel and prefer its piano bar to any of the city’s actual neighborhoods. None would ever DREAM of attending NYU.

    And I have several friends with acute phobias. Crowds, germs, strangers, the outside, the novel (not, in this instance, Moby Dick). I detect nary a whiff of that in her “fears”. The homeless? Radicals? CRAAAAAZIES? After three years in New York??? I think the commenter way up top had it bang-on: she doesn’t care to mingle with those oflesser socioeconomic status, and she believes that their staus is a political punishment for them being bad people unlike those of the correct socioeconomic status and correct political principles, who deserve it all.

    Her only fear is of New York not being as sophisticated and fun as she thought, with lots of handsome, chiseled-features,light-skinned black men with British accents and swanky clothes, and two officially gay friends. It’s like her Mom made her volunteer at a soup kitchen, and some of the guys were, like, sooooo grody! But her Mom would have let her complain her way out of the commitment. Bad Professor Mommy wouldn’t.

    The tone doesn’t smell of irrational phobias. It smells rotten.

  168. says

    Sarah Lawrence College, where I went, prides itself on requiring papers rather than taking tests (essentially a mini thesis for every course). I think it’s brilliant in forcing kids to learn how to think and to write, and it’s often a better way to expose how much or how little the student has actually absorbed and engaged with the course material.

    Worked beautifully for you. :)

    ***

    You can still largely insulate yourself from the opinions of others even if you have to interact with them. I think her world view is so sheltered and unchallenged that she perceives any other as a threat. Before this she has dealt with it by avoiding it and retreating into elitism or denial.

    Culture shock isn’t about your world view but about you. In this circumstance, she cannot have been so sheltered. She could have done the ethnography and retreated in the way you’re talking about. Don’t dilute useful concepts.

    ***

    Well, duh. Conservativism is the fear of change.

    It isn’t! I’m writing a new post about it, centered around The Reactionary Mind.

  169. says

    Moggie:

    Her fear could be genuine, depending on what she has experienced in the past.

    Yeah… but I can’t help thinking that if an otherwise untroubling student had gone to her professor and said, “this assignment is a trigger for me, because of [some specific trauma] in my past,” we’d be hearing a very different story. Or more likely, we wouldn’t be hearing the story at all, because it would’ve been dealt with sympathetically, and never become a big frappin’ deal.

    Nope, my money’s on some combination of privilege/entitlement, Occam’s Racist (per #194), and an undiagnosed[1] mental illness.

    ***
    [1] And, it must be reiterated, undiagnosable by distant strangers on teh intertooooooooobz. </Frist>

  170. David Marjanović says

    “You can’t fire me. I have a degree.”

    what

    i am 12 and what is this

    He’s even on Wikipedia! This guy must be kind of a big deal…

    N00b.

    Her fear could be genuine, depending on what she has experienced in the past.

    Or not experienced but “learned” from Faux Noise. My impression is she believes in all seriousness that OWS is chock full of robbers, rapists, cannibals and who knows what else.

  171. Moggie says

    Audley:

    I read through (most of*) the emails, but I’m still confused on one point. Did she ever say why she didn’t complete the alternate assignment?

    I think her arm was tired?

  172. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Worked beautifully for you. :)

    Aww, you’re sweet. :) In all seriousness, though, it only works for a pre-selected student population. We can be sure the admissions office takes into account when reviewing applications whether a student is the right fit for a writing-intensive curriculum. Facility with language—and with using it to effectively communicate one’s frame of mind and scope of understanding—is not a skill everyone has, and it can’t be developed in every person.

    Other students will be bright and highly skilled in other areas but would be poorly served by a Sarah Lawrence-style approach to pedagogy. I have a huge beef with the near-universal idea (or lip-service to the idea) that all students are “college material,” if we define college as “hard-core academia.” Students who would thrive and enjoy a more practical education in a trade are short-changed by this. It’s all bound up with the unstated classist assumptions that trade skills are. . . you know, for those lower people.

  173. kemist says

    Honestly, I’m starting to think it needs a DSM entry, ‘cuz a lot of people take being a “stupid cruel asshole” to pathological levels.

    Actually, it sorts of already have it – in Axis II, Personality

    You can find all kinds of personality descriptions in there, including several types of assholes.

    There are five axes in the DSM V diagnosis system, with Axis I being the actual mental illness diagnosis. Axes II to IV are the factors which might contribute to the diagnosis. Axis V is an evaluation of the functionning level of the patient on a 100 scale.

  174. says

    Well yeah, maybe. But I’ve been hearing that complaint from lecturers since I was at– sorry, since immediately after I was at university, and I’m now an old fart.

    As someone who was born at the tail end of the baby boom, I heard a lot of apocalyptic pronouncements regarding my generation’s fitness to keep the world running. We didn’t know how to work for a living, we didn’t understand that the world was hard, we didn’t understand that sometimes you have to fight for your freedom, etc.; we just wanted to suck drugs and love each other. Of course, our hair was atrocious and our music just noise.
    So I tend not to get alarmed about the waywardness of youth. Actually, this sounds like the sort clueless, privileged bullshitter that every generation produces.
    But I did have an experience a few years ago where I was supervising a kid (born about 1986) in a production facility; in the span of three weeks he 1)fell off a ladder, which 2)loosed an infection in his arm, requiring meds which he 3)offered me some of, and then he 4)went camping with his parents because they didn’t want to leave him home alone, and he 5)got horribly sunburned. Back at work for about an hour, he 6)went outside and sat in the sun in a black shirt and no hat in 100 degree weather, which caused him to have dizzy spells. I sent him home, and when he returned (after missing three days) he 7) told me all about how he got “shitfaced” that weekend on some hard liquor or other.
    I can’t say he’s typical of his generation; I knew others who required much less maintenance. But he seemed to have no sense that the world was ever dangerous, and I had to wonder if that’s what happens when you don’t let them play dodgeball.

  175. Moggie says

    David:

    Or not experienced but “learned” from Faux Noise. My impression is she believes in all seriousness that OWS is chock full of robbers, rapists, cannibals and who knows what else.

    You make it sound like the Group W bench.

  176. carlie says

    “You need to give me a good grade–after all, my parents’ taxes are paying your salary!“

    To which the appropriate response is: “And my taxes are subsidizing your cheap tuition, so I expect you to work for it.” Tuition at public schools still doesn’t cover what it actually costs.

    Where did they come from? Flat prairie, and never seen more than two trees at once???

    Hey, I resemble that remark! They’re from the concrete jungle, where the trees are in little cages in holes in the sidewalk.

    I do not see any reason why Sara’s professor should not have responded like mine, and modified the assignment such that the great anxiety surrounding the assignment, which we both experienced, could be more easily dealt with.

    Because she didn’t approach it the way you did. And as was mentioned, if she doesn’t have a problem documented by disability services, the professor doesn’t have to do fuck-all to modify the assignment. Heck, even if she does, accommodation is still mostly voluntary for things like that. But mainly because she was an asshole about demanding it in the first place.

    I’m teaching a new course this term and I’ve persuaded myself to go the other way: only papers and in-class presentations, and no exams. I’m hoping to avoid the grading meltdown by giving short, highly focused writing assignments.

    I tried that once.

    Once.

    Good luck.

  177. says

    WMDKitty (@198):

    Oh, puh-LEEEEZE let us not turn this into a “spare the rod and spoil the child” story about so-called permissive parenting[1]. I don’t know much about anything, but I’m pretty sure the problem with “kids these days” is NOT that their lives are too easy.

    It’s anecdotal, of course, but… each generation of my family’s parenting was increasingly more “permissive”: My father was spanked, yelled at, held to formal sir/ma’am “seen but not heard” ideas about children, and sent away to military school as discipline; I was “merely” spanked and yelled at; my daughter felt nary a single hand or belt, and rarely heard a raised voice. And each of those generations has also been increasingly better behaved: My father, for all his charms, was a frequently mean bastard given to rage; I myself have, by now (at 51), mostly gotten over my youthful tendency to anger, and am learning every day to be more empathetic; and my daughter, who will graduate from Yale in a few months, is as respectful and humane a person as I’ve had the good fortune to know.

    To the extent that “kids these days” don’t live in fear of parental discipline the way their predecessors sometimes have, I hold that to be A Very Good Thing™. I very much doubt that, whatever is wrong with our Sara, it can be traced to insufficient scolding.

    ***
    [1] And if that’s not what you meant, please forgive me.

  178. shouldbeworking says

    @220, Josh. I think you are right, not everyone is college material. I teach high school physics and some of my students are not suitable for university but some of do quite well in technical schools.

    Hell, one my students came back a couple of year’s after graduating from technical school and showed me his pay cheque. With overtime he was making more money than me and he was loving the work. Mind you, this was back during the last oil boom.

  179. says

    @SC

    I may be empathizing but I’m not sympathizing with her. I can sort of get into a mindset where I can understand her reaction but still things she is deserving the google problem she’s bringing on herself.

  180. jacobfromlost says

    mouthyb: I used to give meticulous feedback, spending twelve hours a week grading,

    Me: Been there. What I usually ended up doing is meticulously editing papers the first few months of the year, and if the writing didn’t change, I would simply switch to simply circling everything that was wrong. If a word was misspelled, I circled the problem letters (or, with very serious problems, the whole word). If a comma was needed, or a period, I just circled the spot where it was supposed to go. Still, that was a lot of circling.

    Sometimes I would get questions about what I was circling. I would just tell them that something goes there that is not there, or something is wrong with it.

    One good thing about meticulously correcting all student papers (that’s what I did–I corrected EVERYTHING myself, as allowing them to correct their neighbor’s paper resulted in everyone getting an “A” with virtually nothing correct) was that you get a very good intuitive feel for what each student knows, how they write, how they think, and where I can focus for their progress. …and you can instantly recognize plagiarism, or general cheating, when the kid who never uses commas suddenly uses them correctly.

  181. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I very much doubt that, whatever is wrong with our Sara, it can be traced to insufficient scolding.

    Bill, I think you’re reading your own experience into this too much. There’s a difference between excessive discipline/scolding/abuse and refusing to set firm limits for kids. They need those. And yes, every generation thinks the one that comes after it is too permissive, granted.

    But—and say what you will—it does seem too many children the age of your kids are catered to, coddled, and self-esteemed up far more than is good for them. The sense of entitlement, the expectation of getting grades as product-for-parental-payment-rendered is far too prevalent. Cranky old codgers aren’t making that up. Anyone in higher education who’s honest can see it, and they don’t like it. I don’t think you do, either.

  182. Azkyroth says

    It was tragic. Not only were their essays kind of… basic(I wasn’t stuck with anyone completely missing the point or not knowing how to use spellcheck, fortunately), they were whining because I used complex sentences(which they labeled run-on sentences) and “scholarly” words

    Yes. Labeling a correctly used semicolon in a sentence that happens to be long as a “run-on” ought to be at least a lowest-grade felony.

  183. says

    jacobfromlost: Oh yeah, it’s not hard to figure out when a student is plagiarizing, especially when I’ve been reading them so closely.

  184. says

    On grading papers vs. exams: At least in the sciences, there’s a choice. In the liberal arts, it often boils down to a choice between grading essays and grading examshastily (hand)written essays, in a fraction of the time. ;^)

    ***
    Josh:

    I have a huge beef with the near-universal idea (or lip-service to the idea) that all students are “college material,” if we define college as “hard-core academia.” Students who would thrive and enjoy a more practical education in a trade are short-changed by this.

    [OT, so I won't belabor it beyond commenting that...] I feel this way about college sports, too: People whose vocation is clearly athletics are forced to pretend to have academic aspirations, and then demonized if the don’t (or can’t) pretend well enough. I’ve often thought that universities ought to have trade-school-equivalent programs (Certificate in Lifetime Sports, perhaps) for their athletes, as an alternative to full undergraduate enrollment.

