Inequality and unfairness in higher education salaries

I am probably opening a can of worms for myself by writing about matters that require a revolution before real change can occur–but I feel compelled and clear that I want and need to write.

I have been in the process of seeking and applying for gainful employment in the Los Angeles area.  I feel capable of meeting greater challenges as a professional in my field(s) of expertise but also feel under-employed at this time.  I am not ashamed to write this but I am stunned by the reality of what I face in this journey.

One area of professional experience that I have is in teaching, mostly in higher education settings although I have also worked as a teacher in high schools and middle schools too.  When I peruse the relatively few jobs that are available in my field (film/digital media production, mass communications, etc) I notice that the pay scales range from about $50K per annum to $80K (or less) per annum. The jobs have rigorous expectations in the application process and for the scope and nature of professional, creative and other experience for each applicant.  That part is OK with me, and I feel that my experience and education exceed the published expectations for a teaching job.  However, when I go to job openings at the same institutions in administration (deans, associate deans, others) I notice that the pay range that is indicated is significantly higher–starting around 70K and ranging up to the mid $100s, sometimes as high as $170,000 per annum.  Why is there such a discrepancy in the pay scale between faculty and administration?  Are administrators smarter?  Do they do a much more difficult job?  Do they deserve an extra $100,000 for their job, in comparison with a faculty member?  I think not and I think this is yet one more indication of rampant inequity, unfairness, and near-exploitation in the workplace.

Revolution, or at least the obvious need for revolution is necessary but I fear that Americans and others have forgotten the importance and role of dissent in a democracy.  The dissenting voice has been marginalized by hegemonic forces in the mainstream, with oppressed masses trudging through the much while hypnotized to believe that dissent is wrong.

Six Waltons have more wealth than bottom 30%

I recently read with great interest an online Forbes article titled, “Six Waltons have more wealth than bottom 30%.”

Sadly, I found this article to be a typical example of “blame the victim” although the victim is the 30% and not the Waltons.  As you probably know, the Waltons are the ultra-rich founding family of the retail behemoth, Wal-Mart.

I had hoped that the author, Tim Worstall, would have taken a much different POV in this article.  He seems to avoid, dismiss, or ignore the most blatantly obvious point that was never made— income inequality and the disproportionate wealth enjoyed by a tiny few has reached a hideously and dangerously unfair level.  Period.

This story, and so many more like, tells us about 6 folks who are ridiculously rich while a huge number of people (their customers?) suffer on a daily basis.  The Waltons, just like any other member of the elite 1% use the political and legal mechanisms of police protection, inheritance, and lobbying to insulate massive amounts of wealth for themselves.  These folks have more “wealth” than 90-100 million folks.  This is not a word game, nor is it something to be abstractly obfuscated.  This is only one story of many, yet it is one more example of the absurd injustice that occurs daily in the USA.  Folks are in pain, in fear, and with no hope.  That is the fact, while others have nearly all of the wealth and the power to keep and horde that wealth.  The writer of this article seems to whitewash the problem of wealth and income disparity entirely, only to take the ultra-conservative (most common to talk-radio) approach by questioning whether or not the poor folks on the wrong end of this equation are really suffering or really poor at all.  Skewing the discussion in a way that casts doubt on the poor, on the unemployed, or the ex-middle class who now find themselves to be welfare recipients (those tricky rascals!) is a shrewd move to deflect our attention from the real issue —that we are oppressed by a system of economic and social injustice in the USA.  To blame the victim is a typical tactic that protects the oligarch and the tyrant from accountability.  The working poor or the poor of any kind or description are not the problem.  The problem rests entirely within a system that protects the few while marginalizing the majority.  Opportunities are scare or bleak at best, contrary to the Reaganite mythology that we are fed by the mainstream media.  Stay in line, shut up, and like it is the mantra that is expected of workers in this society.  It is amazing to me how docile and blank we are in the face of such a lopsided and unfair deal.

The article can be accessed at: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/six-waltons-more-wealth-bottom-172819426.html

What is the difference between feeling and thought?

A difference between feelings and thoughts?  It’s possibly as simple as breaking it down to this:

Do I feel  X? or Do I feel like X?  One is a feeling (the first) and the other (the second) is a thought.

Why is this an issue for me?

I have begun a process of “talking therapy” as a way to search for a way forward at this time of complex transition in my life.  I also believe that greater awareness and the building of tools that help me to achieve greater awareness will help me to become a better writer, teacher, artist, parent, and individual.

