Friday, December 18, 2020

Did We Read the Same Dissertation? (The Gay Nazi Conundrum, Part III)

First ladies are really irrelevant in the scheme of things.  So why is the right-wing press relentlessly attacking Jill Biden?  Is this foreshadowing what the next four years are going to be like?  Why all the hate from the Right - I mean, other than right-wing politics is historically based on hate.

There has been some manufactured "controversy" over Jill Biden.  First, the Wall Street Journal (which is now a Murdoch publication) runs a condescending and misogynist piece criticizing the next First Lady for using the moniker "Dr." in front of her name, even though she has only a PhD in Education.  I mentioned before my brother does this - with a PhD in puppetry.  I would not go to him for any serious ailments, unless you have a sick puppet.

UPDATE:  A reader notes that her degree is actually an "EeD" degree, but who really cares?  I mean, other than people in that field.

In academia, this is common - to append your name with all sorts of letters, or use the term "doctor" or whatever.  It is, oddly enough, a very competitive field.  Few professors get tenure these days, and there is always some grad student willing to slit your throat to take your "adjunct professor" position away from you.  It's all about publish or perish and getting as many credentials as possible.

I suppose I could put "Esq." after my name, but I find that a bit pretentious.  And as I noted before, if you come across an attorney who does this, he probably is an ass.  If he is the type who insists you address him this way (and gets all pissy when you send him a letter without "Esquire" appended to his name) then you know you have a first-class power-shifting asshole on your hands.

In other countries, such titles are more freely awarded. My German Engineer friends call themselves "Dipl. Eng." and also call themselves "Doctor".  I guess the former refers to having a diploma, as opposed to merely coming up through the ranks of mechanics (as was historically the case) or driving a train or something.   But quite frankly, I find all these titles tiresome.   The appendage of "Dr." is handy to have, if someone is bleeding to death and you need assistance in a hurry.  But other than that, it is pretty bogus.

But on the other hand, calling someone out for using "Dr." before their name, when all they have is a PhD, well, that's kind of an asshole move, too (and yes, I did that just now, with my hapless brother).  If someone wants to call themselves a "Doctor" because they got a PhD, well, I guess that is their right, but we have the right to snicker behind their backs.   But to rake someone over the coals over this is a little over the top.

But the whole thing didn't end there.  Tucker Carlson, a walking, talking mound of horse manure - who is all the excuse God needs to wipe humanity off the face of the Earth - has gone ballistic over Jill Biden's Doctoral Dissertation.   It's full of stupid typographical errors!   But she can spell her own name right - as well as "District Court" - something Trump's "Crack Legal Team" can't do, apparently. 

Funny thing, I downloaded her dissertation - most are freely available online - and I could not find these obvious typos.  We are told they are in the first paragraph!  But I cut-and-pasted the first few pages of text into WORD and ran a spell-check, and got nothing.  I read through it, but if there are typos and misspellings, I missed them as well.   Are we being lied to?  By Fox News?  I am shocked, utterly shocked.

Funny thing - when Bill Clinton became President, Hillary's dissertation was locked away.  Now we know why - it would only fuel these sort of ad hominem attacks.

I read the dissertation - it is a snooze fest.  Having both Engineering and Law degrees - which are somewhat harder to get than a PhD in "education" - it seemed to me that the entire subject matter was, from my perspective, a little lightweight.  But that is the nature of such studies.  There is no advance calculus or differential equations involved.  No chemistry, no physics, no thermodynamics - or worse yet, eletromagnetics.   There are no reams of case law to study, and legal arguments to parse, no "Socratic Method" to expose your weak thinking.  Much of this sort of "study" involves surveys and whatnot, much as sociology does.  You can't get an Engineering or Law degree by doing surveys.

Maybe I am being condescending, too.  But from my perspective, I don't see Jill Biden's dissertation any more or less cerebral than other work in that field. And apparently she did an OK job by the standards of that art, as she was awarded a PhD in the end.  These are the sort of degrees that unionized school teachers get to justify a pay raise.  That's how it works in New York State - get a few Masters degrees, and a Doctorate, and pretty soon, you're making six figures.   It is the nature of the beast.  Jill Biden didn't cut any corners here or do anything illegal or unethical.  No claim of plagiarism, even.  Saying the subject matter is lightweight - in a field of lightweight subject matter - is sort of stupid.

So where is Carlson getting this shit from?  Well, searching online finds this "article" by a "freelance journalist" (i.e., "enemy of the people" according to his Trump God) who goes on for page after page  (in three articles no less!) making very vague and sweeping generalizations about the dissertation, but never getting quite to the point.  It reads like Trump's election fraud arguments - a lot of conclusory statements but no real meat.

