I am starting to regret the terms of my employ here as the voice of temperance and professionalism on Pan Kisses Kafka, which I heard is a reference to some arcane thing called “Mr. Show” that had no business being on the televisual machine in the first place.
Here, once again, is an “article” Ms. Schuman “wrote” for the “reputable” “magazine” Slate, in which she mercilessly excoriates the noble protectors of the Life of the Mind, simply for putting an arrogant, entitled woman in her place after she was so foolishly brazen as to attempt to negotiate a job offer.
I am, once again, both personally and professionally offended by Ms. Schuman’s hysterical, screechy, unhinged tone, one that has neither regard nor gratitude for the august occupation that had the good sense not to let someone like her come anywhere near it (other than, I suppose, those two classes she is currently in the process of teaching to what she sickeningly describes as “the best students in the whole entire universe”). Take, for example, the following sentence, which is not only wholly untrue, but also rather abysmally written:
Any beginning academic who tries to stand up for herself is lunch for the hordes of traumatized ivory-tower zombies, themselves now irreversibly infected with the obsequious self-devaluation and totalizing cowardice that go by the monikers “collegiality” and “a good fit.”
Please. “Traumatized?” “Zombie?” Just because I am fully aware that I beat out 300 other people for my position as a glorified composition teacher here at Yale–and thus had the good sense to bargain down in salary, rather than up–and just because I am fully aware that academe is, indeed, a just and functioning meritocracy, and that “fit” is a perfectly fine indicator for hiring, doesn’t make me a zombie. It makes me marketable is what it makes me. It makes me a “sober mind” that will prevail as idiots such as “W” (if that is indeed her real name!) continue to trash their own prospects by having the gall to act interested in their own futures.
At any rate, I continue to be flabbergasted, not that this “W” had her offer rescinded, and not at the wholly correct reaction from much of academe, but that Ms. Schuman is allowed to slobber out her ill-informed, bitter, misandric rantings for actual monetary remuneration.
Listen. Everyone knows that there is one way and one way only to negotiate after an academic job offer. Your father simply lays out your preferences to the Dean the next time they golf together at the Club. Anybody who doesn’t know this has committed a sin as unforgivable as calling me racist, and deserves not just the withdrawal of the offer, but the withdrawal of all future offers of any sort, anywhere (that includes job offers, offers to purchase furniture on something called “Craigslist,” and even Special Offers that come in the post).
My only cold, cold comfort in this harrowing time is the knowledge that a small portion of Ms. Schuman’s ill-gotten spoils goes to me. I will continue to use it, and my platform, professionally and appropriately.
Dr. Brett Betherton “Binky” Weatherby IV, Heavily Beleaguered