Monday, July 12, 2010

This Shit is So Evil

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go by Thomas H. Benton a.k.a William Pannapacker?

So this guy has a PhD., and uses it in exactly the way that he always thought he would, except the twist is his job also involves writing articles about, paradoxically, how no one should get a post-graduate degree. I've seen a lot of these armchair sociologists out there making roughly the same point lately, and I'm inclined to agree with some of their points-- that college is too expensive, that sometimes the wrong people get farther than they deserve for the wrong reasons, that it's pretty useless in finding a job. Farbeit from me to defend the institution. This article, however, unintentionally sheds light on some of the fallacies of the anti-academic argument that's so popular in academia nowadays.

1. The hysterical tone of the article, which goes from the "I'm your friend here, I'm just trying to help you out, those other guys, they're not your friends" approach ("It was a message many prospective graduate students were not getting from their professors, who were generally too eager to clone themselves") to flat-out insulting and manipulating the emotions of an audience he must know all too well ("No one is impressed by their knowledge of Jane Austen,") to the effect of glorifying himself and his peers to a hyperbolic degree: "They seem to think becoming a humanities professor is a reliable prospect — a more responsible and secure choice than, say, attempting to make it as a freelance writer, or an actor, or a professional athlete..." Obviously this kind of sensationalism could only come out of a desire for cash, not to be the reader's cool fucking professor friend.

2. The obvious holes in his logic-- "Even if the long-awaited wave of retirements finally arrives..." it's called the unceasing march of time, dog. Some professors are gonna retire in the future.

So maybe it was irrelevant for me to post all this about some article I found from last year, but my point is, don't let this kind of shit get you down.

1 comment:

  1. It makes complete sense, if you think about it. Think about the competition for academic jobs. They're just trying to hold on to what they've got.