Academic casualties in the culture war

Weather

At about 4 am, this morning, I had begun writing a new blog post, entitled, “Cornel West’s resignation and neoliberalism’s pernicious influence on academia,” when this[1] happened:


The beep that occurs somewhere in this recording is not your microwave. It’s an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) chirping. I lost power just long enough that I had to restart my air filters and fans.

I was not struck down. So, um, no promises, but it might be safe to read it.

Royce Jones, “Overnight Storms Cause Extensive Damage As Pittsburgh Braces For Round 2,” KDKA-TV, July 13, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/07/13/pittsburgh-severe-storms-weather-damage/


Higher education

Brendan Cantwell, “The Culture War Has Come for Higher Ed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 12, 2021, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-culture-war-has-come-for-higher-ed

Timothy Bella, “Cornel West says in resignation letter over tenure dispute that Harvard is in ‘decline and decay,’” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/07/13/cornel-west-harvard-tenure-resignation/

Megan Zahneis, “Cornel West’s Resignation Letter Cites ‘Decline and Decay’ at Harvard Divinity School,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 13, 2021, https://www.chronicle.com/article/cornel-wests-resignation-letter-cites-decline-and-decay-at-harvard-divinity-school


Donald Trump

Jan Wolfe and David Thomas, “Judge eyes sanctions on pro-Trump lawyers who claimed voter fraud,” Reuters, July 12, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/judge-blasts-ex-trump-lawyer-sidney-powell-over-lawsuit-overturn-us-election-2021-07-12/


Voting rights

By virtually all accounts, Republicans, even in the judiciary, are desperately attempting to ensure that Democrats never win another election ever again.[2] If we were speaking of a party that actually wanted to win elections, to hold power, you might think the Democrats would see this as an existential threat.[3]

[Joe] Biden’s substance fell far short of his rhetoric. Nowhere in the address did Biden mention the filibuster, which allows a minority of Republican senators to block any voting rights legislation from making it through the chamber. Earlier this year, Biden expressed some support for modest reforms, such as the so-called talking filibuster, that would make the practice harder to sustain. But he appeared to back down from that position on Tuesday. His speech included no call for even minor filibuster reforms, nor did it put any serious pressure on known Democratic holdouts, such as Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, to rethink their entrenched position.[4]

It might be possible to argue that Texas Democrats perceive an existential threat.[5] But their urgency seems only to be matched by Republicans’ determination to suppress voting.[6]

Philip Bump, “Biden warns that American democracy is under threat — a message targeting many in his own party,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/biden-warns-that-american-democracy-is-under-threat-a-message-targeting-many-his-own-party/

Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead

Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas governor says Democratic lawmakers who left state to stop passage of voting restrictions could face arrest when they return,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-democrats-voting-restrictions/2021/07/12/99d35154-e326-11eb-8aa5-5662858b696e_story.html


Pandemic

Helen Branswell, “WHO director-general slams notion of Covid-19 vaccine booster doses given global health needs,” Stat, July 12, 2021, https://www.statnews.com/2021/07/12/who-director-general-slams-notion-of-covid-19-vaccine-booster-doses-given-global-health-needs/

Maria Cheng, “WHO: Rich countries should donate vaccines, not use boosters,” Associated Press, July 13, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/europe-business-health-government-and-politics-coronavirus-pandemic-02b1157d4f0def0460c9c4548f1c7679

Ed Kilgore, “The Willfully Unvaccinated Are the Newest Republican Martyrs,” New York, July 13, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/the-willfully-unvaccinated-are-the-newest-republican-martyrs.html


