Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Academic Biker Gangs. From Beaker Ben.

For my previous post, an anonymous commenter mentioned the idea of an academic biker. This is such a great archetype to explore. My imagination is going nuts thinking about this.

Top Ten Things that Make You Part of an Academic Biker Gang

10. Suede elbow patches on your leather jacket.

9. The T&P process is literally brutal.

8. Most of the actual biker activities – the bar fights, drug trafficking, operating security at Rolling Stones concerts – is done by adjunct bikers with no allegiance to any particular gang.

7. Even biker gangs have to deal with accreditation and they hate it as much as everybody else.

6. Their most lucrative criminal enterprise is filing fake Pell Grant and student loan applications.

5. You joined the academic biker gang with the idea of getting summers off but you continue to be a biker year-round because you need the money to make ends meet.

4. Any administrators who bother you get shivved.

3. Completing initiation in a gang is more fun than getting through grad school, and is probably a better career move also.

2. You have Foucault tattoos.

1. Gang names: Les Professeurs, The Tenured Disciples, Publish and Perish, The Devil's Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Ivory Tower Mafia, The Edutainers.


  1. #4! On so many levels, #4!

    1. No offense to Suzy from Square State, of course.

  2. 0. You know where the bodies are buried.

  3. 1. Continued:
    - the Grim Researchers
    - Hoogleraar Hooligans
    - Rector Mortis
    - Docents of Death

    3. Continued:
    - Wannabe initiates are “required to attend meetings (nicknamed ‘GFC’) four times a term and are penalized if they do not show up. 'Tenure-trackers', are required to serve the club for a period of at least two year before they are admitted.” Once the prospect makes the cut, they “reportedly engage in a particularly vile initiation process,” in which other group members “urinate, defecate, and vomit” on the initiate’s tenure binder. “The new member would then put the now-moist binder back on their desk, hop on into a currculum committee and pontificate until chastised by the Provost.
    (Totally ripped off from

  4. It was I who inspired this. I'm very happy with this post.

    1. It was I who spoke of the gloves that inspired the mention of fingerless gloves and academic bikers. I'm very happy with this post.

  5. Haven't you read "What's Going On at UAardvark?" by Lawrence S. Wittner? One of the English proffies teaches a poetry course in prison, and his students, upon release, form a motorcycle gang, "The Daffodil Society." He invites them to read some of their poems at an alumni reunion at which the university administration wants to do fund-raising, with excellent results. I highly recommend this book: I might even send a copy to my provost.

    1. Also, didn't I ever tell you about the time when I was a grad student at Dartmouth, and heard there was a biker bar near campus? I thought, "Great, I can go drink some whiskey!" They didn't have any whiskey: they had carrot juice, since they turned out not to be bikers. They were bicyclists, with their Spandex and helmets.

      I hate it whenever that happens. Did I tell you about the time, when I was a postdoc in England, I attended a meeting of "The Flat-Earth Society"? I thought it was going to be a joke, but I do believe some of those people were serious.

  6. As in a "traditional" biker gang, in an academic biker gang:

    You have meetings whose discernible purpose seems to be only to say that you had a meeting.

    No matter what kind of terrain you traverse or how long it takes, the meeting ends up exactly where it started.

    There are a few personality types represented in sets that may overlap:

    * The leader and the leader's toadies. (But in the academic biker gang, the leader is least charismatic.)
    * People who trash-talk the leader and/or toadies at every opportunity.
    * People who are trying to BE the leader and/or a toady.
    * People who talk much but say little.
    * People who talk little but say much.

  7. #5. I would really like my summers back. Oddly, though I don't remember ever being as productive as I'd hoped/planned during those summers "off," the evidence of my c.v. strongly suggests that I was, somehow, producing considerably more scholarship in the years when I didn't teach during the summers than I have for the past 5+ years that I've taught during the summer.