Thursday, July 31, 2014

Winter's coming. At least, snowflakes are almost here.

November?!  I'm not even ready to think about next week.

From College Misery, November 7, 2011

bad monday morning haiku


do the last clinging
leaves know their fate as students
who failed midterm do?


november brings wind,
cold, and snowflakes: desperate
flurries far too soon.


monday morning--read,
coffee, grade, despair. my sighs
fall on bare, dark grounds.

If only my students would leave

From College Misery, September 25, 2011

pretty bad autumn sunday haiku


autumn leaves drift by
my window. plagiarism?
everyone does it.


now you can find me
by my window, my face turned
to the waning sun.

i breathe sunlight, the
breeze ruffling stacks of early
efforts, my eyes closed.

with little effort,
i am ten again, running
home to dinner, warm

autumn night. homework--
so different then--still beats
september's cadance.


yellow marks passing
time the way red marks failing
grades--autumn display.

I'm already looking forward to the first holiday of the fall semester

From College Misery, September 5, 2011

bad labor day haiku


summer's redux, short.
shadows lengthen and snowflakes
have found my office.


the wind found my sigh
and carried it to the beach.
meetings, evermore.


now i lay me down
to nap and thank the unions
for this small comfort.


I enjoy thinking about the line, "the value of right there."  In science, values are numbers so I started thinking about measuring such a thing as a lover knowing about right there.  That gives me an idea for my next research proposal...

From College Misery, August 30, 2011

bad academic haiku

temperatures rise.
nothing in nature is coincidental,
and summer lingers like your only lover
who knew the value of right there:
ah, there is verse here
all day, happiness as unexpected
as summer's redux.

Greta gets hammered

It's shaping up to be a hell of a day for me.  I could use some hammers.  Putting some people out of their misery would relieve me of my misery.

From College Misery, August 25, 2011

really bad thursday haiku


on the nature of
summer: a bird contemplates
available light.


light enough to fly
through space and time, yet havoc
hammers my inbox.


the snowflake hammers
me in august. the t.v.
says, good night, irene.


You can't stop Greta's poetry week, you can only hope to contain it

From College Misery, July 20, 2011

bad summer haiku


until today, i
thought reassigned time sounded
lovely. i was wrong.


summer. dragonfly
hovers, dashes, drowsily
returns. suddenly

i rise, scalded air,
the baptismal waves scorching
redemption into

my lungs, forcing the
grace abandoned years ago
to surface, etching

myself onto my
own skin, iridescent, wing'd, summer breaks.

A short one for the wee hours

From College Misery, June 25, 2011

small (very) bad saturday haiku

one that all?
my grateful soul survived it.
fittingly, tenure.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whiskey before beer, never fear

Get it?

From College Misery, June 8, 2011

bad humpday haiku


sweltering midweek
classroom, grumbling students...worked,
laughed, learned. ah, heat wave.


the heat waves off you
like the desperation that
i wish i could cure.


cured ham. delish, and
not political, i swear,
dude. just lunch. it's hot.


hot. hot hot hot hot
hot. sweat. "frag." "comma splice." sweat.
"thesis?" sweat. sigh. beer.

Greta gives oral hygiene advice

From College Misery, May 20, 2011

bad friday haiku (with apologies to theodore roethke)


the rains come like the
tears i shed reading essays:
slow, steady, endless.


the river rises,
carries away debris. my
office needs a flood.


may brings rain and yet...
snowflakes from last semester
flurry, furry. grades.


the whiskey on your
breath makes this proffie dizzy;
snowflake, brush your teeth.

Two Wednesday haikus in a row. Is my timing good or what?

From College Misery, May 3, 2011

hungry humpday haiku (bad, of course)


i sit, grade, sigh, yearn.
the sun taunts those who ignore
her nourishing rays.


you, so concerned. weeks,
absent. even the spring wind
blows with direction.

Nothing but our despair is deep enough to cover the pile of essays

From College Misery, April 20, 2011

really bad wednesday haiku, but only one

snow! april is the
cruelest month, this snow not deep
enough to cover

the pile of essays
begging for attention, like
small birds with open

mouths, too hardy to
freeze, too weak to survive in
any meaningful

way. dark letters, marks
against a sea of white, stones
in too-shallow snow.

May your spring break always return

I don't get the first stanza.  Any help?

From College Misery, March 12, 2011

bad midterm break saturday haiku


cuisine-challenged bridge
substructure symbionts...mmmm...
you taste like chicken.


the sun disappears as i
reach for more essays.


spring break, elusive
creature, you vanish as day
breaks, a misty waif

chased away by more
committee work, more reading,
more essays--email,

the slack of my pre-tenure
leash. poor spring break, you

delicate thing, will
you return again? if so,
retrieve my soul, please?

