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John Seery
John Seery is the George Irving Thompson Memorial Professor of Government and Professor of Politics at Pomona College, where he teaches political theory.

Okay, some of you (hi mom!) have suggested that I include a more elaborate bio on the Huffpost, so here is my stab at the customary third-person, slightly self-deprecating yet transparently self-important account of myself, cast in a factitiously triumphal register:

A native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and a working stiff by circumstance and inclination, John Seery was a paper boy at age 11, a member of a carpenter crew at 15, and a card-carrying Teamster truck driver at 16 (while avidly playing basketball and saxophone along the way). He was graduated from Amherst College summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded one of the last national Danforth Fellowships (Purina Dog Chow money that was used, in those days, to pay for the entirety of one’s graduate education, the bygone purpose of which was to support and improve the mission of teaching among the nation’s future professoriate—but such Danforth Fellowships are no more, sigh). He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to teach at Stanford University, University of California at Santa Cruz, and Tufts University before landing at Pomona College. Twice he has received Pomona College’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Prof. Seery was named the 2009 recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Society's Sidney Hook Memorial Award. In 2010-11 he served as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University. In 2013 he received the American Political Science Association's first discipline-wide Distinguished Teaching Award.

He is author of several books: Political Returns: Irony in Politics and Theory from Plato to the Antinuclear Movement (Westview, 1990); Political Theory for Mortals: Shades of Justice, Images of Death (Cornell, 1996); America Goes to College: Political Theory for the Liberal Arts (SUNY, 2002); Too Young To Run? A Proposal for an AGE Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Penn State Press, 2011); with Daniel W. Conway, is co-editor of The Politics of Irony: Essays in Self-Betrayal (St. Martins and Macmillan, 1992); and is the editor of The Political Companion to Walt Whitman(University Press of Kentucky, 2011) and George Kateb: Dignity, Morality, Individuality (Routledge, 2015). With Susan McWilliams he is co-editor of The Best Kind of College: An Insiders' Guide to America's Small Liberal Arts Colleges (forthcoming summer 2015, SUNY Press). His scholarly articles—on the works, respectively, of Aeschylus, Plato, Marx, Weber, Thomas Mann, Max Weber, Grant Wood, Judith Butler, and others—have been published in journals such as Political Theory, Theory & Event, Polity, History of Political Thought, Journal of Nietzsche Studies, and Soundings. His op-ed pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Le Monde Diplomatique, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the San Gabriel Valley Times, and the Philadelphia Independent. He has been interviewed on ABC News, MSNBC, and numerous radio broadcasts; and he appears in the documentary film, This American Gothic.

As for hands-on political experience, what there is of it: He worked briefly in DC for former U.S. Senator Dick Clark (not the American Band Stand guy); dined and danced at the White House on the occasion of Jimmy Carter’s first State of the Union address; witnessed UC Berkeley Sproul Plaza protests on a daily basis during the Reagan years, participating in more than a few; attended numerous rubber chicken fundraisers and other political events when his wife worked for a prominent California state senator; served as the founding President of the Friends of the Claremont POOCH Park; served as a City Commissioner in Claremont; and, over the years, became a grizzled veteran of many bruising academic sandbox battles, which, in retrospect, now seem petty and utterly unimportant.

Entries by John Seery

The End of College? (or Maybe Just the End of Kevin Carey's Career)

(5) Comments | Posted April 30, 2015 | 9:45 PM

Kevin Carey's book, The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, has been receiving a lot of attention in the press lately. Carey boldly pronounces that colleges and universities should be and will be held accountable for their deficiencies, such that their complete demise...

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Cheney: Chief of Churls

(126) Comments | Posted February 16, 2009 | 9:42 PM

I feel sick to my stomach as I write this.

This morning I read the interview with the former Guantanamo guard who describes in excruciating detail how Gitmo prisoners were allegedly subjected to anal rape as well as other forms of sexual abuse, torture, humiliation, and other atrocities, all...

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Walt Whitman on the Blagojevich Scandal (and Maybe Also the Auto Bailout Mess)

(2) Comments | Posted December 12, 2008 | 5:10 PM

Whitman, speaking from beyond the grave, with an eye toward our current ills:


I should say it was not. To-day, of all the persons in public office in These States,...

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Mawk the Hawk (or, Thankfulness Unbounded)

(1) Comments | Posted November 27, 2008 | 9:09 PM

We recently discovered that our young puppy has pee-peed all over our expensive silk Persian rug, in five places to be exact. We bought it some twenty years ago, an utter extravagance when we didn't have kids and had some discretionary income and were trying to settle, convince, and inure...

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Barack's Ballyhooed Youth Brigade Should Be Asking: "Dude, Where's My Congress?"

(28) Comments | Posted November 12, 2008 | 5:08 PM

Lots of upbeat, buoyant, exceedingly sanguine-type folks have been proclaiming that the November 4th election constituted nothing less than a generational watershed in our nation's history, ushering in a post-boomer epoch of youthful governance. After all, we elected the whippersnapper 47 year old instead of the creaky, cranky, crotchety 72...

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Proposition 8: "It Is Written, but I Say unto You."

(177) Comments | Posted October 28, 2008 | 5:11 PM

I just don't get California's Proposition 8, the initiative for a state constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. It's become the most expensive "social issue" ballot measure ever. The stakes are high.

