Friday, May 1, 2015

Hiram is Baffled About His Depression. (Edited.)

I know I'm just a member of this community, and only was in charge that one day! (Oh, but what a day!)

The trickle of posts and the trickle of comments depresses me. I just think that this site and the one from the "goon old days" was about the greatest thing that ever happened in my teaching career.

As endless people have written, I found a real set of colleagues here who loved their jobs but hated how colleges and students were changing.

I fear, however, that I've got little to add to the site now. I feel that in some way I simply don't have anything new to say. I hope that the page will refresh and reboot with new voices as the teeming throng of "proffies" who found us and share in the misery.

(I made some slight edits to the post because I understood it was more negative than I intended. If only my students would revise with such speed!)


  1. I don't know. I have only come in here a few times since the last time I went to post back in March and the site was shut down again. I'm not saying that's the only reason, but as I sat in my conference hotel room, staring at my inability to post, all I could think was "oh, for shit's sake--why am I bothering?"

    Another reason I haven't posted much of late is that I have been ill. Just getting through my huge electronic stacks of grading has been a misery all its own--and I didn't want to come in here and be pitiful. I want to be funny. I want to bring the smackdown (and oh do I have some on tap, when I get caught up with the grading). I want to update all of you on the clusterfuck that is Wisconsin right now.

    I love coming here. I want to post more. But I suspect that, like many others here, life has gotten in the way for me. (I actually came in here to take a break from slogging through annotated bibliographies.)

    1. College Misery started 1773 days ago, and was offline for 221 of those, between Feb and Sept of 2014. (During that time Ben opened his blog and it was online for the entire break, and a link was on the top of College Misery during that time.)

      RYS was online continuously for 1667 days.

      I know it pains all former mods that the page hasn't been all things to all readers, and for a time unavailable. But this is just how it's been. If you or others have felt that it has been a bother, all I can say is that we've done our best with it.

    2. I'm sorry--I did not mean that as a slag on all of the work you mods do. I was just frustrated at the time.

      I very much appreciate how much work this is--and am grateful that many have stepped up to do the work, which, if the Real Goddamned Mail posts are any indication, is irksome in the extreme at times.

      It probably doesn't help that my migraines make me crankier than usual, and I had one this week that lasted from Sunday to Wednesday.

      Fab Sun, you and Leslie and Cal and Ben are my heroes. Thank you for all you do.

  2. Something of an apologia: my statistically-significantly better half knew today was a big today, and lavishly supplied me with drinks. Hiram may or may not be depressed, but here goes.
    My biggest CM-related regret is that I lack the wherewithal to help the moderators, Hiram. A man (?) of few regrets, I do – and will continue to – regret this.
    I myself don’t post as I have little misery (current president notwithstanding) in my work, and I know how lucky I am in that.
    However, for me, CM’s most impressive aspect has been the solace it offers – and in that respect it beats RYS hands down, as much as I loved that iteration.
    Also nobody who knows you would ever suggest you go elsewhere. The current situation may be somewhat slower but there are fewer fuckwits, flare ups, and much less ad hominem nastiness in the comments lately.
    As for voices, Prof Chiltepin and Ogre Proctor Hep crack me up, Contingent Cassandra not only reads my mind but also writes about it trillion times better than I can. Ben and Frod contribute a lot, Frankie Bow writes like a dream, and you yourself, Hiram, are always interesting, thought-provoking and incisive.
    CM is a niche market, I suppose, but I can’t think of any wildly popular blogs I’d rather read.
    Despite a lack of Walkerian misery, RYS and CM have seen me through getting tenure, promotion, the slightly difficult early days of my second child, and dozens of situations that should not happen in education of any description, let alone “higher” ed.
    My attitude to CM, its mods, and all those who currently contribute, is one of utter gratitude.
    To me, everyone currently involved is – and always will be – one of those in the arena.

    1. "today was a big today"
      ...shit! today was a big day.
      One bottle of wine and Titivillus strikes.

  3. It ebbs and flows. Just try to enjoy it.

  4. I get the sadness, and the frustration, and share the guilt over not doing more (while knowing that I really, really couldn't take on what the RGMs do. It's obviously a huge, and frustrating, task). I also agree with Ben that it ebbs and flows, and we might be better off just letting it do that, and trying not to worry too much about it.

    Personally, I'd be happy to have CM even in intermittent form -- with posts only when someone has something to say, or ask, or when the spirit (or the devil) moves them. But I'm not sure that would work, on a number of levels, for whoever is serving as the RGM, not least because it would result in a flood of complaining emails from people who don't realize how the page actually works. People seem to have very odd -- to my mind, at least -- expectations for a volunteer enterprise run entirely by overwhelmed, stressed-out people (who regularly write about how stressed-out and overwhelmed they are, so it's not like it's a secret). (And that's not a criticism of you, Hiram, or your reflections; it's aimed more at people who read but don't contribute in any way, even intermittently, and then complain that the page doesn't meet some standard that they've decided it should meet. I don't get that kind of complaint at all, but I do very much get why reading a shitload of such complaints wears away at RGMs).

    CM will be what it will be, or it won't be at all (and I would definitely miss it if it went away, but I'd also survive). What I, at least, most definitely don't want it to be is a source of stress for anybody, especially the mod(s). The idea, after all, is to decrease the overall level of stress (and to have a place to identify problems that many people don't seem to want to admit exist, and maybe even find a solution or two, or, if not, at least commiserate. At least I think that's what it's all about; others' takes will, no doubt, vary, and that's also as it should be).

  5. I've been overwhelmed with work the last five months (future posts will be generated from my current experiences), so I've been absent from the blog, and I also feel bad for that. But I echo what Cassandra says (surprise) in that if the blog is here, it's fabulous; if it's not, we survive... albeit a little more snarkily...

  6. Hiram, you (and all of the other Miserians, and the mods, especially the mods) are heroes. We're all getting snappish out here in meatworld too. Finals loom, grant reports are due, piles of still-ungraded final papers clutter our desks.

    Matt Reed, the formerly pseudonymous blogging dean, refers to this time of year as hate-pril. It's not just me.

    And that's how I feel about RYS/AWC/CM. It's not just me. Coming here is tremendously validating. Sid from Santa Fe's post this morning (describing the administrative devilry that's now delivering half the learning in exchange for twice the tuition) reassured me yet again that no, I'm not imagining this; we really have been taken over by the worst kind of short-term "business" mentality.

    The fine work of the Miserians is what keeps me from climbing up to the roof of the tallest building in the Student Retention Office Compound at midday and shouting into the void, "Tom Friedman and Kevin Carey are not our friends! They want to replace us all with software! Can't you see that? Can't anybody see that?"

    So for that, I (and my colleagues) thank you.

    (And EC1, many thanks for the lovely compliment, which I am tempted to add to my CV).

  7. Please don't leave, Hiram! We NEED you! All that stuff I said about humanities proffies was in jest, I hope you knew all along. (Except ones espousing postmodernism, of course.)