Well, the latest bit of academic gossip involves Dr. Diana Blaine, an assistant professor of Women's Studies who got sucked into a tiny media whirlpool over the topless photos of herself that she posted on Flicker. Before you think that this is the sort of fluffy American controversy that the French would snicker at, remember that she linked to them on her website, which includes a number of poorly written articles on being topless in public. "It was the most intense spiritual connection I have ever experienced. I felt my god, big time." Awesome!
Okay, well the French would probably still snicker at this manufactured controversy. Remember, these are the people that invented the French marriage. And they'd probably also spit on her God in a very snooty way.
For me, I'm equally amused by the wimpy students who felt they needed to tattle on her topless twaddle to the TV talkers, the News program that felt this was a serious issue (hubba! hubba!), and the doctor herself, whose next penetrating scholarly work is going to fill the crucial gap in academic literature over the issue of whether or not Diana Blaine is going to get breast implants. What? Seriously? Yes way! Totally awesome!
Which brings me to the topic of academic blogs. All I could think when I read her blog was: "This is why I use the fake name!" Because, trust me, I know how stupid I sound most of the time on here. I can't imagine being narcissistic enough to use this drivel to promote my academic career. Sure, I would love to write sparkling and brilliant gems here on a regular basis, but I'm not that clever. And also I have to write things out by hand if I want them to be anything but pure merde. So, I post silly ideas here, and then let them die.
I see a blog as a place where you can toy with ideas that aren't part of your professional life. What's embarassing about Dr. Diana's blog is not that most of her writing comes of as Bridget Jones goes to College. To quote: "Didn't these women do the right thing by surgically altering themselves so that all the men stare after them like salivating dogs? What if getting all that male attention is the key to happiness? How dare I think for myself and flaunt these little floppy titties?" Although I have to wonder why feminists so often thrive on female weakness. It's sort of a gendered slave morality.
But, again, I realize that most of the stuff I post here is dreadful. Just silly rambling nonsense. What makes me cringe about Dr. Diana's blog is that she doesn't seem to know the difference between serious academic work and teenage diary entries. The culture so often rewards triviality, frivolousness and self-absorbed frippery that she sees these things as being just as important (gosh darn it!) as those farty old academic virtues- clear writing, serious and penetrating thought, and patience. Is there any question that she'll probably wind up adapting this tripe into a book?
Is this our culture's curse? Total discomfort with anything serious or sincere? Do we have to dumb everything down just to communicate with each other? Is this what we're going to start getting from academics- pretending to be Gidget? It's all so depressing.