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(Yet Another) Academic Blogger

October 18, 2006, 1:03 am

I have a lot of doubts about blogging, but I think that it is about time that there was a space out there for academics to rap with each other about what we think the university ought to be used for and what we are doing in it.

For those of you who aren’t academics — this is called Tenured Radical because long ago, when the new right decided to undermine the intellectual foundations of the nation, one of the big charges made by radical neocons was that universities were full of “tenured radicals” who were indoctrinating the youth of America. The not so big secret, of course, is that universities and their faculties are far from radical, and that tenure is one of the features of university life that makes academics cautious at best, conservative at least.

We need to change that.

Those of you who aren’t academics will also want to know what tenure is: well, let’s save that for a later post, as I am just setting this blog up. But in short it means — after going through a terrible process, where everyone judges you, at the end of it, if you succeed, you have a job for life. For life. Really. Even the United Auto Workers can’t give anyone that anymore. Unless they close the whole damn school (which has happened) or a president is willing to take a sanction from the professional body (which has happened) you have a job for your whole damn life.

Now you would think that would make people happy, wouldn’t you? Or at least cause them to want to have some influence. But if you keep reading this blog, you will get some insight into the mysteries of the system, and what kind of people folks turn into if they don’t keep ironic distance.

That’s why I’m blogging. Ironic distance. That’s why you should comment, ask questions, get the discussion rocking. Because frankly, boys and girls, being an academic isn’t as much fun as it used to be, and I think we need to do something to change that.

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