Me and Me

This is snowflakery taken to the absolute extreme. The author of the linked piece argues in the Chronicle that it should be OK not to cite in your academic work people who are jerks. Of course, the highly scholarly term “jerk” can be applied to absolutely anybody, including the linked author. This can be a great excuse for people who are not well-read and don’t follow developments in their field.

“Why didn’t you cite all these scholars who have published extensively on your subject?”

“Because they are jerks! Everybody but me is a total jerk, so my scholarship is a dialogue between the only two worthy individuals in academia, me and me.”


11 thoughts on “Me and Me”

  1. Galileo sent his daughters to a convent. Einstein cheated on his wives and was not that attentive to his severely ill son.

    I will therefore no longer discuss the theory of relativity (to which Galileo actually made substantial contributions) in my classes.


    1. Cervantes was a dick to his wife. Quevedo hated women and Jews. Lope was a rake. The entire Latin American literature is filled with racist, sexist, and homophobic statements. We need to ban my whole job, it seems, because I can’t find any writer who didn’t at some time say or do something to wound the sensibilities of flakey American academics.


  2. It’s at least encouraging to see that the comments are (so far) almost unanimous in opposing the idea.

    The test will come when some mob tries to get an editor fired for backing up a reviewer who insists that an article must cite some important work in its field to be accepted.


  3. If you look closely enough (and for many, not all that close), everyone has been a huge jerk at one time or another, and done something truly horrible. Just try to find one adult who hasn’t. You can’t.


    1. Everybody in the world is somebody else’s jerk. What I don’t get is how it is possible for the proponents of this moral purity censorship not to realize it. It’s like an extreme form of narcissism where people honestly think they are absolutely perfect.


    1. Extend this argument to Bill Cosby and his dilemma …
      …which brings up an interesting question: How would Galileo, Cervantes, and Einstein have managed in a social climate similar to our current-day model?


      1. “Extend this argument to Bill Cosby…”

        Or extend this argument to Harvey Weinstein. The company that he led has now renamed itself (properly), but it’s also taken his name off the credits of all the successful shows that he produced, while it continues to run them and enrich itself as a result of his work.

        Okay, Weinstein’s a bastard who doesn’t deserve sympathy. But if the company doesn’t want to give him the credit for the work that he did, then it shouldn’t be displaying those works.

        “Smithsonian Magazine” had a recent article quoting excepts from Einstein’s diary revealing that when the renowned physicist visited Japan, his opinion of Asians was contemptuous and by today’s standards, clearly racist.

        So should we now call Einstein’s Theory of Relativity the “Theory of Doctor X”?


  4. You can see citation as a reward for the scholar being cited, or as a way of honestly tracing the origination and transmittal of an idea. So I turned out to be a jerk, you’d have to cite someone who came up with my idea (probably after me!) and probably cited me honestly, but you would just leave out the origin of the idea. It is pretty dishonest. That, plus the infinite flexibility of jerkiness, would mean an end to honest citation.


    1. That ship has sailed. Your tenure/promotion/raise depends in increasingly large part upon citations machine generated, so citations ARE a reward, and people aren’t trained any more to look for the origin of an idea.


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