Students Were Afraid to Learn About Other Religions!

The Classroom Became a War Zone!

Excerpt from

Final Exam Jihad.  An Opportunity for Loneliness.

 “You and Me”

We started together, you and me.  We were new on campus.  We found new friends and faced new challenges.  Some of us were away from our family for the first time.  We struggled together. We listened to each other.  We even shouted at each other.  Somehow we managed to say “Good Morning” to each other.  Each day we met to discuss a new way of looking at religions. You and me, we even grew up a little. You and me, we made it through dull days, high days, lonely days, low days, snow days, test days, homework days, think days, and project days.  You and me…I’m so glad that we made it to the end together!          

Combative and disrespectful students became the norm!

This poem was composed following my first semester of teaching at a very small college. (In fact, it is the college where I met Tom!) Life and teaching was very different in 1980 than it is today. In the beginning, students were more respectful and generally eager to learn. In the beginning students were dedicated. Those years were spent teaching in private colleges or universities. As the years wore on, the students wore out. They did not necessarily enroll in college to learn.

At one college, I experienced a hostile breed of students who feared other religions. They were shocked at each world religion we studied so they began an assault. Besides the notes and hideous cartoons placed under my door, students also taped my lectures and brought them to the president to prove that I was teaching “heresy,” whatever that meant to those students. There were flyers taped on my door and letters to the editor in the school newspaper. (I wish I had saved more of these.)

Here are a few of the notes that were placed under my door:

            “Dear Dr. Selvidge, My Sunday School class decided to tell   you about the Bible. They said, “Believe in the Bible.” The  reason why you need to believe in the Bible is because, “It’s   True!” You need to believe in God. You love him. We are  going to pray that you will believe in the Bible.”

Eight students signed this note. I suppose I received it because I was teaching the history and development of the New Testament rather than using the bible as a rulebook or spiritual book by which to live. Another note came with an invitation to meet with “Spirit-filled Christians.”

“Come and join us if you can stand being that close to the Holy Spirit.”

Another student seemed to think that I was making fun of Christians and invited me to her Baptist church so that I would learn about “real” Christianity. I was teaching about the history of Christianity about which she had never been exposed!

Students dared me to teach them anything!

Misguided students haunted my office often waving their arms in the air as they walked back and forth in the hallway. One wanted to bring his denomination on campus and teach classes in his faith. He argued that other colleges did it. But I argued that as a state university we have to be neutral with regard to religions. We cannot teach faith. We can teach about the religions but not teach people to be religious. He was very upset and complained to everyone he knew that I was discriminating against his faith.

A Muslim student did not like a cartoon that he said was posted on one of the bulletin boards outside my office. He complained to a professor in another department and they came down to reprimand me. Their ammunition was verbal abuse. But, they could not find the cartoon? Maybe the student had seen it on another bulletin board? They were so irate I had to call security. And the professor sent an apology to me after being counseled by security and his chair.

I received many letters from one student who claimed he was the Messiah.

            “I still believe that I am the Messiah, especially the David of  Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and the Psalms. And I also believe that am “The faithful and True Witness, the First-begotten From the Dead, and The Root and  Stock of David….”

            Well, Marla, what I am trying to say throughout this whole letter is that I   am lonely for intellectual stimulation, and I   would like to hear from you.    I would be glad to answer all of your questions.” What?

There was always a fear that a student would harm you!

I have shared only the tip of the iceberg with you in this excerpt.  Soon students would bring a gun to my office, place a fist in my face, (as a faculty member had done), hit and kick students as they left class, stand up and shout at me in class, and stalk me for years.  And the local radio station would call me “The Whore of Babylon.”

One student stood up in class and told my guest speaker, “We would kill you in my country!”  And other shouted, “Who the hell are you to grade my paper?” And another student thought that I had a sub-machine gun behind the desk! Huh?

 

Thanks for reading the blog.  I hope you will have the time and interest to read the book.  It will be a real eye-opener as to what a professor experiences in her  lofty (?) job in higher education.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.

 

 

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

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Posted in Disillusionment in Higher Education, Education not War, Higher Education, Hostility and Violence on Campus, Jihad, Killing a Professor, Misogynism, Misogynism in Higher Education, Religious Beliefs destroy females careers, Religious hatred | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Final Exam Jihad is Published!

A Professor’s Memoir That May Shock You!

Creating this memoir about my career in higher education was both a wrenching and uplifting experience.  As I scoured the thousands and thousands of documents that I had saved over decades, I realized that I had forgotten many of the battles I fought in the schools where I worked.  Also lost in my memory were many of the wonderful people who supported me in the journey.  Thanks to all of you!

I am also so thankful that my very grounded childhood provided  the strength and practical mentality to keep me healthy through all of those years.

I was going to upload several excerpts from the book but Kindle has stolen my thunder and made available at least two chapters on Amazon.  They have chosen the introduction and prelude which lay the foundation for the book.  You can find those words at this  link.  (Click on the word “link.”)  I think I will eventually share one additional piece from the 280 page book on this blog site.

I must apologize for Kindle’s formatting on the digital version.  Those problems are not (and not mine) found in the hard copy which you can also purchase.   You do not have to own a Kindle to be able to read this book.  You can download a digital version to a laptop or whatever.

The first excerpt I will share with you is a fun piece I wrote long ago.  I imagined what would happen if all the women were forced to leave campus.  It has a similar message found in  the movie “A Day Without A Mexican.”  The tall dark and handsome men become the losers.  He He!

 

“The Women are Gone!”

The plan, conceived in the secret hallowed meeting rooms of the top dog administrators, was declared a monumental success. Only males were to be allowed on campus. Signs were erected all over campus.

POWER TO MALES!  FREEDOM AT LAST ! NO MORE FEMINISM!  DOWN WITH EGALITARIANISM!  FOR THE BOYS ONLY!  MEN ONLY!

Fireworks were set off from the administration building and the rest of the campus danced their brains out.  The feeding frenzy on campus was amazing. All of the female restrooms sported new “Men Only” signs. The men could do what they wanted whenever they wanted to do it! No competition! No criticism of techno-oppression or rampant greedy capitalism. No hen-pecking about equality and fairness.

It took a couple of weeks before the campus community realized how successful their militaristic campaign against women had been. They began the reign of terror by targeting strong female leaders on campus. Misogynistic plans and strategies began with tenured female professors. They were prohibited from chairing committees and given large teaching loads.

Next there were abusive confrontations with female staff and administrators who also jumped ship. Some of the women were humiliated by being assigned to inexperienced younger females half their age.

Any academic program containing diversity, such as gender studies, devoted to analyzing the dominance of males and creating a foundation for female support was axed or sidelined. They forced some of the younger women to leave by firing their husbands. The spouses, buddies, and female gatekeepers of the top dogs were the last to go.

These women who had been handpicked for top dog jobs were assigned the dirty deed of verbally abusing and keeping other women in line. This kept the paws of the top dogs clean and often kept them from lawsuits for sexual harassment or discrimination. But finally even these loyal servants were pushed out of their jobs and off campus.

Questions kept popping up. Who was going to order the supplies, pay the bills, cook the food, clean the buildings, or stand in front of the check-out booth at the library? None of the males wanted to clean the tables in the union or plant the flowers outside of the top dog buildings. All of the males in the English department had to teach four composition courses that were usually assigned to lesser females. They males were actually grading grammar and sentence structure in papers!

