Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks a Lot

Let me tell you, kiddies, this semester is kicking GayProf’s ass. I have been deeply involved in “service.” For those outside the university, that is the amorphous category that is neither teaching nor research. Think of “service” as being the university equivalent of rotating your tires. Sure, everybody knows that it is necessary, but they rarely do it themselves.

While there is a general claim that service is “important,” the horrible truth is that it counts not at all for raises or promotion. This seems especially true for service to ethnic studies units, which “traditional” (read “white”) departments either don’t see or simply dismiss as “unnecessary.”

Let me tell you, for a junior professor, I have been giving a lot of service. Stupid GayProf and his stupid ideas about “caring” and all.

What this means for you, my faithful and loyal followers, is that the bloggy hasn’t been updated since Halloween. Maybe I should turn this into a holiday blog. Like Queen Elizabeth II, I will only address my loyal subjects when the shops are closed for the day.

Speaking of holidays, we are on the eve of U.S. Thanksgiving. It’s not a holiday that ever particularly spoke to me. Certainly, though, I could use the break. This year I felt fatigued over the usual rituals of cooking and gorging. Therefore I and a friend are driving to Multicultural Canadian City instead. Since Canada gave up their thanks over a month ago, and Americans rarely travel outside the states during this holiday, we got a pretty good deal for a hotel. Quite shockingly, I have never been to MCC, despite its relative proximity. Now I need to see where I stashed that wad of Canadian dollars that I used to have . . .

Skipping Thanksgiving suits my contrarian mood. Consider GayProf “going rogue.” To keep up with that theme, here are the things in the world that I am not at all inclined to be thankful for this year:

    * Holidays that hide the brutality of imperialism by pretending that the colonized welcomed their own oppressors.

    * A road close to my home that is so riddled with potholes that it threatens to literally shake my car apart when I drive down it.

    * Midwestern Funky Town, instead of fixing the huge, gaping holes on said road, decided to spend tax money installing speed-bumps on it. And people wonder why this state is floundering?

    * Creepy, crooked, and incompetent Treasury Secretaries who are in the back pocket of Wall Street.

    * The weakness of the U.S. dollar, resulting in part from creepy, crooked, and incompetent Treasury Secretaries who are in the back pocket of Wall Street.

    * Graduate students who do not recognize the difference between professional and personal relationships.

    * Professors who do not recognize the difference between professional and personal relationships.

    * Potlucks – A form of “entertaining” that I despise. Don’t invite me to dinner and then ask me to bring my own meal. If I wanted to cook, I’d have stayed home. Why not just ask me to bring my own silverware and dishes, too? Potlucks send the message that "I want to spend time with you, but I don't want it to cost me that much money or effort." This is especially true if it is for an event where I am also expected to bring a gift, like a wedding shower. Then you are just lazy and greedy. I have an anti-potluck agenda.

    * Commercials with cavemen, talking ovens, or that creepy disembodied blonde woman who has an unhealthy relationship with her phone.

    * Americans who are so greedy that they will dismiss their obligations to their fellow citizens and refuse to acknowledge that access to health care is a basic human right.

    * Organized sports.

    * The most recent Windows update that seems to have somehow disabled my scanner.

    * Star Trek’s release on DVD reminding me of its failures in terms of race and gender.

    * Colleagues who don’t actually provide service themselves, but are quite willing to criticize those who do.

    * The remake of V that turned out to be so boring and slow. I can still taste the suck.

    * Pharmaceutical companies that try to convince us that "inadequate eyelashes" is a serious condition that is afflicting a huge section of our population.

    * The dumbass liquid rule for airport screening.

    * Project Runway's move to Los Angeles. It seems to have left Tim Gunn depressed.

    * Big Midwestern University obstinately refuses to acknowledge the colossal failure of on-line course evaluations.

    * Logo has never approached me to star in a sitcom based on this blog.

    * Guys who ruin a perfectly nice time dating by prematurely demanding to ask those “relationship” questions. I don’t understand why there is always a rush to define a relationship. Nothing makes me feel pressured like, “Where is this going?” or “Are we on the same page for the future?” or “What’s your name?”

    * The karmic wheel inevitably grinds me down because of the attitude above.

    * Incompetent bartenders.

    * Being greeted with laughter when I propose that, instead of me always having to board a plane, my family might actually travel to Midwestern Funky Town instead.

    * Chrissie Hynde never gets her recognition as an influential songwriter and recording artist.

    * The Delta and Northwest merger has already demonstrated an even greater lack of service (Hello, antitrust laws???).

    * Having to go around the table and name something for which we are thankful before we are allowed to eat.

    * The words “very,” “opinion,” or “lifestyle” in student essays.

    * Bloggers who take themselves too seriously.