    There’s also the stench of classism you mention (not to mention racism) in college sports, but that’s potentially a whole ‘nother thread.

  185. Azkyroth says

    So I wonder why any instructor would not understand this and attempt to help ease the situation. Mine did, never inquiring as to specifically why those types of situation scared me so much. And I could not have answered him if I did, I had no ideas as to the origins if my irrational fears. It is reasonable to guess that Sara’s irrational fears come from the deluge of right-wing media that attempts to portray the Occupy sites as a modern day Sodom. The question that I wish to pose is, should it matter?

    Oh for fuck’s sake. Classism, racism, and right-wing authoritarianism are not disabilities to be accommodated.

    What the hell?

  186. Azkyroth says

    On the third hand, this person clearly has some mental issues. Hyperfocused on a possibly-only-perceived slight, finding “creative” ways to avoid blame, going all ranty about it, making grandiose claims (i.e. her claim of “connections” to major publications), threats to “out” and/or “ruin” the person/people/organization that– you know what? THIS IS EXACTLY THE KIND OF MANIPULATIVE SHIT MY EX WOULD PULL.

    Yeah, I would say Sara’s behavior is highly consistent with at least one additional personality disorder beyond Right-Wing Authoritarian.

  187. Azkyroth says

    I’m writing a new post about it, centered around The Reactionary Mind.

    Will you be following up on a post about the male uterus? *rimshot*

  188. jacobfromlost says

    Bill: On grading papers vs. exams: At least in the sciences, there’s a choice. In the liberal arts, it often boils down to a choice between grading essays and grading examshastily (hand)written essays, in a fraction of the time. ;^)

    Me: True. I mitigated this somewhat with multiple choice, which can be effective assessments if written well. Unfortunately I always felt compelled to write many dozens of questions, and then made a second version by simply putting the first page last on version 2. Then I would stagger the tests so that no one could look at their neighbor’s paper and figure out what the answer was, especially since I floated the idea that there were “several” versions, lol. Two counts as several, right?

  189. says

    Josh:

    Bill, I think you’re reading your own experience into this too much.

    Almost certainly true, I admit. But it’s not just my experience with my own family. My “problem” is…

    it does seem too many children the age of your kids are catered to, coddled, and self-esteemed up far more than is good for them.

    …I don’t seem to meet any of these coddled, spoiled kids. It’s been decades (i.e., a whole generation) since I was in a classroom, and the kids my daughter’s age I meet are mostly her friends… who continually shock me with how well-behaved, respectful, and socially conscious they are.

    Of course, that’s not a representative sample: She’s been in gifted programs and honors classes since nursery school, and all her most recent friends are Yalies (a hotbed of potential privilege, to be sure, but definitely not for the undisciplined or falsely self-congratulatory).

    Still, my limited, unscientific experience is that the most disciplined, humane young people I meet correlate to the most humane, nonpunitive parents.

    Now, I know that “nonpunitive” is not the same as “permissive,” but it seems to me that the people who make permissive parenting a cause celebre are often conflating the two. I could barely read WMDKitty’s comment without hearing Rush Limbaugh’s voice (except that the “nanny state” wouldn’t let him say fuck trophies on the radio). (BTW, it was mindfulness that I might be confusing tone for intent that prompted me to include the prospective apology as a footnote.)

  190. carlie says

    Bill – you would be absolutely shocked at the kind of things some parents try to pull for their college-aged children. Shocked, I say.

  191. says

    Will you be following up on a post about the male uterus? *rimshot*

    Uh, no. Because that’s a book, which offers a more sophisticated argument about the meaning of “reactionary” and “conservative,” but thanks for asking.

    :)

  192. Brownian says

    It is reasonable to guess that Sara’s irrational fears come from the deluge of right-wing media that attempts to portray the Occupy sites as a modern day Sodom. The question that I wish to pose is, should it matter?

    QFT. I mean, if someone’s beliefs are erroneous and founded on propaganda, it’s hardly the place of university classes to interfere with that.

    Learning can be a process by which new information is gained and assimilated, but there’s no reason it has to be.

    In related news, I’m starting up my own university offering a unique program specialisation called “Whatever You Already Think”. (You can obtain a BWyat, an MWyat, as well as doctorates.) Be warned though: the course load is pretty heavy. Students are expected to obtain 60% or above in You Have an Opinion? That’s So Great! Here’s a Cookie 100; Your Mom And Dad Are Totally Right, Despite Their Lack of Training and Education 200; You Believe The Stereotypes And That Makes You Unique And Brave 300; and Special Project 400 (includes a final thesis of not less than 10,000 randomly-banged characters.)

    So, if you think you’ve got what it takes then apply, because by definition you do!

    That’ll be $160,000 please.

  193. jayarrrr says

    “And on top of everything else, Professor Zaloom LAUGHED at my TIARA!!”…

    I can’t figure out if the dear child is indeed in need of professional help, or if she’s just a stuck-up little WASP princess.

  194. says

    Carlie:

    I’m sure I’d be surprised by the details, but I wouldn’t be shocked by parental hyper-advocacy. I lived for a year in Korea, where parents willwould[1] impoverish themselves and/or risk prison to get their kids into one of the national universities!

    ***
    SC:

    Uh, no. Because that’s a book, which offers a more sophisticated argument about the meaning of “reactionary” and “conservative,”

    If I’m reading your link right, the thesis is that “conservatism” isn’t really about conserving anything, but about reacting to the loss (real or perceived) of social power. Is that on the right track? Sounds fascinating; I’ll have to see if there’s an audio edition.

    ***
    [1] It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that it’s been more than a quarter century since that year; it’s probably all different there now. Don’t it suck getting old?

  195. says

    Bill Dauphin (@227)

    Oh, no, no, you’re misreading me — when I say “discipline”, I mean reasonable consequences for behavior, such as losing a toy or a set amount of TV time, losing a privilege, time-out, you know, NON-VIOLENT discipline techniques.

    The problem I’m talking about is that a lot of kids really are allowed to run wild. Bratleigh runs through and completely WRECKS the toy aisle? “Oh, he’s just a KID, and he has a lot of energy!” Bratleigh climbs up a dangerously unstable retail display, after three warnings from the retail slaves, and gets hurt when the display collapses? “Hey, PEON, WHY weren’t you WATCHING my KID?!” Bratleigh screams and carries on for half an hour in the middle of a really fancy restaurant, disturbing the other patrons? “He’s just EXPRESSING HIMSELF! Telling him that screaming isn’t appropriate would just CRUSH his SPIRITS!” Fails a class? “Well, the teacher just has it in for him.” Bullies other kids? “Oh, but [victim] provoked my Preshuss Cznoweflaykke!”

    This pretty much ends in a kid like Sara, who expects the freakin’ WORLD to cater to HER, and GOD FORBID she ever be uncomfortable or told “NO.”

    Josh (#233)

    Exactly! I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard something along the lines of “Please don’t hit mommy,” delivered in a flat, tired tone!

    My parents used time-outs and loss of privileges/toys/TV time, with grounding for more serious offenses — I turned out (mostly) okay. (I have issues, yes, but I don’t think my parents had much of an influence over my life-long mental health issues.)

    Bill Dauphin, again (#241)

    If you “haven’t seen” these problems, you must be living under a rock. I can’t go to the store for one thing without hearing some brat whining about “I want this” or screaming about I don’t know what, because I can’t understand toddler-scream, and parents who, again, do nothing to correct the behavior beyond a bored-sounding, “please don’t scream.” The problem is that a lot of what people pass off as “just being a kid”, is stuff that can and should be nipped in the bud right away — like SCREAMING for no damn reason.

    I’m cool with humane parenting, but… non-punitive? How do you correct a child’s behavior if there aren’t any consequences for the misbehavior?

    BTW, dude… comparing me to Rush Limbaugh? I’ll have you know I loathe that fat fuckknuckle, and disagree on principle with every word that comes out of his mouth.

  196. says

    Brownian: + 1 internet

    Nah, no better than +0.9 internet: He loses 0.1 internet for underpricing his product at a mere $160,000. It oughta’ be at least $240,000 for 4 years, including room and cupcakes.

    ;^)

  197. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    I wanna know how long Brownian’s line is for banging 10,000 random characters.

  198. shouldbeworking says

    I tried to make my intro high school physics course based mainly on lab investigations. Some student complained that the labs didn’t belong in the course and another complained that I marked them too hard because a lab write up was supposed to be an easy source of marks.

    I had a student like Sara once. She complained that the physics exams were too hard and didn’t match the provincial Education Department’s curriculum. I had a meeting with mom, dad and the principal. I came with the exams and the curriculum, every single question the girl griped about was from the curriculum. The parents never took physics, but left the meeting still convinced I was doing it wrong.

    I will now follow the tried(?) and true (in some corner of the multiverse perhaps) pedagogically sound Brownian method. Then maybe I can reduce the 1819 school days until retirement…

  199. says

    Bill Dauphin: Ahh, good point. The same group of students and families which would think that was a good idea would expect to pay a ridiculous sum (and think they were getting what they paid for.) I don’t think we should deduct him a .1 internet, but when I start a competing school, I’ll be sure to price mine and twice as much and reject 2/3 of the applicants.

  200. carlie says

    I can’t go to the store for one thing without hearing some brat whining about “I want this” or screaming about I don’t know what, because I can’t understand toddler-scream, and parents who, again, do nothing to correct the behavior beyond a bored-sounding, “please don’t scream.” The problem is that a lot of what people pass off as “just being a kid”, is stuff that can and should be nipped in the bud right away — like SCREAMING for no damn reason.

    I’m going to have to butt in here, because although I don’t like non-parenting, you have no fucking idea what might be going on. My kid was one of those. Screamed for what appeared to be no damn reason, and wouldn’t stop. Sometimes for a couple of hours. Tantrums that seemed to be completely random, usually in the most embarrassing places possible. The only thing I could do to calm him down was to appease him, redirect him, do anything, anything but to yell and punish him for it, because that would make the tantrums twice as bad and last four times as long. My mother told me over and over how I was spoiling him.

    A few years later we found out that he was autistic. And that all of the things I had done to try and calm and redirect him were exactly what we were supposed to do, because no amount of yelling or punishing or anything else disciplinary would fix what were actually sensory overload/sudden routine change meltdowns. (take that, mom!) What did work was planning every outing around his schedule, taking advantage of the times of the day that were upswings, giving him a precise schedule and sticking to it and giving lots of warnings ahead of time for each transition and never changing the schedule if we could at all help it after it was set, and it took a few years to get all of that worked out.

    So don’t be such a judgmental ass, ok?

  201. says

    WMDKitty:

    Oh, no, no, you’re misreading me…

    OK, ’nuff said. I anticipated that I might be, from the beginning; you already have my apology. There is, however, no shortage of other people who really mean what I only thought you meant; consider my comments transferred to them.

    If you “haven’t seen” these problems, you must be living under a rock.

    Actually, I live in New England, and no, I really haven’t noticed any epidemic of ill-behaved bratschildren in stores (which is, it seems to me, a distinct problem from coddled, self-important, entitled young adults showing up in college classrooms… but I digress). Very small children — babies and toddlers — will, of course, sometimes throw tantrums, but… ’twas ever thus, eh? The public behavior of the older kids I meet strikes me as mostly unobjectionable, and certainly no worse than it was, say, 10 years ago when I lived in FL, or 20+ years ago when I lived in upstate NY.

    I don’t know whether to apologize for my cluelessness or just be grateful for my good fortune!

    BTW, dude… comparing me to Rush Limbaugh?

