Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Year in Semi-Spew, 2018

Every year, either to defer grading or to celebrate the end of grading, I look back at the year and I how blogged it.  This year continues a trend--I have blogged less each year since my second (and first full year) of blogging.  So, have I had much less to say?  No, I think I have about as much to spew as usual.  However, I find myself reposting old spews often since I often repeat myself one way or another.  Plus this year was a very busy one, in mostly good ways, so that cut into blogging time and attention.  I make no promises about next year except to keep on keeping on. 

Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona
My year started with a badly sprained ankle moments before my daughter and I driving her car across to California, first for an internship and then for her first real job (benefits including parking!).  The long drive went by fast in part because we saw stuff we hadn't seen before, we met my brother in his Okie locale, we took it easy, and because I knew I was getting  my last sustained alone-time with my daughter.  She is doing great in her new job, enjoying the hell out of LA, and making it a great destination for her parents. 

The rest of January was uneventful for me, although Hawaii thought it was under attack briefly (remember that?).  Trump being a racist by calling an entire country continent a shithole?  Not really that surprising, just appalling.  I did post about whether one tells PhD students not to do a certain topic and the dynamics of fads in poli sci. The SSRC Fellowship continued to pay off (a year later) with a retreat with smart folks thinking about Japan, and it pushed me to think about thinking about policy implications.

Not much sun, hard to see the dramatic vies
A recurring theme at the Spew: reporting on using book talks and conferences to ski!  I enjoyed Banff and Lake Louise so much last year when I gave a talk at U of Calgary that I am going to do the same in Janaury when I go to a conference there.

Another recurring theme?  Sexual harassment in academia.  I got interviewed as part of a story about how disciplinary bulletin boards (PSR) may or may not play a role in outing sexual harassers.  As a result, my old posts about this topic and especially at my old place got the most hits of any of my posts in 2018 (see my next post on the things that hit in spew in 2018).

Remember Trump's parade?  Ah, much gnashing of teeth and pounding of keyboards, but it didn't happen.  But civ-mil relations was definitely another recurring theme this year.  It would be in any year given my current research focus, but given Trump's mishandling of this stuff, much more of it than I would have liked to have seen/written.   NATO, too, was a focus throughout the year, especially with Trump's 2% obsession.

Oh, and I got mighty angry at a demographer at the big Ottawa defence conference.  I happen to think the empowerment of women is an opportunity, not a problem.

Alas, begun the trade wars have.  Kind of makes me want to retire?  NopeCanada made the big decision to go small and for only a brief period in Mali.

I didn't blog as much this month.  Was it because I am shy?  Nope, just busy preparing for the ISA.

Speaking of the ISA, it was delightful, educational and chock full of meeting the young hotshots of civ-mil relations.  I decided to try to meet the younger folks, especially the women, in my twitter feed in real life.  I remember David Lake once saying that one of the problems of becoming an older prof is that one's networks atrophy as one does not meet as many younger folks.  Twitter has helped me on this score.  And the Duckies of 2018 were chock full of, um, me, including my own presentation of what not to do on social media (all of which I do). A great time and I was most honored by the snark and the Duckies themselves.  But change isn't happening fast enough.  One of the sharp younger folks I sought out turned out to be making news there for the wrong reason--she is an African-American and faced much discrimination at this conference

I was asked what my rules for being a good ally (allied country edition, not ally of those discriminated edition) might be.

Being in Canada so long as made me a Canadian nationalist? The bright side of Canada is that it is really a small place.  I blogged about a colonel getting into an argument in April and I met him in November (although I had forgotten about how I had bumped into him online...).

April ended with a research trip to South Korea, which was both productive and fun.

The DMZ--North Korea is over there.
I continued to have very productive interviews in Seoul while touring hither and yon including to the DMZ.  Plus a little irredentism! Overall, an excellent trip concluding with a dinner with a star of a viral video!  Indeed, it made such an impact, I kept writing and thinking about the Korea situation, especially as the US was doing strange things.

The ISA made the news in a bad way--sexual harassment, so I wrote about it and then had a rare guest post on the topic by Tanisha Fazal.