In my neighborhood, there are yard signs for and against the measure. I must say, I'm simply baffled...

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Joe the Plumber Meets Sam the Gas Station Guy

(440) Comments | Posted October 16, 2008 | 6:00 PM

A few days ago (which is to say, prior to the Wednesday night presidential debate), I met Sam. Joe the Plumber should really meet Sam, too.

I was jogging away on the treadmill at my local gym when the guy next to me--who turned out to be Sam--introduced himself. He...

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David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008

(43) Comments | Posted September 13, 2008 | 11:55 PM

David Foster Wallace has passed away. He hanged himself. The world has lost a spectacular writer. Already it seems as if some special portal of human intelligence has been closed off.

He was a colleague and friend. I have no mind to try to pay adequate tribute to him here....

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Sarah Palin: The Face of Ugly Americanism

(355) Comments | Posted September 4, 2008 | 3:29 PM

I know, I know: Sarah Palin is receiving rosy plaudits for her speech last night. She is being heralded as the savior of the GOP, someone with enough moxie to sustain the party's unholy alliance between the oil plutocrats and the oily preachocrats.

Many pundits in reviewing her polished...

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McCain versus Obama: Who's the Reptile, Who's the Eagle?

(1) Comments | Posted July 18, 2008 | 7:30 PM

You decide (kind of a no-brainer, though):

"High office is like a pyramid; only two kinds of animals reach the summit, reptiles and eagles." --D'Alembert
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(55) Comments | Posted June 27, 2008 | 4:42 PM

Our country is spinning out of control -- morally, that is. Hitting the skids. Going down the tubes. Going to hell. Rotting. I can't find the right language. But it's bad, folks. Really bad. These are dark times. I'm not exaggerating for the sake of a blog.

Yesterday, John...

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Bill Kristol on Obama: No Smoking Gun, But Plenty of Cheap Shots

(37) Comments | Posted June 2, 2008 | 4:28 PM

Bill Kristol is desperate to find an ad hominem way to smear Barack Obama, and the New York Times continues to oblige this warmonger and professional propagandist with prominent print space.

Kristol's contortionist tactics have hit an all-time low: In today's column, Kristol faults Obama for "omitting" a...

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McCain in 2008 = Clinton in 2012

(218) Comments | Posted April 19, 2008 | 4:58 PM

Allow me to do a little downbeat and wet-blanket prognosticating here, a bit of bad-boy forecasting in the "worst-case" rather than the "blue-sky" register. So get out your tea leaves and/or chicken entrails and read along with me. Please, I beg you, tell me why the following scenario won't in...

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The Surge Doesn't Make Military Sense

(24) Comments | Posted March 17, 2008 | 1:49 PM

Now that John McCain and Dick Cheney have made their surprise visits to Iraq, expect another media-coordinated, officially dispensed round of rosy propaganda about how wonderfully the surge (read: escalation; read: permanent occupation) is going.

Beats me how Cheney can delude himself into believing that he can somehow serve...

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McCain: Botoxer-in-Chief

(32) Comments | Posted February 15, 2008 | 5:29 PM

The redoubtable Jane Hamsher raised a taut issue recently over at Firedoglake, and I've been waiting for someone to follow her lead. But so far, not a word. So I'll take the plunge.

Jane points out that John McCain's Botox treatments are becoming not only conspicuous, but also flat-out...

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Iraq, Iraq, Iraq: Remember the Bush Quagmire on Feb. 5

(32) Comments | Posted February 3, 2008 | 6:54 PM

For what it's worth, I'm voting for Barack Obama in the California primary on Feb. 5.

For me, the clincher is the war (read: occupation; read: foreign policy fiasco). In case you've been lulled lately into MSM complacency about it, allow me to remind you: We're still throwing serious...

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The Juno Effect

(11) Comments | Posted January 22, 2008 | 9:13 AM

I'd like to elaborate a bit on an ABC News report last week that quoted me (correctly) as proffering a theory about something called "the Juno effect" as a way of thinking about recent abortion trends and abortion politics.

Last Thursday morning I found myself in the middle of...

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Bill Kristol = George Costanza

(12) Comments | Posted January 9, 2008 | 7:57 AM

Methinks that Hillary Clinton's unexpected surge in New Hampshire is attributable entirely to Bill Kristol's inaugural column in Monday's New York Times. Call it the "Kristol factor." He's always wrong. Once again -- it took only a day -- he proved that his powers of prognostication are just not very...

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Reflections on George McGovern's Call for Impeachment

(21) Comments | Posted January 7, 2008 | 1:43 PM

In Sunday's Washington Post, George McGovern, at 85-years-old, sternly recommends that Congress ought to impeach Bush and Cheney ("Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse"), even though much prevailing sentiment runs decidedly against it. He explains that after the 1972 presidential election, he,...

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The Los Angeles Times Retreats from the Rule of Law

(29) Comments | Posted December 22, 2007 | 6:54 PM

A contemptible editorial in Saturday's Los Angeles Times severely chastises Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for withdrawing the "telecom immunity" legislation in the face of Sen. Christopher Dodd's ongoing filibuster threat. The Times editorial team contends, rather hysterically, that Reid's delaying the bill until January "threatens to undo a...

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