Please Stop Saying “Not Everyone is Suited for Academia”

Some real talk today, talkin’ ‘bout my feelings ‘n shit.

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[Rockin’ the Catskills today. You jelly?]

I am coming to terms with the fact that I am never going to be a “real” professor—although try telling that to the students whose lives I will enter in a few weeks’ time: their homework and grades will seem “pretty real” to them. But no, I’ll be a mere adjunct at a tiny Honors College inside a regional university in the Middle West (Gatsby style!), an “academic nobody,” as Lee Skallerup Besette has characterized the uncharitable views of some of her blog’s worst trolls.

Most days I am happier than I have been in many years about this. My long-term partner, whom I met my first year of graduate school (and whom I attracted precisely because I “didn’t seem like a grad student”) has remarked that since my postdoc ended and I moved back to St. Louis, that I’ve aged in reverse.

It’s true—there are some “Ohio wrinkles” I don’t see anymore, accompanied by a life in my eyes and a general dearth of the abject terror that lurked below each day in Columbus, like so many pollution-filled mussels on the bed of the Olentangy River. I dye my hair again, a glorious bottle-red, unleashed in all its pigment after years of Professorial Gravitas Brown—or, even worse, my natural color, which is now aggressively peppered with grey.

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[Who’s that sweet redhead who appears to be in her MID-thirties instead of her LATE thirties?!?]

If I was a disciplined and productive academic writer, cranking out journal articles and then finally my monograph—finished and submitted to the press this past May—then now I am a motherfucking locomotive. I have so much to write that I simply can’t get it all down. It’s like eight years of pent-up creativity that had been stuffed back by my own dismissals of anything other than Serious Scholarship as wasted energy have come geysering out, for better or worse.

A few weeks after “Thesis Hatement” came out and all I saw on the Internet was hate, hate, hate, hate and more hate, I lay curled on the couch in St. Louis crying, wishing aloud that I would just die in an accident already, something that wouldn’t be my fault, quick and painless, gone. I had lain extremely bare my own failure after seven years of sacrificing my health and my happiness, I had perilous few new prospects, and I had an Internet peanut gallery making sure I knew I had no future in anything. I wanted to die. One night, I made a list of my positive attributes: I started with “Usually Remember to Drink Enough Water” and was stumped thereafter. Although in my defense, hydration is IMPORTANT. (I know now, of course, that it was far from all hate, but like so many of you, I get eighteen adulatory evaluations and one critical one, and I commit the latter’s complaints to memory forever.)

Three months later, I feel like a different person, though I am drawn sometimes into spats about the vicissitudes of the job market and academe’s cult-mentality in general. Still, now I’m emboldened by my new identity as a curse-spewing postacademic hellraiser, straight-up high on the inimitable sobriety of being able to speak aloud the truths that so many people are still afraid to whisper. I’m emboldened by the simple fact that I live another life now,  one for which I am infinitely better suited.

So it’s true—I was not “suited” to academia. But I don’t want to hear that from anyone but me, and here’s why. First of all, I still adjunct, and because it is not my primary source of income and it’s two sections of the same course I’ve taught before, it truly is part-time and I like it. So when nonacademic friends  said, in attempt to make me feel better during the “die in an accident” stage, that academia cramped my style—well, I’m still a professor, so watch it. I think like a literature professor about everything; I bring my ability to scrutinize texts and take apart issues to everything I do. I may not act like Avital Ronell (shudder), but, to paraphrase the great scholar Young MC:

I had to go to college because I’m an intellectual
I only sleep with men because I am heterosexual

I’ve called myself the “intellectual’s anti-intellectual” as a joke, largely in reference to my equal proclivity to enjoy Bertolt Brecht and The Bachelorette, but I am a goddamned intellectual, so don’t tell me that such things don’t “suit” me, because they “suit me” just fine—my way.

I sew most of my own clothes to fit my body just-so. Because if this, I don’t know what size I am. I’m 36-28-40: me-sized. I’m exactly the right size to fill out the clothes I make to suit me:

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[Bridesmaid dress for my partner’s sister’s wedding, the Sultry Sheath from Gertie‘s New Book for Better Sewing. This wedding was on the day “Thesis Hatement” came out. Can you see the shellshock? And no, I didn’t walk the aisle in the Mickey Mouse flip-flops.]

