Before I left school last fall, I graded one set of students’ papers in my role as a graduate instructor at UC Berkeley. It was a basic paper assigned in an introductory sociology course, so I assumed that a competent, complete answer deserved an “A.” When I submitted my grades and sample papers for the… Continue reading Grade Inflation: Maybe Unfair, Probably Just
A small child, having eaten the tastier offerings on his plate, picks unenthusiastically at his vegetables. An exasperated parent tells him that he should eat his food because there are starving people in China.* The child points out that there is no way anyone can transport his broccoli to China, and thus his decision is… Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not?
Nicholas Kristof has recently informed me that most of what I do is relatively useless, and that the only solution is to blog more (tweets are cool too). Ever since he opened my eyes to the fact that half of the world’s population has two X chromosomes, I’ve hung on his every word, so here… Continue reading Left-Wing Think Tank “United States Department of Agriculture” Concludes Capitalism Is The Cause of Food Waste
Recently I’ve been spending my days working frantically on my book, voraciously reading texts for my qualifying exams and—this is the best, and most exciting, part—talking animatedly about potential dissertation ideas with my colleagues. You could say that, after a two-year hiatus, I love sociology again. The only problem is that it took me getting… Continue reading Anomie Soup
I think I felt the stupidest when I gave out the gluten-free Wonton Wraps. Admittedly, there are a lot of times at my job where I’ve wondered, “Is anyone going to eat this?” I certainly want to believe that someone is going to be happily surprised by the wave of pomegranates we’ve been packing, and… Continue reading Bears Don’t Eat Onions
Periodically, animal advocates get torn to shreds for daring to suggest that the suffering of animals deserves our consideration alongside the suffering of humans. Last year, Natalie Portman had the audacity to ask, “If we don’t tolerate rape, why do we tolerate meat eating?”—and was promptly pounced upon by feminist bloggers. More recently, twitter called… Continue reading PETA vs. the Feminist Blogosphere
One year ago, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti killed hundreds of thousands of people. A month later, a much larger quake in Chile killed only a fraction of that number. As far as I can tell, what made the difference between the two was not geography or geology. Instead, it was Haiti’s particularly harsh… Continue reading The Anti-Politics Machine
I expected a lot of things when I woke up this morning and, thanks to the time difference, opened my New York Times to catch the electoral news. I anticipated seeing the GOP make massive gains, and I knew that, for all my “they’re-all-the-same” cynicism, I would feel totally despondent about it. They did,… Continue reading What left-leaning blogger isn’t writing one of these?
Being an EstadoUnidense* in Latin America should not be easy. Forget Pakistan; there is no region of the world with more legitimate and longstanding grievances against the U.S. than Latin America. Ecuadorians, for example, could complain about the CIA’s supposed role in the death of President Jaime Roldós in 1981, or, more concretely, the enduring… Continue reading The Long, Charming Reach of Racism
This is, most definitely, not the blog post I was hoping to write on this topic. A few weeks ago, the Worcester College MCR—the graduate student government—debated a “Meatless Mondays” resolution, which would urge our dining hall to go vegetarian for one day a week. Initially, the people who drafted our motion couched it in… Continue reading Vegetarian Mumbo Jumbo