One part of that journey has opened my awareness and need, in many ways, to understand the difference(s) between feelings and thoughts.  I am motivated to do this as I search for effective strategies, solutions, and paradigmatic models for change in my life.  I seek greater understanding and ability to differentiate between thoughts and feelings because this will probably facilitate a better chance that will understand myself better and will increase my chances of being understood by others.  I sense that I have a tendency to over-think everything, but I probably won’t be able to change that tendency.  But at least I can apply my analysis for the purpose of consciously recognizing my feelings as distinct from my thoughts.

(PIC: Carl Jung (L) and Sigmund Freud (R) after a kill, presumably in east Africa).  I am the horned-beast lying dead between the two killers!

In my search, I came across some helpful and practical bits of theory, with useful and simple advice, on a website by Dr. Jim Hutt (SEE: http://www.counselorlink.com/counsletterletter3-06-16-08/).

I intend to apply this simple advice in my journey to greater awareness and improvement:

HUTT Writes:

The difference between the two is as follows:

EXPRESSING A FEELING: “I feel (or “I am”)____________________.” (fill in the blank with a feeling word below:)

SAD
HAPPY
ANGRY, MAD, IRRITATED
SCARED, AFRAID
DEPRESSED
CONFUSED
DISGUST

(elated, enthralled, captivated, addicted, isolated—keep going, don’t be limited to the basic words…)

EXPRESSING A THOUGHT (UNWITTINGLY) DISGUISED AS A FEELING: “I feel like you always (fill in the blank.)”

SAME SENTENCE AS A FEELING: “I feel scared when you raise your voice.

EXPRESSING A THOUGHT: “It is my perception you yell more often than not when you get angry.”

When you start your sentence by saying, “I feel LIKE or THAT (fill in the blank) you are probably not expressing a feeling. This does not provide the listener an accurate account of your emotional state. Next time, take out the word “like” or “that,” and fill in the blank with a feeling word.

Digital Filmmaking in Sharjah

2011.  I recently applied to be on the Fulbright Specialist Program list.

One important motivation for my application to be included on the list is that it provides a great opportunity for me to collaborate with educational institutions or organizations, faculty and administrators in foreign countries in several ways—as a filmmaker, teacher, artist-designer-producer, or educational program consultant.

My application describes the knowledge and experience I have and how that could be particularly useful in international contexts to faculty and programs in new, innovative, and creative fields of scholarship that integrate/apply film and digital media design–such as fine arts, mass communication, educational technology, and others.

Part of the application asked “what are your five most important professional accomplishments?”

It’s a very difficult question, at least it was for myself.

One of the most important accomplishments was when I designed from scratch a learning facility for digital design and media production with a complete curriculum (accredited).

The program and facility were voted “Best Educational Facility” by the Digital Media magazine.
I consider this accomplishment, the design of the facility, its resources and its educational programs, to be one of the top three things I have ever accomplished in my life.

How is filmmaking studied in schools?

I participate in an oftentimes interesting online dialogue at:

http://www.doculink.com

In a recent thread a writer wrote in response to a query about the best way for someone to learn to be a filmmaker:

“…she’d be better off as a producer and writer — writing is one of her strengths — than as a director and editor, because she is definitely NOT a tech-oriente person, and learning all of the mechanical facets of direction, cinematography, and editing programs would bore and frustrate her, when she is passionate about the story she wants to tell, more so than “becoming a filmmaker”. She’d do well as a producer because she has an aptitude for organization and communication.”

The question/statement raises some interesting points, in my opinion.

I added to the thread by writing:

“It is my opinion, based upon a lot of experience with monsters over the years, that the worst producers (also true for any other leadership role within a production team) are those who consider themselves to be “bored and frustrated and definitely not-tech oriented.”  Unanimously, their fears and dismissal of a huge aspect of this work is unhealthy in some way.  This gap, between the theoretical and the technical (not mechanical) aspects of the work, is indicative of a narrowly conceived specialism that derives from scientism.  In other words, narrow specialization by a beginner-student filmmaker is not a good idea.  Even writer “|specialists” are better filmmakers and better off generally when they have hands-on, in the trenches appreciation for the technical work, in addition to all the other work—an inseparable combination of technical, creative, business (values), and legal (agreements).  Maybe art is a result of all of this, maybe not, but hopefully it all adds up to some value.  Please encourage your friend to confront her fears of the technical while she is in pursuit of the creative or other aspect(s).”