    Not you, dude (or dudette, as the case may be); your verbal style. Here again, I acknowledged in advance that it might be a misperception. But try this experiment: Read #198 aloud, and see if you don’t think it sounds like something you might hear on talk radio.

  202. says

    @carlie — I wasn’t talking about autistic kids. I’m talking about neurotypical kids whose parents just. don’t. parent.

  203. says

    Bill Dauphin — Eh, that’s just my writing style. Influenced heavily by George Carlin, and I do tend towards rant-y posts at times. So, yeah, I do come across as “cranky old white dude” (even though I’m a cranky young white woman).

    Part of my issue with letting kids just run free in public is, well, too many kids see a wheelchair and think “toy”. Or they just run up and touch. Plus, they ARE small and fast-moving, highly unpredictable, and I can’t exactly stop on a dime. I don’t wanna be yelled at for “running over” someone’s Precious Snowflake when said Snowflake ran into ME.

  204. carlie says

    WMDKitty – I know, but my point is that you can’t tell the difference when you look at them in the store. They don’t look any different than any other kids. (And there are a host of other issues besides just autism this refers to.) Complete neglect is one thing, but just because a parent isn’t coming down hard on them right there doesn’t mean that there isn’t something else entirely going on. Trust me, I’ve gotten more than my share of stink-eye glares at me and my “bad” kid.

  205. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    Trust me, I’ve gotten more than my share of stink-eye glares at me and my “bad” kid.

    Been there, done that. Same situation. You have my sympathy and admiration, carlie.

  206. says

    Josh and Carlie:

    Maybe the root of our (very slight, I think/hope) disconnect is that I’m a bit older than you (than Josh, I’m sure; than Carlie, I think, but can’t recall for sure), and when I was a kid, corporal punishment in the home was still commonly acceptable, along with relatively strict forms of nonphysical punishment; advocacy for more “parental discipline” meant something harsher then than it does today. I tend to hear calls for more discipline as calls to return to that harsher time, and that’s what I was reacting to.

    I have absolutely no issue with holding kids of all ages accountable, in age-appropriate ways, for their behavior. I do think that parents who manage to do that while employing the minimum possible anger end up raising their kids to be better people… but I doubt either of you disagrees with that.

  207. Azkyroth says

    WMDKitty – I know, but my point is that you can’t tell the difference when you look at them in the store. They don’t look any different than any other kids. (And there are a host of other issues besides just autism this refers to.) Complete neglect is one thing, but just because a parent isn’t coming down hard on them right there doesn’t mean that there isn’t something else entirely going on. Trust me, I’ve gotten more than my share of stink-eye glares at me and my “bad” kid.

    I will say that the parents who spend most of their time blithering into a phone or chatting with their companions and periodically yell sternly at their kids, but where the kid obviously knows there will be no follow-through, are just plain shitty parents. I’ve seen a few of those but I don’t think it’s getting worse.

  208. athyco says

    Can’t…stop…myself. This is entirely anecdotal, but I’ve been running on the adrenalin of it all day.

    I had my versions of Saras in the classroom, and I’ve been happily retired for three years, but today I had my first practice with a group of 7th and 8th graders who signed up for scholars competition. The new principal hadn’t gotten on the ball to replace the former coach (new baby, new bus route). Neither had he notified the county to take his school off the schedule–and his school hosts twice during the season. I met the kids only briefly during their break for signup on Friday. Gave them the travel/permission slips and an intro letter to their parents of what to expect/what I needed.

    The response has been wonderful. Every permission slip came back. Parents wrote precisely what they’d be available to do. They offered more than I asked. The kids were exuberant and focused at the same time. The 8th grade group all had lunch afterwards, and the majority of them begged me to join them to keep asking questions.

    I can only hope that one of them may someday be in Professor Zaloom’s class.

  209. tariqata says

    *facepalm*

    Several of the profs in my faculty got so excited about OccupyTO and the possibility of showing support by engaging in teach-ins and so on that I and three other students wound up re-jigging a presentation as a walking gentrification tour of downtown Toronto, preceded by a chance to meet with some of the protesters. It was pretty easy to arrange without ever feeling unsafe – I looked up the “contact us” info at the OccupyTO website, and sent an email asking if someone would willing to speak to a group about the goals. We talked on the phone a few times, figured out a convenient time, and it all went very smoothly.

    I am quite sure that not everyone in the class was sympathetic to the protest, but almost everyone showed up – and that despite a real concern that the protesters would be evicted on that day and that there could be a reprise of the aggressive police tactics we saw during the G20 in 2010.

    Admittedly we were there in a fairly large group, in the early morning, and OccupyTO was much smaller than OWS, but I find it very, very hard to believe that an alert person would fear for their life walking around in that environment in broad daylight. And I think it was pretty valuable for all of us – whether activists, sympathizers, disinterested observers, or opponents – to actually talk to people at the protests with an eye to trying to understand them. It’s too bad that Sara Ackerman put all of her energy into finding reasons why she shouldn’t have to try to understand.

  210. says

    KJ: I don’t think undergrads get a lot of training reading for detail and content before college classes, to be honest.

    Very true. That was part of the reason I was surprised to a see a research paper assignment in an intro psych course. When I mentioned my surprise to the professor I was TA for, his response was “well they have to deal with it sometime”. The thing for me was that gen psych is a general requirement, so there are a lot of non-majors in the class, many/most of them have likely never even heard of APA format (I believe most high schools in my area still use MLA) or had to read peer-reviewed literature before. I felt smaller, more frequent writing assignments would have been better, allowing a method to try and help develop/hone writing skills, mechanics and how to read and understand research. Well, it certainly gave me insight into thing(s) I am not likely to do if I survive grad school and make it into the career world. =P

    I can’t go to the store for one thing without hearing some brat whining about “I want this” or screaming about I don’t know what, because I can’t understand toddler-scream, and parents who, again, do nothing to correct the behavior beyond a bored-sounding, “please don’t scream.”

    ::twitches:: It is so true. My part-time job is at a grocery store. I swear that job has made me never want to have a child thanks to that nerve paralyzing toddler scream. I’ll watch kids go bonkers, running around aisles, almost knocking down other customers, grabbing stuff off of shelves, which if the parent bothers to grab from the kid they just stick randomly somewhere. All I can think of is how I wouldn’t have dared to do any of that with my parents when I was younger- and I can count the number of times I was spanked on one hand. If I even started getting squirrely I would get that look and if I pushed it farther they would pull out the middle name and then I knew it was game over and I wouldn’t get to go on grocery trips for a while (I loved going to the store with my parents, so that was punishment enough, though I typically also was grounded for a bit too).

  211. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart, liar and scoundrel says

    Trust me, I’ve gotten more than my share of stink-eye glares at me and my “bad” kid.

    I’m sorry, Carlie, but most kids are neurotypical with parents that just don’t bother.

    Having worked retail for years (and only in one store that had any sort of kid’s stuff), I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been reamed out by parents who let their kids be destructive (or put themselves into a dangerous situation) and didn’t like the fact that I told them to stop.

    Ever try to get a kid that isn’t yours out of a massage chair* while mommy screamed at you for telling her kid “no”? Trust me, it’s not fun.

    If you’re going to get angry at anyone, be angry at those shitty-ass parents. They’re the reason why when a kid misbehaves, people’s reaction isn’t just to say “that’s unfortunate”, “poor kid must be having a bad day”, or whatever, but to blame you.

    *Fun fact: Kids can suffer from “shaken baby syndrome” into their teens. If my store had let kids sit in massage chairs, it would be incredibly irresponsible AND it would open us right up for a lawsuit.

  212. triamacleod says

    I can’t believe no one has said this yet. Am I really the only person who saw her ‘bragging’ about her one thousand fb friends and immediately associated that with a Farmville addiction?

    I do hope NYU tosses her out though. This is NOT the sort of student any university wants associated with them. And the fact that she is going over the top to draw attention to herself with threats and public postings is beyond the realm of youthful indiscretion/immaturity and well into the realm of personality disorders.

    If she’s a Junior I am assuming she’s somewhere near 22, certainly old enough to understand what happens when you set yourself up as a cyberschlub, hell, even /b/ is mocking her. Actually I’m half tempted to Google her name right now to see what comes up. Of course she’ll probably blame that on Professor Zaloom and/or NYU too as she seems to accept no personal responsibility for anything.

    And even if Ackerman was truly terrified of going to OWS – in the middle of the day at a site that was surrounded by police more often than not – that doesn’t excuse her for making this a personal attack on her professor.

    For those of you more in the know regarding the laws of NY State: Can Professor Zaloom go after this student for defamation of character or something along those lines or must she simply take it in stride?

  213. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Carlie:

    WMDKitty – I know, but my point is that you can’t tell the difference when you look at them in the store. They don’t look any different than any other kids.

    No, you can’t. You’re right.

    BUT: There’s a hell of a lot more non-parenting going on these days than there used to be, and you don’t get to be all pissy about it and act as if it’s all just callous people butting their noses into private family affairs they have no knowledge of. It’s just a damned fact that kids in public today are, by and large, badly socialized and rude and they’re a fucking annoyance.

    I’m tired of walking through the grocery store having to stop my cart on a dime every time a kid runs out and threatens to get his head bashed in. I’m sick to death of sitting in restaurants listening to screaming children throwing food and kick the back of the seat while their parents do nothing.

    Carlie, it’s not that all these kids are non-neurotypical and that I have no sympathy for the parents. Frankly, I’m beyond tired of hearing that shit. No one said you’re wrong to inject some nuance into the conversation that comes from your own experience, so how about you stop acting like the rest of us are callous monsters for not like old-fashioned bad behavior and parental neglect?

    Arrrgh.

  214. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Also: your kid’s particular needs are not my problem by default. A lot of parents don’t seem to get that.

    Sure, we all have a duty as members of society to forbear for those with bigger problems than we have. I have a lot of sympathy for people with family members who need a lot of work and a lot of help. It’s my duty as an ethical person to extend sympathy for that.

    But it really chafes me when my patience and forbearance is expected and demanded by parents who think their little babies are more important than anyone else. Breaking news: they’re not. I don’t care about your kids’ behavior problems more than I care about any particular night I choose to go to the movies or to a restaurant. There’s a limit. And if a parent doesn’t recognize that they have at least an etiquette duty to minimize the discomfort of a screaming child (or at least acknowledge that it’s bothersome and say I’m sorry) then yeah, I fucking hate that person.

    It’s rude, selfish, narcisisstic behavior. And it’s endemic. You may not practice it Carlie, of course, but it’s everywhere. And I’m not unreasonable to say “fuck it” to that.

  215. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And. . .I came on stronger, yet again, than I meant to, Carlie. Please dial my posts down from 11 to four or five. :)

  216. chrisc says

    From one of the linked emails:

    Sara, this seems to be a continuation of the same matter about which I met with you and your mother a few weeks ago after the disruption in Professor Zaloom’s class.

    This woman, on the verge of graduating from one of the country’s more prestigious institutions, in one of the biggest, busiest cities in the world, requires her mother to be present in a meeting? What is this, elementary school?

    Jeeeze, cut the umbilicle cord already…

  217. demonhype says

    All this talk about students expecting special accomodations and to never ever be challenged in any way ever reminds me of that episode of Red Dwarf where they meet Ace Rimmer, an parallel dimension version of Rimmer who isn’t a weasel, and that the thing that separated their two experiences was a single decision, made when they were kids, about whether Rimmer failed and got left behind a year at school. One guess as to which one ended up successful.

