Archive for December, 2015

When Research is too much and too little: Forging a research agenda for real jobs

I feel the Pulse of the Populace, I can feel it!

I think I’ll do that goat statue next…..

Graduate students always have angst about what they should be investing their scarce time in, and many dream of a day or place where they aren’t stressing to finish research projects. That day will never come. There is only one track, and that is how it should be.

But, people on the job market should also be aware of a few things. Fabio does a good job of attending to many of these in agreement with Sam Perry, but I want to go beyond those points.

First, you should be focused on finishing your fucking dissertation. And, your dissertation should (1) have a point; (2) have promise for future publications; and, most importantly (3) be related to anything and everything you have published. Publications in and of themselves are not necessarily helpful. That is particularly true when publications are co-authored, especially when they are coauthored with people who are obviously guiding the research agenda (most especially when those people are faculty).

If you want to make it at the top, your main goal is the construction and accomplishment of an independent research agenda. YOU making a novel contribution to sociology, relating it to your dissertation, and giving assurance that you damn sure will finish that dissertation before you arrive at a job (and not simply because loser wimp faculty members agree to sign off on your piece of shit dissertation which is not becoming of a graduate of your program and may be an insult to alumni……ahem….).

Publishing in third tier journals is not at all helpful for attaining a position at a top tier university. When I was coming up for tenure, if it wasn’t in a top or second tier journal, it didn’t even count. It actually counts against you as a junior scholar for top tier places. Why are you wasting your time puking out stuff in third and fourth tier journals? You should be doing bigger and better things, and finishing your fucking dissertation. Any moron can publish in fourth tier journals, and throwing shit against the wall ensures that something will stick, even if you have diarrhea.

But, there is a caveat. It’s ok to publish in specialty journals or third tier journals if it is your own dissertation research, and if you don’t aspire to the heights of the discipline. AND, it’s better to have a few solid publications in third tier or specialty journals which are genuinely your own and focused on your dissertation research than it is to have a shit ton of disconnected articles with multiple coauthors. A scattered publication record looks worse than a slim one.

Worse yet, bulking up on small-time publications makes you intimidating for second and third tier programs, and counts you out for liberal arts colleges and fourth tier colleges. Why bother to interview someone with 12 publications coming out of a strong program when you are at Murray State or even my own humble institution? And, those same 12 publications count for nothing at Stanford, particularly if there are none in a top tier journal and if they are disjointed.

Yes, you must do research. Yes, you must publish it. But, more is not preferred to less, and less is often better than more. Quality matters more than quantity, and focus matters most of all.

Watermelon in Easter Hay, Zappadan always ends this way….


The Myth of Atheist Intolerance for Muslims

Tolerance for anti-American Muslims by Belief in gods, General Social Survey

Tolerance for anti-American Muslims by Belief in gods, General Social Survey, 2008-2014

Atheists have been getting a bad rap for sometime about picking on Islam and Muslims, largely because of some off the cuff comments by “professional atheists” who should stick to their day jobs. But, as in any collection of people who hold one particular belief, there is considerable variation in other commitments and identifications. There is a loud and obnoxious racist, sexist, and homophobic contingent in semi-organized atheism in online and even actual groups. And, they hate them some Muslins. But, is that representative of the average atheist? And, how does your average atheist compare with your average believer in one true God who is not Allah because Allah is Satan or something?

Above you can see the scaled results across religious belief groups from the 2008-2014 cumulative GSS. This is a sum of the three standard “Stouffer” tolerance items applied to “anti-American” Muslim clergy giving a speech, college professors who oppose America keeping their jobs, or retaining anti-American Islamic books in the library.  The summary scale goes from 0-3, with a 3 indicating supporting civil rights in all three cases.

As you can see, people who do not believe in a god are significantly and substantially more tolerant of individuals who hold opinions contrary to their own. On average, Atheists, Agnostics, and people who believe “in a higher power but not a god”  would grant civil rights in about two of the three cases (college professors get the hardest rap, on average). In contrast Believers in a One True God who Cannot Possibly Be Allah would grant only one right (generally, this is the book in a library).

So, all this shit about atheists being intolerant toward Muslims is bullshit. Stop watching television.

Rat Tomago…it’s what’s for dinner…..