The top top dog, a very short rotund man, had to step in and create order. He began by designating males to certain types of work. His decisions were based upon color of hair and height. The shortest males were assigned to the assistant top dog positions. The more burley types were assigned to making coffee, fixing the copy machines, and sorting the mail. The taller and broad shouldered males were assigned to secretarial and support-type positions. It never occurred to the top top dog that he was discriminating against the tall, dark, and handsome males.

These good-looking, body-building males didn’t like being marginalized and targeted because of their hair or stature. They complained that they were pressured into sexual relationships. Their jobs were threatened if they did not comply with the advances. They were experiencing a loss of self-esteem. They were more intelligent and had greater skills than the top top dog but they were assigned to “dehumanizing” work just to keep them under control. They began to weep at odd moments for no reason.

And they began to understand–that all of the positions that were assigned to the majority of females and termed menial–were the “glue” that kept the university functioning. Yet as important as the jobs were, the males did not want them.

So the campus became more and more dysfunctional. All the female students left. Classes were not meeting and the staff rarely showed up for work or stayed an entire day. Bottles of distilled spirits were found in waste bins all over campus. Male students began applying for entrance into other schools. Enrollment was so low that it looked like many of the dogs might lose their jobs.

Some of the disgruntled handsome males began secretly meeting in the old women’s restrooms. They hatched a plan that they thought would make everybody happy and restore order to campus. They wrote a “Declaration of Crimes against Tall, Dark, and Handsome Males.” Together, more than 200 professors and staff appealed to the top top dog to BRING BACK THE FEMALES. It would make their lives so much better. Women could take the brunt of bullying and marginalization and serve as scapegoats for the rest of the administration.

They could do all of the jobs that the top dogs did not want to do. It would free up the males from the drudgery so that they would resume playing golf, music, and planning. Since the women had been forced out most of the males had been lethargic. They never realized that brainstorming and making plans on how to control the females had kept the place together.

To date, the handsome males are still waiting for an audience with the top top dog. In the meantime, they are meeting with attorneys with plans to sue the top top dog for sexual harassment and discrimination.

 

As always, this piece is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

 

 

 

Posted in Cause of Violence, Disillusionment in Higher Education, Feminism, Feminists in the Classroom, Higher Education, Hostility and Violence on Campus, Killing a Professor, Misogynism, Misogynism in Higher Education, Religious Beliefs destroy females careers, Religious hatred, Strategies to derail females, Stress and Professors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What do we do with an Insane President?

What do we do with a barbarian President from Hell?

Is Trump Literate?

There is no evidence that Trump can spell or write a correct grammatical sentence.  I wonder if he can read?   He attacks national newspapers for their comments but maybe someone else reads them to him?  He seems to obtain  most of his information from television?

On Friday he enacted the ban on immigration from several countries and took away due process from Muslims?  It does not appear that he considered all the hardships he would cause people.  Where is his heart and soul?  He does not seem to be able to analyze anything. He has no empathy! He only reacts!  I have this sneaking suspicion that behind the scenes people like Bannon who reel in causing chaos are creating the stage play for Trump.  As long as he writes his name correctly and spouts the lines, then he feels like he is doing a great thing for the country. He does not seem to be in touch with reality!  He would rather make up scenarios than listen to specialists or educated people.  This seems to suggest that he is anti-intellectual! He thinks he knows everything! What?

He seems to enjoy using violence to get his way!

He seems to enjoy using violence to get his way!

Trump is the Terror President

Trump relishes a power fight where he will win!  It has been very difficult for me to listen to his abusive rhetoric that is filled with hate and ridicule.  He embodies the concept of White Male Supremacy and loves bullying people, other presidents, other countries, and perhaps even his wife.

I keep thinking of two things while trying to cope with this mad man.  I think of the musical Evita and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China.

In Evita, Antonio Banderas sings “The Lady’s Got Potential” and tells the story of dictators and the loss of democracy.  He sings, “That’s how we get the government we deserve.”  Trump won the election, so I guess we deserve all of the mindless, vicious, and brutal actions of his pen.  He uses his pen as if it is a gun!

Are we looking at a future filled with Civil War?

Trump is in charge of the military.  What if he turned the military on us, average citizens?  (Congress seems to be afraid of him too!) How would we defend ourselves?  Those people who are gun advocates would have to shoot it out with him?  Would they win?  Nope!  They would lose  just like the students at Tiananmen Square.  Those students were run over by tanks!  They needed fire power!  Average citizens are not equipped with heavy military weapons! And we don’t have any lethal pens either!

The other thing that worries me are all of the people Trump is harming with his pen.  You can only push people so far and then they explode.  Are these people going to turn on us and harm us because we (not me) elected this guy?  It is a possibility!

Trump Needs to be Fired from his Job!

What can I do?  There are several petitions that are demanding the impeachment of this villain. Sign the petition!  Here is the petition! https://impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org

As always, this blog is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge.

 

 

 

Posted in Cause of Violence, Communism, Donald Trump, Education not War, Fear and Donald Trump, Hate and Donald Trump, Misogynism, Religious hatred, Uncategorized, Violence and Religion, Vladimir Putin, witches | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cry for the People of St. Croix

St. Croix. The best place in the world to live!

dscf2814Remains of conquerors, their religions, and big business are on the right and left as you crisscross the 28 mile island. It appears that the very small roads were built between sugar plantations. Columbus came to the Salt River but was beaten back by the indigenous tribes. He claimed the land for Spain. As one volunteer for the National Park told us, “He didn’t discover the land. The indigenous had been here for more than a thousand years.” Ultimately the indigenous peoples were exterminated, as is the case in many South American countries and Caribbean islands.

e530786e8c5fe367f28093cd156a8393The Danes, the Spanish, the French, Great Britain and more claimed this land as their own. And the U.S.A. purchased it from the Denmark in 1917. There is a church on almost every turn of the road. All of them came to convert and socialize the locals into their way of thinking. The Danes brought Lutheranism. The Spanish brought Catholicism. The French allowed the Knights of Malta to rule for a few years. England brought Anglicanism and Methodism. The Church of God, Seventh Day Adventists, the Baptists, the Pentecostals, Islam and Judaism, all have a presence on this population of 50K.

The fort is right behind this sign!

The fort is right behind this sign!

Recently we were in Christiansted where more than 40,000 slaves were auctioned off in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Slaves revolted in 1848 against the Danes but that was only the first civil war. They kept revolting against inhumane treatment, even when they were paid. (There are only 50K residents on the island today.)

As you tour Christiansted and Fredriksted you weep. The dock and frontage roads at Frederiksted have been improved to greet the lonely cruise ship that visits the island every Monday. It would take billions and billions of dollars to restore these historic towns. The massive structures appear to have been built to last forever with over twelve inch wide walls.   They have withstood all the hurricanes.

Gorgeous boardwalk in Christiansted.

Gorgeous boardwalk in Christiansted.

All over the world towns like this have been designated “UNESCO World Heritage Sites.” This organization funnels money into the cities to repair and restore them. Cartagena, Ciudad Viejo in Panama, Angkor Watt, and hundreds of other places around the world. These towns need to be placed on this list also.

The people on the island are warm and inviting. At the Christmas boat parade that was attended by thousands, people were polite and quiet. How can this be? How can people be so forgiving? How does a people recover from successive despots that claim their land? How do they know WHAT is their heritage? How do they find their identity? Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, a Hawaiian who has passed on, captures the heartbreak of a people who has lost their land and identity, “Cry for the gods, cry for the people, cry for the land that was taken away….”

dscf2701

One of the sturdy buildings facing the dock in Fredriksted.

