« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

Sunday, 20 January 2008

End of an Error

For the present administration, such an error would in many ways be procedurally (and more importantly, psychoanalytically) consistent. end of article

Thursday, 10 January 2008


Networks undo teleology.

Wednesday, 02 January 2008

After Creating New Syllabi1

If I didn't mention it already, the academic conference blog is now an official subgenre. Quoting:

Shuttle Bus Service

A free shuttle service will operate between Professional Courtesy and Thinly Veiled Contempt. Buses will also stop at Ambition, Exhaustion, and Horniness.

end of article

Detail of MLADE Convention Guide Hotel Map


1 I'll try my own description of MLA 2007 in Chicago, IL.

Tuesday, 01 January 2008

Someone's Breathing

I know the identity of Pseudonymous Graduate Student.1 I also believe, though I'm not sure, that P.G.O.A.T. and nth Year are her, too.

I sent Pseudonymous Graduate Student the following email:

Dear Pseudonymous Graduate Student

Ms. [. . .]:

After connecting your writing style with a comment I presume you made anonymously it took me all of five minutes to find your real identity.

The point I would like to make again is that raising people's ires (aka trolling) by using "inflammatory vulgarities" is a really bad idea. As I said in one of my comments to your post "Cut that shit out.", such thoughtlessness will only make people want to find you, this email being a case in point.

Good luck to you in your job search, Ms. [. . .], and a happy new year.

Johnnie Wilcox
aka mistersquid

end of article
1 I have no intention of outing the candidate in question and will ignore requests for information.

Damned spot

Three graduate students in philosophy have begun an anonymous blog where they have found the courage to decry the heartache that is their job market. There are a thousand things I'd like to cover regarding the protocol of the philosophy job market, especially the ritualized and unavoidable "smoker" to which interviewees must subject themselves. I have to say that given the disaster American philosophy has made of itself since John Searle rose to prominence, I am not surprised that American philosophers do not have good sense to discontinue a custom that is degrading, bewildering, and futile.1 While little good could come of such a degrading procedure whose very name proclaims its kinship with elitist secret societies one might have believed extinct, harm is practically guaranteed.

Wanna bet?

The quasi-anonymous audience of this new blog (bets on the name of the story to come?) has begun speculating, in-thread, about the identities of the Philosophy Job Market Blog authors. The authors, like three whining children, have warned their audience to stop such speculation. Given that one author has designated herself as "Prettiest Girl Of All Time" with a chest shot that begs viewers to "guess who?", that the three of them publish flavorless obscenities, and that their regard of colleagues, superiors, and themselves amounts to an extended sneer, I hope the identities of the authors is quickly revealed so they can be fully rewarded for their efforts.

In a comment of my own, I said

Pseudonymous authorship is interesting for many reasons, including the discovery of an author's real identity. Reprimanding and threatening a blog audience is next to useless and almost certain to backfire.

My advice is that you moderate your comments or close the comments thread. Either one will diminish the amount speculation on-site which undoubtedly fuels the desire-to-know/impulse-to-out.

If you are unwilling or unable to moderate your comments, you might consider altering the register of your comments. To think through your posts with greater care and stop using anonymity as a haven from which to snipe at potential colleagues, deride professional practices, and spout inflammatory vulgarities.

If you throw garbage on the heads of passersby, people are going to try to find where you are. If you put effort into generating conversation that were your identities revealed your reputation would be enhanced rather than finding you "fucked over," you wouldn't be so terrified of having your identifies revealed.

Now is probably a good time for the authors of Philosophy Job Market Blog to consider Dan Cohen's thoughtful discussion regarding "The Perils of Anonymity." end of article

UPDATE: In the comments thread a coward an anonymous commenter explains to me that my

insinuation that the authors of this blog are inappropriately "hiding" behind their anonymity so that they can make nasty comments indicates a lack of understanding of how precarious their position is. Either that, or you just don't think there should be any forum in which people can vent these sorts of frustrations without suffering disproportionately severe consequences.

Overall, your comments inspire the following "inflammatory vulgarities": Tenured much, asshole? Why don't you fuck off back to the Leiter blog?

In response to that anonymous respondent (whom I suspect is one of the blog authors), I posted the following comment which as of this writing awaits approval.

Also on my blog, I recommend readers (and the authors of this blog) to consider Dan Cohen's comments on the subject of anonymous academic blogging.

I do see the usefulness of giving expression to the sentiments in this blog. For my own part, I read the posts of this blog's authors as a symptom caused by a very broken academic job market. The posts don't bring to light many new ideas and one of their salient features is vulgarity.

An trenchant, thoughtful, and curse-laden indictment of academic philosophers who perpetuate the insane ceremony all of you call the "smoker" would be, to my mind, a better professional move.

I'm not saying be polite or meek. I do think, however, that quality of writing and thought should increase, not decrease, with anonymity, especially if the possibility of being unmasked is high, which in the present case it very much is.

1 I am, of course, conveniently omitting American philosophers such as Judith Butler, Daniel C. Dennett, Richard Rorty, and Cornel West, all of whom invalidate my snipey little potshot.

« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »