Friday, January 4, 2013

Liveblogging the Humongous Disciplinary Conference (Tenured Faculty Edition)

Single- and double-breasted suit comparison
Single- and double-breasted suit comparison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. What do you mean, you haven't got the programs printed yet?  I spent $250 for conference registration, I expect to at least get a fracking program. And not even a drink ticket or a cheap plastic pen?
  2. Why is everyone wearing a suit jacket? The cool older alpha males wear jeans with their jackets, but are self-conscious about it. The hopeful new interviewees wear painfully fresh jackets.  The older jackets with dress pants are on the interviewees who have been here a time or two, poor bastards.  The market isn't getting any better.  
  3. Everyone down at the bar is having a very good time. I saw a cool alpha male talking to two enthralled young women half his age, and they are all clearly having a very good time.  I don't mean this unkindly: it is rather sweet really.  He is obviously thinking  "wow, this never happened to me in high school. Never.  Not even once.  NOBODY cared about hamster fur weaving in high school."  And they are thinking "wow, this cool alpha guy who knows EVERYTHING about hamster fur weaving wants to talk to US!"   And nobody is admitting even to themselves that power, and perky-breastedness, is in any way underlying this interaction; which is what makes it sweet.
  4. In-room potato chips are $4?!!
  5. What point is there in 10 minute papers?  Ten minutes? That's straight from intro to conclusion, never mind how I got there. And 2 minutes per paper for questions and discussion?  About enough time for one alpha to clear his throat. Seriously?
  6. Fuck, if this is as fast as the free-to-conference-goers wifi is going to get, I'm glad I'm not paying $15/day for it.  
  7. Huh, this hotel is RIGHT NEXT to a major shopping district. I don't think anyone's going to miss my keen (2-minute) insights from a panel or three…
  8. What do you mean, the programs STILL aren't printed?  It's not like you didn't know SIX MONTHS AGO who was on it.
  9. (much later) … the gay-straight alliance always throws the best parities - parties ... bed now … 

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. No conference pen?! If that's mutiny I smell, then it's perfectly justified.

    Love the report, MA. Thanks, and please report back! (FWIW, notes from the ground all over the Twitterverse these days, too...) Thank God technology and benevolent reporters like you can now spare me the transcontinental flight for these disciplinary behemoths.)

    1. I tweet in my own name, and very differently...

  2. I've never been to HDC, and this post makes me even happier about that.

    FWIW, I like the regional DCs. Much less douche-baggery and puffery from alpha males. Perhaps because alpha males don't bother with RDCs? Hoorah.

  3. no book exhibit visit? that's the best part!!!

  4. They don't have printed programs?

    Vertical stroke:

    The printer company rep....SHOT
    The "facilitator" of the conference....SHOT
    The national committee....SHOT
    The president of the HDC....SHOT

    Bodies displayed tastefully with card "YOU FUCK UP...YOU DIE."

  5. This captures it perfectly! Thank you! I'm going to the bar now.

  6. "alpha males"

    I've never understood this. Particularly since "male" is an adjective and "man" is the noun people are searching for. But it tends to be people who also use nonsense words like "friendzone" who use "alpha male" and I don't get that shit either.

    1. Zoologists (including primatologists) use "male" and "female" as nouns most of the time, along with "juvenile", "subordinate", and "subadult". When one is referring to individuals of the same species, it is tediously redundant to use these words as adjectives.

      I presume that everyone participating in the HDC is of the species *Homo sapiens*. Merely Academic clearly is conducting a field study related to the signaling of status in the hierarchy and therefore is using the jargon of the discipline correctly.

    2. As I understand it, "Alpha Male" first refers to the typical behavior of higher primates and pack animals, for whom some older male of the species has demonstrated dominance through violence over other contenders in the pack.

      I always take it as a derogatory term when applied to humans in social-settings, where their actual behavior is differentiated from that of lower animals by nothing more than a thin cover of poly-wool blend and ironically-thick-rimmed spectacles.

    3. Galore, that's precisely my point. The only exception to this rule is to refer to animals -- of which we are, of course, but it still seems rudimentary to reduce gender identity to that of animals, let along to embrace the problematic idea that certain people are "alpha" while others are "beta." As though it's out of everyone's hands, sad sad sad, boo hoo whatever shall I do?

      The whole thing is rubbish.

    4. Excluding anthropological studies, "alpha male" is used as an insult but only used by people who don't have the power of alpha males. I get the sense that they don't want that power but they don't like that power wielded over them.

    5. FWIW, an "Alpha Male" need not be a man. It's more a description of a function and a role, not what parts are in the underwear...

    6. Almost all alpha males are male, however. At least they are at this conference. 50% of the PhDs in my field are earned by women but you sure as hell wouldn't know it if you looked at the tenured faculty.

      As for essentializing it, AM, no, not at all; where did you get that idea? Even among other animals, alpha males get there by acts of violence and social domination, as DDD says.

  7. Yes, but "Alphamen" sounds too much like a 70s
    TV series. "Blake's 9 meets the Alphamen!"

    1. If that were a movie, I'd love to see it on Mystery Science Theater 3000.