One of the sturdy buildings facing the dock in Fredriksted.

Many locals sport dreadlocks as a way of identifying with Rastafarianism from Jamaica. I don’t know if they moved from Jamaica or have just accepted the revolutionary religion. Today many are called Rasta and look like a Rastafarian but they do not always adhere to the beliefs and ethics of Rastafarianism. Dreadlocks are the St. Croix look.

It is so ugly and so big and so imposing!

It is so ugly and so big and so imposing!

Even today, Hovensa, (an economic conqueror) one of the largest oil refineries in the world is defunct since 2012. It takes up beautiful coastal space for miles. (So ugly!) When it left it was pumping more than $100 million into the economy through taxes. It employed 2200 people. Locals tell us that about 2000 houses on the island were abandoned because people lost their jobs. The island was devastated. Hovensa had been given cash subsidies from the government of the Virgin Islands and signed contracts to keep the refinery working until at least 2020. But they left.

At our hotel on St. Croix!!!

A view at  our hotel on St. Croix!!!

Every time we met a local, they invited us to move to St. Croix. Many tell us of the bargains in real estate and how this is the best place in the world to live. And we are going back in November of 2017. We loved the island!

 

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

 

 

 

 

 

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The Gang Rape of Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Thou Shalt Not Allow a Witch to Live.”

imagesTrump has been elected. The electorate ignored all the lawsuits for fraud against him, his lack of paying his fair share of taxes; his sexual assault of several females and stalking of a primetime reporter; his potty mouth, his half-truths, his simplistic language; his lack of intelligence and sophistication; his discrimination against people of color; his racist statements against a judge of Mexican-descent, gold star parents, Muslims and women; his leanings toward white supremacy and connections with racist groups; his multiple marriages; his attack on the birth origin of our President; his violent speech, and the non-payment of companies who built a casino for him, and more!

Hillary was not elected President, although she had the qualifications to be President. What happened? I believe that she was gang-raped by the media, white male supremacists, spineless Republicans and hoodlums, jealous women, the FBI, creators of fake news, and fundamentally religious women and men across the United States who enjoyed shouting, “Lock her up,” or “Hang Hillary.”

WikiLeaks lifted up Hillary’s skirt and allowed everyone to view how leaders of a campaign talk to each other. Those emails were private. They had no business being spread across the land. Media outlets should have decided not to publish them in any way. They should have been banned. Those who leaked the emails should be put in prison for invading someone’s privacy. How would you like people to read all of your private emails? But media outlets like making money and they used these anti-Hillary emails to fill their coffers with advertising.

Hateful myths were created to control opinions of the average person.  So where in all of the investigations over all of these years has anyone discovered anything illegal that Hillary has done? There were no top-secret emails on her server. Who cares? We understand servers better now than we did eight years ago. We understand hacking better. People have applied our knowledge of today to decisions made in the past. The emails have no relevance at all to anything pertinent to serving as President.

Then there is the Clinton Foundation. So jealous were her detractors that they tried and failed to find a “pay-for-play” connection. They were steamed when they learned that Hillary commanded $200K per lecture and they could only volunteer their time to speak.

Hillary is not perfect. She is certainly not a liar.  But, we were not electing a savior or a god here; we were trying to elect a competent President. Trump was like Teflon, no matter what the evidence was against him, it just slid right off into the gutter? Why?  He was bombastic and irreverent and served as an outlet for people who were frustrated!

Lock her up! Hillary for Prison! Crooked Hillary!

Lock her up! Hillary for Prison! Crooked Hillary!  Liar!

The simple reason that Hillary was not elected is that many Americans could not stand the thought of a competent and powerful woman as President. As many have said, “My wife dominates me at home, I am not going to let a woman dominate me at work.” Their image of a man on a white horse coming to their rescue did not fit the “real” Hillary. In fact, they so hated the thought of a woman, that they eviscerated her. While they did not physically rape her, they raped her everywhere else. “Thou shalt not allow a witch to live,” says Exodus 22:18. And Hillary was treated as if she was a witch.

We stripped her naked and then hung her in the town square and laughed as we were doing it! All of the rhetoric used against her resembles the Inquisition and the Malleus Maleficarum of the 16th century. How many people in the world have the credentials that she has mustered? How many people have survived so many ill-conceived investigations that brought no charges?   The Republicans have consistently harassed her for 30 years and loved every minute of it. Her competence and contributions were of no importance.

The real problem here is the same fear that propelled Catholic Clergy (among others) to annihilate females with glee. They had a compelling abnormal obsession that women might have power over them.  Killing the witches demonstrated that males were in control and supreme!

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

(I am sending this post to all the email addresses I have for motoringwithmarla.com.  This website is dedicated to commentary and I am compelled to write this piece supporting Hillary because I believe ideology and religion were the foundations of  hate for her!)

 

Posted in Gang Rape of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Religious hatred, witches | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wall Street Letter to the Editor

Many people could not access my Letter to the Editor in the Wall Street Journal.  Here is the letter in its entirety.  They excerpted some of it–did not use all of it.  Thank you for all your responses.

This does not contain my normal layout and design because we are on our way to Alaska.

Marla

 

Letter to the Editor. Response to article in the Wall Street Journal this morning entitled, “For Some Women, Gender Isn’t Enough.”

 
Dear Editors,
We as Americans are very tired of prime time newscasters and national writers asking Hillary about her emails. This is a sexist
tactic that has been used in the careers of females since they won the right to participate in elections. In my long career in higher education, when the men were threatened by excellence, they would raise a false issue that would damage your career. When they raise a damaging question, it gives life to a falsehood about a person and can fester. Asking this email question controls the speaking agenda about Hillary nationwide and keeps on harming her. Why do media people want to keep on harming her? Is it because they can’t find anything else about which to complain. After all, she is “just a woman.”
I am personally offended that right on the front page of the Wall Street Journal two women want to argue against pressing for a continued breaking of the glass ceiling. Yes, some of us got jobs and some of us survived the continued male abuse and political maneuvering to destroy our careers. We had to be better at everything in order to even be considered for a job. Then when we did manage to get that job, we had to work harder and longer to keep it. In higher education we had to teach more students, and spend more time on committees, publish more, and buy our own teaching materials and solve our own problems. Because those men were not there to help us to succeed in any way. They were helping each other.
Gender is important. Hillary’s life is important for all women who believe that they might actually gain a piece of the American
Dream. I am not going to fill this piece with statistics, but those of us who have fought hard over the last forty years to maintain a career and life know that last night was one of the most important events of the century. It certainly was one of the most important events for women since the founding of our country.
Marla J. Selvidge
Professor Emerita

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Donald Trump and the Thousand Points of Light

Sound Bites, Intoxication, and the Thousand Points of Light

Here he is! Donaldddddd Trumppppp!

Here he is! Donaldddddd Trumppppp!

Donald Trump has become our new prime time show. What is he going to say next? We hang on every word. We like his boyish appearance, smile, and unscripted “street” language. We revel in his earthy punches at just about everyone. He is in the ring. He is standing alone and we like it. He is our hero and he likes being our hero!

We like simple. We like one-line answers. And Donald knows that we don’t want complicated anything. What we want is to keep Trump on the “rant” trail for us.