    Episode: Relevant part begins at 4:45 and ends at 6:53

    What I find amusing is that this girl is exactly the kind of rich, spoiled, entitled brat who thinks the hard-working lower classes are “making excuses” and not owning up to their own failures and that if they just worked harder and stopped being freeloaders they wouldn’t be poor (totally not because they’re being raped by a “free market” capitalist system that’s out of control and launching us into a feudal state, it’s because they are lazy and making excuses), even as she sits on her rich privileged ass demanding that everything be made easy for her and life be fed directly into her mouth with a silver spoon with no effort on her part and no expectation that she ever move beyond her comfort zone in anything (but it’s never because she’s lazy and privileged and spoiled, it’s because all those pinkos are just jealous of her for being born wealthy and it’s just discrimination!) Anyone demanding justice in society, anyone who is starving and asks for food, anyone who believes they are entitled to have a job that pays a living wage, anyone who thinks that they are entitled to earn a living wage no matter how many jobs they struggle with at once, is a criminal, rapist or mentally deranged, but rich spoiled girls having to do something mildly unpleasant to them to earn a degree in a major they chose–now that is just WRONG!!!!

    Yeah, no hypocrisy here.

    Yeah, no hypocrisy there.

  218. michaelpowers says

    “My professor made me go mingle with the little people. Ewww.”

    Maybe it’s her style of writing, or perhaps her whiny arrogance and blithe sense of entitlement, but she engenders no sympathy from me whatsoever.

    Even if the events and people at OWS were exactly as she described (which I highly doubt), her assignment required professionalism and objectivity. It seems that she possesses neither.

    My daughters would have fared much better. They’re intelligent, brave, compassionate, and not to be trifled with.

  219. says

    But she’s also a liar.

    that’s no contradiction to what I said; I just pointed out that she’d never use the method suggested.

    I don’t seem to meet any of these coddled, spoiled kids.

    I do. They sit next to me in classes and ruin my group-assignment grades by being too inept to pull a bunch of black and white beads out of a bag correctly. And some of them were seniors. *grump*
    Or the ones who think “you must have a Bluebook for the exam” is a suggestion.

    Still, my limited, unscientific experience is that the most disciplined, humane young people I meet correlate to the most humane, nonpunitive parents.

    you are confusing punitiveness with setting limits, and humaneness with an upbringing that consists of nothing but high praise and expectations.

    Bill – you would be absolutely shocked at the kind of things some parents try to pull for their college-aged children.

    yeah, I spend a very short time living in suburbia, among conservative middle and upper middle class parents of teens. the helicoptering was horrible, and I saw no indication that it would stop once in college.

    I can’t figure out if the dear child is indeed in need of professional help, or if she’s just a stuck-up little WASP princess.

    er… well, if anything, she’d be a WJP

    I’m sure I’d be surprised by the details, but I wouldn’t be shocked by parental hyper-advocacy. I lived for a year in Korea, where parents willwould[1] impoverish themselves and/or risk prison to get their kids into one of the national universities!

    not the same as helicoptering, I’d say.

    “He’s just EXPRESSING HIMSELF! Telling him that screaming isn’t appropriate would just CRUSH his SPIRITS!”

    oh.god.
    the boyfriend is friends with a couple who’ve taught their daughter to be super-picky about food. mealtime consists of “would you like Pancakes?” “no” “would you like cereal?” “no” etc.

    they think they’re teaching her to be an assertive individual *wince*

    Very small children — babies and toddlers — will, of course, sometimes throw tantrums, but… ’twas ever thus, eh?

    not a phenomenon much encountered in Northern Europe, at least when I was living there. But then, dragging children into any and all public places is not a thing. whether that’s a good thing or bad thing depends, i imagine, on whether you have and/or like children.

  220. Azkyroth says

    Carlie, it’s not that all these kids are non-neurotypical and that I have no sympathy for the parents. Frankly, I’m beyond tired of hearing that shit. No one said you’re wrong to inject some nuance into the conversation that comes from your own experience, so how about you stop acting like the rest of us are callous monsters for not like old-fashioned bad behavior and parental neglect?

    Also, my daughter’s autistic and has meltdown and appropriateness issues sometimes but can be made to behave and is taken out of the public place in question to calm down in the car (actually, threatening this is usually sufficient) if she won’t.

  221. jentokulano says

    She moved to NYC and then described her annoyment at having to be in NYC? You can’t be in the neighborhood around NYU and NOT have that experience she describes. The Upper East Side it ain’t!

  222. RahXephon231 says

    @demonhype

    (totally not because they’re being raped by a “free market” capitalist system that’s out of control and launching us into a feudal state, it’s because they are lazy and making excuses)

    Rape is not a metaphor for what the system is doing. It trivializes the act to use it as such, and is something victims tend not to appreciate.

  223. says

    Bill@227:

    Come and sit in the emergency department with me, and see the screaming performance put on by many preteens and teens, when they’re told they need a blood test. It’s absolutely clear that they have never been made to do something they don’t want to do in their whole lives.

    The shock on their faces when they discover that there is a situation in which things are not going to happen exactly the way they want it to, would be entertaining if it weren’t so tiresome. And the parents, never having forced their kid to do anything against its will ever, are as much help as a chocolate radiator.

  224. craigore says

    what she probably needs is a basic introductory course into dealing with the human speices (and not being a pussy about it). i think it would be a most beneficial course, which i’d be happy to teach, and would include insightful exerpts from such esteemed adjunct scholars as uncle sasha, “you must not to be pussy,” and arnold schwarzenegger “stop whining!” i’ll be taking enrollments as soon the check clears…

  225. lancelotgobbo says

    What a prick. (And I would have dressed that up with underlining and promiscuous asterisks if I were any good at html!)

  226. says

    Josh:

    There’s a hell of a lot more non-parenting going on these days than there used to be, and you don’t get to be all pissy about it and act as if it’s all just callous people butting their noses into private family affairs they have no knowledge of. It’s just a damned fact that kids in public today are, by and large, badly socialized and rude and they’re a fucking annoyance.

    I’m tired of walking through the grocery store having to stop my cart on a dime every time a kid runs out and threatens to get his head bashed in. I’m sick to death of sitting in restaurants listening to screaming children throwing food and kick the back of the seat while their parents do nothing.

    Carlie, it’s not that all these kids are non-neurotypical and that I have no sympathy for the parents. Frankly, I’m beyond tired of hearing that shit. No one said you’re wrong to inject some nuance into the conversation that comes from your own experience, so how about you stop acting like the rest of us are callous monsters for not like old-fashioned bad behavior and parental neglect?

    Arrrgh.

    I’ll add to this whole rant. I’m not a monster who is incapable of recognizing that yes, kids can be a serious fucking problem sometimes and I’m willing to cut a parent[s] a break when their kid is having a meltdown and they are doing their best to deal with it and so on.

    However, I am not willing to cut a parent[s] a break when it’s obvious they’re just going to be oblivious to junior’s meltdown and expect everyone else to be oblivious to it as well.

    I am not willing to cut a break to parents who think it’s just grand to drag an infant or young child to any and every venue, appropriate or not. I get sick and tired of parents who parade their child or children like an accessory and think the kids can not only go anywhere, but belong everywhere.

    I am not willing to cut a break to parents, upon seeing their child misbehave, look around with an indulgent smile and expect everyone else to feel indulgent also.

    I do see parents who have their children with them grocery shopping and the like, and it’s easy enough to see when a parent expects their children to behave, when there’s a problem and the parent is dealing with it to the best of their ability and I appreciate that like nobody’s business, believe me. I know it’s tough for a lot of parents, who don’t have any choice when it comes to having their children with them out running errands and so on.

    That has nothing to do with those parents who think it’s grand to take their toddler to what would generally be considered an adult venue or those who let their children run amok and think everyone else should be either oblivious or indulgent. When that happens, and someone even so much as gets a look on their face, the parent or parents attack like someone to tried to murder little junior. It’s ridiculous.

  227. says

    craigore:

    and not being a pussy about it

    The moronic use of gendered slurs is not welcome here. Try expanding your vocabulary as well as your thinking.

    lancelotgobbo:

    What a prick.

    The moronic use of gendered slurs is not welcome here. Try expanding your vocabulary as well as your thinking.

    You and craigore are a wonderful match. Why don’t you hang out together and try to figure out why you’re both idiots?

  228. says

    When I was very young, as I recall, whenever I got wound up and threw a tantrum my mum would say, “Go ahead, have a really good cry, you will feel a lot better afterwards.” Within a couple of lungfuls it dawned on me that this wasn’t working or going according to plan and would just shut up. After a while I just never started.

    I don’t remember being taken to a restaurant until my younger sister was over the age of four. My siblings and I knew that if we misbehaved at a restaurant or as guests at someone elses home that we would not be allowed to go to one again for a while. Since that meant all of us would suffer if any of us misbehaved we kind of kept each other in check.

    I don’t know if any of that had much effect on the people my brother and sister and I are today because I don’t have anything to compare it to.

  229. Emrysmyrddin says

    and not being a pussy about it

    What a prick.

    Not welcome here! No gender/racial/ablist/sexuality/other inherent trait -based insults, please; have fun, be a little more inventive, just none of that, thanks.

  230. carlie says

    and is taken out of the public place in question to calm down in the car

    We always did that as well.

    The reason I brought it up was that the discussion was barreling full-force to a “all kids suck” rant, and it just isn’t true. Partly because being non-NT isn’t accounted for, but also every generation complains about how “kids today” are so much worse than when WE were kids, when really there have always been sets of good kids/parents and sets of bad ones. I fully expect my children to complain about the decline of kids’ behavior when they’re adults, because of course THEY weren’t ever allowed to act that way. There are all kinds of good kids out there, you just don’t ever notice them because the ones acting out are so much more visible. For example, there are probably 30 other kids in that class who did the assignment without any complaints, and probably at least a few of them got some real insight out of it; a 30:1 ratio isn’t bad at all, yet it started a storm of how all kids today are spoiled rotten.

    Yes, I was too sanctimonious, and focused too much on my own situation. What was really behind it was more of the above rationale, which I wasn’t able to think about in depth until I calmed down. I apologize for that.

  231. says

    Carlie:

    but also every generation complains about how “kids today” are so much worse than when WE were kids

    I can only speak for myself, but for me, it’s not about “kids today are worse”, it’s about parents being worse. The whole business of expecting to be able to take your children *everywhere*, using them as accessories, and expecting everyone else to view your children the way they do, teaching them that they really are special little snowflakes and entitled to anything and everything. Helicoptering, all that sort of thing…yes, there were always some parents like that in past generations, but it wasn’t the norm.

  232. Irene Delse says

    Jadehawk:

    Or the ones who think “you must have a Bluebook for the exam” is a suggestion.

    Oh, yes, those students! The kind who ask “do we have to learn this [insert part of the program of the year] for the exam”?

    Teacher’s answer: “What do you think?”

  233. shouldbeworking says

    Those kind of students who ask ‘is this goingto be on the exam?’. To which my stock reply is ‘ now it will be’.

    Those kind of students always complain that there are too many thinking questions on their physics exams…

  234. tgriehl says

    My general response to whether my generation (I’m 24) is the worst generation yet is: “At least members of my generation didn’t lynch people with their mayor, then send postcards of the event to their family and friends.” Or some such. (I guess this only applies to my grandparent’s generation. Whatever) All generations have their problems, grow up about it.

    I had a wonderfully problematic student when I was TA’ing a gen chem lab in college. There was this one freshman who just did nothing right. Not following lab procedure, being careless, not wearing her glasses, not disposing of materials properly, turning in low quality work, not cleaning up after herself, throwing broken glass (which she made a lot of) in the regular trash (who cares if those silly janitors cut their hands open!), etc. I kept confronting her, asking her to pay attention and do what she’s supposed to. At some point she got so frustrated and she screamed “why are you always picking on me?!” Coolly, I responded because she’s not doing what she’s supposed to be doing, and potentially endangering herself and others. “Who do you think you are? You’re not my mother!”