Half way through the week, not even up to Greta's 2012 posts

We've almost made it through February, 2011.  Phew.  Find a web page, cut and paste.  Again and again and again.  This is exhausting.  Now I know how my students feel.

From College Misery, February 27, 2011

bad sunday haiku...again


sisyphus said, "i'm
going downhill, again." i
wake. sisyphus said...


spring threatens us with
thaw, but don't you believe it:
snowflakes never melt.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not just bad. Miserable.

From College Misery, February 22, 2011

tuesday: miserable haiku


what do you want from
me? i, bottomfeeder, teach
again: subject, verb.


the returning snow
fills the little hollow place
that once housed desire.


"why you so hard? what's
wrong with you? this is bullshit."
i am overpaid.


the coffee smells like
elevation in a cup.
sadly deceiving.

Tuesday with Twitter

Step aside for a moment, Greta.  Haiku is nice and all that but there's another, more recent literary form that is equally impressive.  I speak of the Tweet.

Some weeks on Twitter are pretty slow, especially during the summer.  This was not one of those weeks.  Christ, I'm not getting any work done.

You want to know what's the hardest part of Greta Week at AWC?

Coming up with something interesting to say at the beginning of each post.  Still working on it.

From College Misery, February 6, 2011

bad sunday morning haiku


the snow day threw the
snowflakes in more ways than one.
"what's due?! and when?!! waaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!"


my chiropractor
laments the new spurs between
my shoulders. i tell

him, "this one is called,
'probation.' this one is called,
'(tor)mentor. and this

one, 'all the pretty
snowflakes.' he says, 'therapy.'
i opt for vodka.


essays to grade, no
willpower, no ambition.
it must be sunday.

A question about haiku

How do you applaud?  Clapping seems inappropriate somehow.  Snapping your fingers?  Meditate?  Just curious.

From College Misery, January 28, 2011

bad saturday haiku


my idea: you
think it looks better on you.
i can do nothing.

after tenure, will
my soul recover from years
of arbitrary

malice, seemingly
endless politics, warfare
waged with knives and smiles?


"i don't understand!"
clearly. the spine of the book
cracks when it's opened.


my winter's heart sags,
the weight of the snowflakes--real,
student--pressing hard.


another meeting?
thank heavens! bureaucracy
is better than lunch!

Start your morning off right with a haiku from Greta

Part of this nutritious breakfast.

From College Misery, January 24, 2011

bad monday morning haiku


essay one is due
today. below zero is
the temp, not the grades.

wonder how many
students won't have their drafts? "the
cold ate my homework!"


below zero does
not improve motivation--
mine, that is. coffee...


observation this
week. how much more can i make
myself resemble

you, so that i am
suitable enough to be
deemed tenure worthy?

Late Nite Greta

I once dated a girl who liked poetry.  I mean, we went on one date.  OK, not really a date, since I didn't get a chance to ask her out.  But I was about to as we walked out of class.  Here's the extent of our conversation.

Her: I like poetry.

Me:  Yeah, like what?

Her: Shall I compare thee to a summer day?

Me: Well, summer days are pretty long.  That's a good comparison, if you know what I mean.

Her: See ya.

Sorry, I just felt like sharing.  I'll stop now.  Here's Greta.

From College Misery, December 19, 2010

Bad Sunday Haiku


I count your points. Blond-
haired 'flake who begs redemption,
there is no Santa.


My inbox screams at
me, flails its monstrous arms and
stomps: Save us! Save us!


Sunday night, five days
away from mandatory
family time, I pour

the scotch and grade the
research essays: pain now, some
to look forward to.


Here at the CC,
we smile because we have to;
customer service.

Monday, July 28, 2014

All Greta, all the time

When I picked Greta for this week's reruns, I didn't realize that how prolific she was at College Misery.  Just showcasing her poetry will probably be a record number of posts for the week.  Stay tuned.

From College Misery, December 4, 2010

bad saturday haiku

a student writes of
the beauty industry; she
finds winter ugly

because we are all
"so pasty, unless we tan."
um, already brown?

aching from typing,
my hands need a vacation
from essay feedback.

aching from knowing,
my soul needs a libation,
a day spa, a nap...

...a revolution.
nclb? no child taught.
we pick up pieces.

garden > big game

From College Misery, October 9, 2010

Saturday: time for haiku

Thursday afternoon,
seething class. weekend homework?
but...but...the big game!

found on my office
door: "Bitch!" how clever you are
after six short weeks.

it is a writing
class. we write. when you groan, your
misery feeds me.

"you can't talk to me
like that!" righteous parolee,
your paper, still late.

set of comp papers.
beautiful Saturday, contest.