Why do we love Trump so much? He is not like us. He lives in a world of riches beyond anything we could imagine. He is privileged, self-centered, and arrogant to a fault. We are none of these. But we are angry. We don’t understand Wall Street. We don’t understand our phones, our phone bills, our cable bills, or our tax returns. It seems as if everyone is taking money from us or harming us. We are afraid! Some of us are being killed or fear being killed.  Computers answer phones when we try to complain about the money big businesses are stealing from us. No one cares about giving us a fair deal. We are always losing. We are hooked up to phones, computers and machines. We can go all day without having a conversation with a single person. We miss being human.

Donald Trump is human. Trump fills the void for us without filling our heads with more ideas and plans with which we have no patience. But our need for a single sound bite in a complex life has put us at risk.

Is he our savior?

Is he our savior?

The story is old. The Pied Piper leads his followers into the sea where they expire. His simple-singular notes intoxicate us. We can look back through history to discover Jim Jones, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Hugo Chavez, the KKK, Aum Shinrikyo, Heaven’s Gate, the Branch Davidians, and more. And while Donald Trump does not claim to be a savior or a god, he has assumed the personality of one. We want a savior and this is nothing new for a presidential campaign. We, Republicans, have used religious rhetoric for a hundred years. Even the elder Bush launched his campaign with the “New World Order” and “A Thousand Points of Light.” Donald Trump embodies or fulfills those Republican myths.

Donald Trump’s religion of hate, fear, abuse, racism, carelessness, respect for no one, and salacious attacks are the content of our new sacred scripture. If we continue reading, what is going to happen to us?

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

 

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Remembering my Father “Les” Selvidge! 1912-1971

Well dressed all of the time!

Well dressed all of the time!

Factory Work is Honest and Good Work!

The picture above is of my father and three relatives at an Xmas party, probably in the 1960’s. He worked for Bower Roller Bearings as an inspector. Every morning he dressed for work and he looked like he was going to an office job, not a factory job. He was very proud of the work he did. Notice in the photo that my dad is playing cards. He is wearing a tie, white long-sleeved shirt, and a suit. The rest of my relatives are wearing casual clothing.

(The following is taken from my book, Life Everlasting and the Twelve Mile Blues.)

This book took 20 years to research and write!!!

This book took 20 years to research and write!!!

“Daddy was single, although he didn’t like the idea. Marriage suited him, but he hadn’t much luck with the other women he had married. One died in childbirth (my half-sister), and the other he caught making love with another man in his own bed. And we don’t know what happened to the others. When Daddy loved, it was complete. And so when he gave all of his money to a wife, including a mink coat, he thought love would last forever. He was willing to wear sole-less-newspaper-lined shoes just to make her happy. Yet nothing he could give or do could make her love him as much as he loved her.

The Selvidge walk!

The Selvidge walk!

Daddy was of medium height, slightly on the thin side, with glossy black hair that shined until his death. Dark skin hinted at his Cherokee ancestry. Always impeccably dressed, even on the floors of Bower Roller Bearings, he used to boast about his weight that always stayed between 155-160. As a child, my father loved learning, thinking about the world, and reading, but was forced to quit elementary school in the sixth grade and work on the farm.

Dad taught me how to make a garden and to survive on nothing!

Dad taught me how to make a garden and to survive on nothing!

 

 

 

One day when he was plowing a field, the mules jerked his arm and broke it. His family wrapped it up without taking him to a physician to get the bones set. That disfigured and scarred arm was frozen at a right angle for the rest of his life. When World War II was raging, he could not enlist because of his arm. He felt humiliated by this childhood defect all of his life, and almost always wore long-sleeved shirts. He smoked and always held the cigarette or cigar in his left hand so that no one would notice.”

My father died when I was only 22 but I will always be thankful for the hammer and paint brush he put in my hands. He taught me how to mow the grass and hoe a row of anything.

On hot days we would sit on the picnic table in the back yard. Most of the time we argued about politics and world events. He smoked and drank Carling’s Black Label or Pabst Blue Ribbon. One day I said I wanted to smoke. He said, “Here, I will give you a cigarette and you can smoke it.” So he stuck a Camel cig in my mouth and lit it. I choked. The paper and leaves stuck to my mouth and lips, and then I threw up. I never ever thought of smoking again. It was the same thing with alcohol. I could have had as much as I wanted, but I never wanted. It was always available.

One more story is interesting and frightening at the same time. My dad was also a detective for Selvidge Secret Service in Detroit. (His cousin owned it.) I searched for the name on Google but it must be gone now. During vacations we would visit relatives in Kentucky and Tennessee. One day a car followed us and kept shooting at us. I guess my father had discovered something they did not like. It was not long after that he quit his moonlighting job as a detective.

I am so thankful for the open, progressive, and critical side of my dad. While we did not agree on much of anything, he opened my mind and trained it so well that I was able to win a Ph.D. from the Jesuits. I think the Ph.D. belongs to him. He would have certainly gone on to college if he had had the opportunity or the cash. Just before he died, he said,

“Go on with your education, no one can take that away from you.”

Here is one more pic of him!

I used to think he was old in this picture but now I am 20 years older than he was and he looks young!

I used to think he looked old in this picture but now I am 20 years older than he was and he looks young!

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Folk Alliance International. The Kansas City Folkfest was the BEST!

Angels of Music Descend Upon Kansas City

Folkfest Poster

Folkfest Poster

We are adults.  Who da’ thought that we would love Music Camp.  Isn’t that for kids?  Tom and I had never been to a music festival.  Someone said that there were 1600 musicians at the event.  They were playing their instruments in the hallways, restrooms, next to the waste baskets, and in their rooms.  Everyone was carrying at least one instrument.

Probably the highlight for both of us was the Gospel Session with Ken Whitely and Friends.  Our own Millie Edwards (one of the Wild Women) was up on stage with The Sojourners and Linda McRae from Canada,  The Birds of Chicago, and more.

Millie Edwards

Millie Edwards

Millie gripped the audience with her solos.  The singing was heart challenging and left you in tears.  Grammy Winners eat your heart out!  These singers and their backup were the best that we have ever heard.  How lucky we are that they came to town!

Gospel Session

Gospel Session

Blind Boy Paxton

Blind Boy Paxton

Blind Boy Paxton

Blind Boy Paxton

On Music Camp day, Tom went to guitar workshops, and I chose to attend Blind Boy Paxton’s “Blues and Ragtime Piano Styles.”

Radoslav Lorkovic

Radoslav Lorkovic

He challenged me to play twelfths and led us back 100 years, it seemed, to people like Willie the Lyon Smith, Luckey Roberts, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson. He was much older than his 26 years. “Practice what you love.” “Get the harmony before you get the melody.” “Play the piece very, very slowly. Fast will come soon.” He was a gentle and engaging person and hugged me before he left.

Later we listened to his concert broadcasted live on KKFI, the sort of radio free USA of Kansas City. It was stunning!

 

 

“Composition through Improvisation” sounded daunting to me, but I enrolled anyway.  Radoslav Lorkovic, a Croation born classical pianist, asked me to sit at the piano with him.  He helped me play a Jazz scale and with my left hand, a bass beat.  He demonstrated many different ways to improvise on the piano.  “Knowing the chords helps, but you can get by with a lot of strategies.”  One of the most interesting things he said was, “When classical pianists are hired, I have to deconstruct their education so that they can play for American audiences.”  It was a stellar experience.

