Today in honor of Every Dog’s Worst Day Ever, I’ve got an article on Slate about the recent act of tween arson in my hometown, which burned the historic (but unused and contested) ballpark to the ground. AMERICA.
You may remember the author of a certain infamous “big-girl panties” LTE that briefly went viral on the Chronicle of Higher Ed‘s website last year. Just kidding, you don’t, because it was ridiculous and everyone forgot about it. In said letter to the editor, a full-time tenured something at somewhere (honestly, I forgot) criticized adjuncts for being whiners and bad at their jobs. She also used the aforementioned underwear phrase in reference to Margaret Mary Vojtko, an adjunct in her eighties who dropped dead on her front lawn of a heart attack after being fired from her longtime employer. I didn’t think that was particularly nice, so I wrote a brief blog about it, entitled “Is This The Worst Fucking Person In the World?” I then said, no, actually, she’s not, and explained that ISIS was definitely worse (A COMPLIMENT!!!!!!!). This was like a year ago, by the way. Anyway, today I got this email, from Prof. Panties herself:
You may not like my opinion. I have academic freedom and can state my opinion. Where you have crossed the line into inappropriate is not respecting academic freedom and in creating a harassment and cyber bullying case.I will report this to your ISP, which legally will have to shut down this page.Let me remind you, Academic Freedom is the right to express a concern, idea, thought, opinion or concept. It is an opinion. What you have done is NOT express academic freedom. You have bullied someone. This is not okay.Shame on you. You have 24 hours to take it down or I start making a very big stink.And if you know anything about me or my credentials you can be assured that I’m earning another masters degree in IT Privacy Law. This is right up my ally for a defamation of character suit.
I hope it’s not too far up your ally, because that might hurt him or her.
Anyway, I’m nothing if not cooperative, so I duly redacted the entry, and I replaced it with something better.
UPDATE: I keep getting email from this individual, progressively more irate. Today she promised to report me to state, local and federal law enforcement. For….???????
I guess I should have said she was worse than ISIS? Please advise.
Today in Slate, I have the story of Teresa Buchanan, a tenured professor of education at Louisiana State University, who got fired — fired — for sexual harassment…for saying “fuck no,” referring to cowardice as being a pussy, and telling one ill-advised joke. Although her colleagues ultimately found that she should be censored — sorry, censured — rather than fired for such an egregious offense, the university’s president, F. (uc) King Alexander (SERIOUSLY YOU CANNOT MAKE THAT SHIT UP), overrode the faculty and shit-canned her.
Is going on right now? When Laura Kipnis bemoaned her inability to insult two victims of alleged sexual assault in print, I said nothing, because I do not like Laura Kipnis and I thought her actions should have had consequences (albeit not the Title IX complaint that was filed, but widespread condemnation from the academy might have been nice; instead she’s some sort of fucking folk hero now).
When two randos started dueling on Vox about whether they were or were not a-feared of their “liberal students,” I said nothing, because I had a screaming baby and no time to enter in to what very much looked like a pig-wrestling match (you get dirty, the pig has fun, etc).
BUT THEN THEY CAME FOR MY CURSE WORDS!!!!!!
NO FUCKING THANK YOU, administration overlords. No fucking thanks, delicate-eared student snowflakes. If you think that you have the inalienable right to go for your entire life without hearing the word “fuck,” have I got some fucking news for you.
This piece marks the first (and probably last) time I was ever cleared to use the f-word in Slate. BECAUSE NEWSWORTHY, MOTHERFUCKERS!
Here’s a taste:
It might have been different if Buchanan told a student under her supervision to fuck off, or get fucked, or go fuck yourself. But she didn’t. Fuck, marquee curse that it is, does no abject harm without an object pronoun. To utter fuck before no is a victimless crime. Are you seriously telling me that the delicate, virgin ears of Louisiana State University should never have to hear the word fuck, a word they have surely already heard numerous times in their rarefied little lives?
Thanks for reading, and fuckety-bye!
Arrrrrgh. Gahlalragragh. Bayayayayayayaaaaah! Gararglahblah!
Just trying to greet you in your own language, little monster. You are five big fat babbly months old, and I am not even joking when I say that I sort of wish you could stay this age forever, before your chompers start coming in and turning our brief little slice of calm(ish) back into Thunderdome.
Where to begin with your five-month ridiculousness? First of all, you survived the biggest upheaval of your little life this month, when your parents up and packed up all of their meager belongings into storage, crammed all of your clothes and books and toys into a 2000 Saturn, and drove for three godforsaken days into parts unknown.
Your meltdowns were admirably few and often fairly containable, so long as your mother was willing to risk life and limb and unbuckle herself, free a dirtypillow, and then shove it into your gaping maw.
Oh, why thank you!!!!!!! You just saw fit to add your own prosody to this entry, because recently you have decided that since both of your parents seem to enjoy playing with their big blinky toys so much, that they must be the best toys in the house.
You have shown me that there is very little that can turn one’s computer desktop to complete chaos better than the unrestricted hands of a baby. Even if I blindfolded myself and drank twenty-five shots of Ouzo and then started banging away, I couldn’t get this computer to execute some of the wack-ass commands that you have. But I’ve got everything on DropBox, so I don’t care (also, in unrelated news, I accidentally deleted my entire book — the commercial one, the one I’m getting paid for — from my DropBox, all by myself, but I recovered it before I could have a full-blown cardiac event).
