Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Big Thirsty ... if that's ok with you

For those of you who do not pay attention to Northern Kanukastan, and who would? I mean, a bunch of back bacon eating, Rush loving, metric users ... here is the latest great political move.

A little while ago the B.C. government passed Bill 22 and took away the right of grade school teachers to strike. Now, a grade 1 teacher in the town of Prince Rupert could disciplinary measures after showing a political message in the form of a quote. So, who did she quote? Che? Nope. Fidel? Nope. Heck, it wasn't even Marx.

The quote reads, "I know, up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down on the bottom we, too, have rights."

That's right, a grade 1 teacher is in trouble for displaying a quote from Dr. Seuss's "Yertle the Turtle."

Q: So, friends in misery, I ask you, what quotes have you posted in the office or on the office door and have you ever been disciplined as a result?

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p.s. Rush as a new CD out. (sorry about that)

48 comments:

  1. Here's a news blog story if anyone wants more.

    Let's face: Geisel was an anarchy-loving multiculturalist, a left-liberal environmentalist, and he had a fondness for unnatural beasts. It's surprising the authoritarian backlash against his work didn't start sooner.

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  2. I have a pin with Rat from "Pearls Before Swine"
    That reads "Peiple are idiots. And I hate them." I keep it out tucked in a location I can see clearly, but the snowflakes can't.

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  3. Hmmm. When I was teaching at the Naval Academy, I got some static from the following: “Life is hard. It’s harder if you’re stupid.” which is incredibly ironic since it's a quote from Sergeant Striker (John Wayne) in “The Sands of Iwo Jima”.
    I also got crap about:
    5 most dangeous things you will ever hear in the Navy..
    A Seaman saying, "I learned this in Boot Camp..."
    A Petty Officer saying, "Trust me, Sir..."
    A ensign or any Naval Academy midshipman saying, "Based on my experience..."
    A Lieutenant saying, "I was just thinking..."
    A Chief chuckling, "Watch this $hit..."

    I was told that my humor was "inappropriate for Navy personnel" which was pure crap: I've heard MANY so much more vastly salty comments. The ones I got called out for were pretty vanilla by comparison, but seriously . . . . . .

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  4. The news story wasn't helpful in me figuring out where the quote was displayed. It was on some materials the teacher had, apparently? Are the students supposed to read the quote and then tell their parents to support the union? They are 1st graders, be happy they can count to 100.

    I hate it when people have quotes at the end of their emails. One more goddamn thing I need to read, and usually it's dumb as shit anyway.

    Look, I'm in my mid-30s and have never belonged to a union for any job I've ever had. I'm on the fence. Peons get treated like shit, I certainly get that; plus I love sticking it to the man. But I also don't trust any organization or person to look out for me, except me.

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    1. This news story has a more detailed explanation: "The controversy erupted after an elementary school teacher in the district was disciplined for keeping a placard from a teachers’ rally in her car. The sign from a recent demonstration read: ‘Kids Deserve More: Bill 22 Gives Less.’ Other teachers began storing items in their car in a show of solidarity. One of the teachers wanted to get a baseline on what was appropriate as she planned on abiding by the school district’s wishes. She sent a list of about 20 quotations to the district for approval including a quote from former Canadian Prime Minister John A. [sic] Diefenbaker. All of the submitted quotes were OK with the district, except for two, including one from Yertle the Turtle. 'I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights,' one turtle says to Yertle. The school district said the quote was 'definitely political messaging,' and pointed out that the teacher’s vehicle was parked on private property."

      I wonder what the other quotation was that they objected to.

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    2. Ah, ok. Glad to hear that the admins have time to walk through parking lots and look into the teacher's cars. The way they reacted made it seem as though the teacher was printing these things off and handing them out to the students.

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    3. "I also don't trust any organization or person to look out for me, except me." - the brainwashing has worked then! The most serious damage the right wing has done is not that it has largely succeeded in eliminating the right to organize, but that it has persuaded all of us peons that there was no point doing so in the first place.

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    4. Ah, I've always been this way about large organizations, even before the current anti-union climate. You wouldn't believe how much tinfoil I go through.

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  5. Well, radical individualism certainly has brought our country to its current state of mass prosperity and ongoing peace!

    Anyway.

    I have an Onion article taped to my door that says "Women Now Empowered by Everything a Woman Does." It's a relentless and hilarious send-up of post-feminism. And highly amusing when my students take it seriously.

    No disciplinary measures though; at my institution it's only students who get stomped for exercising their first amendment rights.

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    1. Hey now, I prefer the term cynical realist. I'm fairly lefty, but my generation has extremely low expectations for a future social security net.

      I'm sure there is an appropriate quote though.

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    2. Oh, well, me too. I'm an Xer but we graduated knowing the Boomers would suck up all the resources, which they did. But lots of their permission to do so started with union-busting and deregulation. Meanwhile, I plan on a retirement diet of cat food till it's time for me to check into the Soylent Green-style euthanasia center.

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    3. Hell yeah! My 'mandatory pension contribution' is going up 5% next year just to maintain solvency of the retirement system, even though I'm just a temporary employee. The higher-up boobs blame years of mismanagement and raiding by the legislature, which is probably true. But on this end it feels like a state-run ponzi scheme I have no choice but to buy into.