The Sojourners

The Sojourners

 

Tom and I both attended a session by the Sojourners, “The Roots of Freedom Songs.”  They explained that slaves who escaped before the Civil War traveled all the way to Canada, where they were welcomed.  Most of the time was spent teaching us how to sing Freedom songs, “I shall not be moved.”

 

At the Artisan market, filled with friendly and knowledgeable people, Tom tried playing a guitar made from a cigar box.  Please note here that everyone was so helpful and encouraging when it came to playing an instrument.  It did not matter if you were a beginner of professional.

Tom playing the cigar box guitar.

Tom playing the cigar box guitar.

 

Cigar box guitar

Cigar box guitar

 

 

 

 

 

The mission of the Folk Alliance International is “to nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community-traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional-through education, advocacy and performance.”

I would say that “hit the nail on the head,” for us!

 

 

 

 

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Dr. Strangelove Is Back on My Mind!

Titan II Missile is a Wonder to Behold!

Titan II MuseumI will never forget the last scene of Dr. Strangelove (nor Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev’s declaration, “We will bury you.”)  We were watching the movie at a drive-in theatre in 1964.  The last scene shows a detonation of a nuclear bomb that destroys the world.  That plume is still in my mind.

Those of us who grew up during the “cold war” were always afraid.  My sister’s husband who lived in Florida even built a fall-out shelter under his house, equipped with food and canned water.

Titan II Museum Building

In Sahuarita, Arizona

 

I never understood, and still do not understood, the propensity that men have toward violence and the power it brings to them.  I remember arguing with an Economics professor on a cruise ship once who said, “Ultimately it has to do with money, economics.”  I have other theories.

Tom and I have attempted to visit missile sites in other states but were only allowed to look into a silo, for instance, in South Dakota.  In Sahuarita, Arizona near Tucson, we visited the last surviving Titan II missile housed in a museum.  Cost was about $10 per person and worth every penny.

Notice that you wouldn't know that you were looking at a missile site from the road.

Notice that you wouldn’t know that you were looking at a missile site from the road.

Our guide was a 73-year-old Civil Engineer, Bob, who worked on the site for most of his career.  There were only four military people who could launch the missile, but over 400 maintenance people  kept it running from 1963-1987.

“Can you walk down 50 something steps,” asked the volunteer, after we viewed a film about he missile.  About ten of us walked down what seemed like 10 flights of stairs to the central command station.  We learned about the guidance system, the key, the security, the advanced communication system they used long before cell phones.  It was a marvel.

One of the main corridors that leads to the silo that housed the Titan II Missile.

There were long hallways with tubes everywhere.  I kept thinking of some of the science fiction movies I have watched, including episodes dealing with the “Borg” in Star Trek.  Next Generation.  Steel walls were a foot thick and doors were tested in case there was a nuclear attack from another country or a mishap on site.

Inside the silo looking up at the missile.

The Titan II is about 103 feet long and could deliver a nuclear bomb to a target approximately 6300 miles away in about 30 minutes.  The devastation was complete.  It was retired because the military had developed better and more lethal missiles, The Minute Men.  Our guide said that one of these missiles could destroy everything in Los Angeles, nine times over, in a matter of seconds.

Command Center

Command Center about 100 feet away from the main silo.

Looking down at the missile from a glass dome on top of it.

The overall theme of this museum, lead by volunteers, is “Peace through Deterrence.”  None of the missiles were ever launched but they kept our enemies on their toes because they knew that within minutes of an attack that our missiles would be launched.

Unfortunately some people died during the building and maintenance of the Titan II missiles.  Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia that chronicles some of those accidents.

In August 1965, a fire and resultant loss of oxygen when a high-pressure hydraulic line was cut with an oxyacetylene torch in a missile silo (373-4) near Searcy, Arkansas killed 53 people, mostly civilian repairmen doing maintenance.

On August 24, 1978, one airman, SSgt Robert Thomas, was killed at a site outside Rock, Kansas when a missile in its silo leaked propellant. Another airman, A1C Erby Hepstall, later died from lung injuries sustained in the spill.

On September 19, 1980, a major mishap occurred after a socket from a socket wrench rolled off a platform and punctured the missile’s Stage I fuel tank, subsequently causing the missile to collapse. Due to the hypergolic propellants involved, the entire missile exploded a few hours later, killing an Air Force airman, SrA David Livingston, and destroying the silo (374-7, near Damascus, Arkansas). Thanks to the warhead’s built-in safety features, it did not detonate.

(See:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGM-25C_Titan_II )

A Bomb

A Bomb on display in the visitor’s center.

I understand the military philosophy of peace through deterrence but I kept thinking of all those millions and billions of dollars that could have been spent on education and our infrastructure.  So far, the military’s approach is working.  “We never intended to launch a single missile,” said our host.

If you ever visit Arizona, spend time at the museum and learn about the dedication of both civilians and the military hoping to protect us from harm.  Thank you to all of them.

Personal Note

My absence from writing has been due to five surgeries that I had during the last three months of the year.  I am on the mend so my mind (free from those awful drugs) is flying again.

RantingFor over a year I have ranted about the abysmal state of higher education, its abuse of faculty and students, and misuse of funds.  After leaving UCM I have discovered that there are many, many other faculty who work in even worse conditions than I did.  (How can this happen?) I want to shout rants for them too.

Those rants will soon be captured in a novel about higher education.  “Jihad” will be one of the important words in the title.  This blog will change its direction to a variety of  other subjects.

Shortly, I will be developing “Motoring with Marla” a new website that will chronicle our travels in our motorhome.  One of the sections of this website will be “Candid Camper” where I upload photos of unusual ways people camp. You would never believe how people camp.  Recently we saw a camper that had been created out of a one-horse carrier.  There were no windows in it, only a small door. (Wonder how the horse survived?)

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

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Violence as an Agent of Change

“When War Broke out in Heaven…”

Violence is Local

Terror and violence permeates our lives these days.  It is on the news, in games, in television shows and movies, on the streets and in our living rooms.  Every nine seconds a woman is physically abused or beaten by an intimate partner.  Seventy-two percent of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner. Ninety four percent of the victims are females. (NCADV)  There have been almost 300 mass killings in the United States this year.  (Washington Post) And violence is more than just murder, it undergirds poverty and hopelessness.

Origins of Violence

For many years I wrote about violence and its origins.  Why are human beings so violent?  Some religious groups would point to “original sin” or a genetic defect.  Others would point to the influence of family and the immediate culture.  Others would point to the reality of defense and protecting yourself.   Some would argue that violence is a way to bring about change.

 

 

 

Islam


We are all faced with the fear of ISIS.  Their targets are random.  Their aim is to conquer the world for their God, Allah.  On “Here and Now” on a PBS radio station I heard a young woman argue that ISIS has hijacked their peaceful religion.  ISIS is not Muslim.  If we look back to history, we could argue that her point of view is in error.

Islam began in violence.  Muhammad suffered so much abuse that he had to leave his beloved home in Makkah for Medina where he was protected by a Jewish community.  He led raids against his enemies and shed blood in the name of his God.  Some claim that there are over one hundred verses in the Quran where adherents are told to kill.  Here is an example of one:

Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief or unrest] is worse than killing…
but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone.

From the eighth century through the middle ages, Islam conquered  most of the Mediterranean world all the way to Spain. The wars went on for hundreds of years.