As writing this blog reminds me, time is so very strange in the Trump Era.  I mean this year felt like two Tillersons long.

Oh, and Kid Spew become College Graduate Spew!  Super proud parents were we.  Time flies and all that, and she continues to knock our socks off.

Yes, I did jump on the disband ICE bandwagon before the summer of kids in cages (and fall and winter).

The G-7 was in Canada and it did not go so well.  Blame Canada?  Nope.

Kids in cages!?!  FFS!!!!

My father died.  As he approached 91 and had outlived a few prognoses since the end of the last year, it was not a surprise and he went out on his terms.  He got to see nearly all of the world, and he lived long enough to see 2/3s of his grand-children graduate college.  He had a lot of regrets, which he shared repeatedly in the last few months.  And so we got together and said goodbye.

And then I was off to Chile for yet another case study for the Dave/Phil/Steve project. I was focused in my research on today's civ-mil, but learned much about Chile's old military control of the civiliansMuch tourism ensued including skiing the Andes!

I finished the Chile trip and then quickly turned around and went to Europe for the NATO summit. I got to hang with a former student who gave me a great tour of the EU. The story of this NATO summit was toddler Trump.  And I was very annoyed.

One of my most viewed posts of the year: how to explain the academic job market to non-academics?

I concluded the month by comparing Trump to Voldemort as I pondered where might we find Trump's horcruxes.

I gave a lot of unsolicited advice in August, including how to think about writing a big project( think about the smaller pieces), how a first year prof should manage things, and where does one find co-authors.

I explain here what took much of my time in 2018, especially the first part and then from August to October: grant-writing to fund the CDSN.

And, yes, my research, old and new, is relevant: Identity politics are like fruitcakes.  Really.  And no, no American coups.

Another recurring theme--impeachment is not going to happen.  But will the Canadian Conservatives follow the Trump example?  Alas, yes.

APSA in Boston? Yes, please.  I realized I started teaching 25 years ago!

Trump is a lousy principal?  Of course.  Fun post building on a twitter conversation and on theory I tried to avoid long ago.

One of my biggest pet peeves exacerbated by being posted by one of the former journalists who has a narrow view of poli sci: what do profs know about the military?  More than folks think.

Best of all?  We got to visit Hollywood Spew and have much butterbeer! And, yes, we love LA.

We finished the big CDSN grant application, which meant I had much to be thank for.  It was so nice I blogged about it at least twice.

One of the big boons of the CDSN effort is that it has forced me out of my comfort zone.  A partner (the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society-Canada) had a conference on diversity, gender and the armed forces.  I learned much.

Another long-standing theme here at the Spew: pushing back against the Realist Gods of IR.  This time on the whole Iraq war myth.

SVH doth rock
The Vimy Gala was one of the big highlights of the year and not just for breaking out my tux (thanks, Dad).  No, it honored, among other people, Stefanie Von Hlatky, for the Nichola Goddard Gamechanger Award.  SVH is amazing, tenacious, super-helpful, smart and fun! I was super-proud of her as she not only got this award but then gave a short speech that knocked some sense into the crowd.  Just outstanding!

Trump as military commander?  Not great, Bob.

by Steph Carvin
Asia got my attention in the first half of the year, Europe much more so towards the end with Brexit and a European army?  I invoked the Reverse Groucho Rule.

And I had to blog about the revision of NAFTA if only to honor the best cake of the year.

I wrote about the fundamental requirement of democracy that the GOP is getting wrong--you have to accept losing power.

In a year of big anniversaries, it was fitting that the year ended with my Phd degree hitting 25.

Speaking of long, painful processes, my piece on mythbusting grand theory (another yammering at the Realist Gods of IR) finally was published after much time in R&R hell and then early view.

More people were interested in my take on the Trump Rules.

Fun to conclude the year with perhaps the most ironic or hypocritical (or both) post: some basic rules for social media etiquette.   Notice that reviewing one's posts is not one of the things I proscribe.

It has been a terrific year in many ways and a sad year in others.  Thanks for reading my stuff and inspiring my posts.  I hope you and yours have a great set of holidays and a very Happy New Year.

No comments: