Now it pains me to do this week’s Job Ad Grade (singular), because I have a friend who worked at Bates College in Maine for a semester and loved it, and one of the senior Germanists at Bates was editor of Modern Austrian Literature until 2010, and oversaw the four protracted global revisions of what turned into my first major publication. This publication happened largely against the wishes of a peer reviewer whose objections to my paper grew more acrimonious with every subsequent draft (which is funny, given that I made all of my changes specifically to please this individual, and I am the most obsequious paper-reviser you will ever meet–this may be impossible to believe, given the tone I write with here, but I assure you it’s true).
It was very clear to me that this reader had zero experience with Wittgenstein, and thus treated my use of him as a tool of modernist analysis to be wholly unacceptable. This is a common reaction by academics: rather than admit that there exists something on God’s Earth they don’t know, they will dismiss that thing as being unworthy of knowledge or otherwise inferior, to deflect from the rather glaring fact that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. This was evident to me when the reader insisted quite haughtily that Wittgenstein’s “saying/showing” distinction in the Tractatus was metaphorical. Yes, this reader insisted that the ‘show’ in Was gezeigt werden kann, kann nicht gesagt werden (What can be shown, cannot be said) was metaphorical. Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the early Wittgenstein should LOL at that, as the entire fucking point of the Tractatus was that the logical form of reality is a literal, actual, very much existing thing that simply resides outside of language, and thus outside of the world. Der Sinn der Welt muß außerhalb ihrer liegen–the sense of the world must reside outside it.
To know this, you would have to do about forty-five seconds of work on the Wittgenstein Wikipedia page, but this typical academic decided instead to just react to anything that was not the usual Derrida-influenced claptrap by writing erudite, constructive marginalia such as “HUH?” What I’m saying is, the valiant former editor of this publication, whose name I will be kind enough not to associate with this blog and Rate My JIL in particular, was enough of a mensch to see my article through to publication despite the increasing hysterics of this idiot, whose main M.O. seemed to be to skip all of the Wittgenstein parts of the article and then claim it didn’t say anything new (if you are valiant enough and have enough time on your hands to make it through the paper, you can easily identify the parts I had to add in order to placate Mr. Didn’t Derrida Invent the Show/Say Distinction?).
This guy/gal was a total dill-hole, people like him/her appear in academia a dime a dozen, and the editor soldiered on anyway, and my article appeared in print, and we even had a wonderful lunch together at GSA 2011 in Kentucky. So, with that extended and grateful preamble, it very much pains me to rate the current MLA Job Ad for Bates College, which is also this week’s singular new job ad, which is also not a tenure-track ad, and rather instead a measly three-year lectureship:
Bates C., Lecturer, German and Russian. This is a three-year job, with no language about the possibility of renewal (so, probably non-renewable), that requires a “near-native” fluency and teaching experience in both German and Russian. At least last week’s Murray State job had the decency to give the person doing two people’s jobs tenure. Not this one. I’ve stopped assigning letter grades to jobs ever since I got a shitstorm of ire over Sewanee: University of the South, whose alumni acted not unlike the screeching helicopter parents of middle-school children that make it so that now most middle schools grade on a scale of “Excellent” to “Will Definitely Be President of the World.” But for Bates, I’m sorry to say I have to resurrect the letter-grade system, however hegemonic it may be: F–, that’s TWO minuses, for listing such a transparently, cynically pathetically awful job that shows just how little your school values foreign language instructors. It’s like your Dean is Rev. Lovejoy, who instructs Ned Flanders to consider one of the other major religions, because “they’re pretty much all the same.” “Well, once you can gain teaching mastery of ONE fern’ language, can’t you pretty much do ’em all? Especially two that have 100% fuck all to do with each other and one of them uses non-Roman orthography?” Fuck this job, fuck the department for advertising it, and the 2013 Maine-Off of German Jobs goes handily to Bowdoin. The end.