Category Archives: Protest


20 Funny: The August Version (Part 2)

11. “Have you ever wondered about the stupidity of the term ‘o’clock’?  Americans have happily incorporated into our everyday speech a term that makes us sound like leprechauns.” Gene Weingarten, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The Washington Post, from The Hypochondriac’s Guide to Life. And Death.

12. Voice-mail prompt: “After the tone please leave your I.Q. or your blood pressure, whichever is higher.” Lewis Frumkes, author of How To Raise Your I.Q. by Eating Gifted Children.

13. On health f…


13 Ways of Looking at ‘Yeshiva’

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. 
It was a small part of the pantomime.

As you may well not have heard on your corporate nightly news, the Obama-era National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has been near-paralyzed by years of Republican dirty tricks leading to resignations and scandal that included frequent leaking of confidential board proceedings to former Republican board members advising the Romney camp.  With the Department of Justice eyeballing the corporate hacks in question, howe…


Stewart and Colbert Not Funny? Puhlease!

Over at The Baffler, Steve Almond writes that those of us who think The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are comedic genius are just not smart enough to understand that they’re not that funny. According to Almond, the fact that so many of us revere Stewart and Colbert is

not evidence of a world gone mad so much as an audience gone to lard morally, ignorant of the comic impulse’s more radical virtues. Over the past decade, political humor has proliferated not as a daring form of social comment…


A Victory for John Roberts

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  and the individual mandate, the anchor of the law, which drew the most scrutiny.  Writing for the majority, in  NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS v. SEBELIUS, Justice Roberts opined that the law is constitutional under Congress’ taxing authority.  In a 5-4 decision, Roberts upheld Barack Obama’s signature achievement.  The full text of the decision is here.

The decision is a victory for Barack Obama an…


Rethinking the Bush Legacy

Recently, I posted a column about the decidedly pernicious vitriol against the Obama family, targeting not only the President, but even his children with racialized death threats (to kill his “monkey” children).  Some responses to the column offered provocative, insightful comments. Yet, others succumbed to the reductive, which underscored the message behind the post.  As one law professor told me, “It becomes clear from reading the comments that some Americans become very defensive about th…


Sympathy for the President?

I shouted out “Who killed the Kennedys?”
When after all it was you and me.

UVa’s board of trustees (“Visitors”) are widely rumored to be considering reinstalling not-quite-ousted President Teresa A. Sullivan after a three-week public-relations debacle that has Sullivan staggering under all the white hats and halos, and the Visitors themselves painted in shades of black (their chair, Helen Dragas, playing Mistress of the Dark Arts). As soon as the Visitors announced the vote of reconsideration,…


What, Me Angry?

(Flickr/CC photo by Ricardo Liberato)

Today I am angry about everything. I started off the day by getting mad at myself. I forgot to put gas in the car yesterday, which meant that I need to go to the service station, which meant I’d be late for my first meeting.

I’m mad at the foolish woman I was yesterday who didn’t plan for the efficient and considerate woman that I woke up as today. I’d like to go back and yell at me. (When this wish to tell myself off in different voices becomes too frequent…


On This Rock

Cary Nelson

Cary Nelson completes his third consecutive term as AAUP president next week. No one serving in that role has accomplished so much with so little against a mountain of obstacles that would have sent weaker personalities scurrying back to their carrels and laboratory benches. During his tenure, he averted near-certain financial collapse, calmed near-annual rebellions from the union affiliates, appeased traditionalists, weathered the unionization of the staff, oversaw the departure of …


Riot Porn

I can’t say I understand the lyrics of the recently released video “No Church in the Wild,” but the video pulsates, and what it pulsates to is the allure of riots, riot police, and Molotov cocktails. This is no clunky fringe production by some black bloc kid crashing out of middle school to make a name for himself with a big bang, but an arresting co-production by two of the gargantuan names in hip-hop, Jay-Z and Kanye West, along with Frank Ocean.  It’s accrued 3,349,000 views at this writing.


Pharmed Out: an Interview With Adriane Fugh-Berman (Part 2)

Adriane Fugh-Berman

Last week I posted the first half of my interview with Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, the director of the Pharmed Out project at Georgetown University Medical Center, which will be holding its 3rd annual conference on June 14-15.  At the end of Part 1, we were discussing the need for informed consent in medical school when attending physicians remove the souls of medical students.  We’ll pick up the conversation from there.