Roses are red, violets are blue, we get to read Greta's poetry all week.

This week's star of the Academic Water Cooler summer re-runs is Great Lakes Greta, poet laureate of College Misery.  Fun fact: Greta posted a lot of poetry at College Misery but never wrote anything about a man from Nantucket.

From College Misery, September 30, 2010

"This shit is NOT poetry!"

After a week shortened
by illness--mine--and reading
that students were
shocked/saddened/confused/pissed off
by my singular

and after having to define
pungent, urgent, discern,
rectitude, rectify, stupefy,
fortified, fixated, elixir,
elliptical, circumstantial, radiate,
lethargy, diligence, chronic,
indifferent, austere, and--for good measure,
and by no invention of my own--
sloppy, as in, "You mean, like
she's got sloppy shit?"

and after explaining
that retarded is verboten
(but, of course,
without using verboten),
and why,

and after defending
poor Robert Hayden
whose shit can NOT be poetry
because it don't even rhyme,

I find myself
on my deck
in my backyard
nursing straight orange juice,
my naked face phototropically
following the late afternoon sun, dreaming
of faraway cabana boys, bottomless
buckets of beer,
and thinking,
Man, he was right:
This shit is not poetry.
There is nothing
here that suggests rhyme, not
now, not

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday morning news [updated: fixed link and new story]

Police released details about the death of law professor and blogger Dan Markel.  Who the hell murders a professor and drives away in a Prius?

I catch plenty of worthless little shits plagiarizing lab reports in my class.  They offer the lamest excuses imaginable.  I thought they were trying to avoid punishment.  Now I know that they are preparing for a career, albeit a brief career, in politics. Here's the story of Montana Senator John Walsh's plagiarized thesis at the Army War College.  I think he'll have the opportunity to spend more time with his family in the near future.

I originally forgot to add this story to today's link-fest.  It's about how student services people deal with students' accommodations.  It's interesting but the introduction gives a taste of what drives us nuts, just in case you had forgotten.

And finally, a cute sixth grade girl steals the spotlight from some hard working assistant professor (link fixed) who helped her with her science fair.  Buddy, this is what you deserve.  Next time, help the kid figure out which paper towel absorbs the most water and get on with your job.

Here's some more advice.  When the kid gets more media attention than you, keep your fucking mouth shut.  You look like an asshole.  Nobody gives a shit about your research.  People like stories about kids being smarter than experts and stories about girls getting involved in science.  You are a supporting actor in this story.  Play your role and don't bother the star actress.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A final performance by Cal and Angry Archie

From College Misery, February 5, 2013



lyrics by Angry Archie
musical realization and ruination by Compound Cal
based on the rick rubin / johnny cash arrangement
of trent reznor's "hurt"
necessary apologies


I hurt my flakes today
To see if they still feel
I focus on the grades
The only thing that's real
Blue books in a stack
The old familiar pain
Try to grade it all away
But I remember everything

What have you become
My little flake
I see you asking me
Do I want fries with my shake
You can't pass my course
If you don't do the work
I will grade your tests
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my proffie's chair
Full of broken dreams
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The flunkees disappear
You are serving fries
I am still right here


If I could start again
A million miles away
I'd still grade your work
I would make you pay

Angry Archie wants you to finish his sentence

From College Misery, May 24, 2011

Archie's here, with a new game for old CMers

So I'm still in the Hizzy, in case you were wondering. My sabbatical is winding down. I know this because the dean called me at home today to ask for a favor. Blech. Also, I went down to campus last week to see the stack of mail in my office and count how many books the visiting person who was using it "borrowed" this time (answer, as far as I could tell, only one).

Anyway, as I was walking towards my building, I had the distinct displeasure of overhearing snippets of snowflaky conversation coming from gaggles of students walking the other way. Since I only heard the first half of a bunch of flakery, I thought I'd do a little crowdsourcing to figure out what they were really saying. So, all you have to do is insert the second clause to the following real goddamned flake sentences:

1) "I know I'm not the epitome of hygiene or anything, but ..."

2) OK, sure, I don't spend that much time in the library, but ..."

3) So then I asked for an extension, but ..."

4) Sure, I get that there's a final exam schedule and everything, but ..."

5) I know you're a total moron, but ..."

Special bonus points to anyone who can finish the sentence I spoke to the obnoxious French tourist who actually contradicted me when I politely explained that the attraction he was looking for is in a city a few hundred miles away.

"Je sais que vous n'avez pas besoin d'une guide, mais ... "

Angry Archie with more advice about advising

From College Misery, September 30, 2011

Archie here, with the latest Crampicle Hyperbole

Hey you. Yeah you. You're a crappy fucking advisor. Did anyone ever tell you that?