I think this is an important question and welcome comments.

A filmmaker’s night downtown

I have recently become a reader and contributor to the doculink.com listserv.  I am inspired by some of the “doculinker” filmmakers who spend their nights downtown with their cameras to document the situation, at the risk of arrest.

http://www.doculink.org/

Other are being told by filmmakers in many parts of the world, beyond downtown LA–stories about struggle by the people against oppressive authority.  Their stories are vastly different than the ones I read or hear in the mainstream media.

A good read is: Occupy Wall Street: Can Filmmaking Website Unify the Movement?

http://abcnews.go.com/US/occupy-wall-street-filmmaking-website-unify-movement/story?id=15020578#.TtlznXP1-EU

NOTE about SOMALI PIRACY and ITS PIRATES

I was writing in an earlier entry to this blog about the LRAD and its appropriateness for use against Somali piracy.

But any generalized assumption on my part about the nature and causes of Somali piracy causes me to reconsider what I have just written–it is probably nothing more than an oversimplication–what if some of the Somali pirates are in fact fisherfolk who have been radicalized as a result of the decimation of their once-plentiful resources, destruction that occurred as a result of illegal fishing and toxic dumping, etc?

SEE: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/4/14/analysis_somalia_piracy_began_in_response

(personal note: I clearly recall sailing along the Somali, Yemeni, and Omani coastlines in 1994 and seeing millions and millions of giant tuna as they churned and jumped in the seas, but apparently now that astonishing abundance that I saw for myself has been depleted and is largely gone?).

If the argument that the Somali pirates are in actuality impoverished fisherfolk with no other option but piracy, then the “pirates” are victimized, oppressed people who have embraced this criminal activity as a last-resort response in the absence of other alternatives…).

In principle, I absolutely disagree with the act of piracy and with the mayhem it represents, although I keep an open mind when I observe and try to explain its cause.

Occupy LA and an unethical response to dissent

I am disturbed by an arrogant disregard among common folks as they consider the Occupy LA movement.  I am troubled by their underlying assumption that this movement has no logical core and that what the “protesters” are doing is wrong or pointless.  I have been searching for ways to involve myself and to express my assent with their activities and thoughts.  I am particularly in agreement with the view that the authority and power of banks and corporate interests are disproportionately exploitive, and these entities operate freely to the detriment of the majority.  In this sense and for that reason I proudly pledge my membership in the Occupy movement.

Today, I believe I was able to contribute to the movement in a small but hopefully good way.  Today, I am substitute teaching an Art class at Palos Verdes High School.  My motivation was fueled by an article that I read, a very disturbing article, in the LA Times:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-sound-cannon-20111202,0,4874892.story

In this article I learned about the ferocious power of LRAD technology, albeit a technology and weapon that can also be used in a good way (fighting sea piracy, etc).

The LA TImes article reveals a very serious ethical decline by our law enforcement authorities.  There is a major ethical problem in my view as LRAD weaponry is used by LAPD as a way to suppress and remove dissent, such as that which is happening this week in LA and elsewhere.

Turning such weaponry upon our citizens is a frightening, unethical response by authorities, in my view.  Turning this technology against some pirate in the Indian Ocean or the Straits of Malacca is debatably acceptable, but to use it against dissenting civilians in downtown areas of the USA is absolutely not OK.

In my class today I opened up a discussion about LRADs, about the largely misunderstood or maligned activities of the Occupy movement, and about the relationship of art and society.  As a substitute I am probably not supposed to enter risky, no-go areas–particularly when those issues shed a critical light on mainstream authority.  My intention was to provoke deeper and more critical thought among these students, all of whom come from relatively privileged backgrounds, but it is likely that I could be reprimanded for such intentions.

 I did proceed to open these topics today in this class and was pleased that some students showed some curiosity and insight into these issues, while others remained passive or silent.  I do not interpret their silence or inaction as a show of disinterest, but it does indicate to me that consciousness about our society and its inequities are not regularly discussed, at school, at home, or among friends.  In a place like Palos Verdes Estates it is easy and encouraged to remain detached from the plight of the poor and the historic formula of inequality that is rigidly applied today.

