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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.



Yikes- I went and read the post you're talking about and the very interesting discussion in the comments. What no one in the comments said is that one of the basics of blogging is not to alienate your readers if, in fact, readers are what you want. Those philosophers ARE a bit self-righteous!