Mothers on Sunday

10/12/2017

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Ted Jelen, 1952-2017

09/12/2017

UNLV Political Science professor Ted Jelen on December 13, 2010. (R. Marsh Starks/UNLV Photo Services)

My old friend UNLV Political Scientist Ted Jelen died a few weeks ago. Ted was a founding father of the modern study of religion and politics, helped found the section on Religion and Politics in the APSA, and was founding editor of the section journal Politics and Religion. Ted also served as editor of Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion for a term or two in the 1990s. Ted was a prolific writer, and was one of the most influential figures in the field. I always resented how many conservative Christian social scientists root the founding of religion and politics in the (mostly) “Evangelical” gang of four. I’ve had more than a half dozen young political scientists and sociologist wax about their influence, and I usually respond that I thought it was Jelen and Wilcox who made the most important contributions. Ted’s book, The Political Mobilization of Religious Beliefs was the most important work on the prospects and problems for conservative Christian religious mobilization.

I met Ted in the early 1990s, when he was still at Benedictine. My friend and colleague Tobin Grant tells me that Ted was once the lowest paid full professor in all of Political Science according to an APSA study. He moved on to UNLV, where he finally received some degree of recognition for his scholarship. Tobin and I tried to hire him here at SIU three or four years ago. Ted and I  had several conversations about the pros and cons of SIU v. UNLV. In the end, UNLV made him “an offer I can’t refuse.”  I’m sorry I didn’t have the opportunity to have him here.

Ted was always smiling, always friendly, and eager to help with anything. He was a conscientious and fair editor, and was a person who always helped lift others, rather than simply promoting himself. He helped me several times in my career, and I’ll never forget it.

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

09/12/2017

Dweezil following in his father’s footsteps and engaging in a little sexual harassment in the workplace.

Zappadan 2017, now more than ever…..

04/12/2017

In our time of crisis, we can only turn away from the gods and toward Frank Zappa.

Family Planning

11/10/2017

I’ve got you now, Bunny…..

I’ve been too distraught to contribute much lately, what with the fascist takeover and all. Nobody wants to hear anything legitimate sociologists say, anyway, they’re too worked up about cheap sex and shit. Which brings me to the issue of the contraceptive mandate and “President” Trump’s and KKK Sessions’ new edict saying religious motherfuckers can shitcan people’s health coverage because of their supposedly deeply held religious commitments. It should be beyond discussion that  people who want to take away contraception benefits are loathsome pieces of shit, who want to force their religion on other Americans. It should also be beyond tolerance that insurance companies—who benefit immensely from not having to cover unwanted pregnancies—are painfully silent.

But, what sociology should be talking about, as should any movement seeking to reframe this issue, is the fact that a very large plurality of women who get coverage under insurance plans for their birth control are MARRIED. Religious fuckwits can pull their hair out about single women having sex all they want (because they are assholes?), but the fact is that 40% of women at risk for pregnancy are married. 90% of them use contraception.

This is a FAMILY issue not a women’s issue. Sure, women bear the brunt, but it is really about the costs of maintaining families. Though especially single parent families. Contraceptive costs impact families. It’s $50 a month that these assholes are taking from the mouths of children. Fucking pro-life, eh.

 

Happy Christian Terrorist Day!!!

19/04/2017

As we continue our descent into fascism, it’s good to remember what the Trump crowd really wants. White Christian America, by any means necessary….

Iranianredneck's Weblog

Yes, there we were. Alfred Darnell and I had agreed to meet at the Boundry, one of our favorite watering holes in Nashville. I was there a little early and pulled up a seat at the bar. They had a full bank of televisions, all of them turned on to the same thing.  Alfred walked up just a minute later and I think all he said was “oh, shit.”  I was in the Murrah building when I was at the University of Oklahoma and had to get a duplicate of my Social Security Card.  I raced a criterium around the Memorial Park several years after the bombing. It’s an important reminder of what Christian America wants. They want us non-Christians to be killed, tortured, kicked out of the country, or at best disenfranchised. We are illegitimate rulers, political actors, educators, parents, community members, and whatever. If you’re not a white…

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Toward Solving the Problem of Academic Publishing

11/04/2017
Image may contain: 2 people, eyeglasses

Hanging with JC in Greenville, Pic from Patty Lou McCall, Can you believe I’ve had that YSL Jacket since I was 18?

