Is Bashing Academia Brave?
Blogger Z wrote a post suggesting that the latest anti-academia darling Rebecca Schuman “has taken a certain amount of abuse lately” and that Schuman’s assault on academia is “brave.”
Z is one of my favorite bloggers but this is a position I find very confusing. I have written about the disgust Schuman’s position makes me feel but, unlike Schuman’s excretions, my pro-academia pieces have never been picked up by CHE, Slate, or anywhere else. Still, Schuman’s Douthat-like rants are “brave” while my defense of how I make my living is “abusive.”
So here is a response I wrote:
What abuse has she taken exactly? Her piece is being published in places where neither you nor I will ever be invited and the absolute majority of comments is 100% positive. A couple of people dared to express disagreement on blogs with the readership which is a fraction of those in the places where she is cheered and celebrated. Is that abuse? Are we just supposed to shut up and meekly accept really offensive accusations? She insults an entire profession and then she is the one abused just because a few people try to defend themselves?
Her point of view – which is that the academia is a place of worthless suckups who do nothing of value and just spout incomprehensible verbiage – is completely mainstream. I see it expressed in the media at least once a week. She is only the most recent contributor to the meme that academia is a cult. We constantly hear this position expressed by people who warn Americans against sending their wholesome kids to this den of Derrida-spouting latte-chugging Marxist-worshipping brainwashers.
Since Schuman has obviously decided to leave academia, she is now trying to make a career in a different field. I suspect these publications are part of her career-switching move. I’m sure she will be very successful because she is hitting the sweetest spots of the very conservative mainstream media. If Murdoch hears of her, he will be in love.
Schuman will now move on to make good money bashing academics, while we will sit here, hearing about our jobs being denigrated and ridiculed, and with no single mainstream publication willing to publish what we have to say in self-defense.
By the way, when was the last time you saw articles praising the work of college profs anywhere but on obscure little blogs like mine?