      New quotes for the door:
      "Cat food: A legitimate protein source for your golden years."

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    6. @ Bison:

      I'm 65 years old. That places me squarely at the beginning of the Boomer generation. I adjuncted for 15 years. Most of my teacher friends who are my age had similar experiences. It was the generation before us who walked into teaching jobs with telephone interviews because some administrator somewhere all of a sudden needed a body or ten to stand in front of the classroom.

      Don't think you're the only generation in history to get fucked over. Don't think that every Boomer was born with some kind of demographic silver spoon in his mouth.

      If you're proud to have never belonged to a union, then your "Oh, poor me" isn't gonna generate much sympathy from me.

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    8. Bison: Again, are you sure academia is where you want to be? As a science Ph.D., don't you have other options? As I'm sure you know, Ken Lay had a Ph.D. in economics, and that's not even a real science!

      Also: we have an active faculty union here in California, and I highly recommend it. Our new Provost recently tried to break up our College of Arts and Humanities, and our College of Science and Mathematics (giving my physics department, which actually runs reasonably well as physics departments go, to the totally dysfunctional engineering school). He thought we'd all go along with it cheerfully, and the ensuing outcry genuinely caught him by surprise. What definitely changed his mind was when a big alum donor skipped a $1m donation. That made our Provost come around to our way of thinking, real quick.

      Next, we will be taking on the Chancellor of our whole university system, since I can't imagine that the strike vote that we're having will fail. If you have no other faith in unions, you may still look at them as entertainment.

      F&T: I rather doubt that you're going to be reduced to eating cat food. One reason is: Have you seen the price of cat food lately? I was thinking of telling my cat to go catch something himself, but he'd stop dragging in bottles of Scotch, so I figure we're even.

      And speaking of radical individualism, Rush are indeed fans of Ayn Rand.

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    9. @Phillip, it's not pride, it's my own ignorance, I seriously haven't had the option of joining a union or not across all my jobs.

      I ask my friends who do belong to unions and I get mixed reviews. Teacher friend's union says it basically sacrifices the young teachers for the old and established. Of course that might be a response to the current environment. He wishes he had another option.

      In my grad days, the UAW tried to get the grad assistants to organize. I was on a fellowship so I couldn't vote. However, many of the other assistants thought the organization tactics bordered on harassment. I wondered if the UAW knew as much about being graduate students as we knew about putting cars together.

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    10. @Froderick, I think regardless of the field, unions will be something that I'll need to navigate. Like any group I'm sure there will be good and bad things. Faculty unions are probably a different beast anyway, comparatively.

      I'm no Ken Lay or Ayn Rand fan. Part of my work involves government and education, so I certainly believe and uphold the benefits of a supportive society. I'm just a pessimist until proven otherwise.

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    11. @Bison:

      I misunderstood you. I apologize.

      Go back and look at the numbers, and you'll find that (out here in California, at least) the adjunctification of higher education began when Boomers--the bulge in the belly of the demographic snake--began to get out of grad school.

      Wherever I've worked, and I've worked in education all my adult life, if there wasn't a union to join, I tried to organize one.

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  6. A new Rush album?!? June 12 simply cannot get here soon enough.

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  7. On my door I have a "Keep Flying and Stay Shiny" poster, and a poster of Captain Malcolm Reynolds that says "You don't know me, son, so let me explain this to you once: If I ever kill you, you'll be awake. You'll be facing me, and you'll be armed." Done in solidarity w/ Wisconsin prof who caught shit from the uni about having the same poster on his door: http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education/university-of-wisconsin-backs-down-on-firefly-poster-flap/

    Nobody's said a gorram word to me about it.

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  8. I've taped the odd CM post to my door. No fallout yet.

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    1. And I have to admit, that I've long thought that our Prime Minister reminds me of Yertle the Turtle. Even before he became PM, he just always wanted to be "lord of all that he sees".

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    2. I had no idea how many fellow Canuckistanis there were here!

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  9. I was thinking maybe we should all wear and/or post the Yertle quotation in solidarity. I'm disturbed by the idea that a car, even one parked on school property, isn't private. I suppose if child porn or a giant blowup sex doll were clearly visible, I might understand the concern (though in my area, the latter might just be an indication that the teacher wanted to use the carpool lane while commuting to and from school). Even displaying political slogans on a sunshield might be questionable if the writing were big enough to be seen from a distance. But what about bumper stickers? Banning them strikes me as an infringement of free speech. And if one needs to walk up to the car and peer in to see the "political" material, the teacher isn't trying to make a political statement on school grounds.

    There's nothing currently on my office door except a sticker saying that I'll treat anyone respectfully regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. (shouldn't need to be said, but apparently it does; in any case it's a university-sanctioned program, so no problems, though I did encounter one student who assumed I couldn't possibly be Christian because of it. As it turned out, we share a denomination; I tried to explain briefly, without stepping over any lines, why I consider the display, and the beliefs it represents, an outgrowth of rather than counter to my religious faith). Both I and my office mate have a few things on the walls, but we've never encountered any pushback, and even a partial inventory might be identifying.