    It always struck me as a strange response…

  235. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Have two kids, one neurotypical and one not, and there were times when it was exhausting and difficult trying to go anywhere or do anything … (and one time I’m sure passers-by thought we were violently abducting spawn2). These days they’re both great, ordinary, wonderful, typical, fantastic and plain average teenagers, largely thanks to their own efforts. We are no great shakes as parents – try hard, fail, try again, fail better if possible I suppose.

    I’m sure I thought I had a point somewhere that I was going to make .. I think it might be that yes, it’s hard when there’s no-one else around to take up the slack and errands have to be run, but parents who allow their kids to ruin things for others and don’t even try to prevent it are pretty bloody entitled themselves. And it does the kids a huge disservice.

  236. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    I mean, of course, that they’re great, wonderful and fantastic to us; ordinary, typical and plain average good kids by possibly more objective standards … :-)

  237. says

    I don’t get it. Why is she being belittled for having to confront people that she is uncomfortable with, but Rebecca Watson gets support because some d-bag didn’t read her mind and tried to flirt with her an an inappropriate manner?

  238. says

    Why is she being belittled for having to confront people that she is uncomfortable with…

    That’s not why she’s being belittled.

    I guess you’re right, you really DON’T get it.

  239. says

    Rebecca Watson: “Guys, don’t do that.”

    Swarms of hysterical MRAs: “But how will we get laid? You’re oppressing me, Twatson, bitch, cunt, arrghghghggh!”

    Sara Ackerman: “They’re criminals,drug addicts, and mentally ill! I’m going to sue you! I’m going to defriend you on facebook! I’m being oppressed, arrghghghggh!”

    Find the matching pair in that trio of statements, timschonfeld.

  240. says

    I’m not defending the guy that tried to get laid with Watson, but to me both cases boil down to the fact that they are being asked to do something they don’t want to do, and they are free to act. Answer to both: deal with it. Of course the OWS people are not raving lunatics, but as far as I know all that happened to Watson was that somebody talked to her in a way she didn’t like.

  241. janine says

    Yes, timschonfeld, you are defending that guy. Getting hit on is not comparable to doing a homework assignment with people that one do not politically agree.

    The simple fact that you have to twist the events to try to make them comparable shows how weak and dishonest your argument is.

    Rebecca Watson did not engage in the hijinks that Sara Ackermann. That would be the people who reacted to Rebecca.

    I wonder if you are honest enough to see that.

  242. Brownian says

    but as far as I know all that happened to Watson was that somebody talked to her in a way she didn’t like.

    Well, you don’t know very much, and considering how much has been written on what happened, the only reason for that is because you really don’t want to know what happened, which kinda makes you a piece of shit.

    Spend some time alone with me in an elevator at 4AM and I’ll be happy to teach you all about it.

  243. kemist says

    Coolly, I responded because she’s not doing what she’s supposed to be doing, and potentially endangering herself and others. “Who do you think you are? You’re not my mother!”

    Ah.

    I wonder if that’s what she’ll answer to a potential boss who would criticize her. I have never met yet a boss who would take this kindly, but I’m still young.

    If I had been told such a thing, I might have retorted that perhaps it was time she gave up the class and went back to her mommy, since it seems it’s the only person she will accept to listen to.

  244. says

    Ah you guys are a riot. @PZ: I see what you mean, I guess I don’t agree. The commenters thought? Shithead/ad hominems? Threats of what I assume is violence? You stay classy, YouTube commenters.

  245. says

    @timschonfeld – OK, let’s compare Watson to Ackerman. Apples can, after all, be compared to oranges.

    Watson didn’t throw a wild shit-fit over the elevator comment. She didn’t write everybody in sight and threaten to ruin careers while making crazy accusations about people’s intentions. Her response to the elevator comment was very mild – an aside, really, and it was met with a mansplainational shitfit from people who couldn’t stand the slightest hint that women should be able to request some observation of boundaries.

  246. Brownian says

    Threats of what I assume is violence?

    What? Now you’re reading my mind?

    Boy, if you’re this upset over what I write in a context in which you can freely choose to read or not what I write in the comfort of your own home/school/workplace, imagine how you’d feel if I followed you into an elevator alone at 4 AM.

    Now are you starting to get it?

    You stay classy

    What’s the matter? Can’t ‘deal with it’? If you’re that fragile, you should probably not be giving other people advice, pumpkin.

    I snooped your photos on Facebook. I think you and I could have a lot of fun alone in an elevator at 4 AM.

  247. janine says

    What threat of violence?

    Poor defenseless little shit could not back up his claim and exits with a whine. He could not even show how the actions of Rebecca Watson was, in any way like the actions of Sara Ackerman.

    Pathetic.

  248. janine says

    Funny how the special little snowflake criticizes Watson because how could she know what was in that guy’s head yet knows that Brownian has violent intentions.

    Can you see the fucking disconnect here?

  249. Irene Delse says

    timschonfeld:

    I’m not defending the guy that tried to get laid with Watson, but

    Stop right there. You’re already doing it.

  250. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    but as far as I know all that happened to Watson was that somebody talked to her in a way she didn’t like.

    Are you really this clueless or are you trolling?

    Threats of what I assume is violence?

    It takes a special kind of willfull ignorance to assume that someone trying to explain something new is a threat. Is your reality really that fragile?

  251. Rey Fox says

    Has anyone ever wished they could just spontaneously open a trapdoor underneath someone? “What I don’t get is how in this completely unrelated situation, blah blah blah, but Rebecca Watson-AAAAAAaaaaaa… *thud*”

  252. carlie says

    I think you and I could have a lot of fun alone in an elevator at 4 AM.

    Brownian! Some of us have been waiting in line a very long time! No cutting!

    Has anyone ever wished they could just spontaneously open a trapdoor underneath someone? “What I don’t get is how in this completely unrelated situation, blah blah blah, but Rebecca Watson-AAAAAAaaaaaa… *thud*”

    I am now going to have that image in mind every time I see one of those. And it will make me happy.

  253. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    For the really bad ones I guess we could go for the imaginary anvils dropping from nowhere.

  254. chigau (同じ) says

    My response to “You’re not my mother!” was,
    “If I’d whelped such as you, I would have left it to be raised by wolves.”
    To which a wit in the witnesses added, “oh, wait…”.
    At which everyone laughed.
    And then we all had to pretend to be good sports.

  255. chriswillett says

    So if Rebecca Watson is propositioned in an elevator, you spend months denouncing unsympathetic responses as sexist and misogynist, but when a woman whose political views you abhor (and who may suffer from mental illness) complains about an environment at least as uncomfortable, you dismiss her as “melodramatic?”

    Have you ever bothered to consider that maybe Ackerman was legitimately frightened by the OWS crowd? Perhaps she didn’t appreciate the ogling and catcalls from hordes of privileged men. Maybe she felt “sexualized” and, like Watson, became very vocal when her feelings weren’t taken seriously by authority figures.

    Certainly Ackerman’s reaction was despicable, but so are some of Skepchick’s letters to Richard Dawkins. Also despicable is the claim that Dawkins “doesn’t care about rape victims” even though he’s a victim of molestation himself. But what we have here is a selective outrage machine, where anyone who disagrees with the crowd is silenced through ideologically-useful revisionist interpretations of the events in question (see comments 98 and 104) and ruthless personal attacks (see comments 97, 101, 105, and 109).

  256. says

    lying misogynist asshole chriswillett #315

    So if Rebecca Watson is propositioned in an elevator, you spend months denouncing unsympathetic responses as sexist and misogynist…

    YOU ARE LYING. DON’T DO THAT.

  257. Brownian says

    Now, now. I don’t think people should be rushing to assure Tim that I’m not threatening him with violence any more than he should rest easy in his assumption that I am.

    The point is that no-one can be sure what my intentions are, and this is a public place and I’m no stranger. Even more so were I a stranger, and we were alone, in an elevator at 4 AM. Such a situation would be a very different thing than me simply “talking to [him] in a way [he] didn’t like”.

    But the point will be lost on people like him.

    I recall doing something very similar with some dumb MRA who was adamant that women being concerned for their safety was unreasonable and a “terrible way to live your life”. It took only a few very nice, “I just want to get to know you; why are you getting so defensive and uncomfortable”-type comments from me and he was begging me to leave him alone. But I don’t think he really understood, even in the end.

    Some brains are just too dense to be good for much beyond than stew thickener.

    Are you really this clueless or are you trolling?

    He’s really that clueless. But kind of cute. And smaller, less muscular, and younger than me.

  258. janine says

    So if Rebecca Watson is propositioned in an elevator, you spend months denouncing unsympathetic responses as sexist and misogynist…

    Not just unsympathetic but don’t let that stand in the way of a rant. Let me know if Richard Dawkins got e-mails saying that he should be raped and killed.

    Yeah, Rebecca Watson and Sara Ackerman are one and the same.

  259. says

    Do these MRA assholes just hang around day after day, waiting for a thread they can somehow derail to be about elevatorgate? How fucking sad is that?

  260. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    PZ why do you insist on keeping elevator gate alive!?

    Heh. I bet these people who keep dragging out Rebecca Watson every time sexism, women or anything remotely related to either of the two is mentioned, are mostly the same as those who kept complaining that they are sick of hearing about Rebecca during the whole elevator affair.

  261. anteprepro says

    Richard Dawkins was molested? When did that come up in Elevatorgate?

    I seem to recall Dawkins mentioning that he was molested by a priest and that he suffered relatively little trauma from it in his article about how lessons about Hell are possibly traumatic enough to be considered child abuse. It didn’t come up in Elevatorgate. It’s relevance to Elevatorgate, which was about the feeling of danger when being propositioned by someone within a confined space in the wee hours of the morning, is strained at best.

  262. Brownian says

    Have you ever bothered to consider that maybe Ackerman was legitimately frightened by the OWS crowd? Perhaps she didn’t appreciate the ogling and catcalls from hordes of privileged men. Maybe she felt “sexualized” and, like Watson, became very vocal when her feelings weren’t taken seriously by authority figures.

    What’s really idiotic about the “perhaps” and “maybe” game is that, if chriswillett actually played this game consistently, he’d have no reason to disagree with anyone, since there are any number of possible and unspoken reasons for them to legitimately feel the way they do about anyone and anything.

    But, of course, he’s being just as selective as he’s accusing us of being.

    He’s just not smart enough to recognise that.

  263. says

    @Anteprepro

    Well, clearly this answers a lot. Dawkins is just an atheist because of his molestation and hatred of that priest. He really should cut out all the bile and ad homs against religion now.

  264. Mr. Fire says

    Do these MRA assholes just hang around day after day, waiting for a thread they can somehow derail to be about elevatorgate?

    Well, that’s just it. When one’s mind is self-confined to a 6′ x 6′ x 7′ windowless steel box, life tends to get pretty fucking dull.

  265. Irene Delse says

    @ chriswillett:

    *sigh*

    Didn’t you read any of the previous comments? Or even the original post? If Ackerman had just said that the assignment made her feel unsafe, sexualised, etc., and asked for another assignment, it wouldn’t have been a problem. (In fact, an alternate assignment was suggested to her: studying the police response to OWS instead of going to interview the protesters.) But no, Ackerman went straight to accusing her prof of persecuting her!

    Other people here have recounted instances where they felt unsafe with a class assignment and either found other people to go with them, or talked privately to their prof to find help. In the case of Ackerman, she not only ignored these possibilities, but got offended when the faculty offered her psychological help for the trauma she claimed to have felt. And then, she made public a rant where she basically slandered her prof and threatened to damage her carrier. (Not realistically, perhaps, but the intent was there.)

    Obviously, we don’t know what’s her problem, but she definitively didn’t help her own cause here.

