View Full Version : The unfortunate marks of our 'Ivory Towers'

04-11-2003, 01:23 PM
Because our 'professors' have spent their entire lives locked in dusty libraries, they have very little connection to the life the rest of us live. I'm thinking of a particular forumite, but it applies to many.


1) Ideas and images, impressed by orthodoxy, color everything

2) A strange 'secure' insecurity. If you have a Phd you will likely have work, but in order to be embraced you have to publish within a narrow orthodoxy.

3) Stupidity regarding how most people live. These folks live mostly in their heads, so the yeasty real lives of people are, for all practical purposes, useless, beneath contempt. At the best amusing.

4) Unhappiness. Living in their heads, in their rational thought, they always see a terrible 'thing' just ahead.

5)Unctious superiority. They're better educated, doncha know.

6) Classification. Their entire lives have been devoted to it. Deconstruction merely one more attempt

7) Lack of human warmth. They know! Any dispute is to be settled with argument rather than love.

8) Empathy is empty, fueled by the same isolated mind, and made sickening by fancy words.

I'm sure you can come with more. There are many. And be warned, we are all subject to these foibles of authority.


[ 04-11-2003, 03:01 PM: Message edited by: ishmael ]

Bruce Taylor
04-11-2003, 01:38 PM
He he. Having a go at the profs. today? Here's Yeats:

The Scholars

Bald heads forgetful of their sins,
Old, learned, respectable bald heads
Edit and annotate the lines
That young men, tossing on their beds,
Rhymed out in love's despair
To flatter beauty's ignorant ear.

All shuffle there; all cough in ink;
All wear the carpet with their shoes;
All think what other people think;
All know the man their neighbour knows.
Lord, what would they say
Did their Catullus walk that way?

04-11-2003, 03:07 PM
Broad brush....

Alan D. Hyde
04-11-2003, 03:14 PM
Well done, Bruce.

It's hard to go wrong quoting Yeats. :D


Bruce Taylor
04-11-2003, 03:17 PM
Broad brush....Plenty o' tar, too!

Bruce Taylor
04-11-2003, 03:24 PM
And from Ted Roethke:


The stethoscope tells what everyone fears:
You're likely to go on living for years,
With a nurse-maid waddle and a shop-girl simper
and the style of your prose growing limper and limper.

Ian McColgin
04-11-2003, 03:33 PM
I ran down a list of profs I know and the profs, mostly now retired or dead, with whom I studied years back and I could not actually name any who lived up to your stereotypes here.

Perhaps I was lucky.

04-11-2003, 03:40 PM
I also sat and thought about my experiences, interactions and relationships while at various (10) colleges/universities as a student, employee or community member...couldn't come up with a prof that fit any of your 'marks'. Not to say there weren't some with whom I disagreed or simply didn't like and/or respect. But, that list of yours -- no hits.

Bruce Taylor
04-11-2003, 03:41 PM
I guess I've been lucky too, Ian. The academics I've known (and been!) have seemed no worse, as a class, than the stockbrokers and lion-tamers.

But the stereotypes on Jack's list are old, old. old. The idea that an excess of learning can lead us astray is particularly tenacious. The last words of Marlowe's Faustus as the Devils are dragging him to Hell: "I'll burn my books!"

[ 04-11-2003, 04:44 PM: Message edited by: Bruce Taylor ]