August 23, 2006

Things I Learned Today at Inside Higher Ed

David Horowitz will EAT YOUR BAYBEEZ! Yes, perhaps that seems a bit overstated, but while perusing the two pieces on solving the culture wars in academe, his name appeared quite a bit, both inside the editorials and in the comments following.

The part of me that secretly wishes to be an evil overlord is envious of the Horowitzian ability to make academics wet themselves.

I also have learned that academia leans left because only liberals a) like to think critically, and b) are focused on helping others by taking, say, lower-paying jobs like teaching. Really. I suppose I should tell Hublet that he needs to get out of education Right Now and start working on that whole "screw you, every man for himself" Godon Gecko personality thing. Glad I discovered that before he wasted his life or something.

And Inside Higher Ed gave me another example of something I already knew--PIOs and department heads are paid to be paranoid. Unfortunately, it looks like some PIO is probably no longer on the payroll after that particular debacle. Paranoia only works properly if paired with a modicum of smarts.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at August 23, 2006 09:52 AM
Comments

sometimes I read those things and go, whoa, people have way too much time on their hands. No wonder a common stereotype of professors is that they are people who are paid to do virtually nothing. And it is no wonder, reading these pieces, that you hear the legislative types rumbling about "get those slackers working 20 hours a week!"

(To which I, and most of my colleagues, respond with glee: oh, look! They're going to reduce our workload to 1/3 to 1/4 of what it is now...)

Posted by: ricki at August 23, 2006 01:16 PM

Ricki -

Plus, it's just tiresome. You read in hopes of coming across a new insight, and you get the same old crap, now with new and improved Thesaurus substitutions for the same old cleverly disguised ad hominem slights.

Bleh.

Posted by: BAW at August 23, 2006 02:37 PM

Politicians like Mumper, along with many media blowhards and members of the public who revile professors, appear to have little more familiarity with the nature of humanistic scholarship than they do with that of brain surgery - though they would not presume to tell brain surgeons how they should operate, even in a tax-supported hospital.

I have a theory that if a simple thought is put into a mechanically transformed academic prose sentence, you can lose track of what point you're making.


Posted by: Ron Hardin at August 23, 2006 02:48 PM

Politicians like Mumper, along with many media blowhards and members of the public who revile professors, appear to have little more familiarity with the nature of humanistic scholarship than they do with that of brain surgery — though they would not presume to tell brain surgeons how they should operate, even in a tax-supported hospital.


Bad example - doctors are told exactly when and how to operate. Theirs is a highly regulated profession and increasingly so. And they have to be "results oriented". It's pretty easy to tell when the patient died or got better.


This also means that academic discourse should stand independent from government pressure and public opinion, in a similar manner to the ideal of a free, independent press. That is why taxpayers should be willing to support the autonomy of the academy, within reasonable limits, whether or not it agrees with their personal views.


Bad example - newspapers are supported by ad revenue and subscribers. Don't kid yourself - they pay attention to the people who pay their salaries. His attitude apparently is "I'm entitled to your tax money because I'm smarter than you and how dare you expect me to justify myself.


Most such students are conservative, not in any intellectual sense, but in the sense (which they admit) of fearfully conforming to the political and economic status quo, to the attitudes that will be expected of them as compliant employees, and to the necessity of looking out for number one in the “Survivor” sweepstakes of the global economy.


A perfect description of a university faculty... or a high school.

I could go on and on but you get the point. Notice how he managed to write two articles when one of half the length would suffice? I'm sure he'll list them separately on his annual faculty activities report.

Posted by: Locomotive Breath at August 23, 2006 04:16 PM