Now I'm not saying that the problem this column identifies doesn't exist, because, well, some of what she says describes a few of my colleagues quite well. But... how much can she be making if she is billing grad students by the hour?

Thanks, I'll be here all week.

The fucking flava:

To: Professors; Re: Your Advisees

Dear faculty members: I sell Ph.D. advising services on the open market. And your Ph.D. students are buying. Why? Because you're not doing your job.

Lest you think that by advising, I mean editing research papers and dissertations, let me disabuse you. I offer those services, but rarely am I asked for them.

And here's the fucking link.

Discuss (like you won't).

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Angry Archie on the plagiarism fight

From College Misery, July 23, 2011

Business Proffie surrenders in the face of rampant cheating

This was in the Crampicle of higher Ed, and I have to say, it made me a little queasy. As a friend of mine who works for one of the companies that every ambitious undergrad wants to work for once told me "when we see an undergrad degree in business on a resume, we read that as code for "moron" and throw the thing in the recycle bin." With that in mind, this proffie obviously shouldn't have been surprised to learn that his business students were stupid, rat-fucking, cheaters. On the other hand, he waited seven years to start enforcing any rules against cheating? So maybe business proffies are also rat-fuckers who make it harder on the rest of our sorry asses by being lax and easygoing. On the third hand, NYU uses student evals as a criterion for merit raises???? What kind of sorry-ass third-rate shitbox are they running there? (parenthetically, I know someone who teaches there, and he informs me that to his knowledge none of the departments in the Arts and Sciences use evals for that purpose, so that brings me back to my first point--business students are fucking lame, and so, apparently, are their proffies).

Anyways, without further ado, the flava:

So angry that he put the image on the left-hand side. Look out.

From College Misery, October 20, 2010

Archie does a drive-by and leaves an early thirsty in his wake.

OK CMers. Despite all the sound and fury signifying nothing that emerged in the comments, Froderick’s post about letters of recommendation, did generate a discussion about the professional ethics of writing for students. This got me thinking about other ethically tricky areas some of us face. Here’s one that I’ve been actively considering lately:

I teach at a top-ten PhD program in my discipline. We are one of the largest departments (in terms of faculty) of basket weaving, and we offer Ph.D.s in every imaginable form of basket-weaving. I have three other colleagues (four, depending on how you count) in my own field, which makes us an attractive place to do graduate work—most places only have perhaps two of us. We only admit fully-funded students, which means the departmental cohort each year is actually quite small relative to many other programs. So my immediate colleagues and I usually get to admit a single student each year, since the limited number of offers have to be spread around to all the various basket-weaving fields that the department offers.If one of the other fields underyields, we might get a crack at a second offer, but that rarely happens.

Every Fall I get anywhere from 20 to 25 inquiries from flakes of various stripes who are getting ready to apply to work with me, or with someone in my immediate field. Our little corner of the department usually gets something on the order of 50 applicants, so these inquiries represent a substantial portion of the final applicant pool. Many of them ask to speak to me over the phone, or in some cases come in for a meeting. Usually a 30 or 40 minute phone conversation or meeting is enough to tell me whether a particular person has even a snowflake’s chance in hell of being the one student we admit into our area.

So the dilemma is this: I am always up-front with them about the fact that they are competing for what amounts to a single slot. Should I also tell them to save their fifty dollars and not bother applying if it is obvious they won’t make even the first cut? Keep in mind that the administration doles out the funding packages based on how many applicants a particular department attracts. So we have a perverse interest in encouraging applications, even from students we know don’t have a prayer. Moreover, keeping the application numbers high in my own specific field helps us keep our slot from being handed over to someone else in the department who can claim that his or her field deserves more slots because it gets more applicants.

What is the right thing to do? To those of you who are in departments like mine, how do you handle it? To those of you who are not, how would you have wanted to be treated in this situation? Would you want/have wanted to know that you were just paying a fee for the privilege of getting rejection letter in return?

p.s. Stultissimus magnissimusque culeus pro cunnum purgare, aut in Latino respondum aut tu ipse pedicandum est.

How can he be Angry Archie if he's on sabbatical?

From College Misery, August 24, 2010

Top Ten Best Things About Being On Sabbatical

With apologies to The Beaker.

10. Get to sit at the computer in my underpants every day, not just Fridays. And without the harassment suits too.

9. Get to set my autoreply to “I’ll get back to you when I get back to you.”

8. Lots of pencils, lots of books, without the students’ dirty looks.

7. Get to say “not just no, but fuck no” to unsolicited requests for my time.

6. Research!!! Did I mention I get to write up the results in my underpants?

5. And with a beer in my hand.

4. Extra time to plot the destruction of my institution and everyone in it.

3. My calendar for this semester includes a plenary lecture at a Mediterranean resort, a research trip to one of the best wine regions in the world, and not much else.

