Thursday, October 27, 2011

Smackdown - It's what's for dinner (and breakfast, and lunch)

After a couple of feisty posts the past couple of days, and Gordo's request for glossary suggestions, I noticed that "Smackdown" isn't yet in the CM glossary.  So to rectify this lacuna, may I suggest:

Smackdown (n. slang)
  1. The time-honoured art of telling someone who richly deserves it that they are full of crap.
  2. The opposite of diplomacy
  3. An occupational hazard of posting on College Misery, because...
  4. It's what we do.
Comments, criticisms, revisions, and of course smackdown are all invited.


  1. I do what I can to run the page the way Fab and Leslie did. That's the page I love.

    I will always do my best to make it a place I'd like to keep visiting.


  2. I will tell you the truth, and I promise after this I won't return.

    I've read this page on and off since it started.

    It's a closed group of people - who even if they aren't all friends - all support and protect the status quo. Some "stars" became born through sheer will and endless posting, and soon they teamed up against any new voices.

    It's why this page never grows, and is in fact slowly losing readers.

    New people come around, and if they aren't absolutely sucking the teats of Archie and Ben and the infallible Fab, then they get shunned, shouted down, etc.

    The rules are a joke. You made this page they way you wanted it. It will die within the next few months because you don't respect other opinions.

    Done. Gone. Called it. Don't waste your breath replying with indignation, because I'm not reading anymore.

  3. Whereas I don't fully understand honest_prof's comments, it is true that if you only allow positive comments for the community, and smackdown of everyone else, there is no critical discourse. This would seem the very definition of snowflakery.

    Protecting the community at the expense of free expression? Reminds me of the old men's clubs that were so common and repressive.

  4. One can be wrong without being an asshole.
    However, sometimes one s wrong *and* an asshole.

    Closed group?

  5. I believe honest_prof's complaint is that calling someone an asshole or fuckwit (and I agree that is unnecessary) is allowed for regulars, but deleted by the moderator for new voices. Some very harsh things were said about Nella, and I did not see the moderator censoring these comments by regulars. I suppose my complaint is that I don't understand the rules. And I believe that given a chance to express themselves, people who overreact usually apologize. Intense issues make for emotional responses. Surely a crowd of academics can understand that.

  6. Wow ... didn't realize serving up a bit of smackdown would arouse such passions.

    Sorry to the indignant for violating your unspoken (and largely unenforced) rules of civility.

    In my time here and at RYS, there has been copious complaining about the unnamed colleagues who added to our misery by their own versions of flakedom.

    Well, not too long ago, one of these practitioners got named. That happened to coincide with a personal moment of student-applied co-worker inspired flakiness, so I tossed off some whupass.

    Realizing my expression was a bit too pointed, I apologized for tone, but I stand by the content.

    For those still sputtering, perhaps a moment with a mirror might be in order lest you discover you have become what you once beheld.

  7. The deleted comment attributed to Angry Archie was not written by him, so I took it down.


  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Smackdown is what happens to you when you are a snowflake: whether you're a dean, a prof, a student, or a poster/commenter on these boards.

    Rules of civility? I'll live by them when everyone else does.

  10. I don't see how it is uncivil to point out that someone comes off as condescending or arrogant or unreasonable when they do -- especially when they are crowing over more vulnerable constituencies like job candidates (Ihaveajobandyoudon', or whatever). That is, as BurntChrome says, the definition of smackdown. Nella was wrong, and I don't recall anyone calling her an asshole or fuckwit. My hope is that she actually took a step back, contemplated those ridiculous requirements, and went back to her institution suggesting that maybe these requirements would eliminate good candidates whose advisors had some integrity. Then we will have done good work in the world.

    Having gone to a crunchy-granola college, I have never been a fan of "don't marginalize the experience of others." I can get behind "don't call people names or use racist/sexist/homophobic/class-biased language." But having a difference of opinion may indeed mean suggesting that someone's experience isn't the full-blown truth of everything. Snowflakes often protect really ignorant and dangerous opinions with "but it's my expeeeerience" (that women are stupid, or black people are criminals, or gay people are always coming onto straight people). And we should not be using unanalyzed experience as a shield behind which to hide. So my suggested emendation is to get rid of that ridiculous rule.

  11. I hear you, F&T. But I disagree completely with you on one of your points. think marginalizing other people is in the long run far more offensive than calling them names.

  12. I have to admit that I hadn't thought much about it, but now that I do, "don't marginalize the experience of others" doesn't quite make sense to me, either. Some experiences *are* marginal, in the sense that they're rare, atypical, nonrepresentative (as in the examples F&T gives). If someone from Ivy League U came around here and dismissed others' claims that students today are underprepared and unwilling to work on the basis that hirs were not (which might be an overly rosy assessment even at ILU), it would be perfectly reasonable for other commenters to point out (if they had the information), that the experience of teaching at ILU is atypical, and that the commenter is not in a position to generalize from hir experience. On the other hand, if other commenters insisted that ILU proffie's students couldn't be as (s)he described them, because theirs aren't, they'd be equally wrong, because ILU proffie's experience would, indeed, be true for hir.

    So I guess I'd be more comfortable with "don't dismiss the experience of others" or "don't deny the experience of others."

    But since the moderation around here is seasoned with a heaping dollop of common sense, I'm not inclined to be overly picky about the exact wording of the rules.

  13. Darla, I just don't know how you track "marginalizing the experience of others." If suggesting that someone's experience is anomalous or unanalyzed is "marginalizing" it, I can't get on board. God knows I sat through too many meetings with someone whining "You're marginalizing my expeeeerience," when what they meant was "I'm not getting my way here."

    I had a great teacher once who would look sweetly at a student babbling away about her "experience" and say, "Do you have a reading of that?"

    Anyway, I'm not on a crusade, just suggesting that demands for "civility" can be just as oppressive as heated debates. No name calling/personal attacks/use of racist/sexist/etc. putdowns is good enough for me. The rest, we can smack down.

  14. It occurred to me this afternoon, that definition 1 might be tweaked to 'the fine art of calling bullshit on someone who desperately deserves it.' I dunno, kindof puts the emphasis on calling someone on their bullshit (and we all gots some), rather than beating on the individual.

    I'm definitely of the school that anything that's bullshit in others is bullshit in ourselves, and should be called accordingly. So taking a few knocks is definitely an occupational hazard of posting, and one that we should probably accept. I think the Rules of Misery should draw a line between an isolated:

    "You did what? You fuckwit!"

    as opposed to a continued barrage of :

    "You, personally are a worthless human being with improperly proportioned genitalia!"

    Not that that's an easy line to draw, so many thanks to Gordon for holding us all to it.

    Oh, and now that Honest prof has announced he's leaving us for good, I move we start a pool on when he re-appears (presumably to tell us that this time he's really leaving).

    I've got December 4th.

  15. I admit I was wrong when I agreed that the "I'm to blame" poster is a fuckwad. All that was necessary was for me to have pointed out that what this person was admitting to was wrong-wrong-WRONG, and left it at that.

    Academia, like any community, loses credibility when it does not speak out when wrong is done from within its ranks. On the other hand, we really ought to come up with something better than calling anyone a fuckwad, even if it is richly deserved.

    But then, honest_prof is so utterly predictable. He’d been saying the exact same thing over and over and over again for so long now, I wonder why he didn’t get bored and leave long ago. I’m certainly bored of reading him. He reads like a man with deep insecurity issues. Even money on December 4.

  16. Dibs on Nov. 16 for honest_prof. He was banned here, actually. Don't know why he's allowed back.


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