Category Archives: Education

The Dead Letter Of Education

David Solway, with a depressing tale of why he quit teaching:

…when I briefly tried to introduce my students to a portion of the paronomastic, multi-lingual Wake for the sheer fun of language at its most exuberant, I was rewarded with blank incomprehension. It is, admittedly, a formidable text, but I felt that with some tutorial guidance students might be intrigued by the multiplex resources of the language, its potential to “maximize modularity,” to use an aeronautical phrase. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did appreciate the following cartoon from a graphically talented student for its cheeky insouciance. Still, it was a sign that students are far more comfortable performing in a visual milieu than in a textual environment, as this student, like the majority of his congeners, experienced significant hardship organizing his thoughts and perceptions both in his verbal presentations and written projects.

I’m still a little rankled by the fact that, with all of the writing I’ve done on the topic, the only journalism award I’ve won from the kids is for animations of space-policy discussion.

Oh, and here’s an example of what a mess things are at my own alma mater in Ann Arbor. And they wonder why I don’t donate to the alumni fund.

Obama’s Shame

Probably not a great post title, because he has none, but Roger Simon has thoughts on the different responses of Trump versus Obama to Iranians seeking freedom:

The students and others marching in the streets to overthrow these tyrants desperately wanted America’s help, specifically the support of our “oh-so-liberal-progressive” president. they shouted, “Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?”

Obama was silent.

I can’t think of a moment I was more disgusted by the acts (inaction actually) of an American president. What did he stand for? What did we stand for?

Well, who knows? What we do know is he wanted to deal with Iran his way — whether to get the glory for himself or for other even less attractive reasons we will never know. He was secretly communicating with Ahmadinejad and Khamenei even before he took office, hinting at accommodation.

He wanted an Iran deal and he got it, the Iranian people and the U.S. Constitution be damned. (I have met several of the student demonstrators from that period who spent years being tortured in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Their faces resembled Picassos of the Cubist Period. They were the lucky ones. Their brothers and sisters just disappeared.)

Obama was silent for those students and millions of other decent Iranians. He wanted his deal so much that, as we know, he sent still more millions to the mullahs in cash, so they could use those dollars in any untraceable manner they wished — such as funding Hezbollah and the Houthis.

And speaking of Hezbollah, we all know now, due to reporting about Project Cassandra by Josh Meyer at Politico, that Obama was so determined to make his creepy deal that he acceded to the mullahs’ demand to pull the FBI off a detailed investigation of the Hezbollah thugs’ extensive involvement in the U.S. drug trade. Are we sick yet?

I was sick at the time. He gets one thing wrong, though: His colleagues were never “liberals.” They were simply leftists purloining the term, and they have no problem with fascism, as long as it’s a fascism they find sufficiently anti-Western.

[Sunday-morning update, from Phoenix]

Say you want a revolution?

During some demonstrations, crowds chanted “Seyed Ali shame on you, let go of power” and “Sorry Seyed Ali, it’s time to go.” In Tehran, protesters faced a mural of Mr. Khamenei and shouted “Death to you.” Openly targeting Mr. Khamenei, who is considered God’s representative on Earth, is a crime that carries the death penalty.

In a number of cities, demonstrators have expressed nostalgia for the last monarchical rulers of Iran, the Pahlavi dynasty, by evoking the name of its founder Reza Shah. Many Iranians consider Reza Shah to be the father of modern Iran and his era is associated with a time of economic prosperity. . . .

Here are some slogans being chanted at the protests, translated into English:

“We don’t want an Islamic Republic, we don’t want it, we don’t want it.”

“They are using Islam as an excuse to drive people crazy.”

“Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic.”

“Reformists, hard-liners, Game is over.”

“We are all Iranians, we don’t accept Arabs.”

“We are getting poor and clerics are driving fancy cars.”

“Reza Shah, Rest in Peace.”

“We will die but we will take Iran back.”

“Come out to the streets Iranians, shout for your rights.”

“Death to the Revolutionary Guards.”

While seeing the mullahs overthrown would be almost forty years overdue, seeing the tears of Obama and Valerie Jarrett would add a little extra frisson.

