• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.


A Plea

Write it down.

January 8, 2021

I say this as a parent, as a manager, as a student of politics and as a concerned human being.

Be very, very observant for the next week and a half.

The combination of desperation, denial and destructive capacity is without precedent.

Write it all down. Don’t let the small moments vanish down the memory hole. There will be efforts to erase the abuses of power, in the name of “moving on.” Don’t allow it. Write it down.

Forgetfulness can be produced deliberately. It’s a tool of abuse. It allows the abusive to get away with it, again and again.

My readership is largely academics and journalists. We’re very good at taking notes. It’s what we do. We’re all about memory.

Write it down. Keep it. Remember who said what, who did what and who changed their story.

Accountability is our last, best hope. When the immediate danger is past, there will be a temptation to try to forget it all ever happened, to exhale with a “whew!” and go back to “normal.”

That’s what allowed this to happen.

Bear witness. Write it down. Keep the receipts. And hold people to account.

A just peace doesn’t just happen. It has to be produced.

We need to produce it. We’ve seen the alternative.


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