Screedville, via Memory Lane

Having been on forced blog-hiatus for three years (literally, as I password protected PKK, then forgot the password, then let my account lapse and couldn’t log back in to un-protect it), once PKK resurrected itself, I had no choice but to spend more time than I’m willing to admit (given the SEVEN research projects I am currently responsible for, not to mention the teaching and course development, because when you are at my stage of your career all your courses are new and thus take 5-10x as long as your more established colleagues’) perusing the old me.

And yes, I do mean old–if I keep PKK up until next August, my THIRTY FUCKING SEVENTH BIRTHDAY jeeeeeeeeesh, that will be its 10th blogiversary. I will probably keep it up just for the cake, for reals–though I am currently investigating a migration to Blogger or Tumblr, since TypePad *costs money* hahahahahaha because it came into being back when people paid for things on the Internet that weren’t porn ha ha {UPDATE: I DID MOVE TO WORDPRESS! I SAID I WOULD DO IT AND I DID IT}!

Anyway, having “researched” the Previous Me I’ve thus come up with even more things about myself to be ashamed of, not least of which is my liberal use of words like “retarded,” which I would never use now, as I consider myself in my adulthood to be an advocate and friend to people with intellectual disabilities. I’m not going to go back and redact anything I said when I was young and dumb–the main reason I resurrected PKK was to preserve it as really the only record I have of my late 20s, which admittedly are a time I would often rather forget (except my friends!), and so I’d like to preserve my past self in all of her horrific stupidity. I’m also aghast at the amount of promises I have broken as I got older, chief of which was my resolution never to password-protect my wireless router!!!! But, old me, times have changed!!! People download child pornography and watch “Drive” because they thought it would be like “2Fast2Furious” and then are incensed and disappointed and Skype with all of their friends about it whilst also playing World of Warcraft and EVERYBODY DOES IT! Look, younger me, the early days of WiFi were like the group-sex days of the Swingin’ 70s: everybody did it without protection because nobody new any better. But, a few horrible viruses later, now you’d have to be, er, WILFULLY IGNORANT (see? I’m a better person now) not to do it with protection, so I’m not a flip-flopper ALL RIGHT??????

{UPDATE: I also said, in a rather lengthy post, that I would never, ever, ever, nerver give up caffeine…and lo, five years and one pneumonia case later, I have cut down to 10-50 mg of caffeine a day, which to me is pretty much zero. How many more promises have I broken? How many???? How can anyone ever trust me again?}

Anyway, I had a screed in me that I recently posted on and then deleted from and then reposted about on Facebook, and that is: last week on campus, there was a sort of “day of action” where many students and faculty gathered on our thing-that-is-not-a-Quad (it’s grass in a DIFFERENT SHAPE, OH WHERE DO I TEACH, it is definitely not obvious–also I really like it here, let be said again, this job has been tip-top) to address some problems they see in the current “top-down” structure of the University, specifically that some high-ranking administrators make fucktons of money while simultaneously insisting they have to privatize the parking structures because the institution is taking a pit stop at destitute on its journey from excellence to eminence. I personally have no horse in this race–I have a bicycle, which I park for completely fucking free, and I think everyone who works here or attends here should also take a bicycle, or the bus, or their feet, and that anyone who lives too far away to do that should move, and that cars are probably the worst part of American society and anyone who drives every day deserves to have to pay shitloads of money to park because they are making the world such an infinitely worse place. All right, sorry, Tour de Fuck You over, back on track. Screed re-commence!

So, in addition to all of the smaller “action centers” around the not-a-Quad, there was also this one impromptu uninvited guy screaming all day, screaming invective about various logically-fallacious and inflammatory bullshit, that included but was not limited to: France is terrible, Socialism is all around us and why should we give any money to The Middleman, Al Gore doesn’t donate any money to charity (I’m pretty sure this is actually totally false, as what are all his envirohippie organizations, fucking hedge funds?), college professors are stupid (UMBRIDGE!!!!! I TAKE PROFESSOR DOLORES UMBRIDGE!!!!), Ayn Rand Jesus Reagan Whatever, etc. This guy was shouting literally the entire school day and into the evening, so loudly that I could hear him in my office, which does not even face the not-a-Quad. So when I found myself returning library books and thus walking by this guy, I stopped to ask one of the (for reasons I still do not understand) raptly-listening undergrads, “Has he been doing this ALL DAY?”

Said rapt undergrad answerd me with more smugness than I think I have ever heard in my life, and remember I am from Eugene, Oregon: “Are you actually LISTENING to him? Like, listening and processing? He’s pretty smart.”

And, so, of course, I absolutely snapped. Just snapped. Shaking with rage, I first admonished the twerp not to call me fucking stupid (I stopped short of saying, “I have a PhD, do you KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET ONE OF THOSE?” because that would open me up to serious assault), and then said: “Just because he’s stringing together a bunch of sentences that you do not understand does not make him smart. That guy is actually crazy, and I cannot believe you are listening to him.” THEN the little stupid-hat-wearing pipsqueak smugly informed me he’d very much like to go back to listening to this guy’s claptrap rant because the guy definitely wouldn’t be around for another six hours spewing the same bullshit so everybody better listen NOW. So, I made my hasty exit, but not before admonishing six or seven other raptly-listening children: “This guy is NOT SMART. He is BATSHIT FUCKING NUTS.” Unfortunately that had the effect of making *me* look batshit fucking nuts, and all I can hope is that none of those idiots shows up in my class next year (though I look forward to a complete and utter intellectual takedown of their bullshit Ayn Rand worship at the brain-hands of my enormous brain if they do). So I continued in my rage all the way home, and then raged a bunch more, and finally calmed down enough to figure out the source of said rage. This University is among the finest research institutions on Earth. That means that in literally every department there is at least one senior faculty member who is in the absolute top of his or her field. I’m sure there are some undergrad courses here that are duds (NOT MINE!! Mine are THE BEST! Today we watched Pinky und der Brain during our little break in the middle of class, and then talked about our feelings re: Gregor Samsa’s death!), there are everywhere, but the fact that even a handful of these kids would rather listen–and not as spectacle, rapt as if it means something–to this crackpot full of sound and fury signifying nothing, than pay attention in and enjoy their world-class courses, just burns me up. So much that a week later I am still burning about it, despite the fact that zero fucks are given about it by anyone else.

Anyway, I felt pretty bad about it until one of my extremely kind colleagues took some time out from having a two-day-old baby to tell me I should indeed have chastised those kids for doing that, and that more people should have expressed their disapproval, and that made me realize, as I do many times every day, that despite the fact that it is almost as hard to get a tenure track job as it is to win the lottery and I very likely never will, I have the best profession on earth. Viva la professordom! It is the best! Huzzah!

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