Pizza with Pele’…farewell Coach Tom

Thomas Anthony Iadevaia, 1934-2015

Thomas Anthony Iadevaia, 1934-2015

I started playing soccer in first grade in a league formed by one of my father’s colleagues at American Airlines, Tom Iadevaia. As the years went on my brothers and I were often on select teams directed by Coach Tom, and my brother David was good friends with his son TA, and so David was generally on Coach Tom’s team. Coach Tom is in the Oklahoma Soccer Hall of Fame, and can be credited for developing some of the largest and most successful youth leagues in the US, and bringing pro-soccer to Tulsa in the 1970s.

Coach Tom was always a great guy, he took us to soccer camps in California, and one year his son TA and my brother David and I were sent on to LA alone because Coach Tom got bumped from the flight (we all flew standby on AA because my dad and Coach Tom worked there and could fly free). The crew locked us in a room in LAX and we had to wait for Coach Tom to catch the next flight from Dallas.

The original North American Soccer League was seeking to expand and investors were checking out various cities, knowing that soccer isn’t like other sports and that pockets of immigrants could really propel a city to be a strong soccer market. Tulsa had all of that, as Tom knew.  In 1975, the Brazilian soccer god, Pele’, developed an interest in the United States after playing some “friendlies” with his Santos Team. He toured the United States and put on workshops in various cities, including Tulsa.

I remember before Pele’s visit we all sat around at Coach Tom’s house and watched a video (Tom was a computer guy and one of the first to have such newfangled technology) of Pele and the Brazilian team training. Pele juggling grapefruits and talking about how he never had shoes or a ball when he was a kid, so he made do with what he could find. It was riveting. Then, Coach Tom turned it off and said, “You know boys, he’s coming here.” It was unbelievable. But, sure enough, in a few months Coach Tom called up all of the strong kids and we met at one of the fields and there he was, Pele’. We did the drills and conditioning just like the Brazilian team, with Pele’ urging us on and showing us the proper way to cross legs, strike the ball, head the ball, and juggle. After, a few of us got to go back to Coach Tom’s house (a half mile from our house) and have pizza and talk with Pele. We tried to get him to juggle some oranges, but he laughed and said “I have a ball now.”

Pele’ came back a few years later as a member of the New York Cosmos playing the Tulsa Roughnecks in 1978. We were all there, and it was all because of Coach Tom. Tulsa was selected as an expansion city because of Pele’—he could feel it—and because of Coach Tom, who showed Pele what was going on in soccer in Tulsa. Coach Tom talked about this in an interview with the Tulsa World, “What you had back then in Tulsa were a lot of ethnics in a Midwestern city that had never heard of soccer,” said Iadevaia. “The University of Tulsa had a lot of students from the Middle East coming here for the petroleum engineering school. Oral Roberts had a bunch of international students…Plus, you had a lot of guys like me that moved here with American Airlines or Metropolitan Life or the oil companies. We had people here from all over the world.” Tulsa had one of the highest attendance ratings in the NASL and won the Soccer Bowl in 1983.

Looking back, I should have stayed closer to Tom Iadevaia. I quit playing on the select teams in 1980 to focus on juvenile delinquency and motocross. Who knows what would have happened if I had stayed. My brother’s teammate, Joe Max Moore, went on to play in three World Cups.

I’ll never forget Coach Tom, his voice, his laugh, and his encouragement.

Black Sabbath of Zappadan



On this first Black Sabbath after Bummernacht, it is important to remember that Frank loved Black Sabbath. While the rich hippies who controlled “rock and roll’ media were dismissive of Sabbath, they came around sometime in the mid 1970s (when it was pretty much too late….) in large part because of Zappa. Because, Zappa was the arbiter of good music. Dangerous Minds has an awesome summary from both sides that everyone should read.

“Frank Zappa gave “Supernaut,” the ur-metal monster that ends the first side of Black Sabbath Vol. 4, the number one spot in his list of “faves, raves, and composers in their graves,” published in the June 1975 issue of Let It Rock:

‘Supernaut’: Black Sabbath. I think it’s from Paranoid. I like it because I think it’s prototypical of a certain musical style, and I think it’s well done. Also, I happen to like the guitar lick that’s being played in the background.”

