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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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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