CSotD: Waiting for the logician or someone like him

I might have saved this Non Sequitur (AMS) for a day of political cartooning, but, instead, I’m using it to introduce a comedy/editorial mashup.

We’ve always had “alternative facts,” but we’ve only weaponized them recently. There were people who believed fluoride was a communist plot and that Elvis was alive, but they were dismissed as cranks. And the ones who insisted that Roosevelt was a Jew were met with a combination of “No he’s not” and “So what if he were?”

Now we’re got TV networks dedicated to spreading toxic nonsense and delusional nitwits heading Congressional committees and I hardly think the cure is George Santos jokes, which stopped being funny a couple of weeks ago.

Though I’m not unwilling to discuss honest misunderstandings.

Paul Fell, for instance, joins a common chorus in asking the wrong question.

College coaches in Division I football and basketball programs are classified as faculty and, yes, earn far more than actual professors.

But they’re worth it, not in their instructional capacity but because their programs not only generate massive funds in ticket sales, television rights and souvenir sales, but because winning a Rose Bowl or Cotton Bowl (not the Super Bowl, BTW) is a major tool in recruiting students and goosing up alumni donations.

The question isn’t why they are paid so much. That should be obvious.

The question is why universities are running farm teams for the professional leagues? And while the answer is still money and institutional status, at least it’s the right question.

Not that teacher pay isn’t also an interesting topic, though Barney & Clyde (WPWG) reminds me more of the day our Earth Science lab notebooks were due, so I asked the teacher how it could be that the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth.

I knew the answer, but I also knew my lab book was way behind and that I didn’t want it collected that day, so I played dumb until the bell rang and was virtually carried from the classroom on the shoulders of my grateful fellow students.

As for Cynthia’s question, the simple answer is tradition: Teacher pay has always sucked.

Read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s recollection of the beleaguered teacher in Farmer Boy or her own experience as a teacher in Little Town on the Prairie. Universal education has always contained an element of babysitting, of getting kids off the street, while, in addition, teachers are lumped in with priests as people with a vocation rather than a career.

People with vocations are assumed not to require material compensation.

There are more complex reasons as well, one of which is that school budgets are one of the few taxes people can directly vote on, making them a target of societal freeloaders. Another is that, for some illogical reason, teacher salaries tend to be based not on local cost-of-living but on what teachers are paid elsewhere.

I’ve lived in rural places where the teachers were among the best paid people in the community, while teachers in major cities were on food stamps, all earning the same amount.

“We’ve always done it this way” is a weak excuse to avoid change, but it’s also a good indicator of how layered and complex change can be.

For that matter, I’ve never really understood why anybody is paid as much, or as little, as they are.

There are laws being passed now to make it easier to find out what your fellow-workers in the private sector are paid, but I’ve been retired for a couple of years now, so it doesn’t help me.

Pay raises, however, were a uniform percentage in the places I worked, and so you’d get an annual performance review and you had to foul up not to get the standard raise.

But then, as seen in On the Fastrack (KFS), the geniuses at Corporate began demanding self-review, which didn’t allow you to use D&D forms because they extruded the same form for reporters, marketers and press operators, such that some of the questions you were required to answer had absolutely no bearing on your job duties, but the damn form would bounce back if you didn’t put down something that sounded right.

Dungeons and Dragons was no less realistic than some of the fantasies that ensued.

Daddy’s Home (Creators) brings up an interesting societal divide: Those for whom dining together is a change, and those for whom it is the default.

I grew up in the latter camp and passed it on to my kids, though I’ll admit we often had the news on while we ate. Of course, there were times someone had a school function or a meeting and had to be absent, but that was an exception.

Communities with a large Mormon population are lucky in that nobody schedules anything for Family Home Evening, which means that, even for non-observant families, there’s one night a week without time conflicts.

Still, you can’t blame it all on hockey practice and play rehearsals. I had the great good fortune to be a business writer, so my basic schedule was M-F, 9-to-5. Most reporters work from 1-to-9, sometimes on weekends, and can only dream of family dinner even twice a week.