2. You say that my letter of rec didn’t get there in time? Please see #9.

1. I haven’t interacted with an undergrad since May 2nd and my next interaction with one is still slightly more than a year away.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Angry Archie advises

From College Misery, July 26, 2011

Why your dissertation sucked, or will someday suck.

But on a serious note, the article does point to a fairly pervasive problem with the way that advisors and committees handle grad students and their dissertations. I've always tried to be honest, sometimes brutally so (I know, real fucking surprise there, right?) when I've been on a committee. And, of course, I'm always straight with my advisees. But when I'm not the lead advisor, I have often found that my brutal but honest advice gets drowned out by the colleagues who want to be all fucking positive. I hate those fuckers, and I hope that someday they get hit by a bus with "you're doing a GREAT JOB crossing the street" written on the front of it.

One thing the article doesn't address is the fact that English (the author is an English proffie) and History are almost the only disciplines left for which a book is still the central exhibit of the tenure file. Indeed, in some fields a book can be seen as a black mark, or pointless in comparison to journal articles. He also doesn't address the fact that at lots of English and History departments, including where he teaches, one can now substitute a certain number of refereed articles for a book. Still, I like Cassuto's columns. His advice is generally thoughtful and solid.

And for all you grad students and junior proffies out there, go buy the book he mentions. It is an invaluable tool, which I highly recommend.

Anyway, here's the fucking flava:

My last column centered on the new difficulties that graduate students face in turning their dissertations into books. Some readers responded that plenty of dissertations shouldn't be revised into books in the first place. Indeed.

and here's the fucking link.

Did I get it right this time?

OK, so sue me, but this makes me think of "Katie," if only because in one of "Katie's" RYS posts she bragged about how her committee told her that her dissertation was already good enough to be a book, which is how she had always known that she was a star.

Angry Archie, playwright

From Rate Your Students, January 28, 2009

The Angry Archie Theatre Company Presents: "My B+." A dialogue in 14 acts.

So here I am, enjoying the relative calm of the beginning of the beginning of the new semester. I escaped the lurid spectacle of the AHA and ran off to the exotic tourist destination where I do my research. Now I’m tanned, rested, and ready to rock out with my ... but I digress.

So I open my office door the tiniest of cracks for my first official office hour of the new semester confident that I’ll be able to catch a quick jet lag nap between classes, since it is way too early in the semester for snowflurries of any description. So I lean back in my Herman Miller chair, and prepare to snooze, when a knock at the door disturbs my frame of mind. In walks T, from last semester’s course, and I know my day, no, my entire semester is about to be ruined.

Me: Have a seat T. What can I do for you? [as if I didn’t already know]

T: I want to talk to you about my final grade for your course.

Me (with my best innocent look): Sure, mind if I pull up my spreadsheet and see what you earned? [as if I didn’t already know]

T: No need, I got a B+.

Me: Sounds like you did well to me. What’s the problem?

T: I don’t think I did that well. I mean, I worked really hard and all I got was a B+. I think I should get a higher grade, given how hard I worked.

Me: Well, unfortunately, your own assessment of how hard you worked is not one of the grading criteria in any of my classes, so there is not much I can do for you.

T: OK, but I also felt the grading was really inconsistent.

Me: Don’t you mean that your written work was inconsistent?

T (stammering): Uh, well, no, yes, I guess...

Me: So then I also assume that what you mean to say is that you wish your work had been consistent enough to earn you an A-, but unfortunately it was not and you are disappointed in yourself.

T: OK, I see where you are going with this, but I just can’t get a B+.

Me: Oh, and why is that? [as if I didn’t already know]

T: Because I want to go to law school.

Me: Oh, don’t worry. A law school will accept you.

T stares at me with her mouth open.

Me: Is there anything else?

T: Can I come see you next week?

Me: Sure, if it will make you feel better.

T leaves.

There are 13 weeks left in the semester, and I will bet the meager contents of my 403b that I am in for 13 more dances around the Maypole with little T. I also know that the gears in her overtaxed pea-brain are grinding away at maximum rpms to come up with a better strategy for next week. I predict the “but I really felt I learned so much in your class, which is why I was so devastated by the grade” gambit, with the “I got an A from Professor P, and everyone knows that she is a really tough grader” diversion to follow in act three, and the “if I can’t go to law school, I’ll figure out some other way to get rich” feint somewhere around act ten (and yes, a student really said that to me once).

