ICYMI: I Am An Otto Dix Painting Come Alive

Here is the YouTube’d version of the Adjunct Action chat today, in which I would. Not. Shut. UP. On hand to be better at talking than me (well not better at talking per se, but to say better things) were Joe Fruscione, Katie Guest Pryal, and the future Second Vice President of the Modern Language Association, Lee Skallerup Bessette. If you have ever wondered what an Otto Dix painting come to life looks like, wonder no more. And this is my “summer tan” too (JK I do not allow direct sunlight to hit my face ever. Obviously).

Also, in this still I look DRUNK. I can assure you I am not drunk. Also at one point I think I referred to myself as the “Rush Limbaugh of the adjunct movement.” Be assured that I meant that in the worst possible way.

At any rate, I hope this works off the way-more-than-my-share-of buttons and pins I pocketed at the St. Louis Adjunct Symposium. Thanks again to Adjunct Action for asking me to participate, and thanks to my co-panelists for being there and making it so that at least 3 people talking were not dumb.

12 thoughts on “ICYMI: I Am An Otto Dix Painting Come Alive

  1. OMG I just spit out an egg laughing at that Rush Limbaugh comment (don’t worry; I was actually EATING an egg — I don’t just spit out random eggs when I find things funny). THAT IS HILARIOUS. And awesome. And hilarious. And hilariously awesome.

    We are so lucky to have you saying these things.


  2. Could not agree more about the need to scrap the heroics. And you know what, it starts in grad school! Most grad students are too nice to stomach the idea that it’s far better to be a low-quality, lazy TA who krabappels Bs on every barely-skimmed paper (props if you get the reference) than it is to be a hard-working, heroic TA who lets grading and section prep and section-leading and extra office hours take over their lives and who consequently falls behind on their research. The system is sorting out the amoral types who see the situation for what it is from the heroic chumps who get more heroic the more they’re exploited. TAs and adjuncts should do no volunteer work for the department, they should skim their way through those insane piles of 90 papers that need grading, and if they join any committees at all, they should be union committees demanding exactly what RS says: more money.


    • Every low-quality lazy TA I know got a job. Not saying there’s a causation at all, but just…obviously it doesn’t hurt you. I worked really hard as a TA too (turned out great for me, LOL).


  3. Also: Rebecca, I found the way you kept repeating the phrase “more money” in this vid to be really refreshing. Keep at it! It’s all about the money. A lot of adjunct activists sort of shy away from that front, because I guess they (mistakenly) think it comes off as somewhat vulgar, or that it hurts their intellectual credibility or whatever. Instead the conversation winds up getting populated with a lot of talk about the undergrads, about disrespectful or dishonest full-profs, about “the job market” and unfair interview processes and so on. But really all those issues, while important, are secondary. The core issue is that, on a per-hour basis, $2700 per course comes out to just under minimum wage (obviously I’m counting syllabus development, class prep time, grading, office hours, etc). Nobody on a university campus — not the instructors, not the computer and lab techies, not the security officers, not the custodial staff, not the cooks and cashiers at the dining hall, not the nurses at the student health center, not anybody — should be making this little. Every single person who is working at the university should be a person who is making a decent living by working at the university and can envision themselves living a full life in connection with the university. That’s what makes a university a community rather than a sweatshop.


    • I have the luxury of not caring whether I get renewed at my adjunct job, so I can be as vulgar as I want. Adjuncts do need more money. Not want: Need. I will do anything I can to help them/us get it.


  4. Ok, as somebody living in the UK I do not feel I can really participate as the issues are quite different here (with problems, obviously); but can I just say, best haircut ever? I wish I could wear my hair like that without looking like a hairy ant.


    • Thanks, I call it the “do not do anything to my hair or get it cut more often than once every five months, and let my gray show, and just pat it down a little bit when I get out of bed and hope for the best.” I assume stylists the world over will be emulating it soon.


  5. The whole money thing is interesting, the idea of talking about it being a taboo subject…I’ve been reflecting these past few months on how similar the adjunct situation is to the freelance musician situation (except that when we went into it we KNEW there were no jobs and that’s probably what we’d be doing for most of our careers.), and this very issue is causing some big problems at the moment in the musical world even as y’all are focusing on it in the adjunct movement. (A major non-union festival didn’t pay all its musicians last year, and they have already gone ahead and booked NEW musicians for this year’s festival, while insisting that, sure, they’ll pay their lingering debts soon. BAD juju. If you’re interested here’s probably the best post on the whole mess: http://www.newmusicbox.org/articles/chicago-the-deafening-silence-of-the-beethoven-festival-musicians/) And musicians are starting to talk about the money thing, and to talk about how badly we NEED to talk about money.

    And yes, one of the big differences is the union presence–most of us get to witness firsthand the differences between a union shop and a non-union gig. And they are legion.

    As a musician/academic, finishing the doctorate while simultaneously trying to freelance and adjunct in the cracks, it’s fascinating how like each other the two situations are…any other performer-types hang around here who can speak to this?


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