[Marxism] Fwd: Sixteen years in academia made me an a-hole - Salon.com

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 20 07:20:37 MST 2015

“How do you deal with these people?” a colleague’s spouse asked me one 
night. We were smoking on a porch in the dead of winter, shivering 
through our conversation. There was snow everywhere. I had been quietly 
listening to two white dudes from the philosophy department alternate 
between a discussion of Heidegger’s “Being and Time” and reminiscences 
of traveling to Paris in the summer for research, how wonderful the city 
was and how hard it had been to return to the provincial United States. 
In my head, which had started to throb, I was thinking, “You guys have 
it real hard here, don’t you?” Another guy from the English department 
launched into a monologue about his recent publication in some fancy 
academic journal.  No one seemed impressed. No one there seemed 
impressed by anything other than themselves.

“Oh my god, have you read so-and-so’s book? It’s terrible. She doesn’t 
understand Deleuze at all. I can’t believe Harvard published her!”

I looked at my colleague’s spouse, a bit tipsy. “Save me,” I mouthed.

We went inside. There was a glass of wine in her hand. “Here,” she said. 
“Sedate yourself. It won’t make it stop but it will numb the pain.”

We started talking and laughing. And that was when it hit me. I was 
someone who always made friends outside academia, who would rather 
engage with the spouses or bartenders and servers I encountered than the 
fancy senior faculty around the table. It was suddenly clear; I would 
rather be a waitress than an academic.


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