I have done this with academia as well: I have taken the parts that “suit me”—teaching, reading critically, thinking philosophically, participating in critiques about the present and future of higher ed—and tailored them to fit my personality. And I have done away, for now at least, with the parts that don’t “suit me”:

Research, for example, doesn’t suit me right now. But not because I wasn’t good at it. I mean, I guess, like the hundreds of commenters on my op-eds who either didn’t read my CV or don’t know how to read a CV, you could say I wasn’t good at it, but that would be news to the editors at Modern Austrian Literature, The German Quarterly, and Northwestern University Press; to the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften and the Austrian Fulbright Commission; to the DAAD and the American Council for Learned Societies; and to every department where I’ve ever been interviewed—and even some where I didn’t make the cut, but scrawled in handwriting below the form rejection was a missive insisting my writing sample was “nothing short of amazing” (I love positive academic hyperbole on the rare occasions I get it!).

I’m taking a hiatus from academic writing for one reason only: I am sick of spending years of my life squeezing out meticulously researched and difficult academic prose—which I then have to manipulate, sometimes four times over, to placate the needs of meanie-pants anonymous peer reviewers—that maybe, maybe, seventeen people on Earth will ever read, for the grand sum of $0. I’m not saying I don’t Believe In My Ideas, your Royal Highness FULLPROF Mayhew, I’m saying I want to write things that appeal to a wider audience.

You know what else doesn’t suit me? Going on the job market. Spending months crafting individual 70-page dossiers for each school because every search committee demands something different: a three-page teaching philosophy! A one-page teaching philosophy that pertains specifically to the courses taught by that department (but not THOSE courses you like, those are the purview of Mean Senior Prof Everyone Hates, and even displaying the slightest interest in them is enough to make the committee go nuclear on you)! A five-page research statement! A twenty-page writing sample (even though all of your articles are twenty-five)! A six-page abstract of the dissertation you finished four years ago! Your three most recent evaluations and your three least recent! Your ten most negative evaluations! And then pretending not to check that goddamned baby-killing Wiki, but then checking it anyway and watching as the interviews start piling in for everyone, it seems, but you. x4! x12! xEveryoneButSchuman! And do not get me started on conference interviews, because I have such exquisite bile for them that I think someone will pay me to share it. And the waiting. And the searing, wrenching rejection that “isn’t personal, so move on.” After four years, you know what? Don’t mind if I do.

And you know what else doesn’t suit me? Politicking, preening, ass-kissing; servility, sycophantism, cowardice. I’m not saying that every department ever is filled with, or requires, these things, nor that other industries don’t run on them. I’m saying that there is enough of this bullshit in academia that I’ve had my fill, and I would rather hang out with people who don’t treat a coffee date like a comprehensive exam.

And you know what else? Getting sneered at every time I let slip that I have any hobbies besides alcoholism. “How do you have the time to sew or watch TV?” I get, over and over, from people who spend three nights a week belligerently drunk. I have time, in part, because I write very fast, and in part because I don’t drink. I spend all day, every day, 100% sober, so I lose no time to either drunkenness or hangovers. But the thing is, for a lot of academics (not ALL OF THEM, Vim, so lay off), drinking somehow counts as scholarship, as long as you’re yelling about Kant and Kleist when you do it.

I am fully, painfully aware of the ways in which academia doesn’t suit me—but that doesn’t mean that I like it when FULLPROFS and others say this, because it smacks of that heartbreaking dismissal so many disillusioned PhDs get when they fail to become adequate replicants of their mentors: “Well, not everyone is suited for academia.”

What they mean is this, and this only: you weren’t good enough. You weren’t cut out for it because you aren’t smart enough. You failed. Academia’s only for winners like me, and you’re a loser. Academia is only for the best—like me. This is an unbelievably cruel thing to say to someone who already feels like a failure. It is inexcusably, searingly cruel, and I really wish that people would stop.

If I had been willing to squelch my natural “pluck” and remain servile, to lose my wonderful relationship while I moved, alone, from one Midwestern town where I didn’t know a single goddamned person to the next, to withstand (or even enjoy) departmental politics and conferencing, then academia would have “suited” me fine. I am coming to terms with the fact that those sacrifices weren’t worth it—but that is my journey to take, and my conclusion to reach.