  266. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Have you ever bothered to consider that maybe Ackerman was legitimately frightened by the OWS crowd?

    Only a right-wing fuckwitted idjit who believed in Faux News would be afraid in a group of other students in broad daylight. Especially after going to NYU for three years. Doesn’t say much for your intelligence that you made that statement.

  267. Irene Delse says

    anteprepro:

    I seem to recall Dawkins mentioning that he was molested by a priest and that he suffered relatively little trauma from it in his article about how lessons about Hell are possibly traumatic enough to be considered child abuse. It didn’t come up in Elevatorgate.

    Actually, it was brought up at some point, not here but either under one of Jen McCreight’s or Rebecca’s blog posts. Can’t remember right now which, but some defender of Dawkins did use that to prop up the stupid argument that since nothing happened to Rebecca this time, she had no business to talk to RD like that, etc.

  268. chriswillett says

    Add 200 to each of the previous post references. The side of my screen is cut off.

    Of course Dawkins’s own history didn’t come up during Elevatorgate: Too many people were too busy interpreting his comments in the worst possible light and falling over one another to pen the most vicious condemnation.

    And yes, as some have pointed out, Dawkins wrote that the molestation incidents weren’t a big deal to him. But if you dare say that what happened to Watson isn’t a big deal (although that was clearly indicated by her calm, initial reaction), you’re castigated. This is what I mean by “selective outrage machine.”

    By the way, thanks for all the ad homs!

  269. carlie says

    And yes, as some have pointed out, Dawkins wrote that the molestation incidents weren’t a big deal to him. But if you dare say that what happened to Watson isn’t a big deal (although that was clearly indicated by her calm, initial reaction), you’re castigated. This is what I mean by “selective outrage machine.”

    So you’re saying that you see no difference between a person deciding for themselves whether something that happened to them is important to them, and someone deciding that something that happened to someone else entirely ought to not be important to that person or anyone else.

  270. Rey Fox says

    So if Rebecca Watson is propositioned in an elevator

    *TRAPDOOR*

    By the way, thanks for all the ad homs!

    *GIANT HAMMER*

  271. Mr. Fire says

    chriswillet cannot make a cogent point to save their life.

    Of course Dawkins’s own history didn’t come up during Elevatorgate: Too many people were too busy interpreting his comments in the worst possible light and falling over one another to pen the most vicious condemnation.

    Are you too stupid to realize that the part of the sentence after the colon in no way explains the issue raised before it?

    But hey, at least I wouldn’t call it a word salad! More like a clause buffet!

    But if you dare say that what happened to Watson isn’t a big deal (although that was clearly indicated by her calm, initial reaction), you’re castigated.

    Too ignorant to know the most basic chronology of Elevatorgate, and too stupid to understand it any case.

    The ‘big deal’ is the shitstorm that followed Watson’s calm, initial reaction, you dullard.

    By the way, thanks for all the ad homs!

    Yawn. You are too stupid to understand what an ad hom is. So we can safely assume you are too stupid to understand anything else.

  272. Just_A_Lurker says

    thanks for all the ad homs

    That word, it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    But if you dare say that what happened to Watson isn’t a big deal (although that was clearly indicated by her calm, initial reaction), you’re castigated.

    The initial incident in the elevator wasn’t that bad. What he did was wrong, ignoring everything Rebecca said, all those clues saying “NO”. It was uncomfortable and she just said “guys don’t do that.” She said this because of how uncomfortable and scary a situation that could be and she was giving talks on sexism and why there are not many women skeptics showing up. The outrage of how dare she say that, the rape and death threat and the obtuseness of sexist assholes exposed by their actions after the incident are absolutely indefensible. Defend those assholes, act like those asshole and yes, you get your ass handed to you with porcupine on the way out. This is what you are doing now.

    This is what I mean by “selective outrage machine.”

    All your comments demonstrate you as a selective thinking machine.

  273. Rey Fox says

    You are too stupid to understand what an ad hom is. So we can safely assume you are too stupid to understand anything else.

    i c wut u did thar

  274. says

    Why is she being belittled for having to confront people that she is uncomfortable with, but Rebecca Watson gets support because some d-bag didn’t read her mind and tried to flirt with her an an inappropriate manner?

    I don’t remember the part where Watson was getting a degree that required her to be flirted at. you know, unlike Ackermann, who was in an ethnography course; which does require her to be able to deal with The Other.

    as far as I know all that happened to Watson was that somebody talked to her in a way she didn’t like.

    that’s like saying kidnapping is being taken on a vacation trip in a way one didn’t like.

    If you need to twist reality like that, you probably don’t have a point.

    Shithead/ad hominems?

    insult =! ad hominem. Some of us actually know logic; and latin. your incorrect use of latin/logic terms isn’t going to impress anyone.

    So if Rebecca Watson is propositioned in an elevator, you spend months denouncing unsympathetic responses as sexist and misogynist, but when a woman whose political views you abhor (and who may suffer from mental illness) complains about an environment at least as uncomfortable, you dismiss her as “melodramatic?”

    way to pretend no one here said Sara is entitled to be scared of OWS, douchecake. Also, again: I don’t remember the part where Watson was getting a degree that required her to be flirted at. you know, unlike Ackermann, who was in an ethnography course; which does require her to be able to deal with The Other.

    Have you ever bothered to consider that maybe Ackerman was legitimately frightened by the OWS crowd?

    of course not. which is why responses like “I won’t deny her the right to be scared pissless” already exist on this thread. but don’t let reality get in the way of your rant. Douchebisquit.

    so are some of Skepchick’s letters to Richard Dawkins

    oh yeah; saying you won’t buy someone’s books anymore = threats to get someone fired and accusations of nepotism. Totally.

    By the way, thanks for all the ad homs!

    again: Some of us actually know logic; and latin. your incorrect use of latin/logic terms isn’t going to impress anyone.

  275. says

    You are too stupid to understand what an ad hom is. So we can safely assume you are too stupid to understand anything else.

    you know, this was funny the first time I saw someone (you?) do this; amazingly enough, it’s still funny now :-)

  276. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    By the way, thanks for all the ad homs!

    Ad homs aren’t insults. If we explain why you are a fuckwitted idjit, calling you a fuckwitted idjit isn’t ad hom. Just like this post, I explained your problem.

  277. Irene Delse says

    chriswillett #330:

    Of course Dawkins’s own history didn’t come up during Elevatorgate

    Are you calling me a liar? Or do you just have a poor memory?

    I was googling for a reference to what I said in comment #329 (about RD supporters bringing up during Elevatorgate the fact that he had been himself a victim of abuse), and it didn’t take me more than 5 minutes to find the comments to this blog post:

    http://www.skeptical-science.com/people/boycott-richard-dawkins-elevatorgate/

    Notice two things:

    1) A repulsive commenter going by the ‘nick “Dungone” making several references to Dawkins’ history and using it to insult Rebecca Watson, the people who agreed with her and feminists in general;

    2) Someone signing “chris willett” commenting on the same thread to support Dawkins and blame Rebecca.

    Is that you? If so, would you care to rethink your previous assertion?

  278. carlie says

    Someone signing “chris willett” commenting on the same thread to support Dawkins and blame Rebecca.

    Is that you? If so, would you care to rethink your previous assertion?

    Very interesting. [/Arte Johnson]

  279. Mr. Fire says

    you know, this was funny the first time I saw someone (you?) do this; amazingly enough, it’s still funny now :-)

    :) Thanks although I don’t know how how many times I can wheel it out anymore.

    and actually, has any of the idiots ever caught on to the meta-ad hominem?

    The closest I think anyone ever got was…SyeTenB.

    yeah

    put that in your pipe and smoke it

  280. anteprepro says

    Ah, thanks for clarification Irene. I didn’t realize that this tactic was already used. Anyway…

    And yes, as some have pointed out, Dawkins wrote that the molestation incidents weren’t a big deal to him. But if you dare say that what happened to Watson isn’t a big deal (although that was clearly indicated by her calm, initial reaction), you’re castigated. This is what I mean by “selective outrage machine.”

    You are incredibly stupid and you should be ashamed of yourself. Read the part I just quoted from you again, chris. You are saying that, because Dawkins personally wasn’t traumatized by his own molestation, Watson had no right to feel threatened by her own situation. Because Dawkins personally wasn’t terribly impacted by abuse, we are allowed to dismiss all of Watson’s personal concerns and feelings, and don’t need to think about the social implications of Elevator Guy’s actions. Or, in other words: “There are worse things out there, so there is no reason to worry about the issue at hand.” Which is effectively the same exact argument that Dawkins got eviscerated for making about the issue in the first place.

    What the fuck is wrong with you?

  281. Irene Delse says

    @ chriswillett:

    Yep, and an even worse memory than I thought: see that comment posted under the name “Chris Willett”, on the blog of someone named “Christopher Willett”?

    Tsk.

  282. arakasi says

    If the thought of interviewing participants in a grassroots movement like OWS for class credit does not get you excited, then you probably shouldn’t be studying sociology. I admit that I would be uncomfortable doing so – that is one of the reasons I became an engineer.

    When my wife was in medical school, her first lab class was in gross anatomy. The semester started with each team being assigned a cadaver. I wonder how far she would have gotten by telling the instructor that this made her uncomfortable, and could she please have an alternative assignment? Probably about as far as the exit with a tuition refund in her pocket.

  283. chriswillett says

    “So you’re saying that you see no difference between a person deciding for themselves whether something that happened to them is important to them, and someone deciding that something that happened to someone else entirely ought to not be important to that person or anyone else.” & “You are saying that, because Dawkins personally wasn’t traumatized by his own molestation, Watson had no right to feel threatened by her own situation.”

    If that’s what I wanted to say, then that’s what I would have written. My point is that the same people who downplay what happened to Dawkins are those who react in utter fury whenever anyone downplays what happened to Watson. Watson’s original reaction was calm and unconcerned. But as the issue became inflated (on this blog, incidentally, in a post titled “Always Name Names!”) those who didn’t think the incident merited the attention it deserved were soon conflated with the worst of misogynists. And then, lo and behold, here we have a woman who – while certainly reacting in a far worse manner than even that seen in Skepchick’s letters to Dawkins – felt that she was treated disrespectfully on account of her identity as a woman, and is summarily dismissed as “melodramatic” by the same blogger who led a witch hunt against all those the crowd here felt were “sexist” in the aftermath of Elevatorgate.

    “The outrage of how dare she say that, the rape and death threat and the obtuseness of sexist assholes exposed by their actions after the incident are absolutely indefensible. Defend those assholes, act like those asshole and yes, you get your ass handed to you with porcupine on the way out. This is what you are doing now.”

    I have not defended such obnoxious behavior. Nor have I engaged in any personal attacks, which I think sets me apart from almost everyone who has responded to what I have written. My point is that the crowd here, upon coming across another perspective, immediately lumps the commenter in with the same group that has written the most terrible things to and about Ms. Watson (and unloads with childish insults, for good measure). You’ve seen my blog entry; was I as insensitive to Ms. Watson’s perspective as your nasty attacks would suggest? You’re welcome to believe as you wish, but I don’t think that you’re too fair to anyone who happens to come along and express a different view.

