The Experiment

In the closing weeks of 2017, I conducted a mental experiment. I imagined I was working for a less obscure college somewhere on the coasts. And the result was that I couldn’t write anything at all on the blog. I’m sure everybody here noticed. There’s nothing I want to say that can survive the censorship that exists in those places. 

If I hadn’t come to work here, in the deep Midwest, 9 years ago, I would have thought that this kind of area is where fanaticism and intolerance live. But now I know different.


8 thoughts on “The Experiment”

    1. As a literary critic, I can’t tell you how saddened and horrified I am about this institution of “sensitivity readers.” I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but that’s exactly how it was done in the USSR. And the literature in Russian was destroyed as a result. It no longer exists. Nobody killed or persecuted Russian-language writers (unlike the Ukrainian, etc). They just disappeared because of this form of censorship. Why Americans are adopting the worst Soviet practices is an absolute mystery. It’s horrible, it’s a proven disaster. Why do something that had been proven to fail all over the world?

      I don’t get it.


  1. I thought you were just busy. But those kinds of institutions are awful, I mean the private ones, at least. I am pretty much for their abolition, i.e. nationalization, public-ization, I think. Along with the reversal of privatization in public institutions.


    1. I don’t think it matters whether they are public or private. People are hounded equally badly in either kind. This hounding is a result of job scarcity in white collar professions. But nobody wants to admit that, and so people hide behind these quasi ideological concerns. The truth is simply that it’s same old dog-eat-dog capitalist fight against surplus labor.


      1. Well, it was WAY better in the coastal publics I’ve been at than at the coastal private. Of course, the coastal public I worked for FTE was R1 and the private was an elite college (not university) so the college vs. university issue may be a difference as well. Where I am now, a weak R2 in central time, has the most in common with that private, because they both have localism and provincialism in common and are very defensive about the R1 next door.


      2. On the hounding though, the kind you’re talking about, I guess it does get worse the more elite you get. The private place I hated was very elite and it was full of Easterner faculty from all-private super-elite places who created a lot of insecurity and intrigue. And spied on each other. I also remember some people at my graduate institution, a public Ivy, being insanely destructive because of the job market, yes; and while I know that the tenure process is wearing in many places I would say the job market is much moreso / is what really does damage.


  2. I think the major universities and colleges are better-known and get more international attention, hence more concern with reputation.
    Which means more anal about how they present themselves.


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