Not Going To Go There

Every so often a headline will stop me in my tracks. This is one of them:

Not hitting the link nor, as a public service, am I going to post it so that others can. I think we can see all we need to know right there.

I have standards.

Moving on, here’s another:

This one, however, does get a link because fuckem.

Yikes

I am SO glad I am outside the mating game, or rather, the mating nightmare:

The mate landscape is now so bad for American beta males that they’re wifing up late 30s Wall victims and aged feminist careercunts for one or two, max, years of tolerable sexual relief with a rapidly depreciating ASSet who will get her one kid with him after wasting her prime bangability on the cad carousel quaffing birth control pills like vitamins, and who will unceremoniously divorce rape him after the beta dupe has pitched in to help raise the little snotbag during the most inglorious, dull, and thankless years of its life between birth and toddlerhood.
No joys of fatherhood for you!
Only everlasting financial servitude and psychological destruction.
A sex market that rewards this sort of dynamic is irretrievably broken. We are spitting in the face of millennia of sex polarity, denying the God of Biomechanics his tribute. Instead of passionate love marriages with young women notarized by multiple children, we have socially expedient striver marriages in which haggard careerist shrews on perpetual headache mode diddle the bean to Fifty Shades of Gay and suck dry the resources and emotional commitment of beat-up fap-weary sex-starved limp beta noodleboys before chucking them to win cashmoneyshekels right at the moment fatherhood presumably gets interesting for the damned fools.

I love the way this man writes, but I’m ineffably depressed about his subject matter. Unfortunately, what he’s saying cannot be gainsaid, and therein lies the pity of it.

 

Poor Teachers

Teaching has always been one of those professions which is driven by passion or idealism — the desire to teach the young about a subject the teacher thinks is worthwhile for them to know — and as with all professions that can call on people with such idealism, the pay sucks. It’s just as true for professions like acting, advertising, music and the like: you’ve got a market which just begs to exploit its workers, hence the appearance of institutions like the Screen Actors Guild and teachers’ unions which negotiate things like pay scales and working hours.

The people who sit at the bottom end of the totem pole are the part-timers: the people who don’t work enough to qualify for industry benefits, or who are kept outside the part of the hierarchy which does. Part-time creative types (as explored here) employed by ad agencies are little more than hired guns, used for a particular project and then fired when the thing ends.

What happened in tertiary education was that the academe created one way to protect its long-serving or more meritorious teachers: tenure, or the reward for a person who could continue to work at their subject (with research and/or teaching) with a certain degree of job security. It’s the dictionary definition of a guild, by the way.

I remember talking to several of my erstwhile professors when I was still a student and thinking about life after graduation, and while all of them encouraged me to go further with post-grad study (a couple still pester me to do so, incidentally), they were also all very circumspect in telling me that my job prospects would be good (because of my scholarship), but my actual employment was likely to be shaky. Even with a PhD., the best I could hope for was adjunct-professorship, which did not excite me for obvious reasons. (Then Life intervened and I had to quit any thoughts of doing that anyway.)

So this article (via Insty) evoked from me a wry smile, because it epitomizes for me not the plight of the adjunct professor who’s been forced to become a call-girl, but just emblematic of the teaching profession in general.

There is nothing she would rather do than teach. But after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.
She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch, several years ago, when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction. “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad.”

Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness.

I used to know two women, one a schoolteacher, the other a theater actress, who had to resort to this activity because they just couldn’t make ends meet on their pittance of a salary. And I’ve talked before about how I feel about prostitution — or rather, the change in my attitude towards it over time. And ironically, female adjuncts have it easier because the prostitution market favors women over men. Men deliver pizzas, women sell their bodies.

Glenn thinks that this phenomenon means that the Ivy League should be abolished. I differ somewhat in that I fail to see why academics should be treated differently from any other profession — in other words, if adjunct professors as a group are being ill-treated by their employers, they should form a union just as movie actors did back in the 1930s. There’s nothing sacred about the academe, after all: it’s a profession like any other; and its purported lofty idealism doesn’t make it any more special — especially when the institution treats its lower-tier workers so badly that they have to fuck strangers for money just to make ends meet.