[January 2nd update]

An Iranian revolution of national dignity:

After nearly four decades of plunderous and fanatical Islamist rule, Iranians are desperate to become a normal nation-state once more, and they refuse to be exploited for an ideological cause that long ago lost its luster. It is a watershed moment in Iran’s history: The illusion of reform within the current theocratic system has finally been shattered. Iranians, you might say, are determined to make Iran great again.

Their movement is attuned to the worldwide spirit of nationalist renewal. From the U.S. to India, and from South Africa to Britain, political leaders and the voters who elect them are reaffirming the enduring value of the nation-state. Iran hasn’t been immured from these developments, as the slogans of the current protests indicate. No longer using the rights-based lexicon of votes and recounts, Iranians are instead demanding national dignity from a regime that for too long has subjugated Iranian-ness to its Shiite, revolutionary mission.

It’s notable, for example, that protestors chant “We Will Die to Get Iran Back,” “Not Gaza, Not Lebanon, My Life Only for Iran,” and “Let Syria Be, Do Something for Me.” Put another way: The people are tired of paying the price for the regime’s efforts to remake the region in its own image and challenge U.S. “hegemony.” Some have even taken to chanting “Reza Shah, Bless Your Soul,” expressing gratitude and nostalgia for the Pahlavi era, which saw the modern, pro-Western nation-state of Iran emerge from the shambles of the Persian Empire.

Trump’s message would seem to fit just fine with this mood.

[Afternoon update]


For some reason, former Obama officials want us to ignore the protests in Iran.

Gee, what reason could that possibly be?

[Wednesday-morning update]

Wow, even Leon Panetta is criticizing Obama’s pussilanimity (and that’s putting it kindly) in 2009.

[Update a few minutes later]

Are the Iranian regime’s days numbered?

I hope so. Of course, everyone’s days are numbered, the only issue is the size of the number.

[Bumped again]

[Update a while later]

Meanwhile, the quislings at the NYT regret that the protesters won’t pay attention to the government’s call for calm.

[Update a couple minutes later]

More thoughts on Obama’s and the media’s perfidy from The Federalist:

The initial coverage of these historic protests—or in some cases, the lack of it—was scandalous. The New York Times’s Thomas Erdbrink, in particular, veered into revolting Walter Duranty territory. Looking back at the paper’s coverage of Iran, it’s unsurprising.

“For many years,” the reporter wrote only last month, “many Iranians were cynical about their leaders, but that is changing thanks to Trump and the Saudi crown prince.” Every unfiltered report from Iran told a different story.

Actually, thanks to Trump, the Times’ coverage swerved unconvincingly from “The protests are only small and and not worth your attention’” to “These protests are about economic woes and have nothing to do with political disputes and are not worth your attention” to the “Violence is the protesters’ fault because they won’t listen to the regime’s calls for calm.” All of this is particularly offputting when you consider how hard some in the media worked to make the Iran deal a reality.

You don’t say.

[Thursday-morning update]

The brittle Iranian regime faces a new revolt:

Considering the context, 2018’s Iranian public outrage rates as double dismal. In the last nine years the Iranian regime has not moderated, as the Obama Administration contended it would. Rather, the mullah regime has fossilized, dishing out the same violent, repressive, rip-off poison it dished nine years ago.

But here’s a difference that’s dangerous for the ayatollahs. In 2018 the robed dictators know they are a brittle fossil, ripe for collapse. Why? Well, Donald Trump is the U.S. president, not a Barack Obama-type supplicant who fervently believes a nuclear weapons deal with Iranian militants is the ultimate in peacenik presidential legacies.

The result of the dismal domestic political and economic morass and the presence of the Trump Administration: Iran’s dictators enter 2018 thoroughly shaken.

Yup. As with the Soviet Union in 1981, there’s a new sheriff in town.

[Friday-morning update]

What a Soviet dissident thinks about Iran:

In an interview this week, Sharansky told me Macron’s response to the Iranian unrest reminded him of the appeasement crowd during the Cold War. It was the kind of thinking that led former president Gerald Ford to refuse a meeting with the Soviet author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

“It reminds me of the arguments against Reagan,” Sharansky told me. “All those battles we thought we already won, we have to fight them again.”


[Bumped, again]