The third section of this post is the one relevant to its title, but I have a few other things to say. Even before the first thing, and in preparation for tomorrow’s post, I announce that not only do I believe in living in VERY URBAN ENVIRONMENTS, I also believe in SURFING and BACKPACKING, this last at HIGH ALTITUDES. I further believe in doing these things as part of normal life, not at the end of a plane voyage. These opinions explain a great deal and I point them out to prepare my more assiduous readers for tomorrow’s post. I have been called superficial many, many times for having these interests and tastes, but I have determined at last that I am not superficial at all.
Featured blogs for today are From Gaza With Love and Daily Routines. The first is heartrending and the second, fascinating. You discover how creative people organize their days. Each one is more eccentric than the last, and I want to read them all. (So far I identify most with the “Early Risers” and must clearly become one. The thought of putting off beginning work until afternoon is so depressing as to be scary. I read those routines and feel true dismay.)
Next: Notes from the MLA
1. People in S.F. for the first time kept marveling about how intercultural it is. I find it normal. I can finally relax. I am freed of that nagging feeling that someone is missing I get in many other U.S. cities.
2. Going from hotel to hotel to see different things, and especially threading yourself through the labyrinthine S.F. Hilton, is difficult.
3. The basement of the S.F. Mariott reminds me of an airport.
4. I liked the Spanish and Portuguese panels better than the English panels – except for the digital editing panels, of which I wish I had attended more – and became glad my line is not based in English (I sometimes wish it were).
5. I did not stay in a hotel but in an apartment from Craigslist. I am in it now. This comparatively inexpensive option is comfortable and very, very hip.
6. There were papers on poet friends of my parents, and retrospective panels on my former professors.
Finally: An Alternative World Fantasy
A friend in graduate school pointed out that the reason the university worked so well was that it had an enormous semi-secret corps of excellent assistant professors who were actually advanced graduate students, teaching up a storm at more levels than one realized and generating a great deal of research. I have now uncovered an old U.S. model of the academic ladder, in which that corps was no secret. Could a return to it help reduce student loan debt, the job crisis and the tenure trauma? Apparently the system was:
1. You do an old fashioned, fancy M.A. with a serious thesis, taking up to three years, during which time you are a T.A. with a low teaching load.
2. You are hired as an instructor, and this is a tenure track position. Via teaching, research and service you earn tenure, whereupon you are promoted to Assistant Professor. Not having the Ph.D., however, you cannot teach certain senior or any graduate courses.
3. If you do not wish to remain at this rank permanently, you go on sabbatical to take coursework toward the Ph.D. While working on your dissertation, you come home to teach. Your dissertation and the publications it generates as you write it gain you admission to the Graduate Faculty.
4. Your further work as an Assistant Professor and Graduate Faculty Member earn you promotions to Associate and eventually, Full Professor.
What do you think, Lumpenprofessoriat? Would this arrangement alleviate the current problems in any way? What are the various reasons why it would not work?