  284. craigore says

    The word “pussy” is not necessarily a gendered term when used to strictly refer to being intolerably weak of character, cowardly, or thin skinned. It is quite interchangeable in that these characteristics are not inherently female (like being a dick – jerk – is not inherently male), and anyone who thinks they are is an idiot. While it is true that this word often refers to a particular part of the female anatomy, my usage makes no intentional reference to it anymore than calling someone a dick would make a statement about their enlarged, y-chromosome ladened clitoris. In the case of this student, her being female had no bearance on my usage (only her incredibly weak character. )However, if some should feel so particular about it, I may refrain and insert pansy instead – hopefully that not being a loaded term.
    In all seriousness, I hope this student eventually crawls out of her ivory tower of privilege and preconceptions to actually experience real life for what it is, as that can be most fascinating and personally enriching once you manage to get past the grit. In order to do that however, one needs ample character building exercises and a touch of chastisement – not to mention a will to succeed. Not holding my breath, but hopefully she may come around to realize this and cease being a student from hell. It has worked for me, as I used to be an incredible puss-err-pansy and am currently one of the more respected students in my department (having graduated with honors in anthropolgy).

  285. janine says

    If that’s what I wanted to say, then that’s what I would have written. My point is that the same people who downplay what happened to Dawkins are those who react in utter fury whenever anyone downplays what happened to Watson. Watson’s original reaction was calm and unconcerned. But as the issue became inflated (on this blog, incidentally, in a post titled “Always Name Names!”) those who didn’t think the incident merited the attention it deserved were soon conflated with the worst of misogynists.

    Wow! it is as if all of those misogynists kept quiet until all of us got the shitstorm going.

    Yeah, this is just like the situation with Sara Ackerman.

    Please, just going away complaining about the ad homs you are getting here, assclam.

  286. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    those who didn’t think the incident merited the attention it deserved were soon conflated with the worst of misogynists.

    No. That is bassackwards. Rebecca Watson stated, simply, “Guys, don’t do that,” and was greeted with a rash of misogynistic vitriol that would have pleased the most rabid men’s rights activists. The only ones who thought the incident in the elevator or her response deserved more than a, “Yeah, you’re right,” were the ones screaming for her to be killed or raped, or coming up with clever plays on her name. If you are going to conflate, at least try to get it right.

    I have not defended such obnoxious behavior.

    But you are. You do so every time you blame Watson, or her defenders, for the sexist shitstorm.

  287. anteprepro says

    If that’s what I wanted to say, then that’s what I would have written. My point is that the same people who downplay what happened to Dawkins are those who react in utter fury whenever anyone downplays what happened to Watson.

    Oh, so you weren’t trying to say Watson didn’t have a right to feel threatened due to the fact Dawkins said himself he was relatively unfazed by being molested. You were just claiming that the people who dismiss Dawkins being molested are the same people who get pissed when people dismiss Watson. That makes sense.
    Well, except for the fact that it doesn’t. Dawkins himself downplayed his own molestation and it wouldn’t even be the topic of discussion if it weren’t for people bringing it up in order to defend Dawkins for the fact that Dawkins dismissed Watson. You said it yourself: Dawkins said that he didn’t feel the abuse he suffered was a big deal. There is no need for anyone else to dismiss the abuse he suffered because he himself has pretty much already done that. There is no reason to expect all people who are similarly abused to react the same way. There is no reason to give someone a free pass at dismissing the feelings of others because they were abused in the past. There is no reason to even discuss the abuse, since it is completely fucking tangential to Elevatorgate, which is itself completely fucking tangential to the current post. It’s all just a pathetic fucking dodge, and your latest is even more pathetic and dodgy.

    Your backtracking is not consistent with your previous post and still doesn’t make a lick of sense. Dig deeper and I’m sure you’ll find a defensible position somewhere!

  288. says

    The word “pussy” is not necessarily a gendered term when used to strictly refer to being intolerably weak of character, cowardly, or thin skinned.

    yeah! when a word for vagina is used to insult someone who is perceived to suffer from stereotypically feminine flaws, it’s not a gendered term!

    idiots; they seem to grow on trees

  289. anteprepro says

    craigore:

    The word “pussy” is not necessarily a gendered term when used to strictly refer to being intolerably weak of character, cowardly, or thin skinned.

    Are you daft? To say what Jadehawk did, except more long-winded:
    The entire problem is that “pussy” both refers to female genitalia as well as being an insult (that conveys the characteristics that you have listed, which just so happen to be consistent with some negative female stereotypes). The same is true of “dick” (which conveys some stereotypical negative male characteristics when used). They will stop being gendered insults when the words don’t pull double duty as a word for a set of genitalia and an insult based on gender stereotypes for those who have that set of genitalia. It is sexism inherent in the language, and if you refuse to acknowledge that and continue onward in the name of FREEEEDOM, you will be a supporter of that sexism.

  290. Irene Delse says

    Oh, dear. Chris Willett is intent on repeating Elevatorgate! And complains that when he brings up today the same lame arguments than last year, he is met with the same scorn…

    “That didn’t work! Let’s do it again!”

    But there are really pearls in his blog post:

    While I certainly do not doubt or have any desire to minimize the experiences of Ms. Watson and other women who repeatedly receive unwanted sexual advances (and threats), I believe that the entire issue is overblown.

    In other words: “I don’t want to minimise [sexist behaviour] but I’m going to call the issue overblown anyway. And don’t call me sexist for that!”

  291. says

    Wow, this conversation has taken quite a turn since yesterday evening!

    [Jadehawk] I don’t remember the part where Watson was getting a degree that required her to be flirted at. you know, unlike Ackermann, who was in an ethnography course; which does require her to be able to deal with The Other.

    QFT!! The assertion of any sort of equivalency between the two cases is, IMHO, bogus; no doubt just an excuse on the part of the anti-feminist/anti-Watson crowd to drag it all up again.

    ***
    Carlie:

    Very interesting. [/Arte Johnson]

    Ahh, somebody else remembers that. Now I don’t feel so old… or at least, I don’t feel so alone! ;^)

    ***
    craigore:

    The word “pussy” is not necessarily a gendered term…

    Oy, not this tired claim again? I see Jadehawk is already on the case; expect to hear from others, as well, assclam.

    ***
    Well, I’d actually spent some time during the day thinking about the comments from last night, before the MRA-apologist hijack. It might be irrelevant at this point, but just in case…

    A few thoughts about last night’s conversation:

    1. I was never arguing for either lazy parenting or overindulgent parenting[1]; instead, I was reacting to some specific language which usually, most times I hear it, amounts to a call for a return to the “good old days” of authoritarian parenting. I should’ve known this crowd wasn’t advocating authoritarianism, but what can I say? That’s how that particular whistle sounds to this particular dog. I will say that, forced to choose, I’d pick overindulgent parenting over authoritarian parenting: The former might give us more bratty, self-indulgent kids, but the latter gives us more authoritarian adults, and that is (IMHO) the greater social evil.

    2. I still don’t think Sara Ackerman’s meltdown is likely attributable to indulgent parenting, except in the sense that “it takes a [privileged, insular] village to raise a[n entitled] child.” I think her behavior is likely best explained by some combination of culturally received terror of the other and emotional/cognitive dysfunction on her part (which may or may not qualify as actual mental illness).

    3. I’m genuinely surprised at all the testimonials regarding ill-behaved youths. I don’t doubt its veracity, of course; it just doesn’t match my experience. In the just completed holiday shopping season, I spent quite a lot of time in crowded, stressful retail situations ranging across the socioeconomic spectrum from Kmart and dollar stores to high-end malls (perhaps perversely, I actually enjoy being out in those crowds), and I really saw almost no instances of disruptive behavior by kids, nor of neglectful behavior by parents. It’s not that I’m just blissfully unaware (I don’t think): I didn’t fail to notice plenty of other types of obnoxious public behavior. And my direct contacts with high-school and college “kids” over the last few years are a big part of why I’m (cautiously) optimistic about the future of this benighted society.

    We’ve all been talking from our personal experiences, which are necessarily anecdotal; I wonder if there is actual data on trends in youth behavior? Off the top of my head, I can’t imagine how one would collect such data in an objective way, but the world is full of social scientists cleverer than I. Any pointers?

    ***
    [1] IMHO these are two distinct… arguably polar opposite… problems that have gotten a bit blended together in this thread.

  292. says

    The word “pussy” is not necessarily a gendered term…

    The word nigger IIRC was originally a corruption of Niger referring to a geographical connotation. It’s taken on extra meaning because that’s how language evolves. Two different definitions can be conflated into one related idea. See the use of gay as an insult.

  293. says

    Ing:

    The word nigger IIRC was originally a corruption of Niger referring to a geographical connotation.

    Interesting! I had always thought it was a corruption of negro. My paternal grandmother (an old Georgia girl whose own grandmother could remember the Civil War) used to say nigrah, and I could never quite tell whether she meant to be saying nigger, or if that was just negro with a Georgia accent. </digression>

  294. demonhype says

    RahXephon231 @278

    “RahXephon231 says:

    Rape is not a metaphor for what the system is doing. It trivializes the act to use it as such, and is something victims tend not to appreciate.

    I agree, and I have been making efforts to change my language on a lot of things like that (for example, using the term to describe defeating someone in a video game or contest). There is definitely a lot of absurd, trivializing, and inappropriate use of such language, and it is so ingrained in society that it can be hard to stop. I do still use it from time to time when I get hot under the collar at someone–not proud of that, but always trying to keep it in mind.

    I’m not sure it’s entirely an unfair use for this, though, because from everything I’ve heard a big part of rape is to strip power and autonomy from another person and reinforce in the victim’s mind that s/he is worthless and powerless and without rights (look at the barrage of rape threats to any female who dares have an opinion on the internet, for example, or the use of rape in many cultures as a retaliatory tool), which is a big part of what the people in that top thin layer of society are doing to the people at the bottom.

    Then there’s the “blame the victim” mentality of rape, which the upper 1% are using to defend what they do to the rest of us (all that “poor people deserve it””OWS is just a bunch of criminals and mentally deranged people who shouldn’t be listened to/rape victims are all lying sluts who shouldn’t be listened to”) and that mentality that it is okay to make a victim’s life much worse if they have the audacity to actually demand justice for what was done to them.

    There’s the effort to make the victim believe she deserves it and if she had just done things differently and made better decisions she wouldn’t be in this mess, so she should shut up and suck it up and stop trying to ruin the life of an upright and upstanding young man who has so much going for him in life, which is also a part of the language being used against OWS–that these are just drug addicts and criminals who resent the police for not letting them do evil, or a lot of filthy bums, parasites, and overall lazy failures who are trying to weasel out of the consequences of their unworthiness and/or are envious of the super-rich and trying to cheat these upright citizens out of the privileged life they totally earned with their own blood and sweat. And how many seem to either agree or let their self-worth be beaten down either overtly or subconsciously by this “can’t win, why try” message that they are bludgeoned with. “I got raped because I’m dirty/immodest/stupid/have no value as a human being/deserved it somehow”/”I lost my job/house/can’t feed my family/can’t find employment because I’m stupid/worthless/have no value as a human being/deserve it somehow.”

    What I’m saying is that when I hear about a rape victim’s experiences, witness the ingrained response of society to protect the rapist and blame the victim, and hear the language and mindsets involved, what I’m seeing is a mentality that says “I’m going to strip your power, your autonomy, and your sense of self and safety and anything else I can take from you for my own selfish desires, and you are going to suck it up and let me because if you try to fight back in any way you will be crushed. And then blamed for your own demise.” And I see the same kind of language and mentality in a social situation where the upper 1% is saying “I am going to strip from you your power, autonomy, civil rights, representative government, your children’s future, and anything else I can for my own selfish desires, and if you try to fight back in any way you will be crushed. And then blamed for your own demise. Right now you can just about afford to feed your kids off-brand mac and cheese every day and you should be happy with that, because if you try to improve your situation you will starve.”

