breaking culture

Jul 04


At 9:30pm ET, 4 July, this happened, and then all of NH started celebrating — with FIREWORKS no less. (I love this state.) #MaydayPAC


At 9:30pm ET, 4 July, this happened, and then all of NH started celebrating — with FIREWORKS no less. (I love this state.) #MaydayPAC

Jun 25

From the Department of Didn’t Work Out As Planned


"automation…in a few decades probably will empty the factories and liberate mankind from its oldest and most natural burden, the burden of laboring and the bondage to necessity."

Hannah Arendt, 1958

Jun 04

21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You're Depressed. -


A while ago, I penned a fairly angry response to something circulating on the internet – the 21 Habits of Happy People. It pissed me off beyond belief, that there was an inference that if you weren’t Happy, you simply weren’t doing the right things.

I’ve had depression for as long as I can…

Some decent advice - and from the internet!

May 25

Republic, Lost, Lost (#SuperNotCool, Amazon) -


I’m a Hachette author. Republic, Lost was published by them. But you might have read there’s some sort of spat between the publisher and Amazon. The result: the authors lose. (Here’s Hachette’s statement; Amazon has not said anything.)

So, e.g., Amazon reports Republic, Lost will take…

Mar 25


Mar 01


Feb 11

Higher Education and the labor market

Today The Chronicle of Higher Education sent me an email with three stories (among others.) First, they report survey results indicating that alumni (i.e. the handful of students who finish) of for-profit, largely online colleges had favorable views of the teaching and scheduling, they didn’t think the cost was worth it.

They also notified me of the latest editorial by Jeff Seligno, who read last week’s report in the New York Times about the latest consumer spending breakdowns for predictions about where Higher Ed will need to go. I read those reports - which point to the fact that only very high end and very low end markets are seeing any growth, with places that used to serve the hollowed-out middle class (e.g. Red Lobster and Olive Garden) finding it hard to subsist in an environment where nearly all of the income growth of the last five years has gone to the top 1% of the population - and the rest of the country has yet to recover. Seligno, assumes that this is the new normal, absent some drastic political changes:

In the absence of the political will and the job growth that will strengthen the middle class, colleges and universities will need to adjust to that economic reality with new models that reduce their costs and, thus, prices for students.

In other words, we need more McDonalds level colleges (or at least something more along the lines of a Costco) - which makes sense when you consider that the guru of “disruptive innovation” bases some of his theory on watching people buy milkshakes at the fast food chain (here you can see him explain this theory in a lecture sponsored by the University of Phoenix).

For several years it appeared that MOOCs might fill that gap, but unfortunately actual education research and experience demonstrated that serving the so-called “low-end” of the education market actually requires more skills. On the other hand, we are also being told that, if we think about why people are going to schools like Phoenix, it has more to do with getting actual jobs. And, as the Department of Labor (echoing Seligno above) points out, few of the jobs on the near horizon require anything more than a High School education.

So it is in this light that I read the reports that Texas is planning to offer an almost completely online BA, for under $13,000. There is a lot of information on the specifics of the degree, e.g. it will be somewhat competency based, which is probably a bigger threat to traditional ed than online itself (and is made possible by legislative changes brought about to foster the other online ed project Texas is already participating in, Western Governors University.) But what is barely mentioned (and obviously only marginally important to the commodity BA they are attempting to produce) is what field the degree will be in. Buried in the piece is the following, quite vague description: “The degree emphasizes organizational leadership.” If you cross reference that with the Department of Labor predictions above, you’ll see what that means. Out of the top twenty jobs with the most growth between now and 2022 the only one that requires a BA is something called, “General and operations managers.” Or organizational leadership in a pinch.

"In the absence of the political will" this is the world we’ll soon be living in. The upside is that, according to the commission offering the degree, they will still prize all the things our traditional colleges and universities do - promising to produce "graduates with critical-thinking skills who are quantitatively literate, can evaluate knowledge sources, understand diversity, and benefit from a strong liberal-arts and sciences background.” Of course, they are promising that because that is what the few employers interested in hiring people with BAs are asking for. Meaning that the idea of “critical thinking” is really “creative problem solving” i.e. figuring out how to manage their low-income, illiterate co-workers and serve their downwardly mobile, increasingly agitated customers, with fewer resources and less promise of advancement.  

Jan 20



It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the great civil rights movement leader. It’s a day for many of us to reflect on the legacy of a man who was more radical, flawed, brilliant, complex, and human than our media cares to remember and many of us care to admit. Or, if you’re…

Dec 28

Look at this zombie. Isn’t it racist and sexist? Yes, it is.


English Literature, DePaul University

See guys, it’s already been written.

Dec 12 -


I’ve been coming across various commentaries of the new scantily clad, tongue flashing and twerk-filled performances of Miley Cyrus. Many critics have claimed that Miley’s provocative behavior is inappropriate because she has so many young fans that have looked up to her since her days as…

Pretty accurate account of what Adorno & Horkheimer would saay about Miley Cyrus, from one of my students.