Saturday, February 27, 2010

Smokin' Sunday Radical Roundup: Ciggies, Spys, Sports and Sex Scandals

I Would Do Anything For Love -- But I Won't Do That: Thanks to Ralph Luker at Cliopatria we at Tenured Radical have links to articles by Robert Proctor and Jon Weiner about historians who have testified on behalf of the tobacco industry between 1986-2005. They include Stephen Ambrose, Otis Graham, Paul Harvey, and Michael Schaller. Consultants for the industry who have not testified include Herbert Klein and Irwin Unger. Out of 57 scholars there are exactly two women -- which means what? That the tobacco industry doesn't employ women, or that women told them to take a hike, since smoking is also linked to breast cancer and women are a bit more militant on this issue?

"That's Doctor Moneypenny, James": This has got to be the coolest job I have ever seen posted -- did you even know that there was something called The International Spy Museum? Well there is, it's in Washington D.C., and they are looking for a Curator/Historian! According to the ad posted on H-Net, it is "the only public museum in the U.S. solely dedicated to the tradecraft, history, and contemporary role of espionage." I don't see a deadline, so get your application in now.

I wonder if you get extra points for sending your materials in code on a microdot carefully secured to an otherwise ordinary magazine? Hmmmm?

We'll Know What's In The Closet When We Stop Cleaning House: Faculty at SUNY-Binghamton, beset by a men's basketball scandal, are concerned that those who allowed it --nay, cultivated it -- are still in place. "Interviews with students, administrators and faculty members revealed just how corrosive the trade-offs were in Binghamton’s pursuit of athletic glory," the New York Times reports today. The "crisis of confidence" is most acute in the Department of Human Development, where 10 out of 16 players were enrolled as majors. Many of these players had come from other schools; the department accepted transfer of credit in"courses like Theories of Softball and Bowling I, and [players] were given preferential treatment to stay eligible." Such preferential treatment included running special sections of required courses, compressed into a short time frame, that would allow the players to concentrate on basketball and graduate with virtually no marketable skills. Meanwhile, ordinary requests from regular majors -- like having food available at the downtown location where their classes had been moved -- were denied.

Two questions that no one ever seems to ask in this situation: what was the point of having a high-profile basketball program at SUNY-Binghamton when the university is already well known, for its academics, as one of the finest universities in the system? And why do such scandals, minus the occasional recruiting violation that apparently caused Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma to stop speaking, so rarely occur women's programs? Despite the fact that we know that the money spent on marquee men's sports is rarely returned, even in alumni donations, administrators with dreams of sports glory repeatedly screw over faculty and students, and do so claiming that they are gilding the rose of education by trying to deliver a basketball championship. They also cynically use large numbers of athletes, the vast majority of whom will never be able to finance a life playing pro ball, and thus could really use a college degree and an actual major. It is just not true that big-time college sports make a college or university better! Sports are, and should be, a co-curricular activity: they are meant to keep students in good health, create community, inculcate self-discipline, teach competitive individuals to work as a team and produce leaders. What aspect of programs that cheat, and that elevate the interests of a few community members over the interests of the whole, teaches this to athletes or the student body at large?

But in cheerful sports news....

Silver Medal, Baby! Congratulations to my colleague, Zenith's own Head Coach of Women's Ice Hockey Jodi McKenna, who helped to lead the United States team to a silver medal as an assistant Olympic coach. Nice. Your women are lucky to have a Division III liberal arts education and such a fine example of athletic excellence.

Last But Not Least, German People Naked: Many apologies to those of you who hit the Tiny URL in a recent Tweet (which also posted to Facebook), and thanks to those friends who sent me urgent text messages alerting me that there was an issue with the link. In a mighty strange move, that click would have led you to a German amateur pornography site, where not so nice looking people were sprawled about in quite ugly ways. I really dislike it when pornography is forced on me or others against their will, and it causes my best feminist self to bridle. What is even odder is that most legit porn sites ask you to certify you are of majority age before clicking into them, thus making it a choice for all of us. Perhaps because Germans don't have the same laws we do, this one took you straight to the nasty bits. Anyway: microbloggers, check your Tinies before tweeting! I suspect this is either a glitch that the Tiny people need to work out, or a virus of some kind.


Katrina said...

The Spy Museum is great! I visited a couple of years ago. If I worked on anything espionage or intelligence related, I'd be applying for that job.

Thanks for clarifying too on the bad link... I was very confused when I first saw it!! (maybe you should start using or another url shortener)

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Binghamton + "academic glory" = sad joke.

Congrats to your colleague on the Olympic medal!

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Oh, shit! I mean "athletic glory"! Whoops.

Anonymous said...

You are not alone in accidental porn linkage. It also happened to an ABC weather station.

If you think about the fact that a tiny URL is a randomly generated string of 6 characters, then consider how much of the internet is devoted to porn, it's hardly surprising. Definitely still amusing though.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that a high profile basketball doesn't make money for the school. I thought it was football that was the big loser. If a basketball team makes it to the NCAA tournament, there's the potential for big money.

Also Binghamton might be the crown jewel of the SUNY system, but how many out of state kids go there? If they wanted to attract more out of staters they might have thought basketball was the way to do it.


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