James Kerian: How To Avoid Being Disappointed In Others


I remain grateful to be an American.  This is a great country.  It is a country that immigrants head towards rather than one that they flee from.  I have recently argued that gratitude is, in fact, our most sorely lacking civic virtue.

Objectively speaking we have it pretty good and a large number of people have given an awful lot so that we could have it this good.

But all that being said I must admit that maintaining that gratitude has been particularly difficult in recent months.  A lot of my friends have described me as a cynic, particularly when it comes to politics, and yet over the last few months I have had to repeatedly adjust my expectations downward as I have observed our political discourse.

Everyone knew that the Republican party base was frustrated with the moderate Republicans who had been selected as the nominee during the last two presidential election cycles.  I was, therefore, quite confident that Republican primary voters would never seriously consider picking a moderate Democrat as their nominee.

As little as I expect out of Democrats I still thought they would find it in themselves to condemn the recent attempts at violent suppression of political events.

I would never have guessed, even in my most cynical moments, that our country would ever be deeply divided about whether or not the law ought to require business owners (and schools) to let men urinate in the ladies’ room.

As I turned out to be wrong on all three counts I have had to keep adjusting and recalibrating my world view to account for what I have seen unfold.  But I believe I have finally found the solution to this problem.  Below is the abstract from a study done this spring by four “academics” at the University of Oregon and published in a scientific journal.

Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.

Once you have wrapped your mind around the fact that this is passing for academic research at one of our nation’s leading universities I am quite confident that you will never have to worry about being disappointed by others.

Yes, in case you’re wondering, not only were the authors of this study on taxpayer funded salaries at University of Oregon, they also received a special National Science Foundation CAREER Grant to carry out this important contribution to our country.