Judeo-Christian Traditions

In the name of God Christian missionaries conquered most of North and South America.  They believed that God had given them the land, even though indigenous peoples had owned and lived on the land for thousands of years.  They believed that they were going to “save” the inhabitants but they left behind blood and death. In countries like Uruguay, the indigenous population was totally wiped out!

Christianity also has a history of conquering its foes through violence from the time of Constantine through the Inquisition or witch trials of the late Middle Ages.  The Judeo-Christian Bible is filled with violence and violent stories.  How could Jephthah kill his own daughter?  Why would anyone want to cut up a concubine and send her parts to all the tribes of Israel? Why is the sacrifice/murdering of a beloved son at the heart of the gospels?

I have written many articles on the violent language found in the gospels of the New Testament.  In my research, I determined that Acts of the Apostles was a violent etiological legend that set the stage for violence as an agent of change.  Everywhere Paul went there was violence.  The founding of Christianity was filled with violence.

Revelation is among the most violent of books in the New Testament.

“The beast and the ten horns you saw
will hate the prositute. They will bring
her to ruin and leave her naked; they
will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
(17:16)

And, of course, according to the Book of Revelation, the earth will be destroyed to make way for a new heaven and earth.  And, of course, war broke out in heaven!

Islam and Christianity

This is a quick view of both of these religious traditions.  They both have peaceful people and peaceful texts in their documents.  But, within those traditions are peoples who believe that their TRUTH, their Divine (whether Allah or  Yahweh, Jesus (God))  is the only TRUTH and only way.  They believe that our current way of life must be destroyed in order to bring about a change that would be better for everyone,  and especially for them.

I always wonder about people who advocate violence as a way to change things for the better?  Were they beaten as a child?  Did they experience rape or violence in their homes? Were they homeless?  Were they tortured and kept in a closet for most of their lives? Did their parents kill one of their siblings or mother or father? Were they always told that their lives were worth nothing?  Were they so poor that they could not go to school or find a good meal every day?

A Thought

Religion can give direction, meaning, and hope to people.  And many of those people who are killing and killing themselves are dedicated to their religious beliefs, but they are caught up in a “ghost dance” and an illusion.  That illusion has been embraced by millions throughout history, even in our own Salem.

Since our culture is so permeated with violence, have we become a breeding ground for ….

As always this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

Posted in Cause of Violence, Hostility and Violence on Campus, Killing a Professor, Terrorists and their Religions, Uncategorized, Violence and Religion | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Undergraduate Despair and Hopelessness

Cartoon Captures a Snapshot about the Failings of Higher Education

Chan Lowe created a portrait of Higher Education in the United States “The American Undergrad’s Prayer.”  (I am repeating the prayer here, just in case they pull the cartoon from this blog)

“O, Lord!  Please protect me from campus killing rampages so that I amy earn my worthless degree and drown in student debt forever and ever, AMEN.”
Cartoon by Chan Lowe published in the KC Star on 11/8/15

Cartoon by Chan Lowe published in the KC Star on 11/8/15

This creative soul has captured the tragic feelings of many lost undergraduates in our country.

Lowe Has a Narrow View of Higher Education

As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, I grew up just outside of the now war-torn Detroit, Michigan when the “Big Three” automakers were responsible for the economic growth and well-being of millions of people.  Almost everyone I knew worked for one of the Three or a factory that supplied parts and more to the Three.  One of my cousins designed automobiles, an uncle worked on designing and testing tires, and an uncle-friend built plants for GM.

I knew that General Motors had an institute where I could learn to be an engineer.  But I wanted more out of life than to work on a factory floor like my mother and father and many aunts and uncles.  I had been around the making of cars my whole life, but I wanted to see life outside of an engine magazine and a transmission on the floor of a garage.

I was privileged to come from a family of working poor and knew that I could survive on very little.  I did not go to college to study something that would guarantee a job.  I knew I could find a job to support myself at any plant around the corner.

And here is where I think Lowe makes a huge mistake.  Money is not everything in life.  There are a lot of other values that propel people to attend college.

I wanted a challenge and began studying languages with different scripts.  I wanted to travel.  I wanted to write.  I wanted to understand world politics and social issues. I wanted to help others to understand each other and the peoples on the planet.  I wanted to be involved in life in a different way.  And, even after retiring, I am studying music.  It is adding a wonderful dimension to my life.

Worthless Degree.  Life is more than a Job

No degree is worthless.  If you have studied well, you have learned how to read and write and communicate with the rest of the world.  These are basic skills that undergrads lack. Many of my students could not spell, write a good sentence, reason critically, and were extremely lazy and undisciplined.  They could not understand what was being offered to them, so they threw the time in college away.

I often worked three jobs in order to pay for my college.  Rarely could anyone borrow  money to go to college back in the 1960’s.  So you either had to get a grand scholarship, come from a well-to-do family, or work your way through school.  College students should be required to work when they attend college.  It would help them with time-management and, perhaps, with their negative view of the future.

Most everyone I knew thought that my degree was worthless.  I have a PhD in Hebrew and Greek.  But, I had a tremendous career with many different job opportunities, traveled the world, and created many, many books, lectured on cruise ships, gave academic papers at national conferences, and more.  You learn to turn your degree into many interesting pursuits.  How do you know that the skill you are learning is going to be relevant when you graduate.  Liberal Arts skills are always relevant and will help you to re-create your future.

If you want to go to college just to get a “job” then don’t go to college.  Find a nice program somewhere that gives you the skills you need to get into the job market.

I finished a Certificate in Web Design and learned how to create Websites recently. It only took a couple of semesters, not four years, and I could be hired as a designer today at a good salary.  Study one programming language that is in vogue, and you will be given offers by several companies.  But you will have missed what I think is the the heart of education, which is the Liberal Arts that connects with history, people, poetry, great literature, art, music, theatre, religious studies, and more.

Violence on Campus

At my previous university only one student and one professor were murdered during my tenure.  This does not compare with what has happened on other campuses, but both of those killings should have never happened.

I stopped teaching in the classroom about 8-10 years before I retired and developed classes online.  They protected me from abusive, manipulative, and violent students.  It did not stop them from emailing and calling me a “motherfu…”

I had one student place a gun on my desk demanding a better grade.  I had five Middle Eastern students attempt to bribe me for a better grade.  Several offered me free sex.  One student stood outside my office swearing and walking back and forth threatening me.  Another female clenched her fist in my face after she received a grade she did not like.  There is so much more that I could list here.

And students are allowed to act out such behavior because university bureaucrats don’t want to lose one student.  That would hurt their student-credit-hours and cash that they would lose to fund their own private parties and trips.  Students know they are “used” and they resent every minute of it.

Students are Lost

Students don’t know what they want today.  They can’t see their own future and this is the despair that is reflected in the cartoon.  They are so wrapped up in their phones, their games, their sport’s teams and parties,  that they don’t have time to think about the importance of those wonderful classes in which they are enrolled.

And the top officials of universities are in the same bucket.  They are wrapped up in their own careers, and salaries, and influence,  to the detriment of our students.

 They are also lost,  and so they lead the students into a bitter darkness reflected in this cartoon.


 

Personal Note:

I may write another blog on this cartoon that addresses even more of the cancer that I have experienced on campuses.

My apologies for being away from the desk since August.  I have had five surgeries and been floating around Colorado for three weeks.  Several people have asked me to begin writing again. This was a good day, because it is my last surgery, and there was time.

Talk to you soon.  As always, this blog is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge.

