This one’s for the comment-spammers, I guess

I have been getting A LOT of comment spam these past few weeks. Like, four out of every five comments I get is from some user named “ Nikes FREE” and it goes “I am very impressed with your website content and articles layout, do you use a service or do you know where to get the best rate on a contractor for your house, please to let me know when new content comes, articles.” I realize the advent of the kinder gentler pregnant-er Schuman dropped my traffic, and I’m OK with that, but do I have any human visitors left?

In case I do, here’s my latest for Slate’s BrowBeat, which is a motherfucking SCREED, because when I found out that the three “poorest” chancellors in the UC system just got 20 PERCENT raises I was PISSED. Intermittent-all-caps PISSED. Here’s a taste of the venom:

Contemporary “wisdom” is that the best way to run a university is as an unholy combination of a Fortune 500 company and a Silicon Valley startup. Just combine the pay disparity and precarious labor conditions of the former and the ludicrous, unsustainable perks of the latter. Following this model, every state school in the U.S. will soon surely be a pyramid-like structure with six-figure executives on top, tens of thousands of full-tuition paying vacationers below them, and, on the bottom, an unwashed army of minimum-wage plebs doing the irrelevant work of keeping the facilities running and teaching the classes.


In other news, I just ate a Clif Mojo Bar, which I guess has way more sugar in it than most stuff I eat, because SchuBabby, already an unusually active kicky little fucker, went BATSHIT, and was kicking so hard I could see my stomach move. So the midwifery book is like, “You can play with your baby while it’s in the womb; just press back gently when it kicks at you,” so I did that and then she beat feat to parts unknown, presumably to kick in peace. She was like, “Later days, fucko, I kick for ME.” So, despite being the complete opposite of me in a very major way (i.e. active — my husband has taken to saying, “The baby kicking you DOES NOT COUNT as your daily workout, you know”), I guess she takes after the old lady just a tad.

15 thoughts on “This one’s for the comment-spammers, I guess

  1. Each of those salary raises could have been tacked on to a couple of the measly per course adjunct “stipends” to create an actual TT job (or full time contingent with benefits) of 55–70k. Unbelievable yet totally predictable.


  2. Disgusting. I’m UC PhD candidate and for the past three years I have had to live on $15,000 – $20,000 a year because the grad division insists that there is no money.

    My department also no longer reimburses grad students for professional memberships, nor for travel to and from conferences, nor to attend workshops. Because apparently there is no money for this.

    Also, my department recently fired an experienced lecturer (read: adjunct) so she could replaced by someone willing to teach FOR FREE. This lecturer has a PhD and a robust publication record, and the person who replaced her has no PhD, no publication record, and no experience teaching.

    Also when HE was a UC student at my university, he got a C+ in the class he is now teaching.

    No, I am not joking, or exaggerating, or making this up.

    I cannot wait to be DONE. Higher education is looking more and more like a pyramid scheme.


    • This sounds dreadfully similar to our Big 10 university/program, where administrator salaries keep getting larger, but larger grad student stipends and benefits (not to mention new TT hires to teach grad seminars) are nowhere in sight. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be on the ground in any of the UC programs currently. From what I have heard it sounds like a nightmare for all parties (other than administrators at least).
      In our program, there are so few left to teach courses for grad students that still require coursework that everyone is panicking. As the professors tell these students there isn’t anything they can do when they all go on sabbatical at the same time like it was 1994 when there were still enough remaining faculty members to pick up the slack. Not that there ever is anything they can do — they gave up their responsibility of governance decades ago to solely pursue their own research interests. Look what has happened. These faculty members have contributed to the decline in differing but indisputably similar ways that state divestment, corporate greed pillaging universities for heavily subsidized research sites, and “deanlings” have.
      Our department is of course still accepting graduate applications every year, and there is sadly so much demand for something few of these prospective students know what awaits them. Nobody is being hired (both in our department as TT faculty and also the PhD graduates), and to top it off we are fighting a losing battle with this pyramid scheme that the public seems to know nothing about. In the meantime, demand for languages is still high (much to the dismay of every idiot deanling with no academic credential making decisions about the future of higher ed), yet nobody will speak out (INCLUDING TT FACULTY WHO SHOULD BE!) other than people like Rebecca, who is still constantly bombarded not only by mansplaining trolls but spam as well.


      • Yes actually, it IS horrible at a UC, unless of course you happen to be in a program or department with a large endowment. in that case, it’s far less horrible.

        And it IS a pyramid scheme. There is almost no doubt in my mind any more.


      • The practice of firing talented adjuncts to replace less qualified people who work for free is unfortunately getting more and more traction (at my university, anyway.) And when I’m done with my PhD–like completely done–I will be more vocal about this in hopes of naming and shaming.


    • Yep, CBGB it’s a Ponzi scheme alright. And I LOVE your blog, don’t stop 🙂 well, maybe slow down just a tad when Schu-bubs arrives


  3. Great to hear about your little kicker! I too marveled at those last weeks when my stomach moved in crazy unexpected ways, a leg here, a head there. Hope you are feeling fine and still stocking up on sleep, movies etc…


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