Two thoughts on 2017

Contempt – even at its most hateful – is a form of *audacity* – and it can animate the creative imagination as truly as any other form.

That person over there doesn’t need to speak in order to beat you in an argument, only spit. You overvalue nuance and number in your vocabulary.

And one from 2015, apropos:

Liberals loathe the political Right’s hypocrisy and unfairness. Conservatives loathe the Left’s immorality and weakness. The groups’ estimations of their own qualities, though, are less precise.

The question of “hypocrisy” is particularly interesting. La Rochefoucauld noted that “hypocrisy is the respect vice pays to virtue.” One can’t be a hypocrite without recognizing that virtue – that morality – exists. This recognition it itself makes hypocrites superior (in their minds) even to decent, noble liberals who discount “morality” as dogmatic and unrealistic. Think of fundamentalist Christians who think that belief in Jesus is the sole criterion to enter heaven; one’s behaviour is beside the point. So, to the Right hypocrisy is a good thing, though they don’t say so.

“Writer navigates tech’s male culture in Seattle with acerbic wit”

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My friend and Ellavon alum Kristi Coulter made the cover of today’s Seattle Times. I can’t remember ever feeling so great witnessing a friend’s growing fame and success.

I have spent the entirety of my adulthood as a professional editor, and can’t even count how many published writers I have worked with. It’s got to be at least a thousand. Kristi is probably the best pure writer of them all. (Maybe tied with Robin Plan, a very different writer!)

(Her FB page is a total gas.)

Alpha and Omega

SafeThatWay

Safe that way, West End.

My enlightened neighborhood

WestEndSexworkersMemorial

Clueless

I’ve been walking up and down Burnaby Street in Vancouver’s West End for twenty years and only just today did I notice that in front of this particular apartment building is … plastic grass!

Graduate School is tough enough already

The Republican House of Representatives’ tax plan would transform “tough enough” into *impossible* for tens of thousands of graduate students who receive fellowships that allow them to study “for free.” (Of course these students also usually teach as well, and those in the sciences do publishable research.)

Like a lot of my friends back in the day, I entered grad school with very little money in my checking account. (My savings account? Ha!) My Stanford University fellowship waived my tuition (about $60K in today’s dollars) and provided me with a small stipend (about $13K in today’s dollars). If my fellowship became a taxable benefit, I would have owed more than the equivalent of $8K/year or so in taxes to the IRS, in effect forcing me to choose between food and shelter – that is, preventing me from attending graduate school all together. (Loans would not have been a smart option for a Humanities student like myself; I had no expectation of getting a well-paying job before I went completely bald.)

Eviscerating the population of American grad students wouldn’t just wipe out generations of young scholars. It would also destroy the main mission of large universities – teaching. No tuition tax break = no T.A.s, no teachers of freshman composition, etc.

I cannot think of a simpler, more perfect way of destroying the standing of United States’ higher education.

cross-posted at NoContest.CA

Applications

There is no better you than you.

Write with that in mind.

(It’s that time of year for students of mine.)