Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Notes on the Red State Visit

As for the interview itself...

And thanks for all the good wishes! A secret, pseudonymous cheering section is a cheering section nonetheless.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog.

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.

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.'
Congratulations on what sounds like a great interview experience!
As you know, the search process is not about finding the "best person" but finding the "best fit." I'm glad that you felt you did you best...that's all any of us can do.

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.
The best part of this is that you are willing to put yourself out there and test new limits . .. the worst thing in academia is those that let themselves feel stuck and then take it out on others. There's a whole big world out there!
"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."

Heck, just be glad nobody has yet tried to blow up the plane with a bomb in their underwear!
Yay DD! May the right decision emerge. (That's my mantra these days in the job search.)
Honda and Toyota don't sell fleet cars. They sell enough as it is, and the lack of huge numbers of fleet cars coming into the resale market keeps their resale value high.

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.
I had a job interview about 18 months ago that was like that-- they were really looking for someone with experience I didn't have , in a certain field, but I went home knowing that I had brought my best game to that interview, and that in the end, all you can do is your best. Anything after that is out of your hands.

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!
Shoot! I missed your post about the job interview, DD. But I live in a thoroughly red state, and this state has a lot of personality and color. You and your family might be pleasantly surprised.

Anyhoo, like everyone else said, good luck and congratulations! Yay!
I'm pretty sure that most, if not all, of the major rental car companies either are or until very recently were owned by American car companies. Thus, they have/still have long-term contracts with their current or former parents.
Ya know, with all these recents posts dealing with the "red state" I can't help but go back to those protestations a while back, with DD arguing that academia isn't "liberal." It sure sounds to me like there is a nearly unanimous distaste for the "red states" amongst this group.

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"?
Congratulations on the interview. I found this article today and was reminded of your entries on the same topic.

"High School, College Standards Out of Sync, Survey Finds"
For the Professor: Couldn't tell you how representative the PICS (the "pseudonymous and invisible cheering section") is, since I don't have too much exposure to mainstream academia. I am probably pretty far over on the right-hand side of the bell curve, though, and I'm basically a centrist on average.

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.)
I had the weirdest experience recently; I participated in a focus group, discussing a text, which was written by someone who was known to be left-of-center. The author was known to be an excellent communicator, but the members of our group who were conservative were adamant that they wouldn't use the book, because it was written by a liberal and because the views in the book summary were not sufficiently doctrinaire conservative.

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.
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