Sunday, January 9, 2011

LeRoy from Lewisville Sends in a Litmus Test VidShizzle. "Dear Lord, Tell Me This Isn't Us."


  1. 1. Is she for real?
    2. Why did she marry somebody in the same program?
    3. Yeah, it's way easier to leave a job when you have a spouse with an income. (Is she a Stepford Wife? Is she on benzos?)

    Finally...okay, if I did one of these...Ram Jam's "Black Betty" together with footage of me taking fistfuls of psych meds, Atom Smasher staring at figures his advisor has asked him to reconfigure yet again, and piles of rejection letters together with my calm Nia presence saying "Look, if you're fucking a hot dude, making enough money to eat,have a house, and buy health care, and if you don't ACTUALLY try to kill yourself? You're better off than 80% of the people you know."

    It's true. In my heart, I'm actually a 16-year old boy.

  2. Well she's definitely not me. Berkley rejected me. And I reject LA. But...

    I agree that if you marry in your field, you forfeit the right to lament your employment options. But I feverishly disagree about whether or not that means you shouldn't. You should marry for love, not convenience. If you rule someone out because they're in your field, you might as well just ask your parents to pick someone out for you. I think it's funny that we get all passionate about upholding standards, and then suddenly that doesn't apply when it comes to picking out life partners.

    I would sell printers for Staples before I married someone on the basis of us both being able to find optimal employment.

    Of course it's easier for an English professor and a physics professor to find jobs in the same town than for two physicists to do so. But it's not like finding the haystack around the needle either. Your long term employment hunt is not exactly going to be like walking into Borders and taking their disturbingly detailed psychological evaluation. Finding someone out of your field but also in academics is really just a small advantage when the job searches start.

    Let me ask you this, if you were hit in the head and lost your love of writing and suddenly had Rain Man meets Oppenheimer powers and you had to become an atom smasher, would the job search issues really be important enough for you to dump original atom smasher?

  3. I've pretty much abandoned academia in favor of working for myself, and it's been awesome, although scary too because I have no safety net and no spouse. I must not be as flakey as this woman though, or I doubt I'd keep finding work.

  4. Is this performance art? If not, I'm really really sad.

  5. I hope I never get stuck on an elevator with this woman... unless I have a gun with which to blow my brains out.

  6. If she's so OVER her academic career, why is she posting videos talking about her lamewad teaching award? Hmm? HMMMM?

  7. Oh my god. We don't need your encouragement, lady. You didn't even mention once what you're actually DOING now, other than being supported by your husband. What sort of wonderful new career did you attain for yourself? Because walking around a drained frozen lake and then sitting in a coffee shop doesn't pay much. Otherwise, that's what I'd be doing right now.

    Yeah, I think I'll quit my job, move to Portland, and become a rabbi. No. A theater producer. No. A novelist. No. A ballerina. No. A fireman.


  8. Can you imagine sitting in a classroom and listening to this woman speak for 50 minutes?! I made a game of counting how many times she sucked her lips and how many times she looked up or to her left to try and recall something.

  9. This is so odd. Are we sure it's not some kind of gag? I mean, *I* gagged, but maybe she's pulling a fast one. Is her name real? I'm too lazy to Google. LOL.

  10. Not a gag, apparently.For example:

    "I see this as a kind of "It Gets Better" vid series aimed at helping those who are struggling with their decisions to leave or to stay in the profession. Some of the emotional resonances are similar to the situation of gays deciding whether or not to come out, or figuring out how to cope with being gay in a still largely homophobic society: the fear of how one's community will react to the decision, the shame of wanting something different, the way in which coming out punctures the normative story of success and happiness."

  11. "Let me ask you this, if you were hit in the head and lost your love of writing and suddenly had Rain Man meets Oppenheimer powers and you had to become an atom smasher, would the job search issues really be important enough for you to dump original atom smasher?"

    Oooh, I like this question. Smasher would, I think, ken to the situation quite quickly, realize that as Oppenheimer + Rain Man I could make enough money for both of us, and happily hitch a ride on my academic bandwagon. I imagine him staying at home with the little Smashers, making cookies that represented the various sub-atomic particles.

    (I base this intelligence on previous discussion about how we would decide where to live, and that it would be based on which one of us was making more money.)

  12. The fact that she's equating the "shame" of leaving the profession with the difficulties teenagers have being gay is mind-bogglingly insensitive. It's middle-aged straight white ladies like this that make me wish I weren't a middle-aged straight white lady.

  13. If it's one frikkin' thing I can't stand, it's the YouTube videos with the person talking/ranting into the camera; there is only one person at YT who can really carry it off, and that's the Amazing Atheist. He succeeds because he uses facial expressions to the maximum, he does weird little jump cuts, and mostly his videos are humorous (when they aren't, they are at least somewhat

    She fails due to the noise content in the cafe, the walking and talking (best done using a Stedicam rig), the weirdness of splitting up a 9 minute video into 2 chunks, and the aforementioned YT confessional style. I would say that she might have been a competent instructor....or not; I can't tell through these videos. There are some brilliant instructors out there who have bizarre teaching styles, like one prof I knew who would never look at his class while lecturing. It no longer really matters because she isn't in the game anymore. I think she puts up her "lamewad" award and position as way to reinforce that, yes, she had been part of academia and I think she chose the prettiest parts of Portland, OR. to emphasize that "you too" can escape from Hooterville Community College to a life of middle-class splendor.

  14. I listened twice, just to check (yes, I'm a masochist), and she really did say "the yumminess of working with students." Leaving aside the idealized view of teaching, that's a truly bizarre choice of words, and not at all what I expect of a professional writer (on the other hand, maybe she's a more sophisticated writer than speaker).

    I'm also not sure that "adjunct teachers" count as "people who've left English."

    Most important, I think her perspective would be very, very different if she didn't have a spouse's income and benefits to fall back on as a safety net. She strikes me as someone who doesn't entirely realize how luxuriously numerous her choices are, all the more so since I know quite a few two-English-Ph.D. couples who've managed to build more or less parallel TT careers. It's not easy, and being in a major metropolitan area and/or being willing to commute helps. But some people luck out, or build something workable after multiple job searches, especially if the more marketable partner (which can be a different person at different times) drives some hard bargains with both home and hiring institutions. It probably helps that English departments tend to be relatively large (though also increasingly populated by non-TT faculty). Still, from what I've observed, negotiation is possible. Since she was employed in her field (though apparently not in a TT position) at the time her husband got the offer that precipitated their move, but apparently never went on the market herself, I have to wonder if she was all that gung-ho about building a TT career in the first place. Not that she necessarily should be, but there's a difference between saying "I've made hard decisions and it's turned out okay" and saying "I'm lucky enough to be able to make and rethink decisions without worrying too much about how I'll support myself." If I had a TT (or otherwise securely employed) spouse who was willing to support me while I explored more fulfilling options, I might quit my job (which is a lot like the one she left), too.


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