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Take Your “Love It” and Shove It

I had thought about writing this up as a real piece of opinion-journalism and submitting it to a one of the legitimate outlets for which I now sometimes contribute—but then I realized that I want to use a loooooooot of curse words.

One of the most annoying—and expected—results of the unbelievably still-going kerfuffle over what I thought was a humorous and judicious essay in Slate (shit’s been quoted in the New Yorker and multiple times on Inside Higher Ed in just the last few days alone) is the sentiment, shared in the often-hilarious hate mail I get, and even by my own friends and parents, that I should not regret getting my PhD because “at least you got to spend 10 years doing what you love.”

To everyone: friends, detractors, and even Mom and Dad, this is a fallacious statement on several levels at once, and in its fallaciousness it perpetuates one of the most pernicious and ugly truths of today’s reality of Hypercapitalism, in which we all attempt, with varying degrees of success, to claw our way to solvency.

Fallacy 1: Doing Something as a Vocation Is Just as Fun as the Hobby Version

Don’t get me wrong—I am so relieved that there are people in this fucked-up world who still like to read. I am. There is nothing bad that can come of a voracious reading habit. However: please do not confuse what you do for fun—reading about 25 pages of a book and then putting it down at your leisure, and repeating this at whatever frequency you desire—with what literature professors and graduate students do for work. Let’s see if I can think of examples that bring this fallacy to life.

Example 1: fishing. Let’s say you loooooove fishing: you could do it all day long! And this is perhaps true—but what you do, which involves beer, and shooting the shit, and not really caring if you catch fish at all, is almost unrecognizable to a professional fisherperson, whose job is grueling, insecure, and tremendously dangerous.

Reading is similar to this—albeit with slightly less of a drowning risk. As a literature graduate student, if your program is any good, you will sometimes read upwards of 1000 pages a week. This means that just to keep up in your coursework, you will often read for thirteen hours at a time, with breaks only to use the bathroom and, if you remember, to eat. When I was in coursework, I sometimes got so overwhelmed I wept—and I just read right the fuck through it, because there was literally no time for crying.

And, further, you don’t just get to read it and think, “Oh, well, that book is interesting.” You have to put whatever you are reading within the larger context of everything else that author wrote, and everything else written in that genre, and everything else canonical written at that time period, and every single critical or theoretical approach that could even remotely be considered relevant to it. Every single sentence of a book you read has the potential to spiral off into a hundred conversations—and you are responsible for each and every last fucking one of them. This shit might be convoluted and ridiculous, but is extremely difficult.

Advanced study of literature is like this because through it, we get the background, training, breadth and rigor to act as authorities on these texts when we are charged with imparting them to impressionable young people. We do it like this precisely and only because it trains us to be one particular thing: a literature professor. If we didn’t want to become literature professors—and our mentors, who are all literature professors, didn’t want us to—we could dial it seriously the fuck down, and maybe we could have some “fun” reading again.

Example 2: obstetrics and gynecology. Let’s say you are an OB/GYN who also happens to be either a heterosexual man or a gay woman. That is—you work with vaginas all day for a living, and you also happen to enjoy vaginas recreationally. Do you work with pussy all day long because you looooove pussy? Do you loooove all the pussies you speculize apart, and into whose depths you peer in search of abnormal polyps and discharge, in the same way you love the pussy of your wife or girlfriend? Oh, you don’t? Because one of those things involves a professional approach and one involves a personal approach?

The same is true of reading. The way I had to attack the abjectly unpleasant Bildungsroman by Gottfried Keller, Der grüne Heinrich (Green Henry)—prying it open and peering inside its deepest crevices, on the lookout for just what about it is Bildungsroman-y—this is not the same way I would pick it up to read for fun, if for some ungodly reason that was possible. Because I can guaran-fucking-tee you no Germanist reads Der grüne Heinrich for any reason other than to prepare for and pass the comprehensive exams—the accomplishment of which signifies the mastery of the breadth of the German canon sufficient as such to be qualified to teach any part of it at the undergraduate level.

This is not to say that the professional version of reading isn’t intellectually rewarding—it is massively so. It is just very, very difficult, and requires an immense amount of self-discipline and gluttony for punishment.

