Good morning, everyone!
1 Something stupid. I haven’t written about the Kardashians for a long time, unless you count Kanye West, but he has a legitimate claim to celebrity and the fact that he’s married to Kim K. is more or less a footnote. This morning, checking some cyanide out at the CVS, I saw this cover by the register:
Quick, now: why would it be smart and profitable to put this story on the front of a tabloid magazine? Who is Khloe Kardashian (normally I would try to find a way to get that accent over the “e” but it just isn’t worth it) and why would anyone on God’s green earth care about what she’s doing or what someone else is doing to her?
This woman is the youngest of the original Kardashian sisters, all of whom achieved fame-via-reality show after Kim’s sex tape was released and she gained fame for the size and shape of her butt. I’m not kidding. That’s it. That’s the whole basis for the culture’s love affair with the Kardashians, and the reality show that introduced ugly duckling heavyish for a professional slut family youngest sister Khloe to America began in 2007, eleven full years ago. And what has Khloe, who is no longer heavy, or recognizable, and that was worth a book and a spin-off reality show—done since then to make her adventures worthy of the time you would normally use to alphabetize your sock drawer? Absolutely nothing, other than appearing on TV with her weird, venal, narcissistic family, and being rich due to no fault of her won. (Her late father was one of O.J.’s cronies, played by David Shwimmer —“Ross” in “Friends”— in the O.J. miniseries, and her mother is a successful Hollywood hustler.) Here is the full extent of her societal worth, courtesy of the ridiculously long Wikipedia entry:
On September 27, 2009, Kardashian married NBA basketball player Lamar Odom, who was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers at the time. The couple were married exactly one month after they met at a party for Odom’s teammate Metta World Peace. Following her marriage, Kardashian removed her middle name to include her married surname, becoming Khloé Kardashian Odom. Kardashian adopted a pet boxer named Bernard “BHops” Hopkins, after the famous boxer.
On December 13, 2013, after months of speculated separation, Kardashian filed for divorce from Odom and for legal restoration of her last name. Divorce papers were signed by both parties in July 2015; however, the divorce had yet to receive final approval from a judge. In October 2015, Odom was hospitalized after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel, and was in a coma for four days; as he lay in a hospital, Kardashian withdrew her pending divorce petition. In an interview with People Magazine, Kardashian confirmed that they had not reconciled and the divorce had been withdrawn so that she might make medical decisions on Odom’s behalf.Kardashian and Odom’s divorce was finalized in December 2016.
Kardashian is currently in a relationship with basketball player Tristan Thompson. The couple reside in Cleveland, Ohio.In December 2017, she announced they were expecting their first child together. In March 2018, Kardashian revealed she would have a girl. On April 12, 2018, Kardashian gave birth to their daughter, True Thompson. He cheated on Khloe Kardashian with other girls leading to him being inactive on social media at Khloe Kardashian’s wishes.
This does not speak well of the culture, American society, its values or its prospects. My father’s generation was enthralled by the family dramas and controversies surrounding pubic figures like Charles Lindbergh, who, after all, accomplished something and displayed useful and admirable values in doing so. His generation and the precedding one did have a soft spot for robbers like Dillinger, Bonny and Clyde and before them, Jesse James, but that was because they were styled as latter day Robin Hoods. At least robbing the rich to give to the poor is something. Actors, actresses and sports heroes have always been popular culture icons, but they were famous for their art and achievements, not just for showing up, or worse, showing up and acting like an idiot. Imagine Babe Ruth being idolized because of fame bestowed on him solely based on his gluttony, promiscuity and drunkenness. That’s where we appear to be now. There really are tweens out there who will announce that they want to grow up to be like one of the six or seven—I don’t know where to put the former Bruce Jenner—Kardashian girls. Parents should lock them in a high tower like Rapunzel, but they won’t, because they probably hope their daughters grow up to be like Kim, Kourtney, Kendall, Khloe aand whatever that the other ones are named…Katmandu? Kalamazoo?
How can ethics survive in a culture like that? What am I doing?
2. Today’s ridiculous Fresno professor news note. Vile, vapid and vicious Fresno State University professor Randa Jarrar told The Cut in an interview that racism was behind the backlash she received for attacking former first lady Barbara Bush on Twitter the day she died. That’s perfect. Jarrar is as much a “person of color” as I am, but nonetheless, as a card-carrying Left-wing nut job, she defaults to race-baiting when the going gets tough. I love it! Jarrar, who is some kind of Egyptian, Greek, Palestinian mix that apparently results in someone who looks like a cross between Melissa McCarthy, a bad Billie Holiday impressionist and “Bloody Mary” in a desperate community Theater production of “South Pacific”…
…really and truly said,
“Women of color routinely have their tone policed, their justified anger painted as hatred, and their criticism of injustice framed as racism toward white people.”
You know what this means, don’t you? I can claim that any criticism of stupid things I say and write is based on racism! I’ve been waiting for this moment all my professional life!
3. But wait! There’s more! Meanwhile, Fresno State President Joseph Castro announced the same day the interview came out that his school reviewed Jarrar’s comments and determined that she didn’t violate any policies, and as a private citizen using her personal Twitter account, her indefensible remarks were protected as free speech by the U.S. Constitution.
I call bushwa, If the school wanted to go through the pain of punishing her, it could have. I checked the school’s Faculty Handbook, unlike any journalists reporting on the story. Admittedly, in my view, it is inadequate in its lack of insistence, and every institution should so insist, that faculty members do not embarrass or harm the institution by their personal conduct. As I read it, a faculty member could promote world terrorism, engage in cannibalism and/or marry a horse without any professional consequences. That’s irresponsible. Every organization has to have some minimal standards of conduct for employees. Even so, I see this…
“Each faculty member is expected to maintain a high standard of professional conduct in their interactions with all members of the university community and in their pursuit of knowledge.”
Like most profs on social media, most of her followers are students. This communique was an interaction with the university community, and it was unprofessional. Then I see this:
“The primary professional responsibilities of instructional faculty members are teaching, research, scholarship or creative activity, and service to the university, profession, and community”
Public statements that are designed to foment hate and divisiveness while making the university look incompetent (for hiring such an ass), the profession look unprofessional, and that cast the university community in an unflattering light are disservices. Then there is this…
“As members of the university community, all faculty members are expected to show respect for and due consideration of the role and contributions that each member of the university community, whether faculty, staff, student or administrator, makes toward the mission of the university.”
The professor’s gratuitous attacks certainly don’t show such respect for her OWN role, contributing to national ridicule and disgust toward the university while undermining its mission. Next we have,
“While you may engage in political activity…When you speak or act in your capacity as private citizen or enter into private business arrangements, you must distinguish these activities from your university obligations and make clear that you are acting outside your university employment.”
Not only didn’t Jarrar do that, she explicitly highlighted her faculty status in her subsequent boasts that she could not be disciplined as tenured professor.
Finally, we have,
“This section provides a general discussion of those responsibilities but is not meant to be all inclusive.”
That’s right, the old “we can’t think of every inappropriate, stupid, unprofessional thing one of these entitled bozos might do or say, but we will know it when we see it” catch-all provision…you know, like the part of the Constitution the Supreme Court used to make abortion a right. If Fresno State wanted to make the case that Jarrar that Jarrar breached her duties as an employee, it could. It just didn’t want to.
That’s fine: I think institutions that hire people as arrogant, intolerant, cruel, irresponsible biased and foolish as Professor Jarrar should be transparent to the world. Now we know that she wasn’t just an aberration. These are the kinds of awful people that Fresno State considers fully qualified to mold thee minds of the rising generation. Good to know, don’t you think?