Academics are funny. Granted, not always in the “have a sense of humor” way, but in the “it makes me laugh ruefully when they say things” way. Over the past few weeks, I have disconnected myself from every major social network in existence: I deactivated (though did not delete) my Facebook page; I continue to ignore LinkedIn completely; just a few days ago, I surrendered my Twitter password to my husband (to use only for supervised intervals of link-posting when an article comes out), after getting into yet another Twirmish with a stranger, about pedestrian and bicycle rights, which went nowhere and had the sole effect of causing me to lose my cool in public, which I do on Twitter goddamned near every time I go on there, hence the new ban (I can’t delete my account outright for “branding” reasons; it is extraordinarily stupid but I need to be able to demonstrate that I have some 6000-ish followers so that strangers will pay me to write things). Anyway, yes, so there I was on Sunday fighting with some rando about why traffic lights are bicycle-and-walkie-averse.
This, granted, is an issue I think about a lot in St. Louis, as I get damn near run down by a motorist every day in my neighborhood, where apparently there are a lot of white people in expensive cars in a very big hurry back to West County, after eating whatever staggeringly mediocre and overpriced meal they managed to procure in this “restaurant destination” neighborhood. (There is good food to be had in St. Louis, friends, but with minor exceptions I won’t name because I don’t want to get banned from the places I do go, very little of it is to be had in the upscale eateries of the Central West End. What is to be had, however, are County people in to experience the “city life” most like the County they possibly can.)
Anyway, my point is (I have a point?) that before I straight ghosted from all online discussions of yours truly (one of the world’s most boring subjects, if you ask me), I noticed a bunch of academics accusing me, as they have for the past eight or nine months, of writing “clickbait” rather than well-thought-out arguments (hagiographies?) of academia, or “academe,” the term assholes use. (“Academician” is basically a litmus test word; anyone who uses it instead of “academic” can go fuck themselves forever.)
You know, “clickbait,” like an article on peer review I wrote several months ago that got a total of maybe 1,500 FB shares last I checked, which means it was read exclusively by the very academics who took it way the fuck too seriously. Sometimes I do write unintentional “clickbait,” like last week’s article on college in Germany, which (quite unexpectedly) went into the six figures. (That has also resulted in several messages a day from randos around the world, who are like PLEASE TELL ME HOW DO I APPLY FOR FREE SCHOOL IN GERMANY NOW SEND ME ALL INFORMATIONS AND TELL ME HOW TO DO IT, which prompts little more than a head shake.)
It always surprises me when something I write goes viral (now that I’m more or less off Twitter, it will be less traumatic when it usually does happen — the Stranger Twitter Sucker Punch is something I would not wish on anyone), and while I most certainly want people to read what I write, my primary goal is to share something I find important, and about which I have more than an average amount of knowledge to share. If I wanted to write actual clickbait, assholes, I sure as shit could. Are you kidding? If all I wanted was clicks, I’d pitch and write the following this week alone to the Daily Mail:
Mothers Who Don’t Breastfeed Should Go To Jail
If there’s one thing I know being seven months pregnant and having read at least three books by midwives and doulas (as well as the Internet, hello), it’s that making milk in one’s boobs is a “superpower,” everyone who does it deserves abject worship, and anyone who doesn’t is basically a child abuser, no matter what their life circumstances are. Cancer? Like that wasn’t caused by poor nutrition in the first place. Have to go to work five days after you give birth, because you’re a server at TGI Friday’s and they’ll fire you otherwise? That’s your fault for not caring enough about your offspring to be a rich, stay-at-home attachment parent. Formula feeding isn’t just worthy of constant, withering judgment — it should be a crime. (You see how easy this is to do if I wanted to do it?)
Half-Asian Kids Are Just Smarter And Better
My niece Milly is simply the smartest and best kid in the world. I mean, she is really cute, and also she knew how to write (OK fine, scribble) on a chalk board and erase what she wrote at 13 months. Since my niece is abjectly the best kid in the whole world and I am certainly not biased in thinking this, and since my niece’s mother is Vietnamese and her father is not, it follows that just like Amy Chua says, half-Asian kids are simply the best. My own child will have to spend her entire life coming to terms with not being half-Asian. (Really, this takes no time and zero effort, and other than making me feel dirty, barely requires a passing brain-glance.)
I Killed My Neighbors’ Dogs, And I’d Do It Again
All right, this is just wishful thinking; I’d never harm a dog. But my next-door neighbors are really irresponsible dog owners; they basically leave their multiple slavering Farfel-from-Seinfeld-style beasts (who get along neither with each other nor with the various and sundry varmints who haunt our block) unattended in the backyard for hours on end. If we live here long enough for our kid to be easily woken by the riotous cacophony of multiple Cujo-cries, those fuckers had better look forward to a cyanide steak, because THIS mama bear has her priorities straight, amirite? (OK, this one details a criminal act, so it might walk the line…)
Here’s How to Make Your Own Drugs
Just kidding, I don’t know how to make my own drugs. And if I did, do you think I’d share this knowledge with you? No, I wouldn’t, because then I couldn’t sell you drugs.
So listen, if I wanted to write clickbait, I would. I write about the least-clickbaity subject matter in the universe: Higher education. It is the literal opposite of “clickbait.” The fact that some academics view anything that isn’t a 10,000 word peer-reviewed treatise as junk (even though most of said treatises are never read by anyone) might be worth examining someday — but not in an article, alas, as it wouldn’t get any readers. Schwing! (Sorry, I lived on the edge and put some honey on my unsweetened soy yogurt this morning, so now I’m all hopped up. I guess I DO know how to make my own drugs!)