Sunday, May 03, 2015

Patton Explains Academe

It is a huge lecture hall.  An image saying “Speak truth to the powerless” dominates the screen.  Patton emerges from his grave.

Be paupers.

Now I want you to remember that few PhDs ever get the job they really wanted. They get used to taking a job at some college where they feel under-placed.

Now, all this stuff about there not being many jobs, much less tenure-track jobs, is absolute gospel. Colleges love to exploit PhDs.  Most real colleges love to make you adjuncts.

When you were undergrads you all admired the coolest lecturer, the trendy scholar, the big deal professors, the erudite intellectuals.  Honors students love to apply to grad school and cannot be dissuaded.  Applicants overestimate their chances all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for your chances of ever getting benefits.  That’s why adjuncts have never gotten, and will never get a living wage. Because the very thought of paying a decent wage is hateful to administrators.

Now, tenured faculty like to complain on your behalf.  They talk, fume, and pretend to sympathize with your plight. This "we’re all in this together" stuff is a bunch of crap.  The Ivy League bastards who feign indignation in the Chronicle of Higher Education don’t know any more about real job inequities than they do about teaching eight courses a year.

Now you have the most unrealistic expectations, the best intentions, and the worst career path in the world.  You know, by god I actually pity you starry-eyed saps, by god I do.  We’re not going to just crush your spirit. We’re going to remove your grip on reality and make you TA’s to speed the progress of our research.  We’re going to exploit you gullible chumps by the bushel.

Now some of you innocents, I know, are thinking you’ll get a decent job.  Don’t count on it.  I can assure you that you will all get screwed to the wall.  Administrators will be your enemy. Cower before them. Take their crap.  Get ulcers in your belly.  When you get a salary cut, that a fortnight before was a solemn promise you wouldn’t, you’ll know you were screwed.

Now there's another thing I want you to remember. Administrators don't want to get any messages saying you need decent benefits. They’re not giving you anything. Let your parents do that. They are proliferating constantly and they’re not interested in paying anyone -- except themselves. They’re going to grab you where it hurts, and they’re gonna blow smoke up your ass. They’re gonna exploit the hell out of you all the time, and they’re gonna tell you fairy tales like a sociopathic Mother Goose!

Now there’s one thing that you will be able to mumble to yourself in your cramped apartment, and you may thank your vague spirituality for it. Twenty years from now, with your dead end job still crushing your soul, and the creditors at your door, and you wonder what the hell did you do with your life, you won’t have to think:  “Well, at least I didn’t teach online courses for Take Their Money U.”

All right now you human beings, you know I don’t care.

Oh.  I will be proud to lead you gullible fools down the garden path any time I can get my readings course to subscribe.

That’s all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This must be about the humanities again. My discipline can't hire PhDs fast enough.