As the ten readers of this blog who’ve been with me since 2003 know, I worked in the private sector for eight years before I decided to do the PhD (which, by the way, I don’t regret, but not because I got to spend several years “doing what I love,” but because it was rigorous and made me smarter, and I like being smart). What I mean is: I worked a lot of private-sector jobs, and they were all challenging in their own ways, but none of them made me work even a tenth as hard as I worked in my first year of graduate school alone.

Quasi-Fallacy 2: Doing an “Artsy” Thing as a Profession is Worthless to Society, So You Should Basically “Love” It Enough to Do It For Free Or You’re Unworthy Of Doing It.

This one doesn’t require as much unpacking (plus, my shit’s exhausted from all the ranting; plus, this isn’t real journalism so I can be as uneven as I want), because it’s pretty obvious: as Sarah Kendzior has already written far better than I ever could, most professions in academe (and, she didn’t deal with this, but it applies as well in the arts) are completely devalued in our Capitalist system, and so the resultant mentality is this: if we have the chutzpah to do something worthless instead of something that matters even a little bit, we should be completely prepared to live that worthlessness every day, by being paid what our work is worth: jack fucking squat. We’re told, more times than we can count: Well, if you want to do something so stupid, you’d better as hell love it, because there’s no other reason to do it.

How we have become a world in which a majority of people openly argue that music, art and literature are worthless is a matter for another time, but that’s the reality.

So I wouldn’t so much call this an argumentative fallacy as I would just a very hurtful truth. When you say, “Well, you should be grateful someone paid you $15,000 a year to do what you love in graduate school,” without even the above fallacious content of that “love,” you are advocating and perpetuating a system that believes that literacy and artistic expression have no valued place in the world.

This is especially rich coming from my beloved and admired mother, who is both an astonishingly gifted English scholar and an accomplished concert violinist, and has been compensated at extortionately low rates for both activities for her entire adult life. That she of all people is telling me not to regret my PhD tells you all you need to know about the insidious devaluation of our work that has wormed its way into every single one of us.

Semi-Conclusion Of Sorts—Give Me A Break, I Blog Because I “LOVE” It

Does this mean that I don’t, actually, love German literature? On the contrary, I love it so much I am writing a project right this second that aims to bring its amazingness outside the cloying walls of the Ivory Tower.

But do I love it enough to move across the country and back every damn year by myself (because why should my partner uproot himself from a permanent job for my temporary one?), to put my whole goddamned life on hold, to push my personal relationships to their breaking point and sometimes beyond, because I am falling apart under the pressure of feeling like a goddamned failure—and all the while, to say “thank you” to all the people who create and perpetuate the system that makes this total devaluation of my (admittedly limited) talents the status quo?

No, I do not, and I shouldn’t fucking have to, and neither should anyone else. Being a professor should be a job with no more or less respect than any other professional job, with its pros and its cons, and with compensation commensurate with what its specialized knowledge and dedicated labor is worth. Forgive me—or don’t—for believing that this worth is more than $2700 per course. For who needs rent, food or health insurance when there is love?

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CAPITALIZM!

CAPITALIZM!

Back when I still had a borrowed version of Photoshop in graduate school, and needed to enforce a break between passing my quals and beginning my diss, I designed some T-shirts (what my loathed erstwhile employer would call TEE-SHIRTS, RTV shoutout! Yessss!), purely with the intent of purchasing them for myself and friends. “Robot If And Only If Robot” came from a 2007 conversation (I linked to it, but then I read over it and was very ashamed of the sizeist and ableist language I used in my 20s; I keep it as a record of how people can become less evil when they get older), wherein my partner and I marveled at the invention of paper-grading software. If we can get robots to replace us, he suggested, then we should definitely get robots to replace the students. ROBOT IF AND ONLY IF ROBOT!!!!! Given the advent of MOOCs and the further mechanization of the professoriate in the intervening years, I would hope ROBOT IF AND ONLY IF ROBOT might become a rallying cry of the adjunct class. (HA! Not really. Also, not even I can afford these shirts, and I’ll still have a job for another few months).

“Friedrich Nietzsche’s of Hollywood” was just the result of being a big weirdo, although if you are at all familiar with Nietzche’s attitudes toward women and sexuality, this portmanteau is especially apt. I know I am looking forward to wearing mine around LA if I do indeed gather up the courage to move there, and getting the usual weird looks at the gym. Anyway, being Cafepress shirts (and a mug! A Robot IFF Robot mug!) everything is way overpriced, and I get between .50-$1 for everything, but I thought–what better way to reintegrate myself into capitalist society (HAHAHA “reintegrate”) than with some good old-fashioned moichendizing?