    And, of course, the response even from people who are in the victim’s same status. “She says she got raped but she’s a lying slut who probably had it coming even if it was true, so he’s blameless.” => “He’s been unemployed and can hardly feed his family, but he’s a shiftless dishonest bum and even if it was true that big business’s unethical practices did this to him it was inevitable due to his inherent laziness and stupidity, so big business is blameless.” “She got raped ‘cuz she’s a filthy slut, but I will never be raped because I am an morally upstanding and modest lady of quality and/or I am smart and would never put myself in a position like she did.” => “He is starving/lost his house/lost his job/etc. because he is lazy/stupid/shiftless/unworthy, but I am an upstanding man with a lot of qualities and that can never happen to me.”

    I’m upset at this point about the pervasiveness of rape culture mentality and how it has pervaded everything. Whether we’re talking about rape culture or the fate of the poor in a free-market capitalist system, a lot of the language, motivations, and overall mentalities are the same. I do listen to people when they describe their experiences, and the last thing I want to do is trivialize that. I realize that a violent assault on a person-to-person level isn’t identical to a super-powered business entity socially and economically assaulting the populace.

    But I also realize there is a lot more to a rape experience than the physical violent or sexual elements, and it is to that that I was referring in my comment. I also realize that, from everything I’ve heard, that it is the psychological elements that are particularly crippling, which is why those tactics and that rhetoric is being used against OWS, just as it is used against a woman who is brave enough to face down her rapist. I don’t think it’s trivializing to point out that the tried-and-true tactics that are used to victimize and silence rape victims and protect their rapists are also being used to victimize and silence the victims of our out-of-control economic system and protect those who got us into the mess. This is one of many reasons it’s important to call that shit out–because it may seem irrelevant to some MRA or MRA-apologist when it’s being used against a “mere” woman, but if it’s shown to be successful it can be used against you by other enemies. (not the only reason, but I like to make efforts to come up with reasons for sociopaths to do the right thing–can’t prevail upon their empathy, after all.)

  295. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Shorter demonhype: “That’s nice about how victims feel and everything, but I’ll continue to use rape as a metaphor whenever I see fit.”

    Until the levels rape are not quite so epidemic in our society (and even higher in others), I’d advise you to avoid it. Even if you think the metaphor is particularly apt.

  296. chriswillett says

    To Irene Delse:

    You removed that quote from its context. I doubt you would appreciate it if someone did the same to you.

    To Denephew Ogvorbis, OM:

    What I have written in no way constitutes a defense or apology for the nasty, sexist things written to Ms. Watson. To conflate me with those individuals is an example of black-and-white thinking.

    Hey, I could be wrong on this issue. It’s happened before. But that hardly justifies the level of disrespect that people here have shown me:

    “lying misogynist asshole” – myeck waters
    “MRA asshole” – myeck waters
    “just not smart enough” – Brownian
    “cannot make a cogent point” – Mr. Fire
    “Too ignorant . . . too stupid” – Mr. Fire
    “selective thinking machine” – Just_A_Lurker
    “douchecake” – Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe
    “Douchebisquit” – Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe
    “fuckwitted idjit” – Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    “incredibly stupid” – anteprepro
    “assclam” – janine

    But of course this is acceptable, whereas abusive language used against those who you would defend isn’t.

  297. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    Note that none of those insults make a marginalized group into collateral damage in the process of demonstrating disrespect, chriswillett.

  298. Irene Delse says

    @ chriswillett:

    Sure, sure, taken out of context and all that… Except that the sentence I quoted contains a contradiction.

    Of course, you don’t like it when someone points it out!

  299. Azkyroth says

    Have you ever bothered to consider that maybe Ackerman was legitimately frightened by the OWS crowd?

    Yeah, there were probably even *gasp* BROWN PEOPLE there.

    Fucking idiot.

  300. Azkyroth says

    By the way, thanks for all the ad homs!

    Any insult isn’t an “ad hominem” you dumb sack of shit. An ad hominem is an insult used as a premise.

  301. Azkyroth says

    those who didn’t think the incident merited the attention it deserved were soon conflated with the worst of misogynists.

    Well, yeah. That’s because they were.

  302. janine says

    Hey, I could be wrong on this issue. It’s happened before. But that hardly justifies the level of disrespect that people here have shown me:

    This is where you are wrong, you earned the disrespect. You came in to repeat a claim that was wrong to begin with. Oh, wait, we should always be polite to those who repeat a bad argument.

    Fucking get over yourself you fucking whining gasbag.

  303. Azkyroth says

    But her very casual mention of it elicited a huge shitstorm of from offensive garbage.

    FIFY.

  304. Azkyroth says

    Oy, not this tired claim again? I see Jadehawk is already on the case; expect to hear from others, as well, assclam.

    Hasn’t “clam” been used as a slang term for the female genitalia too? Usually with “bearded” attached?

    *ducks*

  305. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hey, I could be wrong on this issue. It’s happened before. But that hardly justifies the level of disrespect that people here have shown me:

    Tone troll is tone trolling. If you make an ass of yourself, no matter how sincere and right you think you are, you will be called on your idiocy in blunt language. If you can’t stand that language being used against you, you must cease posting here. PZ expects us to be rewd, lewd, and crewd with tone trolls…So, put up or shut up fuckwitted idjit.

  306. Azkyroth says

    The former might give us more bratty, self-indulgent kids, but the latter gives us more authoritarian adults, and that is (IMHO) the greater social evil.

    Ever meet an authoritarian who wasn’t bratty and self-indulgent when they felt like they were the more powerful one in the relationship?

    Authoritarian parenting gives us the worst of both worlds.

  307. qwerty says

    IF she’d only had the courage to go to the park (with or without an escort), she could have done her assignment in probably half the time than it took her to write all her diatribes, whinygrams, and the various meetings to whine in person.

  308. Azkyroth says

    Shorter demonhype: “That’s nice about how victims feel and everything, but I’ll continue to use rape as a metaphor whenever I see fit.”

    I just read their post and that interpretation is a fucking lie.

  309. craigore says

    Look, I do acknowledge that it’s a loaded term which is why i offered to replace it with the word pansy (in case any of you failed to read past the first line of my statement). Mine was a snarky comment, true, made in bad taste, i acknowledge that, but hardly made in any serious sense and hardly in a manner that oppresses an entire gender – yes it has double entendre, which is hard to remove from many words that are nevertheless fun to use. The truth is I actually greatly admire strong women, and in no way think of all women as being “pussies”. i do on the other hand frown greatly upon people (men and women) who go out of their way to be thin skinned (no disrespect to rebecca watson as her concern was legitimate and her response appropriate)and for that, such individuals will expect little more than snide comments from me until such time that they knock it off. Whiny MRA assholes and PC fascists can both kiss my ass (by which I don’t mean donkey).

  310. gragra says

    You know, the little contrarian that sits on my shoulder and whispers things into my ear said much the same thing as Chris Willet (I have an evil side)- then I thought about it for about 30 seconds and came up with the following:

    Leaving aside what happened afterwards (i.e. the reactions of other people)… both women’s situations were as follows. One was in an elevator alone with a man at 4 in the morning, the other was required to go to a public place where she could have gone in broad daylight with as many friends accompanying her as she wanted, where police were close by, where she could have packed a can of mace if she wanted.

    One person made a 15 minute video which devoted at most 2 minutes to the matter, concluding with the words, “guys, don’t do that,”…. the other person wrote streams of barely coherent emails, tried to get a teacher fired, made all of her rants public in an attempt to embarrass her college.

    See the difference Chris?

  311. Denephew Ogvorbis, OM says

    craigore:

    You asshole. Asking people in a fucking public community setting to avoid shitting on the conversation with gendered insults is not Political Correctness. PC is a silencing method used to blot out dissenting ideas and attitudes. There are many, shit, there are hundreds, even thousands, of insults and derogatory terms which are not gendered. There is nothing thin-skinned about it. Gendered insults are, just as PC tactics, ways to silence certain groups of people. In short, don’t fucking use them you rectally-enhanced bozo.

    See? Lots of ways to insult without using gendered insults. And, just a hint, if you are using a slang term for a woman’s vagina, or any other gender-specific part of her body, as an insult, it is continuing the social problem of misogyny. It does not mean that you are a misogynist, but it does mean that you have written, or uttered, a misogynist statement.

  312. SallyStrange (Bigger on the Inside), Spawn of Cthulhu says

    @Azkyroth

    I went back and read it more carefully and you are right. I mischaracterized demonhype’s post. S/he did show respect for victims’ concerns, contradicting my characterization.

    Apologies, demonhype.

    I still think the rape metaphor is one to be avoided, even when it fits. Just because rape is so very common and talk of it is very triggering for many people.

  313. Mr. Fire says

    put that in your pipe and smoke it

    By the way I need to retract and apologize to jadehawk for this. I thought it was the equivalent of “have a think about that”. I did not realize that it was actually a more aggressive and hostile turn of phrase.

  314. cactuswren says

    KJ@176:
    You might get a kick, or a headache, out of Dan Hillman’s “A Year in Lubbock: Academics” postings from alt.peeves. He describes, in distressing detail, his adventures as a “baby professor” at a Lubbock educational institution which he declines to name, maintaining that “TTU” in the context of his postings stands only for “Terrible Texas University”. At one point he describes marking several students down because their PowerPoint projects, which they’d had two weeks to prepare, contained egregious spelling errors: these adult men and women protested, “But Doctor Hillman, you never said that spelling counted.”

    Here are the links: “A Year in Lubbock: Academics”, post 1, post 2, post 3

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    tielserrath@279:
    Are you at all familiar with a “movement” called TCS, or Taking Children Seriously? It’s a supposed childrearing method, based (so its proponents say) on the notion of bringing children up without coercion. Which is all very well except for the idea that acknowledging in any way that an adult might know things a child doesn’t constitutes “coercion”. So if you try to persuade a child to get vaccinated by saying, “This is to keep you from getting sick. If you don’t get the shot, you might get a bad disease”, that’s coercion. If you — there’s an actual case of this on their website — tell a child with ambylopia to wear her eyepatch for ONE HOUR PER DAY, and tell her (accurately) that if she doesn’t wear it she could suffer impaired vision, that’s “coercion” and the patch is an “instrument of torture”. According to the TCSites, in every case where parent and child disagree, it’s possible to “negotiate a common preference”.

    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    Bill Dauphin@360:
    Read the book, or rent the movie, My Sweet Charlie: it’s set in the mid 1960s and is about a poor white Southern girl (Patty Duke), sixteen and pregnant and ignorant and racist, hiding in an empty house with a college-educated black civil-rights activist on the run from the law (Al Freeman Jr). At one point she explains to him, quite cheerfully, that the local storekeeper was being polite by saying, “You tell all of your nigra friends that Joe Treadwell treats nigras right!” If he’d meant to be rude, she says, “he’d have said … you know. The other.” Later, a frustrated lesson in pronunciation (“Say knee. Now say grow. Say them together. Faster.”) leaves her asking genuinely, “You mean … nigras would rather be called Negroes?”

  315. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    The meta ad hom is very, very funny. And I’d never twigged to it before (probably saw it and missed the point), so ta very much Mr. Fire!

  316. says

    “lying misogynist asshole” – myeck waters
    “MRA asshole” – myeck waters
    “just not smart enough” – Brownian
    “cannot make a cogent point” – Mr. Fire
    “Too ignorant . . . too stupid” – Mr. Fire
    “selective thinking machine” – Just_A_Lurker
    “douchecake” – Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe
    “Douchebisquit” – Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe
    “fuckwitted idjit” – Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls
    “incredibly stupid” – anteprepro
    “assclam” – janine

    They went easy on you….especially Brownian.

  317. says

    @cactuswren: All I kept thinking as I read that was “wooooooow”. The amount of idiocy that poor guy had to deal with was just insane. Especially given my major, the thought of someone not getting pretty much academically blacklisted for being caught plagiarizing (not once, but twice) is nuts. ::note to self, don’t take a teaching job in Texas::