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    1. I like this idea. I'll put it up tomorrow (though nobody ever passes down my corridor anyway).

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    2. My sign on my door (similar to yours) for a campus group (not university sanctioned, but still a group that stands for the equal respect of all) was removed and in its place was a note from Administration saying I could only post "university-approved" items on my door. That notice still sit on my door, surrounded by all manner of things students and colleagues have printed about freedom of speech and whatnot. My door has become the "free speech" zone.

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    3. @Ursula: ours comes under the general "safe zone" rubric; here's a page with some info and resources: http://www.lgbtcampus.org/old_faq/safe_zone.html .

      I work at a state university that includes sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination clause (though there's actually been periodic conflict with more conservative governors and/or legislatures over whether we're allowed to have a more inclusive policy than the state as a whole). However, I've also seen a program of this sort work at a (liberal) Catholic University, at least a decade or so ago. The wording there was a big vaguer, but I actually liked it better. My current sign says I'm an "ally" to LGBTQ people; the signs at the Catholic university said something more along the lines of "you will be treated with respect in this office regardless of your race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation." As I said above, none of the above should really have to be said, but sadly, it does seem necessary. I've never had a student ask me for direct support or counseling (which is a good thing; that's not my job), but I do think a few have felt freer to pick GLBTQ-related research topics.

      @Cynic: I like your solution to the removal of your sign. Sometimes leaving their nonsense up for all to view is the best revenge.

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  10. There are days I'm sorely tempted by many of these: http://subversive.myshopify.com/collections/pdfs

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  11. After I shared a few stories about students with a non-academic friend, he bought me a sign: "I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter," which got me in trouble with my chair, who felt it was "too negative" and was creating a hostile image of our department. It still sits on my bookshelf, where students routinely read it and laugh.

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  12. I am working on a cross-stitch that says "Don't make me cut you".

    On my door there is a picture of Chaucer calling Gower a wanker, which I think would get me in trouble if people around here knew the meaning of the word wanker.

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  13. Walt once said that everything on your door beyond contact information and office hours is academic masturbation. I tend to agree with Walt, if only to stay off his bad side.

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    1. That sounds like some of the crazzy (yet righteous) shit I would say. File it. Lock it down. Give it the grease pencil finish and wait for the accolades.

      Stay frosty,
      WW

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    2. But masturbation is fun, isn't it?

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  14. I don't have anything on my door. But I did print out the CM or RYP post about "Do not care more about their education than they do." I keep this handy so it is easy accessible whenever I need to read it.

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  15. True story, word of honor ("honour" for you Kanucks):

    During my time as an Accursed Visiting Assistant Professor at a university run like a feudal estate, I burst out laughing when I first saw the sign, "THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES." It so fit that place. I wanted to put a copy on my door, but I was talked out of it by the Associate Prof across the hall. He argued, persuasively, that our Utterly Humorous, Intellectually-and-Integrity-Challenged Chair wouldn't like it...

    By the way, I know that Canadian Club is delightful, but why bother with Rush when you have Neil Young?

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    1. There's a lot of us Canuckistanis a little baffled by the whole Rush thing. One of my high school friends once called them "the band for people who can't spell Blue Oyster Cult".

      And I apologize for Nickleback, but they don't seem quite as pretentious as Rush. I think they're content to continue the Canuckistani tradition of talent-impaired Hoser-rock started by Loverboy and Trooper.

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    2. "Now, now, the Canadian Government has apologized for Bryan Adams on several occasions!"

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    3. Love the South Park reference. They should have been apologizing for Celine Dion! ;)

      Rush is going out on tour this fall. I've already received the Pollstar notification for the date in Large Urban Community. I do love Rush, pretentiousness and all. As for Nickelback, they're one of those bands I'd like to see if I could pick the set list. Every now and again, they put something out I really like. Then they have to blow it by releasing a series of groaners. The one time I did see them in concert, it was almost like having a rapid series of bi-polar cycles.

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    4. RaoG, I hope you're not lumping April Wine in there too...

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  16. Or Leonard Cohen. (As I think drunk in a midnight choir would agree.)

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    1. Indeed...though I'm pretty sure they'd revoke my citizenship if I couldn't at least sing the chorus of Closer to the Heart...

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  17. We have a good, strong faculty union where I work and no one bats an eye if we put union stuff on our office doors. I wouldn't want it any other way. The overall membership of our union--local and parent--is smart, passionate, and committed to social justice issues. So I actually do trust them to have my back, because I've witnessed them going to bat many times for our members.

    BC teachers have been putting up with some epic shit lately. In their honour, here's the last verse of Billy Bragg's Internationale:

    When we fight, provoked by their aggression
    Let us be inspired by life and love
    For though they offer us concessions
    Change will not come from above.

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    1. @ aemilia, I suppose like any group, there are good and bad. Sounds like that's one of the good ones.

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  18. For the longest time I had on the back of my door a Dilbert cartoon with Dogbert waving some sort of sceptre saying "Out out you demons of stupidity!"

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