Can you think of any particularly bad moments that seem em…


Pharmed Out: an Interview With Adriane Fugh-Berman

In June, I will be returning to Washington for the annual Pharmed Out conference, a project located at Georgetown University Medical Center.  It is one of my favorite events of the year, in part because of the wide array of academics, journalists, and activists who attend, but mainly because of its extraordinarily committed, outspoken director, Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, and her merry band of student volunteers.  Adriane agreed to an interview by email.  Part 1 appears below.  I will post Part …


Hoist by Her Own Petard?

As I mentioned in my last post on improving our comments policy, I had my say about Naomi Schaefer Riley’s work roughly a year ago (Giggling at Stereotypes). Over time I think most reasonable observers will agree that the issue with her work isn’t one flawed post, but a history of offenses against academic norms.

Together with shameless hit pieces like The Faculty Lounges, her assault on African-American Studies was not an exception, but a repetition, of serious blunders against both academic an…


Rejecting Government Offer, Quebec Students Persist in Historic Strike

A guest post by Lilian Radovac

Last Friday, representatives of Quebec’s student unions were summoned to emergency talks with the government. They were joined by college and university administrators and labor union leaders, whose goal was to hammer out an agreement that would end the 12-week long strike.

Meanwhile, members of the Quebec Liberal Party were gathering in Victoriaville, 70 miles southwest of the provincial capital, for the first day of their annual policy convention.

As negotiations…


Is Freedom of Assembly a Dead Letter?

James Madison, rabble-rouser in chief? (Portrait from Wikipedia)

It’s now routine for police to disperse Occupy encampments, to confine demonstrators inside metal fences, corral them in plastic, and sequester them in “free speech zones” far removed from gatherings they want to influence, or denounce, or otherwise communicate with or about. Public spaces are treated as if they belong to the government, to be doled out by the spoonful, and not to the people, even though the First Amendment is quit…


‘Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?’

Rodney King (photo from Wikipedia)

Twenty years ago this week, riots swept through Los Angeles.  Rioters looted stores and then burned them to the ground.  Photographers and journalists attempted to capture the mêlée, but some were physically assaulted in the process. South Central and South East Los Angeles were on fire. The vitriol and violence emerged hours after several white police officers were acquitted by an all-white jury in the infamous Rodney King beating case.  A year before, Ro…


U. of California Administration Disgraces Freedom of Assembly (Again)

A gang of dangerous youth obstructing the efficient functioning of the educational apparatus (Flickr Commons)

The ghost of Clark Kerr moans and rattles its chains, reminding us how the University of California, in its majesty, acquired a reputation for disrespect of democratic citizenship almost half a century ago, when it tried to turn the Berkeley campus into a politics-free zone.  Now, courtesy of Maryan Monalisa Gharavi at The New Inquiry, comes the following travel alert from the University’…


The Biggest Student Uprising You’ve Never Heard Of

250,000 students pack the streets in largest demo in Quebec history

A guest post by Lilian Radovac. (BTW, SoCal readers may want to know that Marc is speaking at UC-Irvine a 4 p.m. 4/23 on New Media/New Protests.)

On an unseasonably warm day in late March, a quarter of a million postsecondary students and their supporters gathered in the streets of Montreal to protest against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees by 75% over five years.  As the crowd marched in seemingly endless w…


The Demeaning of Academic Freedom in Michigan

When the Michigan legislature returns from recess next week, and votes funds for higher education (far more meager than they used to be, but never mind), it will vote on Section 273a, passed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee, which, according to the Lansing State Journal, reads:

It is the intent of the legislature that a public university that receives funds in section 236 shall not collaborate in any manner with a nonprofit worker center whose documented activities include coercion throu…


Poor Little ALEC Is Being Bullied

“Bullying” is now officially a moral panic. Second graders are accused of “bullying” for saying “I hate you” on the playground. Lady Gaga is so concerned about it she gave Harvard a small fortune to start an an anti-bullying institute. During moral panics, Stanley Cohen tells us,

a condition, episode, person or group of persons become defined as a threat to societal values and interests.

The most important thing to know about a moral panic is that the actual cause of the panic is often deflected…


Putin’s Russia Is So Not Gay

Masha Gessen's profile photo on FB

I spent a lot of years living in Soviet Russia and wrote my first book on Queer in Russia. Back then there was a joke:

In America, you send your gays to Camp San Francisco. Here we send our gays to Camp Siberia.

It wasn’t funny because it was more or less true (not to mention insane asylums, forced electroshock conversion therapies, etc.). Alas, the Russia of Vladimir Putin is an equally grim place to be queer.

Recently several regions have passed laws that mak…