It seems like a vanishing vestige of the days when most people had farms to tend, or a blacksmith’s shop at the front of the house, back before the industrial revolution centralized everything.

Without meaning to, family dinner can become like the weekly mandatory meal in Eat Drink Man Woman, the ritual of a single dad trying to hang on to kids who are no longer kids.

For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a brilliant film about roots and wings, a combination of gifts for your children that I’d like to think is not entirely out of fashion as well as a necessary combination adults need to maintain for themselves.

The balance can be tricky, though it shouldn’t be seen as a sacrifice so much as a mission.

“Kissing don’t last; cookery do,” a George Meredith character advised in 1859, and, in Reply All (WPWG) we are reminded that being good company also outlasts good looks, though we’re allowed to possess both.

(If offered a choice, go for the one that lasts.)

8 thoughts on “CSotD: Waiting for the logician or someone like him

  1. In Ancient Rome, teacher pay was even worse. Since it wasn’t a “manly” job, teachers had to be slaves. If your talent lay that way, you’d sell yourself as a slave, put the money into a more-or-less escrow account, and when your master’s kids grew up, buy your freedom. (Legally, since you were a slave, your master could legally seize the money and keep you forever, but it was understood that a gentleman just didn’t do that sort of thing.)

  2. OTF presented me with a problem because I spent the first two panels think that (who is that, not Mrs. Trellis, is it?) was rolling a character for an online game, so the punchline sort of swallowed itself.

  3. We may have our first major disagreement: George Santos jokes will always be funny. Santos crossing the Delaware, Santos flying at Kitty Hawk, Santos walking on the Moon. The never-ending piling-on aspect of them is part of their delight, and mockery is the only tool most of us have to use against him. Ideally, Rep. Santos will spend the next two years seeing a new cartoon or meme of himself lying every time he looks at his phone.

    You yourself have pegged one big reason teachers’ pay is low: everyone thinks they can do it, and everyone thinks that getting summers off is a such a sweet gig that teachers should shut up and stop complaining. That, plus the old “those who can’t do, teach” adds up to minimal respect and appreciation. I don’t know what to do about it, but I have seen localized teacher shortages result in district-wide raises. It turns out that when the pay gets high enough, there’s no shortage at all. Go figure.

    I’ve been both victim and perpetrator of those one-size-fits-all performance reviews, and in my experience everyone considers them a joke, which just increases cynicism and discontent. Often we’d go through the form and then, in the last five minutes, have a conversation about how they’re REALLY doing and what they should REALLY work on, because there wasn’t any place to discuss that in the rubric. The mismatch between how every single employee thinks they’re doing (all tens!) versus how their supervisors think they’re doing (average at best) always amused and perplexed me–again, on both sides–and I haven’t seen a performance review yet that fixed that. Hated giving them, hated getting them. Just leave me alone, and if you want me to do something different, tell me then, not six months later.

    When our girls were growing up, our family ate all our meals together. It was unremarkable and ordinary, by which I mean no other option ever occurred to us. I guess I knew abstractly that families existed in which the kids microwaved Hot Pockets and ate them in their rooms, but it just never came up. I have learned to consider myself lucky.

  4. It seems to me that gathering around the table for dinner is more “back in my day”, changing as technology became ubiquitous. Growing up, my family gathered for dinner. My family with my children gathered for dinner. And we had a single tv in another room, no one had cell phones, let alone smart phones and plans didn’t change at the drop of a hat as often because it was cumbersome to communicate. I find it an unfortunate change, but have obviously reached the age of casting the past in a golden glow.

  5. I suspect the title of the article references a Firesign Theater album.
    And teachers unions in some metropolises see to the wages of the teachers with a lot of padding of administrative positions.

  6. The other question is: Why can everyone in the world make as much money as they can from college football, but the athletes aren’t allowed to make anything at all?

    Could you imagine seeing an expensive Jersey with your name on it being sold at a profit, while you get no money from it, and can’t even afford to buy it?

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