And I also know that by the 14th act I will have destroyed her will to live and the tears will flow like warm sewage from the cloaca maxima in ancient Rome, and I will push the box of tissues I keep for just such occasions across the desk and smile pleasantly. How do I know? Because this will be the third time I've gone down this road in the last four semesters. And of course it is always over a B+. It is the curse of working at an institution where two-thirds of the undergrads are so unimaginative, that the only possible future they can dream of involves either law school or medical school. The other third used to imagine themselves in the broker training program at some investment bank, so I honestly don't know what the fuck they are thinking anymore. Maybe they are working out a panhandling strategy, or a "fries with that" strategy. I certainly could not care less.

But deep in the darkest corners of my soul I live in abject terror. Because I know that while T has no chance at the A- she so desperately covets, I secretly fear that a day will come when I will no longer have the energy to push back for 14 long and lonely office hours of pleading and protestations. The day will come when I too will embrace the University of Minnesota’s grading standards. Ooops, sorry, I forgot. They have gifted teachers who provide perfect syllabi for their hard-working little students.

Archie out. 

Let's play a game with Archie

From College Misery, June 27, 2011

A New Angry Archie Game: The Real Mail Mablib

For the doldrums of summer, inspired by the whining about links, a fun mablib game for the CM wits out there.

And by the way, if you think this post is directed at you; mocks you; minimizes you; makes sport of you; insults you; marginalizes you; and/or is intentionally mean-spirited in a highly personalized and individualized way...

you are almost certainly right. Why don't you write Fab an email of complaint.

Dear _(Noun)_,

I don't like the way you _(Verb)_ your favorites and _(verb)_ their posts and comments, while _(Gerund)_ mine. I have a lot of _(adjective)_(noun)_ _(infinitive)_ to his page, and I don't _(verb)_ the way my _(adjective)_ contributions get _(verb)_.

Also, I _verb)_ really, really _(verb)_ the _(plural noun)_ that some people post. Could you _(verb)_ those people _(infinitive)_ so that I can _(verb)_ my _(noun)_.

I was so _(adverb)_ that I showed my _(noun)_ to my friends, and they _(verb)_ that you were _(adverb)_ _(verb)_ me by _(verb)_ my _(noun)_ like that. If you continue _(infinitive)_ then I will _(verb)_ _(gerund)_ the page. Then you will be _(adverb)_ _(verb)_.

_(verb)_ you.

OK kids, go to it...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday with Twitter

Archie explains it all

From Rate Your Students, August 19, 2009

Angry Archie Arrives To Settle the Score on Salaries, and Why There's Rarified Air Above those Stinky Adjuncts.

OK RYSers, I have one question for you: what the fuck? And I’m not talking about all the people who wrote in to tell everyone else their salary. That’s just bad taste. No, I’m talking about the reactions to yesterday’s salary dump.

Let’s start with the people who thought others were lying about their six-figure salary. What rock have you been sleeping under? And it ain’t just the wankers in the professional schools either like one respondent suggested. I know some literature professors who make north of the two-fifty line. So if you didn’t know that many of your colleagues are making four or five times your salary for basically the same work, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Then there’s the guy who couldn’t believe how little the adjuncts got paid? Again, where have you been all these years, shit-for-brains? And as for the wise old tenured mentor who tells them to “just refuse the number” I’d like to ask that jackass what good that would do when there are fifty other unemployed Ph.D.s waiting in line to take that number? So, sure, they can refuse the fucking number, and watch while someone else takes the classes. At least they’ll have their pride right? What a fucking tool!

People ask me, “Archie, why are you so angry? You have a great job at a great school in a great place. Where’s the problem?” Well, the little salary discussion really wrapped the problem up in a pretty little package. This profession is full of fucking shit, and the salary dump brought it all out. Let me go out on a limb here and guess that the majority of the respondents were good-hearted people with the proper kind of left-leaning politics that most hyper-educated bozos share. You probably don’t like to shop at Walmart because of its union-busting practices, and you wouldn’t be caught dead drinking a non-fair-trade latte, right? But you are shocked to find out that there is exploitation going on here! Here’s a hint for you about what’s going on in our little corner of the world: Walmart could learn a thing or two from you, Mr. “just refuse the number.”

Let’s review for a second. How do you think you got your 2/2 load? It wasn’t because of your supreme meritoriousness. And it isn’t a birthright that those of us like you and me who have the good fortune to teach at good schools enjoy because we are oh-so-fucking-special. It is actually a fairly new development in American higher ed. The administrations went to the faculty and said “you are such wonderful shiny research machines, and we’d like to reward you for being so utterly super. So here’s a 2/2 load, and we’ll just go get some desperate unemployed person to pick up the classroom slack for you.” I mean, what could be better right? Except that then the administrations said to the departments, “oh, that tenure track line, you don’t need that anymore right? I mean we have all those happy adjuncts to teach those classes now.” And the departments said nothing, because they were happy with their 2/2 loads and their research budgets. It was a Hobbesian social contract. Once the departments subscribed to it and accepted the new order, everyone who came after was bound by the new order forever more.

