1. For a minute or two, I thought the Chronicle had let up on the professor-bashing, and Benton does give some logical answers to his questions (albeit ones that we've mostly discussed on blogs before). But fearing that he's gone too far, he slides into his hairshirt and admonishes us to do the same:
But perhaps it is enough to say that the reason we feel more "hated" than ever is that we deserve it. Instead of collaborating, we competed with each other. We focused on our research instead of on the needs of undergraduates. We even exploited our graduate students, using their labor to underwrite our privileges, and then we relegated most of them to marginal positions as adjuncts. We waited too long to institute reforms to our profession, and now—after 40 years of inaction—the reforms are going to be forced upon us.You hear that, you academic Marie Antoinettes? It's not that education has been systematically defunded over the past forty years, or that tenure-track jobs have been decimated, or that administration and college athletics have fattened themselves at the expense of instruction. It's not even that economic conditions and laws designed by the wealthy and for the wealthy have gutted the middle class, or that the richest 1% of Americans have gone from taking in 9% of the country's income in the 1970s to 23% in 2007. Nope, it's all our fault, because while the media were breathlessly waiting to hear what we had to say, we squandered the opportunity by bickering, and being selfish, and saying "let them eat cake," and all that.
2. Feeling guilty yet? No? Maybe that's because you're not a lazy librarian. Now, the public librarians I've known have worked very hard for very little money, but Santa Clarita just privatized its libraries and outsourced the work to a foreign-owned company, L.S.S.I., whose spokesperson makes the following winsome pitch about his love of learning in wanting to run the library:
“A lot of libraries are atrocious,” Mr. Pezzanite said. “Their policies are all about job security. That’s why the profession is nervous about us. You can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement. We’re not running our company that way. You come to us, you’re going to have to work.”See, what regular librarians with a living wage and pensions do is "never have to do anything." What his workers will do for a pittance, besides enrich the pockets of investors and retire into poverty, is "work."
3. Still not convinced that the economic downturn is the fault of the college-educated middle class, with special guilt points if you're engaged in trying to keep knowledge alive? You're supposed to die if you're over 50 and don't have a job; everybody knows that. The conservative columnist Megan McArdle will show you the error of your ways in The Atlantic, but I'll let alicublog recap her two most recent posts for you:
- [McArdle] actually composed something called "Why Are The Rich So Rich?" that basically answered the question with Beats me, but it's definitely not because they have some unfair advantage!
- MEGAN McARDLE'S ADVICE FOR OLD PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS: Have more money, and get to work.
“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
Too ranty? Maybe I should take this down. Let me know.