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zazen's Journal
zazen's Journal
November 20, 2014

I think certain NIH programs focused on particular diseases will continue

simply because these politicians have family members, friends, and constituents afflicted and they have obvious self-interest in continuing to "seek cures," however simply they understand it. Whether the biomedical research with any attention to public health and access will be funded--well, I doubt that. I suspect those goals need to fly well below the radar. Also, as you suggest, NSF and other basic research programs that can be explicitly tied to economic development or homeland security may be protected.

The American competitive granting system has become unsustainable over the last 20 years, related to the larger problems of neoliberal economics (generating from both parties), but I agree that the current GOP regime will become more explicit in targeting particular programs (like going after NSF's SBER funding). Because of crumbling universities and their ridiculous doubling down on going after sponsored funds in lieu of equitably redistributing resources from administration to faculty, the competition was already increasing even when funding levels remained at generous 1990s levels.

I've seen grant competitions with 30% funding rates hit about 1%. It's preposterous.

Re your personal situation, I've known so many poor academics--and many, many overpaid administrators--that I feel for you and don't see a lot of options within the current higher ed infrastructure.

If he's a decent writer, there's a real growth industry in consulting for foreign language researchers who wish to publish in English language journals. It pays 20-60 ish an hour, but if you've got a PhD in a biomedical field and strong editing skills, academic consulting companies can hire him freelance on an article by article basis. As for the grad students, well, it's probably the best pay in the academy they'll ever get and the sooner they start looking for other options (or investigating creating co-ops, barter economies, and homesteading skills), the less debt and re-skilling they'll need as things continue downward.

It's awful. I feel for you.

September 16, 2014

lots of good suggestions here--and I wouldn't rule out filming or threatening to film it

The physical time out thing never worked for us. There was no way to hold my child in time-out without getting injured myself (I still take meds for an injury I got them when it flares, 15 years later. That little maniac is doing quite well at an Ivy League college today, btw.) People who aren't there say you can just carry them to their room. Trying to carry a 40-80 lb wild animal to a room without injuring them just in the act of protecting yourself is very hard. I was at least covered in bruises.

Different things worked with different kids, and consistency was critical in taking away privileges (which was difficult, as I was the heavy), but of course, number one was recognizing and then intervening before escalation. Once escalation is there, whatever we could do to extinguish the behavior without enabling it (usually ignoring) was necessary, before approaching it later with much more positive, validating strategies that also set limits. That's a book so I won't elaborate on that one.

One thing I did find--and it might sound awful and shame-based to some--when all else failed was to tell them this was inappropriate behavior that they wouldn't show to their teachers or friends, and that I was going to film it so that I had a record of it. One parent I knew actually ran around the house following his daughter with a camera while she screamed and raved and she ended up laughing at the end of it. The thing is, if they care enough about their reputation at school, then they're capable of controlling their behavior at home. If they don't care, you have another (and bigger) problem, because they may have some issues where they really can't control themselves yet.

But when I saw out of control behavior at home and controlled behavior there, I knew that I had leverage. Also, there's something about "film" that says accountability--and it gives them a neofrontal cortex kind-of sense of how they might appear to others. Maybe people used "God" like that in another era. I believe in a Higher Power personally, but we weren't a Christian church-going family so I didn't have the whole social apparatus of that to reinforce the rules, which in earlier days helped I'm sure.

As much as I can't stand being saturated with "screens" and despise how social media has directly screwed with my daughters' lives, this is one way I can harness easy video capability on an iPhone for my own advantage. Again, it needs to be used in a context of therapeutic understanding of appropriate boundaries and stuff, but it may help to de-escalate a tantrum in a pinch.

If nothing else, it's diagnostic. Like I said, if they really give a crap, that's telling. That means they have a lot more control of their behavior than they're letting on.

Both my kids are strong, poised, successful, personable, accomplished young feminists now--but they were hell on wheels for the first 10 years. Both of em. I think spunk is a good thing--if channeled well, it'll keep them from being pushovers as adults. That's the hope, anyway. I'm hoping for a thank-you on my death-bed.

January 14, 2014

complex ptsd, borderline personality disorder, generalizing personal abuse history to all

Like others here, I find some of her writing similar to other interesting "thought experiments," in that I do think there are elements of some heterosexual relationships in the context of 10,000 years of patriarchy (tracing back through this particular civilization, anyway) that congeal/eroticize power/submission dynamics into gender.

But then there's living in the bloomin', buzzin' confusion of the present, with complex human beings who are all born into conditioning and try to do all of the things humans do (love, hate, reproduce, protect our young, make meaning, serve others, control others) when we are limited by the language and limits of any given age.

The idealization/rejection splitting type behavior she's doing with her female friends screams borderline personality disorder, which is really better described as complex PTSD now, since it's generally a reaction to long-term childhood trauma where you had to bond with an abuser who repeatedly abused you in some way in order to survive. There _are_ people who understandably experience childhood as captivity, but it's truly sad that she can't imagine it otherwise.

Complex PTSD (and the conditions that breed it) look the same regardless of the genitalia of the actors in it. They aren't inherently patriarchal. She's taking a lot of examples of battering, rape, and sexual harassment that cross cultures and that tend to be male-on-female (in other words, patriarchy) and conflating the two. Men aren't born abusers, and women aren't born victims, but we're born into a gender system that eroticizes power and submission (that people with alternative sexualities have to struggle with as well). We're also born into a continuum of formative family situations where we may be subject to awful abuse (from women as much as from men) that lead us to a kind of borderline thinking where people are all good/all bad and where we voraciously search for patterns in others' behavior that might indicate danger.

She appears to be conflating her personal complex ptsd with the realities of patriarchy and then explaining the latter in terms of her desperate fear and paranoia from the former.

Does the drive from her complex ptsd lead her to make intelligent, thought experiment-like points about male dominance? Occasionally. But living with that level of hate, pre-judgement, self-certainty, and paranoia is just perpetuating whatever hell she came from and must prevent her from seeing love and beauty in the people around her when they don't fit into her pre-established terror-inspired categories of safe/unsafe.

As we say down here, bless her heart, and I mean that in a really nice way.

I also really, really hope she gets help before she has any children. God forbid.

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