So this is the ugly fucking truth. You, me, all of us, we get to live the vida-fucking-loca on the backs of all those desperate suckers who just want to get their foot in the door and will accept wages a supermarket cashier would spit at because they believe that somehow if they just suck it up and eat shit for long enough, they too will get to ride the tt train. But we don’t acknowledge this, because it would break our little leftist hearts to do so. And what’s more, our refusal to acknowledge what is happening is going to result in our own extinction. If you don’t think that this is all leading to the elimination of tenure and full-time positions at all but the most elite schools, then you are in for a serious surprise. Keep fiddling, motherfuckers, because Rome is already half-burned.

And here’s the real kicker. This state of things leads to little shit-lickers like Ivy and his pal Gonorrhea, or whatever her fucking name was, saying “teaching is for losers, and I’m too good to do it.” Two months ago this pair of short-strokers was getting reamed by their advisors and everyone else in exchange for some miserly little grad stipend. Now they got some shit-job at Ozarks mining college and suddenly they’re too good for all that? I mean Gonorrhea had the audacity to say she just handed it off to her “assistant” so she could get one with the real work of research in her “narrow but incredibly important” field. I guess it’s true what they say, if you want someone to really crack the whip, just hand that motherfucker to one of the subalterns and watch the blood fly. They’ll turn on their peers like no one’s business.

So blame the president, the legislature, the football coach, and whoever else you want. Just don’t blame yourself, because that would be too much like fucking honesty. Why is Archie angry? Because this profession is full of self-deluding assholes who are enjoying the view because they are standing on the stacked cadavers of a bunch of failed gradflakes and freeway adjuncts. The breeze smells fresh up here fellas, just don’t look down.


From Rate Your Students, December 25, 2008

Angry Archie from Allentown Dusts Off the Wiki Generation.

Archie, one of this year's convention correspondents, is off to a big convention in a frozen solid city somewhere. But on his way he's filed this wacky wiki post that we'd like to share with you. We think we're in love with him.

Raise your hand if you know about the Job Wiki. If you don’t, check it out: it is an unguided tour through the rocky shoals of upper-division snowflakiness. I discovered the thing because some of my grad-flakes mentioned it to me. Big mistake that was. Don't they know never to let their flake-flag fly in public?

Anyway, I’m on a search committee this year, so I went to see what the world of wiki-flakes was saying about our search. Afterwards I felt dirty and soiled, kind of like when you slow down to rubberneck at the scene of an accident and what you see is an 86 Camaro that rear-ended an 86 Mazda pickup, and two dudes with mulletts who just escaped from the trailer park and clearly have no insurance are duking it out because they both wanted to play real-life Grand Turismo 5 on the freeway at rush hour. So to spare you the pain, or perhaps to get you to go rubber-neck too, I am offering the following guide to the job wiki. Caveat Emptor: I looked at the wiki in my discipline, but it looks like there is one for every discipline. So just choose your particular poison and enjoy snowflakery at its finest.

The putative purpose of the wiki is to disseminate information that those evil search committees refuse to share with the precious and sensitive little applicants. People post when they get solicited for additional material, or when they are called for a conference interview or campus visit. Some people post really useless queries like “so who has heard what they are looking for?” as if any of the other grad-flakes on the wiki would know, and as if this information would actually be helpful given that the committee members won't really know until they actually dive into the giant pile of raw sewage otherwise known as the search files. Then other wiki-flakes respond with totally inaccurate information—at least in the case of the search I’m on—but they state it with such conviction that all the other wiki-flakes believe them.

Going back through the search files, I can now see exactly who the ten credulous knuckleheads who like to check the wiki are, because rather than respond to the ad we posted, they applied for the job the other shifty snowflake who was talking out his ass described. So here’s a hint to get you through the day fucknuts: when you write your letter, respond to the ad, not to what some shitneck who very probably wants you to fail posted on the wiki. Haven't you ever heard of sample size? We got just south of 200 applicants for our job, while there are probably fifty people engaging in a non-stop circle jerk on the wiki, only five of whom were applicants to our job. They can't know anything of any use and neither can you, so stop pretending you can. You are like conspiracy theory whackos who only talk to other likeminded idiots.