Auf Wiederschaun, meine Lieben, or: Requiem for Teaching

One of the few complaints I have ever gotten on a student evaluation–and, true to form, I obsess over those complaints over and over again, even years later, while the stacks of nice ones fade in my memory–is that a student really didn’t like that I would sometimes, in a moment of overwhelming endearment, refer to my class, in German, as “my babies” (it’s actually a code-switch, “meine Babys”). “I know the students were respected,” s/he explained, “but I didn’t like being called a ‘baby.'” I took that immediately to heart, and now I call them “meine Lieben,” or “my dears.”

I realize this is only slightly better, but I can’t help myself, when I walk into class and the first thing I see is their adorable young faces just staring at me, wondering what I’m going to coerce them to do. Will they have to write and perform a skit? Will they have to think more deeply and more intensely about literature than they ever have before, and will they have to do this in a foreign language, out of which I will not let them switch, no matter what? I look at their big eyes—some sweet, some tired, some defiant (you know who you are!)—and I just can’t help it: in my mind there is always some form of Oh I just want to eat their wittle faces! I wuv them all so much! My babies!

Having no children of my own, not even any pets—the terminally-relocating life of a Visiting Assistant Professor all but precludes a family—my dears, my babies, are the closest thing I have to a family or friends. I live 400 miles away from my partner, and I don’t socialize. Being an academic who neither drinks nor is in AA means I have literally nobody who wants to hang out with me; actually it is probably because I am a reclusive, misanthropic hermit that nobody wants to hang out with me; actually people often invite me to hang out with them, but I am scared to form friendships when I only live somewhere for a year or two; actually, there are so many complex reasons why I have very few friends that it’s not worth going into, and I honestly can’t believe I’m writing about it in semi-public to the twelve readers of this blog.

Entire weeks go by where my only meaningful face-to-face human contact is with my students, and so even though it would mean a tremendous amount to me to work with them if this were not the case, they mean more to me than they will ever know. They are my dears. On many lonely, isolated days in the past two years,  the only reason I have been able to get out of bed is their willingness to do literally any activity I demand in the name of learning, no matter how difficult or ridiculous—whether that be “the world’s most esoteric scavenger hunt” through Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (in the classes I teach in English!! I’m a fake doctor, not a fucking miracle worker), or a dramatic reading of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s cold war fable Die Physiker (The Physicists). I Larry-David stare at them when they won’t answer a difficult question and reformulate the question until they do (or call on people at random, and they always come through). I demand hours of pedantic homework, and they always do it. I call them “Chicken” and do the GOB Bluth KAW, ka-KAW, ka-KAW dance when only a third of them will sign up to sing Karaoke versions of Falco songs for extra credit, and it works. Sometimes, but very rarely, I bring them cookies or replace class with paper conferences, to give them a break.

One of the interesting side-effects of living sequestered for the past two years is that out of abject necessity, my students have become everything to me here (my real “everything” lives a few states over and/or on another coast, as I said before). This has meant that several of them, now that they’re not my students anymore, are more or less my friends—they come to my office hours to tell me about their lives and to ask for advice (though I tell them many times over I am a very dubious advice-giver. JUST LOOK AT MY LIFE CHOICES!). I care deeply and personally for the future of every student I have ever had, and think back with considerable anguish on the one student I could not help, three years ago, whose depression refused to let her go, despite her hard fight against it, and who took her own life in the middle of the semester.

As I prepare to transition into a wholly unknown chapter in my life, the one thing I am saddest about is the one thing that barely got a mention in the Slate article that garnered such a bananas reaction last week (FYI, shit’s back to normal now, pretty much like that never happened): the possibility that the lesson I just finished preparing, on Sven Regener’s hilarious Herr Lehmann (Berlin Blues, in English) and the “island life” of West Berlin youth during the late Cold War, might be my last.

This cannot be. I cannot let this be. I honestly don’t give a fuck whether I ever set foot on the tenure-track in my life—and I had made the choice not to give that fuck several months before the Slate article came out, obviously; I may be a little bit dim but I’m not completely dumb—but if I stop teaching college, I will be destroyed. I belong in that room with those students, drinking in their giant, apprehensive, willing eyes, forcing them to put away their motherfucking phones for fifty minutes and think, and become smarter (and maybe a little better, too).

