Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Notes on the Red State Visit
Overcoats and airplanes don't mix. The charade of 'carry-on baggage' needs some serious rethinking.
I'm glad we have to take off our shoes before getting on planes. That way, if some terrorist tries the exact same thing in the exact same way as some idiot tried it before, we stand a decent chance of catching him. Of course, if he adjusts tactics at all, we're kidding ourselves.
One enterprising sort set up a vending machine near the security screener, selling disposable slippers so you wouldn't have to walk around barefoot. Build a better mousetrap...
Apparently, Red State passed a law mandating a Wendy's restaurant about every 200 feet. I enjoy the occasional visit, but the Wendy's-to-population ratio there is simply astounding.
Why do all the major rental car companies only rent American cars? Mine offered to 'upgrade' me to a Chrysler Sebring. Must have been out of Gremlins, I guess. I have one word for the rental car companies: Honda. That is all.
You can learn a lot about an area through its phone book. This one had plenty of Baptist and Pentecostal churches, one Catholic church, and nothing that even hinted of a Unitarian one. I didn't even see a mention of a synagogue.
As for the interview itself...
“Dance,” you're a genius. The presentation went wonderfully, and actually led to real conversation.
It was one of those half-day affairs where you're shepherded from interrogator to interrogator. Seeing the different questions, or the different ways of asking the same question, is revealing. Remembering every name is damn near impossible.
Being treated with respect was kind of nice. I had forgotten what that felt like.
As I left, I felt pretty sure they'd go with another candidate – I can't really say why without giving away the whole thing – but I also felt like I had pitched my game. If they don't hire the guy they saw, it's because they want something else. Whatever the outcome is, it is, but I can honestly say I brought it. There's something satisfying about that.
And thanks for all the good wishes! A secret, pseudonymous cheering section is a cheering section nonetheless.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog.
Because the domestic auto makers have union contracts that effectively force them to treat labor as a fixed cost. It makes it very hard and costly to adjust output. This has forced them to overproduce a lot of this over production goes to rental fleets.
Honda and Toyota employ a lot of temps. When they need to cut production they fire temps and slow the line down. This is how they've managed to 'never have a layoff.'
But your disdain for the "red state" may have seeped through your pours without you even noticing. Even if they love you, you may not be comfortable with them; hence "fit" isn't a good one for either party. No shame in that.
Heck, just be glad nobody has yet tried to blow up the plane with a bomb in their underwear!
Sounds like the interview went well, as you know, anything can happen in these cases.
I believe that the biggest UU congregation in the US is in Tulsa OK, a pretty red state. In redder places, one of the first things folks want to know is "where do you go to church" and you pretty much have to have an answer, hence big UU churches, in the northeast, staying home on Sunday is more accepted. no one blinks an eye, and the UU congregations tend to dwindle.
Of course, I really wanted that job and was truly distraught when I didn't get it, but now I have managed to get some perspective on it, because I have another job!
Anyhoo, like everyone else said, good luck and congratulations! Yay!
That leads me to wonder if this little group that comments here (and argues that academia isn't biased in favor of liberalism) is a fair representation of the views of academia.
Of course, I also generally dislike this relatively recent (read, in the past 7 years) trend to referring to states by color, as if that color somehow "means" something. It's an interesting use of "code words" by a group (liberals) that generally have eschewed such things.
What is it about calling blue states "liberal states" and red states "conservative states" that is so distasteful? Which represents more accurately the views of the state? "Blue" or "Liberal/Progressive"?
"High School, College Standards Out of Sync, Survey Finds"
DD: I also suspect you might find a red state more congenial than you think. I do a lot of fieldwork in rural Georgia, which is about as red as red can be. Sure, there are cultural differences. But some of those differences are an improvement. For example, as long as you are willing to be polite and friendly, diversity in political opinion is probably more socially acceptable there than it is in a similar setting up North.
(Come to think of it, being polite and friendly will get you damn near everywhere in Georgia.)
It was like every stereotype of the conservative academic come to life -- defensive, dismissive of opposing views, and self-regarding as a soldier in a culture war, rather than as someone who helps students come to their own truths.
I felt sorry for their students.