Job searches are not linear. That is to say, writing samples turn out to be insanely bad, conference interviewees wet their pants in the interview room in ways you never thought possible, and campus finalists turn out to be raving alcoholics who can’t hold it together for the entire q&a session without self-medicating in front of the whole room. You cannot conclude anything from the fact that we solicited circle-jerker number two for writing on November the 4th . You just can’t. And if you do, you are laboring under a serious misapprehension about how the whole process works. We might still call you, and we might be willing to take you seriously, but now you’ve done gone and fucked the dog, by convincing yourself that you are second or third string because you read it from one of the other onanistic conspiracy theorists on the wiki. Then you show up and act all sullen because you've decided we suck, when we were probably desperate to find even one candidate who is able to answer the simplest and most direct questions about his or her work without drooling on the floor, going off on idiotic tangents, or lapsing into a convulsive fit of uhms and aahs while stalling for time. See how that works? Everybody loses unless you just say no to the wiki-crack.

But to witness the real grad-flakiness in action, go to the discussion section of the wiki. This is where the little weasels go to cry about how they have sand in their panties and the search committees are all a bunch of big nasty unfeeling bullies. Among the things these little wiki-flakes would like are personalized rejection letters in which the committee explains the specific, individualized reasons for their rejection. I have never seen so many pussies sitting around complaining about not getting a rejection letter before.

Here's another hint to get you through tomorrow, schlongmeier: if a couple of years go by and you haven't heard from us, you can pretty much stop daydreaming about what it would be like to have the office next to the men's room in our building. You really don't need a piece of letterhead to tell you that. How does that soften the blow anyway? Do you really want me to tell you that you could be Edward Fucking Gibbon reincarnated and it wouldn’t matter because the dissertation topic you chose is so fucking lame that I couldn’t get through the first paragraph of your job letter without choking on my bagel? Or do you really want to know that your writing sample sucked worse than Greg the Grade-Grubber’s undergraduate thesis, and I don't give a fuck that it got accepted at the southern states quarterly newsletter for retarded librarians, and that at this point I'm mostly curious to know exactly what kind of heroin your dissertation committee was mainlining before your defense? Or do you really want to know exactly how you wet your pants in the interview room and how big the stain was?

If you stop and think about it for a minute, you probably already know, so hearing it from me on letterhead would just serve to further humiliate you. Or would it help to know that you seemed pretty competent, but there was this other person who was just a little more competent, or whose research we liked just a little better, or who filled a bigger hole in the department than the one you would have filled, or who had a book out and another in press, and that I actually think you will get a job sooner or later? Maybe it would, but you would just reject that as bullshit boilerplate, so why should I fucking bother? You either don’t want to know, or you wouldn’t believe me anyway.

Hey man, the job market sucks. I tell every under-flake who comes into my office wanting to become a grad-flake that they are in for seven or eight years of poverty and humiliation in grad school, plus another two or three post-doc years of job searching before they will be able to dream of a regular paycheck that might cover their expenses; that they will likely fail at some stage; and that their grad school won't give crap, because by grading papers and running sections/labs they will have fulfilled their function as the academic equivalents of the Guatemalan dishwasher over at Wendy's.

If no one told you all that, well shame on them. If you didn’t figure it out on your own by the end of your first year of grad school, then you are a fucking sub-moron or you weren’t paying attention while Big-Name-U was reaming you without even offering you a courtesy reach-around. The truth is that you all knew what you were getting into, but you just figured you would be the one to beat the odds. Now the odds are giving you the beat-down of a lifetime, so you are blaming me for the fact that you spent most of a decade in deep denial about the viability of your shitty dissertation about the cultural semiotics of Joe Namath, and are now entering the phase of deep denial about the fact that you got a pity-pass from your heroin-addled dissertation committee, none of whom had the heart to give you a little reality-check. Perhaps it is a testament to the bitterness of the readership of RYS that one of the whiners in the discussion section of the wiki posted a link to it as an illustration of what a shitty profession this is and what assholes we, the people with jobs are.

Then there’s this guy who decided to put his wiki-generated disillusionment to work in a righteously indignant blog. I was with him right up until the point when he pulled the “white men can’t get academic jobs anymore” line out of his pants and started spraying the walls, just like my Camaro-driving cousin does to his trailer after a couple of six packs of Busch lite. But that’s another story. He also lost me when he petered out after five pathetic days and four posts. Five days? That’s all you’ve got bitch? If that’s all the concentrated rage and indignation you could muster after eight years of getting bent over the desk, then I can pretty much tell you why you ain’t getting a job this year ... or ever. You lack stamina son. If you don’t believe me, ask your girlfriend, if you have one after eight years in grad school. Or did you stop posting your rage because you got called for an interview at Southern Ozarks Mining College (school motto: where students go for reading knowledge), and now the sun is shining on your ass again? Either way, you suck donkey ass and so does the job wiki.

Bite me,