So they’ve started to talk about unionizing, with a predictable response from the academe, which has ironically proven itself to be little different from the Gilded Age robber barons they would normally excoriate. In other words, the education establishment is no different from any other commercial institution, which kind of undermines the whole “sacred mission of educating” nonsense they’ve been spouting for decades.

And if they’re going to behave like corporations, perhaps — no, not perhaps — we should start treating them like one. On current performance, therefore, their results are pathetic: high dropout rates, ill-educated graduates, no ROI on university degrees, over-reliance on government funding, overpaid senior executives and authoritarian management. And let’s not forget our original thesis: junior staff needing to resort to prostitution to supplement their inadequate wages.

John D. Rockefeller would have fired the lot, if they’d run one of his companies in this way.

Semi-Finalist

So in the ongoing search for a replacement for Nigella Lawson as my online fantasy woman extraordinaire, another contestant has come to mind: she’s over 50, somewhat classy — at least, she cleans up well — and boy… her other qualifications are shall we say, outstanding:

Now, I am not normally smitten by our Hispanic cousins, simply because I tend to prefer whiter-than-white skin, but let me tell you Salma Hayek gets me with her accent, too. I know that Mexican thing isn’t everybody’s favorite, but to me it’s cute and exotic (video link). And did I mention her other attributes?

The only part of Salma which might cause me some concern is that she’s that excitable-Latina type — all drama and waving arms — and I prefer a quiet life.

So maybe the search will have to continue…

Music, Lyrics and Wisdom

I can’t remember if I’ve written before about my fondness for the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, but I will now.

Grant of course plays his typical screen persona of the diffident, occasionally-clueless Brit twerp — it works for him, and clearly works for pretty much everyone, so why not? — this time, as a has-been 80’s pop star who can write a lovely pop tune, while Barrymore is a ditzy girl who just happens to have a soaring, but unrealized talent as a lyricist. The movie shows how they meet and fall in love, and that’s all we need to say about the romance. But that’s not what interests me about the story.

You see, the movie is filled with all sorts of insight into the creative process. Anyone who wants to make some kind of living at being “creative” should watch this movie a dozen times, because there is so much received wisdom in the script that it should be used as a college text. A sample  is when Barrymore professes to be unable to write a couple of lines because she’s “not feeling inspired”, and Grant excoriates that nonsense by shouting explosively:

“Inspiration is for amateurs!”

No truer words were ever spoken. If you earn a living at anything, Rule #1 is that you have to show up for work every day — and not just show up, but produce something. It’s as true of the creative process as it is for an assembly-line worker.

I’m often asked how I can write something new for this blog each day, and my answer is quite simple: I sit down at my computer, and don’t get up until I’ve written at least two or three posts. Not all of them will get published — I’m very harsh towards my own writing — but I do this every single day, circumstances permitting. Note I use the word “circumstances” and not “inspiration”, because if you are truly creative, as Grant reveals above, you don’t need inspiration to produce something.

When I’m writing a novel, by the way, I spend at least ten hours a day writing. It could be new content, it could be research, or it could be editing; all of that is part of the creation of the work, and all of that is productive.

I remember fondly that when Jack Kerouac revealed that he wrote On The Road in one, long continuous explosion of creation, Truman Capote aptly commented: “That’s not writing; that’s typing!” And he’s absolutely correct: On The Road is a long, muddled and ultimately incoherent tract, and if it can be used for any “teaching moment” it shouldn’t be for its brilliant writing, but as an object lesson in how not to write a novel. Kerouac wrote a lot of other novels, and most of them are better than On The Road because he actually worked at them, rather than relying on creativity (fueled, it should be said, by booze and amphetamines: not the best of influences).

I know, I know: writing a pop song is not the same as writing a novel; but the process is the same.

Incidentally, Music and Lyrics also features a couple of other star turns: Haley Bennett is quite astonishing as a pop diva, and Kristin Johnson equally so as Barrymore’s middle-aged groupie wannabe sister. Come to think of it, there are no bad performances in this movie — and how often do you get to say that?