Another Patronizing Academic Who Thinks He Knows Better

by Gordon Haber

I want to stop blogging about adjuncting because (a) there are more qualified people doing it and (b) it doesn’t earn me any money. And then something comes along that irritates me so much that I feel compelled to respond.

One A.W. Strouse wrote an op-ed for The Chronicle of Higher Education criticizing the “wild popularity of a new genre of academic writing: the graduate-student blog about the evils of graduate school.”

Let’s leave aside that absolutely nothing related to academia is “wild.” Strouse’s piece is irksome for its pompous criticism of academic peons who are sick of living in penury. What is most irksome—and inadvertently quite revealing—is that nowhere in the piece does Strouse directly address why graduate students and adjuncts are so pissed off: because they are starving.

Mr. Strouse, et al, please spare us your patronizing criticism of people who can’t pay their bills, especially when you’re trying to argue that we’re all in this together. Because we’re not.

Maybe we do need an “ethics of solidarity” between graduate students, adjuncts and tenured faculty. But there is one big problem: graduate students and tenure-track faculty are too afraid to help adjuncts, and tenured faculty do not give a shit about adjuncts.

Anyone want a bet? If you can show me one example of someone on the tenure-track or with tenure who has put his or her ass on the line to help adjuncts in any substantive way, I will upload a video of me lip-syncing to a song of your choice.

In the meantime, let’s stop criticizing the people who speak out about their own exploitation, okay? “Ethics of solidarity,” my ass.