Maybe Tony Iommi wasn’t quite Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page, but he didn’t spend his career ripping off music from African Americans or his opening act like Zeppelin or Clapton. This was new It was original.

Of course, Black Sabbath loved Zappa:

“Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler, a Zappa fanatic who says his “musical life completely changed” when he first heard the Mothers of Invention at the age of fifteen, credits Zappa’s endorsement of “Supernaut” with changing critics’ attitudes toward the band:

I think some of them got an inkling when Frank Zappa did this interview in one of the big English music papers. They were asking him what music he was listening to at the time, and he said, “Black Sabbath.” And at the time, Frank Zappa was really well thought of critically. And I thought he was joking! (Laughs.) But he thought “Supernaut” [from 1972’s Black Sabbath, Vol. 4] was the best riff he’d ever heard. And a lot of critics went, “Well, if Zappa likes Black Sabbath, maybe we should give them another listen.”


Someday, we will have Chunga’s Revenge…


All of the incredible insane hatred and retribution that helps us have more hatred and retribution will be hated and retributed once we get Chunga’s Revenge…..


Black Napkins Friday


What better way to start the Zappadan Season. I think I’ll go buy a lawn jockey….

The Christian Terrorist Two Step—how mainstream christianists play footsie with terrorists


Well, well, well it looks like Christian terrorism is spiking again, drummed up by “mainstream” politicians, the right wing media, hate talk shows, Christian churches and the usual fomentors of hate. It reminds me of how the “normal” and “academic” Christianists have supported terrorism throughout US history. It’s always been a kind of “good cop, bad cop” thing where the supposedly respectable Christianists just warn us that the consequences of race mixing, feminism, homosexuality, Islam, or whatever are dire, and then they smugly declare victory when Christian terrorists strike—whether it is the KKK or Operation Rescue.

I came to really loathe Richard A (Pete) Peterson. He totally fucked me. We got a small grant and he extorted me into writing a monograph (for which I was given second authorship, even though I wrote 90% of the manuscript), and then he cut me out of an article that wound up in ASR. I was broke and pre-tenure, and there was nothing I could do but just take it in the ass. After and during that, I pretty much hated Pete. But, in the middle of all of that, looking back, Pete was right about one thing—Little James Davidson Hunter was nothing but a right wing tool, and worse, he was an apologist for Christian terrorists.

“Before the Shooting Begins….” Yeah. The shooting had already begun. And, he’s blaming it on the “conflict” between “orthodoxy’ (that would be the people he considers in the right) and whatever the fuck he called normal people, I don’t care to remember. He should be forgotten by serious scholars. Hunter was the second wave of conservative Christians infecting higher education, and he used his position to normalize Christian terrorism. Making it seem to be a product of “both sides” instead of a problem of Christian fundamentalism.

Pete completely saw through that. I didn’t. I was wrong. Larry Griffin and I argued strongly to make Hunter an offer, and we succeeded–over Pete’s very strenuous objections. Thankfully, Hunter was just fucking with Vanderbilt and stayed at Virginia, where all losers go to die. I was wrong, Pete, there you go…

Hunter isn’t the latest, we have jokers like Christian Smith talking about “battling” and “emboldened” sectarian Protestants. They aren’t doing anything wrong, of course, they’re battling because of those nasty mean secular people who deserve to be mowed down with semi-automatic weapons for making good Christians tolerate laws about abortion, birth control, and discrimination against racial, religious, and sexual minorities.

It’s the right wing two step. The “respectable” right wingers hint that their minions may rise up and start shooting people and are in a literal battle or war with the evils of communism, secularism, feminism, Islam, or whatever the bogeyman of the moment is.  Then, on cue, the minions start killing people. From the KKK to the Minutemen to the 3%’s to the Oathkeepers……Christian terrorists are a product of the apologetics produced by people like Hunter and Smith. It’s like the White Citizen’s Councils playing “good cop” to the KKK “bad cop” during the African American civil rights movement in the US. They want to normalize and rationalize terrorism coming from religious nutjobs by saying that white Christian religion is more valuable than anything else, and that we should not just expect but also accept assaults on people who denigrate their version of religion.

Pete was right. Fuck these guys.