September Surprise: An Invitation to Charles Green — now with an UPDATE!

UPDATE: So, I invited Charles Green, the Cornell writing lecturer who is the current leading scholar in Critical Schuman Studies, to print anything he wishes to right here on this blog, for pay, so as to avoid the indignity of brawling in the IHE comment section anymore. (You know what they say about wrestling a pig, etc. But what they don’t mention is that the people watching the wrestling match also have fun, and not the way you want them to.)

Anyway, Charles has responded and says thanks but no thanks (see comments below–largely thanks to an UNINVITED INTERVENTION by my DAD, which actually gave me the best idea for a meta-Tumblr ever, Dads Commenting On Blogs–any takers?).

Charles was very nice, so let’s all follow in the sincere example I’m trying to set, and thank him for being willing to come over here to unfriendly territory, and talk to me like a person! One of the things that makes me saddest is when people assume that I can’t handle it when anyone disagrees with me. Look, I write very sharply worded work that very mercilessly attacks a system that I happen to believe is toxic and rewards mediocrity (but, which, let’s face it, is currently rattling out its last gasps anyway).

Other people who, like me, have been hurt by the system (whether they’re successful in it or not), are going to be predisposed to agree with me. People for whom the system works well — or for whom they very badly want it to — are going to disagree. It is 100% fine to say that I am wrong about anything or everything. And, as my husband pointed out yesterday, a favorite way of academics to do that is to attack methodology (yet another reason peer review doesn’t work! LOL!).

However, I think a productive angle of argument going forward would be this: It is very easy to attack my tone, my lifelong tendency for hyperbole, and my negativity about academia. Which, fine. But in addition to doing that, maybe another thing to think about would be: Why is my “funhouse” version of academia so popular, even with academics (because, face it, I have as many fans as I do detractors — possibly, dare I say, more)? Instead of attacking me, let’s focus on the system that created me. My job is to hold it accountable. Your job can be to work your ass off to fix it in any way you can. Deal?

35 thoughts on “September Surprise: An Invitation to Charles Green — now with an UPDATE!

  1. As your biggest fan, and as somebody who refrains from giving unsolicited advice (unlike your other parent who shall remain nameless but whose name rhymes with “SHARON”), I nonetheless have to say that, in my opinion, this is a really bad idea — UNLESS you swear NOT to respond to his rebuttal of your rebuttal of his diatribe. Let it go.

    Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:35:46 +0000 To:


    • Well since you asked, DAD, I don’t think he’ll take me up on it, but if he does, I will indeed not respond to it, and instead simply act as editor, publisher and facilitator of a promising new writer.


      • Whatever, he’s not got the balls to take me up on this. The worst case scenario is that I am gracious and he looks like a goon. The best case scenario is that, as I’ve done with many of my detractors, we become best friends and he changes his mind about me. As you may or may not know, this is one of my favorite things to do.


  2. Although I think that you are setting up a bad precedent here, I nevertheless encourage you to piss all over something – anything – that i have written, merely in the hopes that I am given the opportunity to respond on your own blog.


  3. Shucks. I would (just about) pay *you* $40 to get published on your blog, as I am sure it has a greater readership than mine, with the hope you would be enraged enough to mention me on Slate (with my blog address).

    But my ego is too tender to take risk. On the other hand, the lesson in being edited by you make it all worthwhile.


  4. having watched you become friends with Clarissa (it actually makes me a little teary, which I know is ridiculous, especially to admit on a blog which could be viewed by anybody, but compared to how internet fights between academics usually pan out…), I could see this one ending happily. Which would actually be pretty magnifique.


  5. I earned my PhD at the University of Cincinnati while Charles Green was also working toward his there. And though we aren’t close friends, I do have to say that he is almost always one of the smartest people in any room. Which is to say that he is very, very, very smart. And my experience is that he is also kind. Charles is still a young scholar with a long career ahead of him, and I’d probably not go on public record poking too much fun of him as a writing lecturer with an outdated bio. These kinds of decisions tend to come back to visit us.

    I do, however, agree that a scholar who engages in highly visible, public forums might want to consider reworking that bio and getting rid of that hat.


    • You will see that I have discouraged the mocking. This is a serious offer and I am being a professional, and I assume my wonderful commenters will also be professionals if and when he does grace us with his presence. I am sure he is very smart. You’ll notice I never said anything negative about him personally, because ad-homineming a non famous person you don’t know is shitty!


    • The invite stands no matter what — in the meantime, you know if *I* am telling you to shut it and stay out of comments, that it’s gotta be correct. Never go in there again!!!!! You have something to say, get someone to print it. Don’t spend more than 5 minutes the commenting fray of anywhere you don’t have the upper hand (you’ll notice the only place I ever comment about anything at length is here! In the place where I can delete people’s comments, or change them to say [BONERS] if I want).

      You know that no matter what happens, you always have an open invitation to print something here, so you never need to hang out people who spend all their time commenting on IHE again.

      I am still considering running a Critical Schuman Studies section here to give a (somewhat) larger platform to dissenting opinion, so please do consider it someday once the kerfuffle about this has worn down.


  6. My take, FWIW: both Green and IHE realize that your name will draw traffic; hence the decision to publish the piece. One might also posit a bit of anxiety on the part of IHE that they and the Chronicle no longer have the market on writing of any kind about higher ed cornered (others of us, of course, are delighted to see higher ed issues covered in a more general-interest publication). So, congratulations, this is a(nother) sign that you’ve become a recognized name?

    As a long-time comp. proffie (though not someone with a comp/rhet/creative writing degree), I agree that Green hasn’t done himself any favors, since his piece shows little awareness of differences in genre and rhetorical situation, and the varying conventions for sourcing/research, appropriate voice, etc. that apply in different situations. By publishing both a scholarly book and articles in Slate, you have, of course, done the opposite.

    Bottom line: you’re no worse off (give or take some emotional energy that could have been better expended otherwise) for the publication of Green’s article, and might even have gained some additional exposure; I don’t think Green is going to gain anything by it, and may even lose (unless, of course, he takes you up on your offer; that could be interesting, but seems unlikely, especially since he, unlike Clarissa and TR, is not, as far as I can tell, coming from his own pretty-well-established place of professional strength. It’s easier to meet in the middle when one has well-founded confidence in one’s own core principles, which, in turn, leaves room for flexibility, listening, and learning on particular subjects/issues).


    • now NOW. That’s (Stuart Smalley pause) OK. Again, I am trying to become BFF with him, so let’s help that happen. Pointing out how much more tremendously awesome my CV is won’t help anything 😉


  7. As a former janitor, delivery driver, and band member who somehow wandered back onto a college campus at 25, then ended up with a PhD, a tenured position, and a couple of books on my favorite epic poet, I agree wholeheartedly with your take on academia. Not since my childhood days in church have I seen so much humorlessness, dour earnestness, and sheer Aspergerishness in one place.

    Keep it up. The more they complain, the more you know you are hitting them right where they need to be hit. “Anti-intellectual” is the favorite accusatory label thrown around by those who are too rankly terrified ever to take off the “mind forg’d manacles” they locked themselves into in graduate school. Joke ’em if they can’t take a fuck.


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