Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Oh God, Do I Sound Like This?

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.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I was apalled that she actually thinks she's brilliant on the blog. I am shocked that she is this age and seems unaware of what colleagues, deans, the administration, and students likely think of her: a self-absorbed flake who seems to be in heaven that she's being paid attention. she seems to be thriving on the scandal and seeking out attention. I notice that she's not tenured and I'm not surprised. Anyone who has so little understand of how to promote their work without looking like a self-aggrandizing fool shouldn 't get very far.

And honestly? people who feel the need to call themselves Dr.? It makes me want to vomit at how absurd they sound.

I often feel the same way about BitchPhD, btw. She trots out reams of information about her personal life. clearly, she's been outing herself over the last few months. she's got tenure but appears to have dreams of moving to a sexier university.

She's delusional to think that a university would hire her once they read the juicier gabfests on that blog. The hiring committee will rush to the nearest computer, read the best parts, smirk and immediately toss her application into the dustbin of history.

Rufus said...

I've haven't read very much of BitchPhD. What I have seen wasn't really in the same league of ridiculousness as DYB. Honestly, I think blogs are going to be goofy because, let's face it, none of us are really so important that we need to be posting our journals on the Internet!

This is why I don't see the drivel I post here as a stepping stone to academic fame. Actually, I think academic fame should be an oxymoron. It's sad how seriously scholars take themselves.

As for tenure, I can't hope to understand the process behind it. We've had people at our University who were here for fifteen years before getting tenured. Maybe the students really do love her, and maybe the school doesn't much care. The kid who wants her fired claims never to have taken a class with her. I think we all just need to get some hobbies!

Abonnova said...

Hmmmm, I think that for most of us in academia who venture into blogging, some things are better left covered up, whether it be our names or our breasts? or maybe even our titles. I haven't felt the need to trot any of them out yet, but then, I'm new to all this. Enjoyed your comments.

Rufus said...

Yeah, I think it's probably best to go anonymous. We represent our institutions in some sense. Although, I'm not sure that isn't overemphasized at times.

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