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Perhaps I am just cranky, but…

October 11, 2006

I was reading a sardonic (his word) little essay in the InsideHigherEd.com backlinks, and I just can’t let it go unblogged.

Richard Gelles, who is probably a really nice guy writing about what he knows, attempting to be witty and cute, has, with this essay, pissed me off.

His basic hook is that aging baby boomer academics move from the three Ts (terminal degree, tenure-track job, tenure) to the three Ps (procedure, pensions, plumbing).

While I am not one to shy away from a good discussion of how to best time ones colonoscopy (one of his musings), there is, underneath the smile, a sense of smugness that, as I juggle a full-time travel project and 4 online classes, strikes me as offensive.

Do I begrudge his tenured success? Perhaps. Do I want him and his ilk to move on and discuss their aging body maintenance issues elsewhere? Yes.

Perhaps I am still believing in the vast retirement wave that will open up countless teaching positions. It got me through grad school (mostly), so it seems that as I struggle to pay my way (pensions? Who has pensions?) I will still hope.

Just don’t start talking this way standing on a subway platform. It just might be too tempting.

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3 Comments
  1. Inside the Philosophy Factory permalink
    October 11, 2006 7:31 pm

    It pisses me off too…. lots of time,money and power has been allocated to these asshats and all they can think about is themselves… the fact that a typical freshperson in their college can barely read and is likely to quit before graduation should have part of their attention. Further, their participation in a system which treats PhDs like academic migrant workers should bother them just a little — but no, like many Boomers, they assume the world revolves around them. It is sickning.

  2. Miranda permalink
    October 13, 2006 2:39 am

    I’m at The Big School now and I am absolutely infuriated with just how small a priority teaching is for my professors. I see this where I work as well with too many of the Boomer profs shutting down the younger prof’s frankly better ideas. I see this in the way so many of the older profs refuse to really be there from a student POV. Not to say all students are motivated, but that far too many of the “tenured dino” crowd too quickly dismisses them/us.

    Knowing so many people like you and the professors you link to keeps me from completely writing off the future of higher education in this country.

  3. Piss Poor Prof permalink
    October 14, 2006 2:36 am

    Thanks Miranda and ITPF,

    I feel I can take some shots here and there because I don’t rely on higher ed to feed my family. I would like to be able to, but Boomer-dinos are clogging the already disfunctional system…

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