Posted in Disillusionment in Higher Education, Education not War, Higher Education, Hostility and Violence on Campus, Killing a Professor, Misogynism, Misogynism in Higher Education, Stress and Professors, Students at risk, Terrorists on Campus, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

New Book “Politics of Feminisms” is Now Published

Politics of Feminisms

Is There More than ONE Feminism? 

I am happy to share the good news with you that I have published a new book, Politics of Feminisms.  For most of my career I published in many fields of feminist interpretation.  Some of those articles were lingering on my desk for years.  Time slips away.  This book represents two years of research on feminist biblical interpretation, misogyny in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Secrets of Women, and feminist politics in a modern classroom.

Below are a couple of excerpts.  I wanted to entitle this book, “Misogyny for a Hundred Thousand Years,” but I thought that would be stretching it a bit.

Long ago, in the mid-twentieth century, when I was only seventeen, I began to study the Hebrew/Old Testament and New Testament while in college. I had this unshakeable faith that a Divine Being would never create inequality among human beings. There were passages in the Bible that confirmed my belief. People were created equal in Genesis one, and stood side by side in the formative years of the early church. Surely, after reading the Genesis passage and many stories in the New Testament, people would agree that females and males should be treated equally in society.

            I was naive. Having been raised in a family with a strong mother who stood beside her husband as an equal, I could not even fathom that females should be treated differently just because their biology differed with males. I soon learned that females and males were treated differently in society.

A second excerpt:

The Bible is a historic collection of thoughts that has shaped countries and peoples for millennia. Communities have centered their faith activities in the Bible, brought unlikely people together, and serviced many needy people in spite of its misogyny, advocacy of male supremacy, and war-like tendencies. Communities like this provide havens and extended families for people. For some, to give up the study and research of the Bible may result in losing those friends or a haven. The flight of some Protestants away from feminist biblical traditions is understandable because they believe it essentially erodes their belief-system about order in society and community life. They cannot risk the loss even if it means redeeming oppressed females and others who constitute more than half of their congregations.

            Feminists also desire control of the interpretation of the text to disseminate their truth, because it often legitimates an alternate power structure and serves to control myth. And, yes, they want more power in their lives and more control over the people who oppress, marginalize, and exploit them. But perhaps they could also open their research and hearts to others who also suffer in much the same way.

 

A third excerpt:

While we may be publishing new ideas about how we should interpret the Bible differently, or discovering people in the past who have shared the same dream, or how culture should change, or how political power should be shared, on a very basic level the average person does not understand shared power, and many have an unimpeachable belief in male supremacy that systematically excludes those who would challenge it.

            Significant positive change may have come to some religious communities for women, but not to society as a whole in my view. Naomi Goldenberg threatened that feminism would be the end of traditional religions when the male God would be eliminated in her book The Changing of the Gods in 1979. “God is going to change…. We women are going to bring and end to God…. We will change the world so much that He won’t fit in anymore.”x[i]x Naomi Goldenberg’s prophecies failed to materialize. Little has changed.   Perhaps her prophecies will come true … someday.

xlx Naomi Goldenberg, The Changing of the Gods. Feminism  and the End of Traditional Religions Boston: Beacon   Press, 1979 p. 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Stores are a Lunatic Experience!

Apple is in the Tank!

I have been an avid user and fan of Macs since around 1983. Even when my university attempted to bribe me with a new PC, I did not falter, I kept my MAC.  And I have always appreciated the support and quality of machines that I have purchased.

The Problem

Recently Apple emailed with a recall of a Western Digital hard drive. Dutifully and trustingly, I brought my iMAC to the Apple Store in Leawood, Missouri. The hard drive was replaced in about two days. I was happy with the time frame. But I was not happy with the result. The iMAC would not start. I tried everything I knew to get the thing going. Called an Apple Genius? and he could not get it up and running.

When I returned to the store, the Apple Geniuses were flabbergasted. This does not happen. They did not believe me. They did not apologize. But after several attempts at jump-starting the machine. They decided that it needed to be fixed. My patience was gone!

I asked for a new iMAC since they trashed my old one. In unison they sang. “That could be considered.” But no one would make the decision. I think they were reading the lines from their iPads. A few days later, I brought the machine home. Oral tradition has it that a cable and the screen were broken. Huh? Did someone drop it? I asked for a new machine again and no one would respond. Applecare should have covered it, I think they wanted me to suffer a bit more before they gave me a new machine. When I arrived home my Magic Mouse would not work with the machine. What next?

I told them that crashing my computer was like someone taking your car and crashing it. You wouldn’t want the old car back, you would want a replacement. The Apple ears did not hear me.

The Environment

Have you been to an Apple Store lately. There are hoards of worker drones in jeans and dark blue t-shirts that look like they need some advice on grooming. Most of them kept their heads buried in their iPads and never looked at you. I think they take a pic of you when you enter the store, and your pic shows up next to your appointment time? Huh? All I got from these drones was, “Sit here?” or “Wait here!” I said that I was perfectly happy where I was but I was told that I was in the way.

(On the plus side, as soon as I entered the store someone talked to me, even though the place looked like it was in total chaos.) It is difficult to hear above the roar of the people clicking, swiping, and complaining. My iMAC is pretty big and they told me to look around the store, but then said that I should keep my hands on the computer because I could lose it.

Fun Stuff


There were as many as fifteen people in a line at once asking for help.  Some problems were handled immediately, like a phone that was in pieces, and other people, like me were sidelined for more than a half hour. I saw a two year old playing and talking on an iPhone.  A six year old had dropped his iPhone and it was no longer linked to his new Apple watch. How much did that watch cost? People lost their passwords or locked up their machines or could not use the software. I was watching someone trying to teach a class on how to create a video. He was shouting and no one could hear him.

What a lunatic experience!

Apple is no longer on my “A” List

I wish there was a better machine (I have four of them) for me, I would buy it and leave Apple in the dust. But the truth is that I have thirty years of data on disks and drives that are only formatted for the MAC. To change all of this to a new format would be an impossible task.

So I am stuck with the drones.

Wouldn’t it be great if the drones wore ironed polo shirts, and they actually looked at you. Buy better shirts for your employees, will ya? They look like they found those shirts in a second-hand shop! Burn them!

And maybe, if they didn’t pay some of their executives $89 million a year, they could do more for their customers.

 

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

 

 

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Obama Administration Caves into the Cries of Bureaucrats


“The U.S. Department of Education has retreated from its controversial plan to create a giant college-ratings system, top officials revealed on Wednesday. Instead, by late summer the department is now promising to produce a customizable, consumer-oriented website that won’t include any evaluations of colleges but will contain what one official described as “more data than ever before.” In effect, it will be a ratings system without any ratings.” (Chronicle of Higher Education)

The problem with public Higher Education today has little to do with affordability and more to do with greedy, power hungry, and misdirected bureaucrats. When did the ‘business model’ become the foundation of managing educational institutions?

At the last place where I taught, greedy professors and bureaucrats in fields of business, demanded and got higher salaries and perks than the rest of the university programs and professors. Did they publish more? Were they creative and innovative in their classes? Did they teach better? Did they counsel students better? Were they involved in the community? Of course, they were not and did not. Their argument was based upon market, and they argued that market should control their salaries. Too bad that the rest of us were left out of their selfish scheme!

I don’t know how to solve the problem of greed and selfishness at the top and through the bureaucratic ranks of public universities. The accepted standard or ethic is to exploit those around you.   At my former institution, the number of bureaucrats multiplied exponentially while the number of faculty went down.

