Thursday, August 18, 2016

Pedagogical Fudgesicle: Our Mr Dirks


Chancellor Nicholas Dirks

A tale of cold schadenfreude

One evening I happened to observe that among my fellow shoppers in the check-out lanes at Andronico's in North Berkeley was the unctuous and loathsome former Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley. His name was Birgeneau. An understated type with underhanded things up his sleeve. Like Willie Brown he appeared to be another fox guarding the hen-house. In his case one who presided over the local  raw dealing of the State's top public university. Furious construction, reckless over-enrollment, skylarking executive pays and skyrocketing student costs, hustling in out-of-staters who pay more--the whole sordid works. Torture-memo professor John Woo touted in fund-raising for his White House connections.
The heinous act he will be most remembered for occurred during the Occupy demonstration on campus. A combined area police task force came in a with an ugly attitude and proceeded to batter non-violent protestors. Birgeneau issued no statement for days afterward--he had after all managed to be some place like Singapore "fund-raising" where they don't have telephones or the internet apparently. He of course disclaimed any fore knowledge of the police attack.
So I just stopped and stared at him with contempt in the over-priced supermarket as he paid for his wine and cheese or his wife did. When He saw I had recognized him with distaste, he high-tailed out as fast as he could using the far-away door to avoid me, 
a craven bourgeois criminal of the student debt bubble.
The wholesale shafting of Americans.

When Dirks followed him into the office not long afterward, I could only scratch my head. He was more preposterous than Birgeneau but obviously calculating enough to sell his absurd image an glaring lack of scruples or genuine allegiance to the students of Cal.
His image from yesterday's SF Chronicle reproduced above speaks volumes let alone a mere thousand words. He looked like he was gotten up for a semi-professional dinner theater production of Our Mr Chips.
A vexatious fuss-budget is what came across.
Paranoid to boot.
I had the opportunity to him bloviate live at the final day of the Berkeley Art Museum--say little to nothing with a lot of self-confidence while wearing the sheep-skin clothing and the crowd ambles off mooing, there goes a real leader
With eager amusement I followed his fatuous columns in the Daily Cal. All were comprised entirely of self-serving pompous rhetoric amounts to froth. He invariably found, scholar that he is, some common literary quote which he would shovel in usually to conclude without the least added insight or offer of what relevance it had to the issue at hand. For example: at the conclusion of a piece on faculty sex harassment and student sex assault, he quotes apropos nothing the old saw, "Ask no for whom the bell tolls," as if to make everyone feel creepy about their own sneaky feelings.
His antics proved to be every bit as absurd as my first impression. He obviously wanted to maximize the celebrity he felt ought to be coming his way.
When students objected to Bill Maher as commencement speaker, they objected to applauding someone who makes a career out of insulting their religious beliefs.
Dirks was coldly dismissive in his refusal to reconsider.
He wanted to work his way onto Maher's TV show.
Relatively mild student protests during his tenure led him to create a huge fence with moat around his residence on campus. The cost of it ran higher and higher and reaching a tentative final cost of $700,000. He then built a secret escape hatch for his office.
He got caught charging UC for a "personal trainer" for himself and his wife then punished the whistle-blower for talking.

Yesterday the radio and the paper broke the news.
 Dirks forced to resign.
In typical double talk his statement acts like it's merely another movement of his own imperial will rather than an over-due exit, a mandatory and  shabby exit.

This after a $15 raise last month to his $531,939-a-year pay. Nicholas Dirks recently stated to the press that he intended to remain in office for the next ten years.
The SF Chron revealed that he had spent $200K of UC funds on consultants hired to burnish his personal brand and explore opportunities for him such as Davos or TED talks.
He claims his own super-nova would float the financial hopes of a rapacious cash-strapped institution of higher learning.

As a concerned member of the faculty opined to the Chron:
 "Rather than engaging with the campus...he sees himself flying around the world. He calls on people from the outside and barricades himself in his home."

He followed a similarly ludicrous character actress also out this month. Chancellor Katehi who paid consultants piles of  University money to cover up the heinous Pepper-Spray cop incident.
Students having a calm no-intrusive sit-in were assaulted by a campus cop who dumped copious amounts of pepper spray in their faces at close range.
They take young people's tuition and then torture them for peaceful protest.

From all evidence available, she seemed to operate her office along the lines of former governor of Illinois, Blagojevich

Thus to all such preposterous and petty tyrants

I expect to do a photo-shoot outside the Chancellor's residence.
Will naturally post the best of the results here soon.

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