Another Hysterical Outburst from an Academia Hater

I know everybody must be sick and tired of me posting rebuttals to these outbursts of hysteria from the academia hating crowd, but I get so many emails from people thanking me for being a voice of reason on this issue after each such post that I believe it is important for me to keep writing.

Here is how this fresh bout of idiocy begins:

Getting a literature Ph.D. will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor.

I don’t know what institution granted any degree to a person so egregiously ignorant that she believes people end up as emotional train wrecks because of getting certain diplomas.

Who wouldn’t want a job where you only have to work five hours a week, you get summers off, your whole job is reading and talking about books, and you can never be fired? Such is the enviable life of the tenured college literature professor.

Not just tenured. Hello, still untenured here!

Well, what if I told you that by “five hours” I mean “80 hours,”

You’d be an idiot who can’t manage your time well.

and by “summers off” I mean “two months of unpaid research sequestration and curriculum planning”

I’d say that you’ ll never publish anything with such a lousy writing style and such profound disregard for accuracy. And if you need all summer to design a syllabus, then I wouldn’t hire you to clean my toilet. With such high productivity, you’d probably need a year to wash a single commode.

What if you’ll never have time to read books, and when you talk about them, you’ll mostly be using made-up words like “deterritorialization” and “Othering”

I’d say it’s a shame anybody chose to hire you for any position whatsoever. A Visiting prof who has no time to read? Shame on you, freakazoid!

And I can’t even tell you what kind of ass you have to kiss these days to get tenure—largely because, like most professors, I’m not on the tenure track, so I don’t know.

I hope you never get on the tenure track because you are a disgusting creature who despises your colleagues.

Don’t do it. Just don’t. I deeply regret going to graduate school, but not, Ron Rosenbaum, because my doctorate ruined books and made me obnoxious.

Finally, something we can agree on. I’m sure you were an obnoxious loser long before you even left high school.

No, I now realize graduate school was a terrible idea because the full-time, tenure-track literature professorship is extinct.

Sure you need to believe that. It isn’t like you were ever going to look at yourself and analyze how you have contributed to your own failure. (Hint: a summer-long writing of a syllabus is not normal.)

There are people who decide that academia is not for them. They leave the academic world, find a different career path, and live happily ever after. And then there are those who need to shit at the entire profession because simply leaving is somehow not satisfying enough. These folks never find an alternative job that would make them happier simply because they are incapable of seeing themselves critically and honestly. Such people passionately need to believe that everybody else will be as miserable as they are:

I’ve finally gotten it through my thick head that I will not get a job—and if you go to graduate school, neither will you.

No matter what your profession is, would you enjoy coming to work every day and encountering somebody like this? I know I wouldn’t. And if you are still not convinced, just look at the incredible stores of envy, resentment and petty jealousy this person has for everybody she meets:

Everyone has a book contract, peer-reviewed publications, and stellar teaching evaluations. This was not the case when today’s associate professors were hired in the boom of the late 1990s. But don’t resent them for insisting that it has “always been hard out there”—just let them buy you lunch. You may also be tempted to resent the generation of full professors teetering ever precariously toward retirement, and thus cleaving ever more resolutely to their positions.

This is a great example of projection. This person feels resentment towards everybody who has succeeded in the profession and ascribes this resentment to her readers. She doesn’t even have the honesty or the maturity to admit that she is the only one who is resentful and envious here. Rest easy, however, Rebecca Schuman despises people from other professions even more than she does her fellow academics:

But with academia, you don’t need to put yourself through five to 10 years of the hardest work you will ever do. . .

I wonder who is ever going to offer employment to a spoiled brat who believes that being a grad student is such hard work.

And to conclude, a small inspirational story. My sister started her professional life in sales. She hated it. Sales was definitely not a suitable profession  for her. When this became clear, she left sales and forged a career in a different field. Not only have I never heard a bad word about people in sales from her, she always insists that this is a profession that requires a lot of talent and is highly respectable.

“This is not for me, so I’ll go do something else,” is a healthy, normal approach.

“This is not for me, and I hate everybody for whom this has worked out and will keep denigrating them and shitting on their lives to make myself feel better,” is an unhealthy approach of spoiled little brats.

8 thoughts on “Another Hysterical Outburst from an Academia Hater

  1. I love it that she complains about her own analysis of Kafka being bullshit. Well whose fault is that?


  2. People like this give well meaning people like you a bad reputation. Keep exposing the losers who have no real interest in actually teaching and helping people out in higher education, Clarissa! If this idiot had gotten a job at a university, the students and other people paying for college are already getting ripped off. I hope people like that are weeded out from all the universities.

    The problem is that this woman made her arguments really poorly and if she knew how much the job was going to pay and only wanted to get some sort of monetary gain out of it, she should have known from the beginning.


  3. Yikes! That’s a tall glass of bitterness indeed. I know literature professors mostly love what they do, and strongly suspect that most people with PhDs are glad they have them (I know I’d be glad to have one, and proud of the work I did on it, even if I did end up working in academia), but even with all this in my head I still felt a tiny echo of the writer’s despair while reading it.

    (I did find her use of hyperbole masterful, though. If she hadn’t told us she studied Kafka, I’d have guessed she was a student of rhetoric.)

    I hope for her students’ sake that she’s a gifted actress, so that she’s not communicating such bitterness to them.


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