In the discussion of the abysmal academic job market, the one thing that is so often left out is the one thing we should be focusing on the most: our students. There are many professors like me (like my amazing amiga Liliana—SHOUT OUT, mi amor!) who—and I hate to admit this—would probably do it for free (and in many cases, pretty much do), simply because we love it that much. There are just as many (nobody I know, of course; I love everyone I know) who view deigning to step foot in the same room as a bunch of hungover 18-year-olds as an insulting waste of their brilliant intellect, and endeavor to spend time exclusively around sycophantic grad students. Both have their places in the academy (I mock hyperspecialized research, but it’s a proven fact that if someone doesn’t mention Gilles Deleuze at least four times every day, his spirit will come back and make us all smell like stale Galoises smoke, like, forever!).

I don’t know whether it’s because I osmosis’d my parents’ gifts (both are tremendous educators), or because I love the attention (being a professor is basically like being a better-paid stand-up comedian whose ‘audience’ can never heckle you because you get to grade them!), but teaching is what I do best, and I hope I get to do it again, and for the rest of my life. Academia I can do without; college teaching I can’t, but “luckily,” since ¾ of university instruction is contingent “human capital” now (just ask the New York Times), the two are becoming less and less mutually inclusive.

So, for now, as the Austrians say, Auf Wiederschaun, meine Lieben. Auf Wiederschaun, meine Babys. I’ll miss you all. I hope it’s not the last time.

“a bitter, entitled rant”

One more thing, in case anyone is here from Twitter (now I have 160 followers!! I am pretty much Ashton Kutcher now), that I thought it might be positive to make clear. “Thesis Hatement,” though told in the voice of one very anguished and disappointed person, is not my story in academia. I have actually, until this year, been one of the lucky ones.

The “you” in my piece is an amalgam of dozens of people I know and hundreds of people out there who are willing to work anywhere, do anything, at any cost to their personal lives (because that is to be expected; you are to worship the Life of the Mind no matter how isolated it makes you; you are expected to pick up and move every year or every semester, so that you can never make lasting friendships and put off starting a family until you’re a big old oldie like me, or, better yet, don’t have a family because babies are for people who don’t get tenure, AMIRITE?), but who are still just unwitting members in a hugely oversaturated market.

This piece was not really about me–it was about the dozens of people who have reached out on email and Twitter with heartbreaking (and, at times redemptive) stories. It is and continues to be about those I know who are still in the cult, who are about to enter the job market for the first, third, or if I go back out this year, fifth time (spoiler alert: I am not going back out this year. In a way I think I had this piece published precisely to keep me from going back out this year and plunging yet another September-March into total anguish), who truly believe that they are qualified to do nothing else. Or who realize that there is a huge and amazing world out there, but are ashamed to ask for letters from their advisers (or whose advisers disown them after they move on, possibly the most abhorrent act of all–I mean, I wrote this piece and my advisers didn’t disown me, so most people aren’t dicks like that, but some are).

Or who finally happen upon the Versatile PhD (at which I am a member, of course), but are dismayed to recognize that membership in it is cloaked in secrecy, because many academics take “a dim view” of those of us who have chosen to attempt to feed and clothe ourselves by other means. So this wasn’t the story of how I’m bitter–truth be told, I’m doing pretty great. I was “internet famous” in academia for 24 hours, and I got to tell the motherfucking truth about what faces all but the most lucky and fortunate job marketers (and, by the way–many of the dismayed I know went to top-tier or Ivy programs; the market is cruel across the board, and nothing can be done to make one more “competitive” besides, possibly, gaining the favor of a deity I have yet to pray to).

So yes, was the piece bitter? Sure, but it was the bitterness of a dying field more than the bitterness of me. Was it entitled? Maybe–but only in the sense that every PhD student is molded to develop the expectation–and then the hope, and then the desperation–for a job, and trained for little else, and told that “someone has to get them, so maybe it will be you,” and it takes a person with a much stronger constitution than I to resist 24/7 indoctrination and isolation, which is the absolute reality of all but the most privileged graduate students.

At any rate, I’ve said this in many ways already, and will say it again, but whatever shitstorm this piece has caused says far, far more about academia than it does about me, because anyone could have written it and many have anonymously.