I would like to write on his Facebook feed, where he is ranting about “morally panicked literature professors” —
That’s ridiculous, and actually the reactions to tv when it came in were more subtle and interesting (I notice you don’t mention it). I am tired of having students who can’t read but are only trained to “skim for content” after first reading the list of multiple choice questions at the end. The morally panicked anti-literature English professors seem to be in favor of that (and also of selling infinite numbers of degrees in bad creative writing to people who can’t read).
It must be in my horoscope, I do not like to rush. I am already rapid and efficient, so I do not need to rush, but I would not like it even if I were not rapid and efficient. There is really only ONE thing I dislike about academia and it is the ethos of rushing. If you are not rushing and setting timers, you are not working. Rushing only makes me want to quit. This means I must simply refuse and resist the culture of rushing, the exhortations to save time and cram activity into every minute (except when you go to a paid meditation class at a set time, of course).
There are so many days I would feel just fine if I could stay home part of the time to read and write, or if I could teach in English, or teach in Spanish to people who spoke it, or teach Spanish as a second language to people who could accept that learning Spanish isn’t reciting grammar rules and choosing the best of five possible answers, it’s about learning to speak–and not just speech for survival purposes, but for literacy.
The struggle over not just what college is, but what education is and what a university is, is what has me so tired; some say just teach as in high school but that isn’t the point.
What I miss about the jobs I have had in R-1 institutions is feeling like an adult. You work calmly with adults. Elsewhere being constantly badgered, accused, pulled down, yelled at, interrupted, and having to work through the frantic irrationality of others really drains and disorients me because it activates the traumatized state of childhood, where everybody else was all frantic, all the time unless they were somehow locked down or subdued. The feeling of school, the college and graduate school, was of calm and freedom and I really liked this combination. Here things are always either frantic or dead and I want to be calm and alive, but also not isolated or hidden away. I like the feeling of life happening, other people thinking too.
If I have a definite view or a strong recommendation, I am called controlling and bossy.
If I have no opinion, or a tentative opinion, or am comfortable with any of several alternatives, I am called vague and accused of insufficient participation.
I have decided I will not be so self-destructive and that I will put aside fear — and also guilt / shame. These last will not be replaced with paranoia or a “the hell with them” attitude, either, but with fearlessness and therefore empathy.
I see what the notes for that article are about: working in the neoliberal university. Now, at last, I can write the piece, and I should. Things to be fought in particular include various forms of so-called bean-counting and the excessive bureaucratic busywork, but more broadly we are fighting the neoliberal university. I think it is possible we may have to have real intellectual work take place outside universities, in the para-academic playground, perhaps, but if the university insists upon being as it is, some stance to take while working within it must be devised. If it decides to act fully like a for-profit, a strong union and very independent professional and disciplinary organizations are needed, that everyone considers their home (as opposed to considering the university their home). It definitely deserves no free work, and that includes its ridiculous new time-wasting schemes.
I must remember that I am leaving town with no hot water at home, and with the shower not working. That means the first thing I must do upon my return is have this worked on–as well as work on FMLA for the fall. I have a meeting at the community college Monday, April 9, at 6 in the evening and must remember it.
I must also call the city about the drainage and the tree branches that are caught in the telephone wires. I must contact Judith and Amalia about events September 18 and 19, remembering that the radio show is at 3 PM. I must wash my exterior windows and trim the bushes around the front door.
In the meantime besides packing, I must buy animal food and olive oil, and go by the office. I must check on the held-mail and the Phillips drill heads. I must write Kaitlyn on package delivery and keys, as well as Margaret with related instructions. Is this all? I think so. I will check into my flight online.
While I am gone I will do academic work and try to see at least one friend. I want to get exercise each day. I have to call Andreshia and Fidelity and Doug, and Dad has three appointments. I hope it is not too tiring, and that nothing strange happens. When I drive into town again I must remember to go to the gym, not home, because I will not have a shower at home.