December 9, 2009
So, I have to admit that I am a pretty long-time fan of the Colbert Report. His biting satire is extremely funny and the guy has a great taste in music. In my life time I’ve never seen such a successful use of self-promotion as Stephen Colbert.
Last night through the Colbert Nation, I was introduced to a website http://www.conservapedia.com/Main_Page. Being curious I took a look and was, quite frankly, horrified by this site.
Supposedly this is supposed to help balance out the reportedly liberally biased wikipedia and conservapedia purports to be “The Trustworthy Encyclopedia.” Any halfway educated individual who begins to read through this conservapedia site would find that it is full of complete non-sense. Two articles in particular that raised my hackles (whatever a hackel is, I’m not sure just what part of my anatomy this is) were the articles on feminists and professor values. As both a feminist and a professor, I was completely insulted by the information that is supposedly ‘true.’ Evidently being a feminist means forgoing any sort of femininity (refusing to bake and preferring to wear pants) and being a relentless man-hater and professors are nothing but left-wing nuts who work to indoctrinate the fragile young minds of our country with our atheistic views – and no this is not an exaggeration from the articles, please take a look for yourself:
Professor Values: http://www.conservapedia.com/Professor_values
Now I know a lot of feminists and a lot of professors…sure a small minority might actually fit these stereotypes (and really this is all that these articles describe). But many feminists I know are quite feminine and embrace femininity (I have regular conversations about fabulous shoes and cute skirts) and certainly most professors are not criminals (as conservapedia might like you to believe).
Let me also point out that even though these articles appear to be well references, upon further investigation of most of the source materials, they consist of blogs and other non-vetted material. Certainly types of sources that are not highly credible and would likely result in a failing grade in a paper written for me. I can tolerate views that oppose mine as long as they are supported by valid evidence. Much of conservapedia is not using valid evidence!
Now I’m not sure that anyone would ever label me as a true liberal and in general I am not. I am a very moderately minded individual (probably too moderate for some folks), but evidently even this moderate view is too far left for this particular group of folks.
The final item that really upsets me about this site it that it claims to have ‘commandments’ – see: http://www.conservapedia.com/Conservapedia:Commandments – or rules to follow whereas the articles are not to include opinion and only fact. Again, any decently educated individual would recognize that these so-called facts in the actual articles certainly do only portray opinion or are so skewed that they engage in something that we call accurately “confirmation bias.”
I’m not sure who is exactly in charge of the content, which is what Colbert was attempting to uncover through his interview, but I’m guessing this is not an open-site like wikipedia. Perhaps I’ll try to create an account to see if anything I change gets removed. Odds are as a liberal professor and femi-Nazi my account will be canceled (statement dripping with sarcasm).
So this site has gotten to me, yes, and I am guessing that it is then doing its job to tick off anyone who is not an extremely conservative individual. It takes quite a bit to get me riled up and I certainly am not the most politically engaged individual. But quite honestly, having information like this available on the Internet, is frightening and I can only hope that our students are able to see that this site is generally a bunch of bunk.
December 5, 2009
I realize it has been a very long time since my last post. Quite honestly nothing of terrible importance has happened to me professionally recently to write about. However, recently I have finally heard some reports on the status of a couple of writing projects that I have in the works.
First is my seemingly endless review of my research project that I conducted last year. I have had a manuscript (ms) in to one of the more respected teaching journals in the field of psychology. It’s been there for nearly 6 months… I hope to hear a positive response sometime soon, but I am always nervous. The first round of reviews resulted in a hung jury of types and the ms needed to be sent out to another reviewer or two. Seems the story of my academic life. People either seem to really respond well to my research and believe it is interesting and important or see my research as trivial and self-evident.
For anyone who wants an inside look at what authors often go through with the review process, please see this link. It is funny, but also very close to real life – warning there is a bit of language used (which is not uncommon when the rejected decision comes through) –
I have already warned my colleagues that I may be shouting in German depending on the decision that is made on my ms.
Second project was a chapter proposal for a book on the “Ethics of Teaching” that Eric Landrum proposed to the APA. Just today I was informed that the book itself was accepted for publication, but my particular chapter was one of the 6 that needed to be cut due to page length constraints. A disappointing decision for me, but I plan to pursue this project through other means (journal article, conference round table, etc.)
Such is the life of the academic. We work for months on a project and sometimes we are rejected . We need to learn to pick ourselves up, dust off the dirt, improve the product, and pursue other avenues in which to disseminate our work. If you cannot publish in one journal, you move onto the next. Sometimes it takes a couple of years to get a study published. But for those that persist your research can often find a home somewhere.
What is extremely exciting is when you actually see your name in print and your study packaged in a journal. But probably one of the most exciting things to happen to me in the past couple of years is to actually have one of my published works cited by other authors! This means others ACUTUALLY READ IT! What a pleasure to have gone through so much work and actually know that you have contributed to the field!