The dissertation, Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs, shimmers with the wan, term-papery feel of middle school, although in defense of today’s middle schoolers, they at least know how to use spell-checking software, unlike Mrs. Biden. Her 2006 paper notes that at Delaware Tech, her then-employer, a third of students dissolve into the ether every year, and in order to pad out her micron-thin proposals, none of which have anything to support them except her beliefs and anecdotal evidence (she suggests building a student center and beefing up the “Wellness Center” while increasing counseling and mentoring services), she shovels in piles of drivel. (emphasis added)

Who is this "Kyle Smith" and why does he have such an ax to grind?  Was his Mother that mean to him?  I guess so.  Turns out he has a Wikipedia page, and it looks like he is on the declining side of his career, such as it was.  He was known for making snarky movie reviews, and now writes for the right-wing publication National Review, which has been doing hatchet-jobs on the Biden administration before it has even gotten off the ground.   No impartiality here!

Oddly enough, his "personal" section was not filled in, and when I saw a picture of him, my Gay-dar went off, big time.  So I searched some more and found his Twitter account. He made an odd posting.....

How odd he would be following news about Fire Island and then making a post that he wants to "party on" the "SS Gay."   I mean, this guy is leaving more breadcrumbs than Eminem!   And he defends Peter Thiel when he was "outed" by liberal media.  Hmmmm........

And he made a very odd review of the latest J.K. Rowling book/movie, arguing that "Fanstastical Beasts" or whatever the fuck they are, is a metaphor for the gay rights movement.   Something you want to tell us Kyle?  By the way, if you name your kid "Kyle" odds are, he will have a career in gay porn.  It just isn't a very butch name.  It is the "Bruce" of the 2000's.

So, does "Kyle" have something to tell us?  Perhaps.  Sounds like he is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs.  But of course, that would be an ad hominem attack, right?  How does the shoe fit when it is on the other foot, "Kyle"?  Yea, kind of uncomfortable.

But if Kyle is gay, he wouldn't be the first queer on the far-right,  That history goes back decades, to the Nazi Reich and beyond.  There seems to be this connection between homosexuality and far-right politics.  Maybe it started with the Spartans, I don't know.  But in more recent times, we have many a right-wing politician being outed after some restroom misadventure, as well as homophobic born-again preachers found with rent-boys and recreational drugs.  Roy Cohn, the attorney behind the "Red Scare" of the 1950's and mentor to a young Donald Trump denied being gay, but as Roger Stone - himself reportedly a bit of a swinger, claims Cohn wasn't gay but "just liked having sex with men."  I guess that is how Republicans compartmentalize this.

I believe part of the problem is perhaps mental illness - not a full-blown schizophrenia, but cognitive dissonance and a sense of self-loathing after being brought up in a society which denies your basic urges, and peers which tell you that you are the lowest form of human life.  It can mess with your mind.  Terrorists in the middle east recruit "suicide bombers" this way.  They give young gays two choices - be beaten to death and bring shame on their families, or strap on a suicide vest and bring honor, and money, to their families.  Either way, you're going to die, so most choose plan B.  If you have low self-esteem and feel your very society loathes you, being a "martyr" seems like a good deal.

But getting back to Dr. Jill Biden (and yes, that is a silly moniker, but who cares?) why is Kyle so upset over her dissertation, as to write not one, but three articles tearing it apart?  Again, Mommy issues?  Closet homosexual?  Or just the last gasps of a failing career?  I think maybe a combination of all of the above, but particularly the last.  I noted before that when you are in your 50's, your career may grind to a halt.  And Mr. Smith has written for the New York Post and People Magazine, but his movie review days appear to be over.  The two books he published didn't seem to gain much traction, other than a positive review from the Wall Street Journal (who also lauded that crazy Trump lawyer's book).

So he is desperately trying to break out of the pack, and tearing down Jill Biden with these vicious personal attack seems to be his strategy.   That and claiming to be a "martyr" who is "under attack" for his ground-breaking breath-taking three-part expose of dissertation-gate.   Oh, puleeeze!

Funny thing, but Republicans love to tear down Democratic First Ladies.  Poor Michele and Hillary - both were pilloried.  But you say something nasty yet truthful about Melania - that perhaps she is a mail-order trophy wife - and you get shamed.   How dare youBut it is, of course, true.  No one in the history of mankind is sexually or emotionally attracted to the human turd that is Donald Trump. I mean, if he was the only other man left on Earth, I would become heterosexual in a heartbeat (and become People Magazine's "sexiest man alive" simply by default).  Melania didn't marry for love, she married to get her and her family out of Slovenia.   And I don't blame her for that.   Speculation is, she rewrote the pre-nup after Donald won in 2016, and she is going to file for divorce on January 21st.  Smart lady.

Just as "Kyle" is struggling to get attention - any kind of attention, even negative attention - likely the same is true for Tucker Carlson.  His schtick is being the op-ed equivalent of a "shock jock" - he is the Howard Stern of Fox News, sans sexy lesbian guest stars.  He has to say wilder and wilder things, just to break away from the pack.  And sadly, the "mainstream media" feels obligated to "report the controversy" which serves only to reinforce the notion that Jill Biden is some sort of fraud.