This month you have begun your long-awaited, triumphant transition to the big giant grown-up baby you have always been on the inside. The biggest and greatest advance is that you are eating solid food. At your four-month checkup (at which you clocked in at the modest 98th percentile for weight and the 50th for height, making your height/weight ratio literally off the charts), the pediatrician outright forbade us to give you solid foods until you turned five months, but we disobeyed, because you seemed so quiveringly, desperately ready. Every time one of us ate you’d look at us rapt, flap your little arms, and mime chewing. We gave you about a half a teaspoon of pureed banana two weeks ago, and we haven’t looked back.
Unsurprisingly, you deign to tolerate food. You deign so graciously that when we don’t feed you fast enough, you shake your little arms in rage/anticipation (rageticipation?) and then plunge your big fat face directly onto the plate. You love food so much it’s turned you into a goddamned prodigy. In the space of the last ten days or so, you’ve gone from not even understanding how food worked to picking up a spoon loaded with mashed sweet potatoes and feeding them to yourself. (You can’t yet scoop with the spoon yourself — you’re gifted in the art of pigging out, but come on).
This month was a real roller-coaster ride with your sleeping. At the beginning of the month, the dread “four-month sleep regression” descended upon our abode, with you dutifully waking up enraged some twelve times a night, demanding I DON’T KNOW WHAT because nothing worked. I’d nurse you and it would just make you madder. I’d change your diaper and you’d act like you were being put on the Rack. I’d walk you and rock you and you’d just be like fuuuuuck you. Ten minutes later you’d be back up, even more pissed. For the first time since you were three weeks old, I was certifiably sleep deprived. As a result, I was a grade-A beyotch to everyone in the house, and by “everyone” I mean “your dad,” who got to experience the joys of nine years of PMS I never had all at once, for four weeks straight.
I finally gave in and sleep trained you. Psych. I lack the intestinal fortitude to do that — plus, how do you let a kid cry it out when she’s in bed four inches away from your face? I did, however, buy and read The No-Cry Sleep Solution, and dutifully started keeping “night waking logs” and “nap logs” and going back to starting our bedtime routine at 7:30 p.m. sharp, and…well, you went to sleep whenever you goddamned felt like it, and then you woke up as many times a night as you goddamned wanted. I don’t have the faintest idea what precipitated it, but about a week ago you decided that you only wanted to wake up a few times a night, and that you could nurse right back to sleep very quickly. I’m not asking why. I don’t care. Please never change.
From the sleep regression to the sleep progression to the inexplicable diaper regression. Until you were about a month old, you would scream bloody murder every time you got a diapey change. HOW DARE WE HELP YOU STOP LIVING IN YOUR OWN FILTH, right? Then suddenly one day you decided diapey changes were fun. Then just as suddenly one day this month you decided they were torture again. It makes no sense. You do not have diaper rash. It is no colder or hotter than it was when you liked having your diapey changed. All the baby books say there is no way a young infant can actually fuck with its parents, but with you I’m not sure.
Speaking of sleep: You’ve also completely squeezed your dad out of the bed. Here at your grandmother’s house in upstate NY, we’re on a full mattress instead of a queen, and those six inches were apparently what was keeping your father from the brink of the unhinged, because now he’s absconded to the floor — not a mattress on the floor, the actual floor, covered in only a yoga mat and a thin folded-over quilt — and he’s decided he “likes it” that way, and that when we move to our next house, we should “all try” to sleep on the floor. Guess what’s got two thumbs, speaks passable German, and is niemals going to mach that?
You are sitting up on your own now. Or rather you’re sitting; you can’t raise yourself up to a seated position yet, but when you’re plopped into it, you can stay there for many minutes on end, playing with your toys, or just staring around.
You have even had a few stints in Baby Jail (aka your Pack ‘n’ Play), and you didn’t hate it completely. You still can’t quite roll over from your stomach to your back, which I guess makes you “behind” in your milestones, because I spent too much time when you were younger with you in my arms, according to the pediatrician I openly disobey.
You love going for walks here in the mountains (or whatever passes on the east coast for “mountains”), and every day I stuff you into one of your multiple baby conveyances and we go looking at trees and for frogs in the drainage ditches.
There’s one frog we see almost every day, and I’ve named him after your first “word,” the sound you made when we used to try to put the pacifier in your mouth and you were having none of it: IBBIT IBBIT IBBIT IBBIT IBBIT, you’d cry, and then spit it out. This frog is named Ibbit the Ribbit.
Some spectacular developments also happened in the grown-up world this month. Your right to affordable health care was preserved, and you are now allowed to marry whomever you want to, boy or girl, even in the blood-red state of Missourah. As a result, a babby far bigger than you (but about as mature) named Antonin Scalia had a meltdown even bigger than your big-biggest ever, and this was good, because he is what grown-ups call a “motherfucker.”
Every day your grandmother absconds with you for hours at a time, and although I welcome the chance to get some work done, bathe more often than once every four days, and drink an entire cup of tea all the way to the end, I miss you anytime you’re not around. You’re such a little person now. You have your own interests and you make your needs and desires so known, and you’re so funny, and so sweet, and so, so fat. I can only guess that this relative idyll is simply the Higher Power granting me the tiniest bit of R&R before you start growing teeth, which, knowing you, is going to make everyone explode.
While I’m at it, I will ask the Higher Power what it is we did to make you so delightful right this very moment, and what we did before to make you such a teeny tiny human tornado? Oh, nothing? It’s all completely arbi-fucking-trary, and who knows what you’ll decided you want to do, and be, and act like next? Great.
Your Mother (Me)