Thursday, October 17, 2013

Round Two of the CM Interviews: Ask "The Others." First Up, Janice P.

One of the questions we're asked from time to time is about "the others," a large group of readers who are not active on the page through posting or commenting - although occasionally they will venture into the fray, and we always welcome that. This week I thought I'd ask a couple about their CM experience to see what we could learn about them and ourselves. Janice P. is first!


  1. What is your role in higher ed? Professor, part-timer, student, just an interested observer?
    I'm a tenured prof of music in the southeast.
  2. Why do you read CM? Is it useful? Are you learning anything? Are you just eager to hear about the demise of the planet through the activities of horribly prepared freshmen?
    Oh, I read it for the yuks, and also for the occasionally brilliant news story I might have missed otherwise. I complete eschew the Crampicle and its type! I may not learn much here, but I get a real kick out of the interplay.
  3. Why don't you participate through posting or commenting?
    Partially because I'm a little private anyway, and even though with pseudonyms I feel I would give away too much of my real life, my real colleagues, etc. That's a headache I wouldn't want. Also, it feels to me like there's a set "lineup" of regulars who do battle, and I don't see how one would ever get in that particular club. But I don't regret that. It's an entertaining world to visit.
  4. Is there anything about CM that you don't like? Or several things? 
    I wish there were more people! I know that I've just sort of contradicted the previous answer, but if I see a person's name on a comment or post, I can pretty much guess what they're going to say. Strelnikov is going to suggest killing a dean or freshman with an arcane Russian rifle that I'll have to Google.
  5. What do you think CM could do a better job of?
    Nothing! I wouldn't even presume. It's a perfect little way-station in my academic world and I'm grateful it exists!


  1. I sort of understand Janice's thoughts about privacy. When I am active on the page I'm saying to myself: "Anyone who reads this is going to know it's me!" But then I sort of think about the raw number of professors on the planet, and I feel a bit better.

    I wish all of the others felt more like they wanted to be a part of things.

    I definitely feel like an outsider here, even though I've commented on and off for years. Even with the more active members, there's no inside club!

    Look at Hiram, for example. He has not been on the page very long, but he feels like a regular now, just by being active. He's nobody's real life friend, that I know of, but by being involved you become part of the "club."

    Regardless, I'm glad to see Janice P's perspective and I say HOWDY!

    1. I have to say I found it easy to become a "part" of things. I just posted and commented like the page was for me. And, of course, it is, and for you, too.

      Hello Janice P!

  2. Hi Janice P! I remember exchanging emails with you during my time as mod. I'm really glad you took part in the interview this week. Your insight is really valuable. Have a great week!

  3. There are about a dozen folks I "met" through email while running RYS that I'm still in touch with, a couple in my own field who I've now met and consider colleagues.

    I remember early on at CM Fab would email me and say, "People keep writing me, asking for advice. I get more mail from people I don't know than I do people in my own department."

    The community we've built encourages a sort of academic intimacy that is quite spectacular.

    Hello Janice P. Thanks for giving us your insight!

  4. I'm so glad you decided to do "come out." I always wonder about the "silent participants" and their reasons for not joining the conversation. I, too, read the blog for a while (but didn't correspond with the Mods, mainly because it didn't occur to me to do so on a blog) until I decided just to take the plunge and be part of the group. That's all it took to be a "regular." And I like to think I don't have a predictable response, but perhaps I do???

  5. My first thought is often the same as what Kimmie expressed above re: privacy, namely that I will be easy to "figure out." In fact, there have been numerous times where I was SURE I had "figured out" each and every one of you and that each and every one of you was someone that I knew in grad school. But then I realized that is ridiculous because, as Kimmie notes, there are many more professors out there than I actually know.

    1. I find comfort in hanging out with you. It's good to know another proffie who drinks enough bourbon to make it hard to "figure out" who the other three of us are. Reminds me of that Dr. Seuss character who drunkenly stumbles around asking, "Are you my mother?"

    2. On the other hand, that LSD Stella gave me last week was just too much. I couldn't even figure out who I was for a couple of days.

    3. Stella would be great to hang out with while tripping. The smackdown she gives students would be even funnier, because it's so well deserved.

  6. Ooh! I like this interview idea. I'm with Kimmie, and Hiram, and Cynic: all it really takes to be part of the group is to start acting like one of the group. People seem to be active in various ways (I comment a lot, post now and then, and very rarely correspond with the mods or anyone else; others, obviously, have other patterns). And yes, the temptation to self-disclosure to the point of possible identifiability is there (I'm certain guilty); on the other hand, as Kimmie points out, we're probably less unique than we think (though admittedly there are fewer music proffies than English ones. On the other hand, you could always comment under a less-identifiable pseudonym and not identify your field at all, or call it something general like "hamster performance" or "hamster arts").

    1. Wait, you mean you guys were making up that hamster stuff?

      Damn it. I just bought my kid a hamster, thinking that I had a great source for information about taking care of it.

    2. When buying small rodents for kids, it's best to keep a couple of spare in the garage for when the inevitable occurs.

    3. Wait, the hamster we've had for 22 years isn't the same one?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.