I am not sure what these students will do as a response/action from our “conversation” or dialogue  but I asked them to at least inquire, question, and observe more closely what is offerred in the mainstream.  This is particularly important for Artists because they are an important key for illuminating and clarifying the messages at the heart of dissenting views such as those from the Occupy movement.  Art is perhaps the best way to critique, express, and effectuate change in our society—all of which are sorely needed.

Playing at Valmonte School with my son, Niall

Today I walked to Valmonte School with my 7 year old son, Niall.  The first thing I noticed was the breathlessness that I sensed as I walked up and down the steep but tiny hills that are on the way to/from the school.  Far too out of shape for my own good!  As I huffed and puffed I was remembering that in my childhood I would ride a bike or briskly walk up and down those hills with great vigor and dispatch, unaware of any physical limits or problems, and in a body that was in very much better physical condition then, in comparison with now.  Now, a lot of years later the hills were a challenge and a chore–but a pleasant one nonetheless.  Niall wanted to go there to practice his soccer skills.  Being the soccer buddy with a 7 year old requires stamina and so I welcomed the chance to at least pretend to myself that I was getting some exercise while at the same time relishing the chance to play with Niall.

At Valmonte I notice that it is not a K-5 school like it used to be.  I also notice that the playground areas are underdeveloped, unchanged for decades, and not useful for its intended purpose–a place for kids to play.  I am annoyed that the playground does not offer more options for the benefit of kids–for example, much better baseball/softball fields with decent backstops, basketball hoops for little kids to use, drinking fountains, etc.  It seems to only be a “developmental” kindergarten in some of the classrooms while at least a few other rooms that are entirely empty.  I do not understand or agree with the school district’s phase-out of Valmonte and Malaga Cove schools.  It seems odd that students in the local area–the area where I grew up as a child–have to travel further away to go to school.  Local kids in the Valmonte area of Palos Verdes Estates have to be DRIVEN to other schools which are not nearby, unlike in years past when we were able to walk and play at Valmonte or Malaga Cove schools.  I am especially confused why several classrooms at both campuses are barren and empty and unused.  Why are there no adult education classes or other enrichment learning or recreational activities taking place in those rooms, for the benefit of the local folks who are forced to leave their neighborhood for schooling?

I had a great time with Niall but my mind was left to wonder without  logical answers.

A documentary film about Jack London, author and photographer

These days I am writing and researching about Jack London (1876-1916) as I develop a grant proposal in the search for funds.  He is a highly-esteemed American author of fiction, nonfiction–and a photographer too.   He had a spectacular yet brief life and I want to produce a documentary film for PBS about him.  I am particularly interested in his socialist views and his photography.  He took photos during his travels all over Asia, Pacific Islands, Mexico, and the USA.  I have assembled a great team of scholars who will collaborate with me on the development and production of this project.  I am still seeking a PBS co-producer with a national track record as I seek funds and develop the program’s content.  Wish me luck!

About my friend, RL “Bob” Morgan

I want to write about the struggle of my friend, Bob Morgan, who is battling with cancer.  He has an ongoing blog that describes the process of treatment he is undergoing—please visit his blog at:   www.bobmorgan.org/bword/

Bob and I have had a friendship since we were age 3.  Bob has blossomed as a man, husband, father, and all around family man of the best kind—with his lovely wife, Eve, and his daughters, Julia and Annika steadfast at his side.  My friendship with Bob has survived for a long time and I am grateful for the huge range of things that we did and learned together over these many years.  Bob lost his wonderful mom, Marion, and his dad, Harry, a few years ago and they are sorely missed.  But now Bob has an epic struggle of his own to endure and he is a battler.  I am so impressed with his ability to learn and know what is happening throughout this ordeal.  He writes reflectively and in an informed way about the details and big picture of what he is enduring, and for that I am amazed and grateful.  In my own blog I will write about some stories about what we did together over the years, with appropriate editing so as to not mortify the kids or the feint of heart!  I hope that these stories will be considered to be fun to read and will be helpful for his recovery.

PLEASE VISIT Bob’s Blog at:    www.bobmorgan.org/bword/

My prayers are for Bob and his speedy recovery, and I ask that you all send out good energy to Bob!

Anthony

My ranging and restless mind

Hello and welcome to all!

I am Anthony Collins and this is my first post on my first blog site. I am using this blog site to write and reflect upon what I know, observe, do, and seek in my daily life and more. I welcome your comments and input. I am in the process of learning more and more about how to produce my blog site so please notice its growth, improvement, and changes.

Thanks for reading!
Anthony

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