Bureaucrats Use Hyper-and False-Advertising to Fund their War Chests 

The bureaucrats still  kept claiming that there was a 15 to 1 ratio in the classes at my former university.  All of our classes were open for 25 or more students and I taught classes of 125 for years.  Yes, there were smaller classes, but those were usually 4000 level classes that majors were required to take.  They also kept claiming that 90% of students obtained jobs almost immediately upon graduation.  What a lie this was!  I worked my way through college and so did many of our college students.  Most students have some type of job while going to college.  The bureaucrats led people to believe that their degrees were so sought after that students were hired immediately. I asked the bureaucrats if the jobs the students obtained were the ones they had while a student.  They stopped using this strategy for a while, and then came back to it.

Telling parents that their child will be assured a job is a bold-faced lie and also telling them that your professors will know your first name, is also untrue.  When you have 100-200 students to teach a semester, it is impossible to know each student by their first name.  You could wish that you could know each student, but it is an impossible task.

Bureaucrats use models on their websites to portray an attractive and beautiful student population.  What is the matter with using “real” photographs of “real” students?  They photoshop crowds together and create an illusion of happy, hard-working, and hard-playing students.  Where is the real campus? Isn’t this dishonest?

Bureaucrats Rarely Support Programs that Require Critical Thinking Skills

Their goal is to attract as many students to campus as possible, so that they can grab the cash that comes from the student-credit-hours produced by those students.  They scheme up unnecessary universal testing because the state rewards the university $100 per student for each test that is taken.  They are reductionistic and hope to combine programs so that the university has a more stream-lined appeal.  Why not reduce all of the majors to about ten?  That is much more marketable!!  In fact, they support programs that seem to lead to one type of “job” more than they support those departments that help students to understand the humanities and complexities of life.  Their goal is to get them in and get them out! They really don’t want them to learn to think, evaluate, read, write, and speak well in public!

Bureaucrats Exploit Everyone to Fulfill their Own Career Goals

When will the revenue that is raised through student-credit-hours come back to the faculty and departments that produce them?  This does not happen.  Like workhorses or mules, faculty become the means whereby bureaucrats achieve their own personal goals.  Those goals might be building projects, increasing athletics, building a new home for themselves, hiring their friends or relatives, the use of a jet, cooperative agreements with governments that enhance their personal power, and so much more.  The funds do not come back to departments for faculty raises or support of curricula.  Most faculty back-peddle hoping for a break, but that break never comes.

President Obama, Something Has to be Done!

The Bureaucrats are many and have loud voices.  They are powerful.  They know about power because it is at the center of their careers and goals.  They won’t let anyone take away that power.  Faculty could do it.  Faculty could step forward and challenge the bureaucrats.  As in any civil war, there would be casualties.  But Faculty do not want to risk their tenure or what little of their own status that they have obtained.  Faculty know that bureaucrats are destroying (have destroyed) higher education and they will do nothing about it.  It is time for an outside agency to investigate and punish greedy bureaucrats.

But who has enough power to do it?  Where are you Edward Snowden?

 

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

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Destroying or eliminating General Education classes is barbaric. The Visigoths are at the door!

General Education Classes are at the Heart of Higher Education

“The first act of the Islamic State was to kill the people with knowledge of Religion.” Zaid AlFares

For more than two decades at my last job at a state university, I had to fight tooth and nail to preserve the Religious Studies programs. As I have mentioned in an earlier blog, politics on campus can be quite complicated and visceral. Our greatest opponents were professors and administrators in fields other than normally found in General Studies programs.  They argued that our university did not need General Education. Other universities have walked down this path, where they have attempted to become majors only institutions. From my point of view, destroying or eliminating General Education classes is barbaric.

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking helps to foster success in a person’s life!

I met a student who lives in Columbia the other night. He argued that General Education classes were a waste of time. Students should not be required to take classes they don’t like or don’t want to study. Universities should eliminate those worthless classes.  This point of view is both reductionistic and destructive.  The consequences of eliminating General Education classes would undermine our colleges and our country as a whole. And my reply to this student is that he should seek out a technical or for-profit school that does not include the classes he does not like in his program.

If you are a privileged human being who has grown up with lots of cash, traveled the world, and been tutored all of your life by high-end educators, then perhaps some of the General Education classes would seem to be a bit stifling. But many students in the state of Missouri, and especially at the institution where I taught, were first generation college students.

General Studies

General Studies enhances critical thinking skills and awareness of the world in which we live!

All students need to survey topics that they have never even considered studying in their lives. Those classes can open doors to possible careers and avocations. They lay a foundation that helps link students to all sorts of other people and careers. They can give “meaning” to a person’s life. You begin to understand the world around you, and interact with it in a more intelligent way after studying in a General Studies class.  What would life be like if we did not study history, art, theatre, literature, creative writing, sociology, psychology, communication, women’s studies, languages, music, and even religious studies? We would all become automatons or mechanical people without hearts or brains. And isn’t that the point, and the goal, of those who would eliminate General Studies?

Music

Music Adds to Our Lives

At the moment I am enrolled in a Music Appreciation class.  (Yes, I am retired.) It is true that I do not like all of the music we have studied, but on the other hand, I have discovered other music I love.  In Zumba classes I now can hear melodies in the Zumba tunes that were written hundreds of years ago.  The class has made me very aware of all of the music around me, and I can read and understand the newspapers and advertisements about music about which I knew nothing. This is all thanks to a General Education class.

Most humanities courses help students to learn how to be critical thinkers. They help students to learn how to express themselves clearly and to speak with passion and care. Many of the professors who did not teach General Education courses at my university, complained that they should not be held accountable for their student’s lack of good writing or critical-thinking skills. As long as they knew content in the discipline of a class, the other skills were not needed. This argument harms students.  They are not teaching in the best interests of students.  Their point of view is skewed and narrow.

Students may even need General Studies classes to determine what types of professors they want in their major area. I remember one of my students who had taken Greek from me, asking a question in one of her major classes, where the professor was misusing, misunderstanding, and mispronouncing Greek words. She questioned him and he did not like it.  And there were many other religious studies students who went on to challenge professors on campus who did not engage in critical thinking.

When you want to obtain control over a people, you eliminate the thinkers who have the knowledge to speak out, to be critical, to help others. We have seen this time and time again in Communist Countries, even yesterday with the murder of a high profile official in Russia. In Cambodia and Vietnam, thousands if not millions, of educated people were murdered because they had the knowledge.

Greek Symbol

This is a Greek symbol employed to protect Christians.

Knowledge is precious and can be life-saving. Education is more than getting a ticket to find a good job. Life is more than a paycheck.  Without General Education classes, and especially without religious studies classes, people cannot well assess their lives, their futures, their employers, and their own religious traditions. I can’t tell you how many times military people have come to me, and told me that they wished with all of their hearts that they had taken a World Religions class with me before they were deployed. Their lives would have been so much richer. They could have taken advantage of the opportunities that were presented to them in foreign ports of call. They would have understood the cultures and experiences better.

Shame on the student who carelessly complains about General Education classes. His mindset is similar to ISIS. Destroy the educated, so we can rule!

(The symbol refers to Yeisous (Jesus), Christos (the Christ), Theos (God), Huios (Son), and Soter or Soteria (Savior or Salvation). (The transliteration is mine.)  It was a code that allowed Christians to enter meetings during times of harassment by the government.  It saved their lives!

As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge

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