  1. [1]Royce Jones, “Overnight Storms Cause Extensive Damage As Pittsburgh Braces For Round 2,” KDKA-TV, July 13, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/07/13/pittsburgh-severe-storms-weather-damage/
  2. [2]Philip Bump, “Biden warns that American democracy is under threat — a message targeting many in his own party,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/biden-warns-that-american-democracy-is-under-threat-a-message-targeting-many-his-own-party/; Marjorie Cohn, “Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act,” Truthout, July 2, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/supreme-court-drives-a-stake-through-the-heart-of-the-voting-rights-act/; Stephen Collinson, “Revolt by Texas Democrats heaps pressure on Washington to act on voting reform,” CNN, June 1, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/01/politics/texas-democrats-voting-reform-pressure/index.html; Elizabeth Findell, “Texas Democrats to Stage Walkout to Kill Voting Bill,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-democrats-to-stage-walk-out-to-kill-voting-bill-11626110179; Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead; David Gans, “Selective originalism and selective textualism: How the Roberts court decimated the Voting Rights Act,” SCOTUSblog, July 7, 2021, https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/07/selective-originalism-and-selective-textualism-how-the-roberts-court-decimated-the-voting-rights-act/; Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas governor says Democratic lawmakers who left state to stop passage of voting restrictions could face arrest when they return,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-democrats-voting-restrictions/2021/07/12/99d35154-e326-11eb-8aa5-5662858b696e_story.html; Amy Gardner and Amy B Wang, “Georgia governor signs into law sweeping voting bill that curtails the use of drop boxes and imposes new ID requirements for mail voting,” Washington Post, March 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/georgia-voting-restrictions/2021/03/25/91009e72-8da1-11eb-9423-04079921c915_story.html; Josh Gerstein and Zach Montellaro, “Supreme Court nixes California disclosure law in blow to dark-money opponents,” Politico, July 1, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/01/supreme-court-california-disclosure-law-donors-497554; Scott Lemieux, “How the Supreme Court’s Arizona voting rights decision will affect challenges to Georgia’s law,” NBC News, July 1, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/how-supreme-court-s-arizona-voting-rights-decision-will-impact-ncna1272928; Amanda Marcotte, “Kyrsten Sinema’s run out of excuses: Supreme Court leaves Senate Democrats with little choice,” Salon, July 2, 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/07/02/kyrsten-sinemas-run-out-of-excuses-supreme-court-leaves-senate-democrats-with-little-choice/; Carrie Levine, “Why there’s even more pressure now on Congress to pass a voting rights bill,” Center for Public Integrity, July 9, 2021, https://publicintegrity.org/inside-publici/newsletters/watchdog-newsletter/why-theres-even-more-pressure-now-on-congress-to-pass-a-voting-rights-bill/; Sam Levine, “Is the US supreme court having a liberal moment? Not on one crucial issue,” Guardian, July 11, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/11/supreme-court-justices-liberal-conservatives; Rashawn Ray and Alexandra Gibbons, “Why are states banning critical race theory?” Brookings, July 2, 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/07/02/why-are-states-banning-critical-race-theory/; Nicholas Stephanopoulos, “The Supreme Court showcased its ‘textualist’ double standard on voting rights,” Washington Post, July 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/01/supreme-court-alito-voting-rights-act/; Jane C. Timm, “Texas Democrats flee state in effort to block GOP-backed voting restrictions,” NBC News, July 12, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/texas-democrats-flee-state-effort-block-gop-backed-voting-restrictions-n1273667
  3. [3]Philip Bump, “Biden warns that American democracy is under threat — a message targeting many in his own party,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/biden-warns-that-american-democracy-is-under-threat-a-message-targeting-many-his-own-party/; Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead
  4. [4]Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead
  5. [5]Stephen Collinson, “Revolt by Texas Democrats heaps pressure on Washington to act on voting reform,” CNN, June 1, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/01/politics/texas-democrats-voting-reform-pressure/index.html; Elizabeth Findell, “Texas Democrats to Stage Walkout to Kill Voting Bill,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-democrats-to-stage-walk-out-to-kill-voting-bill-11626110179; ; Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas governor says Democratic lawmakers who left state to stop passage of voting restrictions could face arrest when they return,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-democrats-voting-restrictions/2021/07/12/99d35154-e326-11eb-8aa5-5662858b696e_story.html
  6. [6]Philip Bump, “Biden warns that American democracy is under threat — a message targeting many in his own party,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/biden-warns-that-american-democracy-is-under-threat-a-message-targeting-many-his-own-party/; Marjorie Cohn, “Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act,” Truthout, July 2, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/supreme-court-drives-a-stake-through-the-heart-of-the-voting-rights-act/; Stephen Collinson, “Revolt by Texas Democrats heaps pressure on Washington to act on voting reform,” CNN, June 1, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/01/politics/texas-democrats-voting-reform-pressure/index.html; Elizabeth Findell, “Texas Democrats to Stage Walkout to Kill Voting Bill,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-democrats-to-stage-walk-out-to-kill-voting-bill-11626110179; Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead; David Gans, “Selective originalism and selective textualism: How the Roberts court decimated the Voting Rights Act,” SCOTUSblog, July 7, 2021, https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/07/selective-originalism-and-selective-textualism-how-the-roberts-court-decimated-the-voting-rights-act/; Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas governor says Democratic lawmakers who left state to stop passage of voting restrictions could face arrest when they return,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-democrats-voting-restrictions/2021/07/12/99d35154-e326-11eb-8aa5-5662858b696e_story.html; Amy Gardner and Amy B Wang, “Georgia governor signs into law sweeping voting bill that curtails the use of drop boxes and imposes new ID requirements for mail voting,” Washington Post, March 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/georgia-voting-restrictions/2021/03/25/91009e72-8da1-11eb-9423-04079921c915_story.html; Josh Gerstein and Zach Montellaro, “Supreme Court nixes California disclosure law in blow to dark-money opponents,” Politico, July 1, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/01/supreme-court-california-disclosure-law-donors-497554; Scott Lemieux, “How the Supreme Court’s Arizona voting rights decision will affect challenges to Georgia’s law,” NBC News, July 1, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/how-supreme-court-s-arizona-voting-rights-decision-will-impact-ncna1272928; Amanda Marcotte, “Kyrsten Sinema’s run out of excuses: Supreme Court leaves Senate Democrats with little choice,” Salon, July 2, 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/07/02/kyrsten-sinemas-run-out-of-excuses-supreme-court-leaves-senate-democrats-with-little-choice/; Carrie Levine, “Why there’s even more pressure now on Congress to pass a voting rights bill,” Center for Public Integrity, July 9, 2021, https://publicintegrity.org/inside-publici/newsletters/watchdog-newsletter/why-theres-even-more-pressure-now-on-congress-to-pass-a-voting-rights-bill/; Sam Levine, “Is the US supreme court having a liberal moment? Not on one crucial issue,” Guardian, July 11, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/11/supreme-court-justices-liberal-conservatives; Rashawn Ray and Alexandra Gibbons, “Why are states banning critical race theory?” Brookings, July 2, 2021, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/07/02/why-are-states-banning-critical-race-theory/; Nicholas Stephanopoulos, “The Supreme Court showcased its ‘textualist’ double standard on voting rights,” Washington Post, July 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/01/supreme-court-alito-voting-rights-act/; Jane C. Timm, “Texas Democrats flee state in effort to block GOP-backed voting restrictions,” NBC News, July 12, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/texas-democrats-flee-state-effort-block-gop-backed-voting-restrictions-n1273667

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