Mankind's only alternative 19   SEP.   18  
Mankind's only alternative
Welcome
MAIN  RUSSIA  WAR NERD   [SIC!]  BAR-DAK  THE VAULT  ABOUT US  RSS
 
 
EXILE BLOGS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Book Review March 6, 2002
 
How I Harrassed The Working Class
By John Dolan Browse author Email
 
 

My Sinful Persecution Of Working-Class Poet Jim Daniels

I'm a harasser. Put the cuffs on me; I harassed the working class. And it wasn't even fun. It's not like I groped some factory girl as she leaned over a sweaty sewing machine. That would have been a harassment worth risking. All I did was post an email reply to a "Call for Papers" on the work of "Jim Daniel, Working-Class Poet."

I should've known better than to sign up for the damn "Call for Papers" list in the first place. These "Calls for Papers" (CFPs) are one of the dreary routines of academic life. You get on an email list and they send you notices of upcoming conferences. If you see a topic which interests you, you send them a 250-word proposal and they put you on the schedule.

Like a lot of things about this filthy business, it's utterly corrupt, yet totally unaware of its own corruption; sly, but convinced of its own transparent rectitude. It sounds simple enough: you agree to give a 20-minute talk on your current research, and in return you get a fully funded trip to a mid-range hotel full of plain but eager academics, more than willing to be picked up after a dangerous second glass of Chardonnay.

You don't even need to put any effort into the paper you give. Only grad students worry about that. Nobody cares what you say in those 20 minutes.

I had a rather dramatic demonstration of that fact early on in my career. I unpacked my bag at a conference where I was supposed to give a paper on Wallace Stevens, only to find that I'd brought an article on 18th-century occasional poetry, not Stevens. It wasn't even finished. But I read the damn thing, quavering and expecting to be exposed as a total fraud -- and to my astonishment it went over very well. It was so obviously, wildly irrelevant that they took me for a theory guy and treated me with the greatest deference for the remainder of the conference, and even begged me to submit a written version to the CV-padding collection which every conference produces.

I didn't; I was too ashamed. And that's fatal to an aspiring American academic. Out of sheer bitterness, I'm going to let you civilians in on the great secrets of the Tenured Guild. There is one quality which the aspiring American academic in the Humanities must have. Not brains, God knows. Only an amateur would think that.

No-you need the GI system of a buzzard. That's all.

You can feed buzzards pure botulism toxin -- put a funnel in their beaks and force it down them till their crops bulge, enough toxin to wipe out a whole city -- and they won't even hiccup. They literally can't gag -- their gullets don't work that way -- and can't be poisoned. To be a Humanities professor, you must be a buzzard.

You can't fake it. I tried, and my friends tried, at Berkeley. We weren't "principled" or anything -- God, are you kidding? We'd've killed, literally, for a tenure-track job. But it never comes down to something as quick and simple as killing. It means swallowing toxins in public, for several years running, without betraying a vestigial gag reflex even once.

I never did have that God-given gizzard, and that's how I ended up with this latest harassment complaint. I have a weak stomach, and after a few doses of this stuff I start to vomit it back. That's what happened with this "Call for Papers" e-list: it started to make me angry, then sick.

The cowardice. The proud, eager conformity. The tin ear -- if they have to lie, why can't they do it more sonorously?

But most of all, I just could not stand seeing the pose of "transgressor," "boundary-breaker," "resistant" adopted by people who have never done a brave thing in their lives. If they'd just say outright: "Look, we're contestants in a lookalike contest," and competed openly and proudly, they'd be bearable. Like a wet T-shirt contest for ugly people. And why not? Good for them.

But for them to use these sacred terms, the terms of rebellion and courage, and mean nothing at all by them -- it was intolerable.


SHARE:  Del.icio.us  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

Browse author
dolan@exile.ru
 
 
FROM THE VAULT

John McCain Is: The Gook Hunter : A movie poster
Restaurant Review
Maki Kafe, Old Is The New New : By V. Cherkesov
Reklama Review
Radiation Helps Sell Goods :
Club Review
The Columnist With The Mostest : Another night with the rich and beautiful
 

 
 
 
LATEST ARTICLES

Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
Editorial
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
[SIC!]
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...

 
 
 

    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442
E-mail: office@exile.ru