Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Administratively, we're bouncing from one problem to the next around here, while things in the classroom are moving inexorably* towards finals week.

There's an administrative person I like.  There, I said it.  We've been known to have a cup of coffee on occasion, before he moved up into the headier reaches.  There were hints of history before my time, but he's a smart, witty, nominally feminist person.

And now I hear he's been having an affair with someone who reports to him.  And that someone?  Yeah, I like her, too, what little I know of her.  We're a tiny community.

What I heard is just that, something I heard.  I don't have real knowledge of it, don't have occular proof, as it were.  But it does fit with the history.

So I'm disappointed.  I'm not the biggest defender of marriage.  Heck, I think we should do away with the governmental privileges associated with marriage.**  But, and I know you're all thinking how naive and stupid I am, I think that if you are married and don't specifically have an open marriage, you should avoid having sex with other people.  There, I've said it.  Keep your pants zipped unless you're with your partner.   Now, I don't precisely know the details of said administrator's marriage arrangements, but I know his partner, and yes, I'm assuming it's not an open marriage.  But maybe I'm wrong.

It reminds me, though, of how much energy and effort get wasted because people can't keep their pants zipped, and how often I'm disappointed by powerful (in a given context) men who can't keep their pants zipped.  Clinton's presidency would have been a different thing if he'd kept his pants zipped, wouldn't it?

I also realize that I've lost much respect for the male administrator, but not as much for the female partner.  In my old fashioned way, I think people with more power have more responsibility.  Somewhere I read recently (Tenured Radical, now that I look, in her review of some books about JFK) about the fine line betwen sexual consent and sexual harassment; that gets at the responsibility, I think.

In other disappointing news, I started teaching The Tempest on Friday, and started by putting up some headlines about it being banned in Arizona, and asking students what's so dangerous about this play that it's banned in Arizona.  It was a good start to the class, but damned, Arizona, banning ethnic studies is utterly inane.  Banning Shakespeare, though?  The good news is that banning Shakespeare is likely to make people who wouldn't question banning ethnic studies question that ban.  The bad news is that it takes banning Shakespeare to make some people question a ban on ethnic studies.  That's called "cultural capital," folks.  And it sucks that ethnic studies doesn't have as much cultural capital as that dead white guy.  I love Shakespeare in all sorts of ways, but learning about people, all sorts of people from all sorts of places is actually more important in the big picture.  Go take an ethnic studies class!

*I originally spelled this "inexhoribly," not as some witty thing, but because my spelling is positively medieval.

**Though I don't think we're going to do that, and if we're not, I think two consenting adults blah blah. But yeah, I resent that married folks around here get up to another 9k in untaxed benefits. And oh so many non-financial benefits.


  1. Interesting post.

  2. In my experience with friends and family, 0% of happily married people have affairs. When I was younger, I used to be very judgmental of cheating spouses. But then, when I realized that people who have affairs do so in reaction to pain and misery, I just felt sorry for them. Now, I'm sort of a hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner kind of person. Yes, we all agree that cheating is very bad and hurts feelings and breaks trust. But I also try to have compassion for the person who feels compelled to work out his/her problems in an unhealthy way. It sucks, no matter what. I wish people could make themselves feel better without hurting others. I think that sometimes they just don't know how.

  3. PS - This is not to say that you don't have every right to feel disappointed in the administrator. It's very disappointing when this sort of thing happens, no matter the cause.

  4. Sometimes I feel like Arizona is where America experiments with doing things a stupid way just to see what happens. Not actively malicious, but curious and with a propensity to have catastrophic results.

  5. richard11:53 AM

    @Mad Dreamer, the place where stupid things are being done maliciously is Wisconsin these days....

  6. Well, of course, Tenured Radical wrote (though not in the post) as someone who failed the test miserably -- the marital one, not the supervisory one -- and lived to regret it even though everything ended well.

    But yes, people who have affairs are unhappy. And one thing I noticed post-midlife crisis was those people who put a lot onto non-monogamy (and they do put a lot into it) are putting energy into their erotic life at a tremendous cost to spending time on other things (friends, writing, vacation.)

    However, for the non monogamous in fact rather than in faith there is a detachment from the welfare of others that I was unconscious of at the time and now would never be again.