But Tucker, like Kyle, is struggling.  He has to say these wild things to get attention and get ratings.  Such is the nature of media today.  No one wants to read just normal news - they want the controversy and heat and name-calling and shouting.   The problem is ultimately us, as we click on and listen to this nonsense.  And it is nonsense, all of it.

Maybe it all started with Jerry Springer, I don't know.  All I know is, it ain't journalism by a long-shot, and even the people pushing this dreck admit that is entertainment and that their caustic on-air persona is just that - an act.

So if you enjoy this form of "entertainment" then go for it.  But maybe someone can point out all of these "typos" and misspelled words in Jill Biden's dissertation, because I can't find them.  Nor can I find anything else "wrong" with it - any more than any other dissertation for a PhD in Education.

UPDATE:  Sadly, this attack on Jill Biden is part of this GOP strategy of "always attack, always attack, never retreat!" which squanders a lot of their political capital on attacks that are not strategically important.   The Democrats didn't spend half as much energy over the last four years attacking Melania Trump as Carlson et al. have done in the last 48 hours against Jill Biden.   The biggest "attack" on the first lady was about a stupid overcoat she wore that said "I don't care" on it, which was more of a "WTF?" moment than anything else.  If anything, most people felt sorry for Melania.  I mean, being married to that.  Right?

First ladies are just not that important.   Michelle Obama's "fitness" program had about the same impact as Melania's "Be Best" program, which made about as much impact as Hillary's "Co-Presidency".   First ladies pick out the White House china pattern and host State Dinners and that's about it.  When a woman is President, the "first gentleman" will do about the same.  It is not a matter of gender, it is just that President is your spouse's job.  And the spouse of the President is just not that important.

So... why these attacks on Jill Biden?  Perhaps because they got nothing else.  They feel they have to constantly be tearing down the opposition, so as to create this negative feeling about anyone even remotely connected with a Democratic administration.  They need to demonize the opposition, not merely disagree with them.  And yea, Democrats do this too, but to a lesser extent.  The GOP has a scorched-earth policy, particularly post-Trump.  I think this extreme negativism is one reason Biden won.  People got tired of being angry all the time.

We'll see how the next two years work out.  Usually, the opposing party gains seats in the mid-term elections.   Whether this extreme negativism and idiotic attack-articles will persuade voters to turn out for the GOP remains to be seen.   Then again, people are idiots, and they think that "dissertation-gate" actually means something..... when it means nothing.

UPDATE:  I read Kyle's twitter feed - you'll need a bath afterwards.   He is basically a troll - part of this new generation that thinks that being snarky is smart and that trying to "trigger the libs" is some sort of sport that "proves" something.   Oddly enough, many of the tweets he makes - or re-tweets - sound like they are supporting liberal causes.

How many ideas that you know to be ill conceived and that will do harm are you keeping mum about or pretending to support because you fear social sanction or want social status or feel you owe solidarity to well-meaning adherents? Enough. To do good you must speak up.

I mean, this could be referring to political correctness, or to the lock-step nature of the GOP in going along with the "election fraud" nonsense.

I feel sorry for this guy, as other than writing for People magazine (which technically was never a magazine, but a collection of photos with captions) and snarky pieces for right-wing publications, he has no real life experience whatsoever.   Shallow is too deep a word to describe people like this.  But sadly, they seem to be the new voice of America.

When I write about unionism, it is not from a theoretical viewpoint, but based on my experiences in working in union factories and my brief tenure as a Teamster.  When I write about corporate America or the law business, it is based on my experiences working in these fields.  When I write about poverty, it is not the theoretical perspective of a Yale grad who played beer bong at a frat for four years, but a guy who had to pay his way through school and lived on raman noodles and rice while delivering pizzas to snarky frat kids.

That's the problem with "journalism" these days - as I have noted before.   We have people who write about things who have no real-life experiences, other than as a writer.  Samuel Clemens didn't write about steamboats on the Mississippi based on theories, but experience. Hemingway didn't write about the horrors of war based on something he read, but experienced.

Today, we have these snark-meisters who have no real experience in life, but are put to work writing right out of college after having majored in journalism.  These folks are little more than trolls, knowing what generates click-through revenue for their employers (People magazine, indeed) but not how to write anything relevant or of merit.  Snark is not smart.

I take a piss on my PhD. brother, but in his defense, he spent decades as a puppeteer before getting his PhD.  He actually knows something about the subject matter, not just stuff he read out of a book.

Kyle, on the other hand, has only theories about life, and snarkiness.   It isn't enough.  And I sense he is going into snark overload as part of the last thrashings of a failed career.   Maybe if he snarks loud enough, someone will pay attention.

Like I said, maybe his mother didn't love him or something.  Seems to be a pattern in this woman-hating mileu.