I. Let's say your department has a new chair. One who didn't want to be chair and who still doesn't. Let's say that person's passive-aggressiveness has already negatively impacted your department's relationship with the college administration in real (e.g. budgetary) ways.
Let's also say that your department is embarking on a new project, reluctantly, and only at the request of the central administration. Upon observing the chair's initial steps on the project, you gasp "Oh no!" Should you
a) take over the project, in the hopes that everything won't end up all fucked up?
b) start building a personal relationship with the dean, 'cause someone's got to have one?
c) start planning the juicy tidbits you'll drop to the outside evaluators during the next program review?
d) sigh, and go back to the book writing and the course planning and the baby feeding you were in the middle of?
(It'd be easier if the options were mutually exclusive.)
II. Recently a professional organization asked me to sign a petition: a certain Professor X., who's done some controversial work, has been appointed to a commission, and they want him removed.
Now, I agree with their initial criticism. But I did some Googling, and discovered that the bulk of Professor X.'s scholarship makes a powerful case for some positions I hold quite strongly, a case that I hope will be made during the work of the commission.
It seems tremendously unlikely that anyone will care about the petition. And even if it were to produce the desired result of removing Professor X., it'd be very easy to end up with a worse appointee. So I'm not signing.
III. The Victoria's Secret nurse-in. I sympathize with the originally wronged mothers, oh yes, and I realize the huge potential for publicity: boobies, everyone, look, boobies boobies booooooooobies! Oh, and babies.
But: I live in a different state, one with a decent nursing-in-public law. And the press release is so badly written that I can't even tell what the company's policy is (although it's clear they don't bother to sell nursing bras!), and to what extent the original bad incidents were just the result of boneheaded employees. If the company has a decent policy, and if we in Ohindinois have suitable legal protection, it's hard to see what the goal of this protest, this weekend, at my local mall, is.
Which is too bad; it'd be fun to go to a nurse-in, but I'd really prefer that the whole project make sense.
Maybe I'll just get one of these.