Once again, the Southern Sociological Society meetings were a fun and refreshing event. Great to see Dave Gay, John Lynxwiler, Amy Donley, Patty McCall, Jeff Will, Brigitte Neary, and all of the rest. Especially great to see Ida Harper Simpson, 30 years after her presidency, and to get to introduce her to a new wave of students.  It was wonderful to be there for Chris Ellison’s presidency, and to introduce him for his truly path breaking address. I’ll say more about that later, as Chris threw down the gauntlet for Christianist apologists like Gorski and Smith, and rightly so.

My main task at the meetings was interesting, chairing and participating in a session organized around Pam Oliver’s wonderfully cogent critique of publishing. Pam’s rants from Scatterplot were revised and published in the American Sociologist, and her opinions are well worth everyone’s read. I don’t agree with everything Pam says in the article, nor does she, but it is an excellent starting point for fixing some problems that need to be fixed, and preventing negative practices from infecting the publishing process. We had a great session organized by Chris Ellison and George Wilson. Pam was on fire, as always. And Jessica Collette provided an informative critique and extension of Pam’s comments. Frankly, it was one of the best panels I’ve been on in my 30 years in sociology.

Here, I want to elaborate some things I said, and make some very specific policy statements for scholars who control the means of coercion in our fields. Our situation is not age old, and it has only been in the last two decades that monopolistic firms have gobbled up ownership of journals, bundled them, and gouged our libraries for horrific fees.

This situation did not exist 20 years ago. 20 years ago, the primary cost of scholarly associations—national, region, subregional, speciality, and international—was printing and mailing the journal. Meetings generally broke even if you found a good place. Anyone who actually did the work back in the day knows this to be true. When Ellison and I edited Review of Religious Research for the RRA, we were almost the only “cost” for the association. Members’ dues and an offset of very small dime library subscribers paid the rest. And, usually, we made money—not a shit-ton, but we more than broke even most years.

But, everyone sold out to the slimebags at Sage, Wiley, Pearson, Elsevier, Taylor….The associations are now being paid money for the journals, rather than having to pay for the journal and mailing and hoping to break even. Please notice that none of the associations reduced or eliminated their membership fees, and there is no open bar buffet at the ASA meeting. I pay over $300 to be a member of the ASA, and they make money on both the journals and the meetings. Administrative bloat in our organizations is creating a climate conducive to rapacious publishers taking over our content. Our work. Our scholarship. Let’s face it, as Pam notes, we write the papers, review the papers, edit the journals, and the universities who pay our salaries then have to pay for our work. But, the ASA has a fleet of offices in DC and hordes of well-compensated staffers….

There is a solution. Abandon all contracts with for profit publishers (indeed, all publishers) and move to a pure online format for all scholarly journals (ASA, SSS, MSS, ESS, PSA, SSSP, whatever).  We have no costs. There is no reason to print. So long as scholarly standards remain in the review process, ASR is still ASR, Soc. Forum is still Soc. Forum. With cooperation among scholarly associations within and across disciplines, it could be possible to work out agreements for some compensation—and remember we still pay dues. This is not hard. There will no longer be shit-tons of money available for administrators at some of our organizations (principally ASA, most of the rest I’m in are bare bones), but we’ll still be better off than in the day when our largest budget item (by a factor of 12) was printing and mailing the journal.

Organizational leaders in our associations need to make this a priority. People running for office need to amplify this as a target goal. As a candidate for SSS President, I will move in this direction if elected.

Americans continue to abandon religious identification

04/04/2017

Even more good news from the 2016 GSS, Americans continue to reject identification with religious groups. Soon, I will show that these “nones” are also very irreligious. They don’t believe in gods, think the bible is a load of horse hockey, and they don’t waste their time participating in religious collective actions. Nones increased to 21.7% of the GSS respondents. This is not a blip.

Support for Same Sex Marriage Increases, Opposition Decreases

04/04/2017

One of the most striking shifts in public opinion has been on same sex marriage, and in a very short time we’ve gone from having a majority of Americans opposed and strongly opposed the having the majority supportive of granting marriage rights to same sex couples. The trend continues. Nearly 60% of Americans in the 2016 GSS support marriage rights, while only 29% are dreadful haters.

Way more Americans support legal weed than support Trump

04/04/2017


woo hoo, the 2016 GSS is here! And, as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions our KKK Turney Jenrel begins to unravel Obama’s deescalation of the war on drugs, it is instructive to look at what real Americans (based on a random sample of the adult population with a very high response rate and rigorous sampling) think. in the 2016 GSS 61.1% of Americans think that weed should be legal. It keeps going up, and one of the key drivers of this is African Americans. Black people smoke at lower rates than white people, and since the 1980s they have been more opposed to legalization. They’ve analyzed the data since then. 65.5% of African American GSS respondents want to legalize weed. Even higher than whites.