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Thursday, March 22, 2018


You only work on poetry.

(How do you teach it, anyway?)

All you know how to do is write your books.

You don't do cultural studies.

You are narrow.

You are dogmatic.

You are too competitive.

You aren't interdisciplinary enough.  

The negative messages you get from others can affect even things that that are actually your strengths. So in my case, specializing in something that presumably nobody cares about, being overspecialized, wanting to be the best at what I do, taking strong positions, etc...

When, in fact, people do care about what I write and recognize my work as interdisciplinary and broadly "cultural." I suppose I should have done a book on historical memory or some other topic that everyone else seemed to be working on.

But actually, books by other people who are also excellent scholars don't follow predictable paths either.  None of us just writes the standard academic book over and over again.    


Leslie B. said...

OK, let's see how negative comments on me give a positive portrait, perhaps -- or perhaps just an accurate one, positive or negative:

1. You are too scientific.
2. You are too intellectual.
3. You are too disciplined, keeping that regular study schedule.
4. You are too relaxed. That regular study schedule gives you free time and you use it to relax, so you look healthy and happy, and that gives you the appearance of not being intellectual when really, you are. It would be to your advantage to suffer greater stress, because then the fact that you do work would become visible.
5. You have too many interests.
6. Your academic work is too apolitical -- you spend all this time looking at rhetoric, representations of consciousness, and so on but you don't emphasize themes or foreground emotions.
7. You are involved in quite serious, quite left wing political work outside of school. It is too lefty for an academic, who should be a liberal, and it takes up a certain amount of time. You ought to put your radical ideas into your academic work, market them there, and then in the rest of life just be a liberal voter.
8. You are too passionate.
9. You are not hysterical enough.
10. You are too research oriented, and not interested enough in lower division teaching as a career.
11. Your teaching methods are too modern; they emphasize too much public speaking, writing, reading, and critical thinking and not enough memorization; you also do not allow students to simply express feelings and leave things at that.
12. You care too much about making lower division courses meaningful.
13. You come through on service and administration, whereas what you should be doing is currying favor with the right cliques. Once again, you are too intellectual and too passionate, but not "feeling" enough.
14. You look like a woman, but think like a man, and it is unnatural. You seem to believe you have the right to be respected intellectually like a man, which is unfair on your part.
15. You spend too much money. You could have made our invited guest pay for his own lunch!

People don't like these characteristics I have, but I do have them.

Leslie B. said...

There is this message that I do not understand, but that I get:

"You always turn everything to your own advantage."

I also get:

"You need to stop putting your own interests last."

Most recent instance of "turning things to own advantage" = being responsible and being seen to be. Original one = insisting that those of us who have higher teaching loads, have our assigned percentages respected during merit evaluations. I won my point -- which was that we should follow faculty handbook -- we benefited Spanish (i.e. we were not discriminated against), which disadvantaged French (they were not allowed to discriminate against us). So I am an egotistical b.

Leslie B. said...

AHA. "You always turn everything to your own advantage" means "I tried to sabotage your projects but you kept on anyway." Dayum.