Academics in Their Fifties
In Humanities, academics in their mid-fifties approach the moment of the highest productivity, their great flourishing when all of the knowledge they have accumulated will produce their greatest achievements.
Those of them who have fashioned a productive research life up to this point detest anybody who wastes their time and move with great effectiveness and speed through the obligations that distract them from scholarship. It’s an enormous pleasure to work with them.
Those who haven’t managed to create a productive life of research take vengeance on everybody by wasting everybody else’s time like it’s their sacred duty.
I was just in a meeting where two such academics drove everyone nuts, interrupting the speaker, giggling, throwing bits of paper at each other (sic!) and laughing, snapping and exchanging selfies, and making such a nuisance of themselves that I’m literally livid. This was a really good speaker and I wanted to hear what he had to say. But these two colleagues drowned out a good quarter of the talk.
It was not the kind of meeting that anybody is obligated to attend, by the way. If you don’t want to be there, don’t go. But to steal people’s time like this, on a Friday afternoon, is shameless.