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(Slate)   English major accepts reality, inquires if thou dost desire a portion of a potato-based comestible of substantial magnitude with thine meal   (slate.com) divider line 124
    More: Obvious, Ph.D., Ron Rosenbaum, English, literature, Kafka, meals  
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8070 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Apr 2013 at 3:55 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-05 04:37:46 PM

Copper Spork: The_Original_Roxtar: don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.

If you're doing a subject where it comes down to opinions, you're doing the wrong subject.


I majored in Fark.
 
2013-04-05 04:37:57 PM
I don't see the problem. Someone with her qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries.
 
2013-04-05 04:40:55 PM

jjorsett: I don't see the problem. Someone with her qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries.


This magnificent feast represents the last of the petty cash.
 
2013-04-05 04:42:19 PM

HailRobonia: Tommy Moo: I for one support the elimination of tenure, as it encourages professors to work very hard for a few years and then sit on their asses for 40.

This only works if everyone gets rid of tenure. If you get rid of tenure and another institution keeps it, then they will get all the talented folks.


Not if you offer a higher salary for the top talent. Then it becomes self-screening. The lazy schemers who are plotting to spend 40 years jerking off as soon as they trick some department into granting them tenure will go where there is tenure, and the people who plan to work hard for their entire careers will go where they are offered the highest salaries, because they know that they won't need tenure to keep their jobs.
 
2013-04-05 04:43:36 PM
FTA: *Correction, April 5, 2014: This essay originally misspelled William Pannapacker's last name.

It's from the future!
 
2013-04-05 04:43:44 PM

The_Gallant_Gallstone: pedobearapproved: we? you don't pay them anything. go suck on a lemon.

/maybe you shouldn't have dropped that econ 101 class.

I guess you blinked out of existence momentarily during the heady months of 2008.

Some unprecedented taxpayer largesse was rendered unto the Titans of Private Enterprise.


Once, to a few corporations, and I thought he POTUS learned a hard days crying lesson from that about how when you just give a private corporation money they will do anything with it they want including flying private jets to your meeting where they tell you to your face to suck it. Which is why they should have gone down in the flames of reorgainzation and asset selloff.
 
2013-04-05 04:44:36 PM
A humanities degree is a joke.  If you go to college admissions and say "What's the fastest, easiest way for me to get a degree?", they will steer you towards history, English, or Poly Sci faster than anything else.  There's a reason why most of the guys in my wife's ROTC program were one of those three degrees.
 
2013-04-05 04:45:17 PM
quietwalker:

My only surprise about this is how many people dupe themselves into believing otherwise.  As if a 70k-120k debt will easily be paid off by someone with a graduate degree in 12'th century persian bathroom graffiti(*), who's 30 years old with no applicable job skills.

* - Specific degree may vary.


Well, when the professor who directs the academic careers of a given student has a comfy job, 3 books, and several dozen published papers due to 12th century Persian bathroom graffiti, the reality of the situation can be significantly obscured. The root of the problem (which is by far the worst in the humanities) comes in when that professor has been producing up to three students with similar delusions each year for the past 20 or more years.

As a grad student, I equate a stable career in academia to having the winning powerball ticket- something nice, but not worth investing too much towards unless some outside factor is tipping the odds in my favor. Thankfully my field offers a plethora of well-paying options (even in this economy) in private industry, a luxury which many humanities grad students don't have.
 
2013-04-05 04:46:55 PM

pedobearapproved: I'm an archaeologist


I received my MA in archaeology two years ago,  Haven't found a job in it yet.  :(  Very, very close to giving up.
 
2013-04-05 04:48:50 PM

pedobearapproved: Once, to a few corporations, and I thought he POTUS learned a hard days crying lesson from that about how when you just give a private corporation money they will do anything with it they want including flying private jets to your meeting where they tell you to your face to suck it. Which is why they should have gone down in the flames of reorgainzation and asset selloff.


The bailout was one of the few genuinely bi-partisan events of 2008.

I agree on what they should have done, but what they did do is prove that free enterprise, especially at the highest levels, is an illusion.

Between the subsidies, bailouts, government contracts and legislative exemptions, it's clear that governmental influence is a business asset.  Millions of taxpayer dollars are redistributed upwards, to the corporate elite, every year while we beat our heads against the wall because some single mother is getting $287 a month in food stamps.

This is why we can criticize the compensation of CEOs (especially those of publicly-traded companies) without necessarily being ignorant "econ 101 drop-outs."
 
2013-04-05 04:52:32 PM

over_and_done: jjorsett: I don't see the problem. Someone with her qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries.

This magnificent feast represents the last of the petty cash.


Yes it's true, this Ph.D. has no dick.
 
2013-04-05 04:52:55 PM

Copper Spork: The_Original_Roxtar: don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.

If you're doing a subject where it comes down to opinions, you're doing the wrong subject.


Dude, that there's the spergiest sperg that ever sperged. Internet high five, brah.
 
2013-04-05 04:53:55 PM
As tenured faculty I'm getting a kick out of these replies...
 
2013-04-05 04:55:22 PM
No one's posted this yet?

i50.tinypic.com
 
2013-04-05 05:06:46 PM

phaseolus: No one's posted this yet?

[i50.tinypic.com image 640x480]


Ruh roh....
 
2013-04-05 05:19:48 PM
What you do isn't work, what I do is work.  I mean, my simplistic view of what your life might entail trumps your simplistic view of what my life might entail.  I deserve what I have, you don't.
 
2013-04-05 05:21:22 PM

The_Original_Roxtar: College literature classes made me hate literature.
apparently there is something WRONG with enjoying a story... everything simply has to have some deeper meaning, and don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.

Their eyes were watching God was a terrible book. Janie wasn't a strong character... she ran from her problems and constantly cheated on her never-ending string of husbands.

Apparently, that's an "empowering" message and I'm just a white, male, oppressor.


Also, why do college literature classes use the most god awful boring books ever written in history?

No, I don't want to farking read War and Peace (again).  Russia is a depressing country because all they have to read is shiat like this.  This shiat starts in high school.  I remember one English class that used "Wuthering Heights" as the basis for the entire semester.  Seriously?  You want a bunch of teenage boys to actually read that snore-fest?

My dad taught high school English.  He liked to use science fiction novels for the reading assignments.
 
2013-04-05 05:22:55 PM

DarkSoulNoHope: over_and_done: jjorsett: I don't see the problem. Someone with her qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries.

This magnificent feast represents the last of the petty cash.

Yes it's true, this Ph.D. has no dick.


Tell her about the twinkie.
 
2013-04-05 05:26:45 PM
It never ceases to amaze and amuse me that someone can be so educated while also being so stupid.
 
2013-04-05 05:40:50 PM

GORDON: It never ceases to amaze and amuse me that someone can be so educated while also being so stupid.


You obviously haven't been on Fark very long.
 
2013-04-05 05:43:55 PM
Unrepentant University Dropout here.  I was a Comparative Literature Major at the University of Illinois in the mid-1990s.  I found my way to that major completely by accident and dropped out after 3 years, but I've got to say that the experience probably taught me more about real life than any amount of work I've done in the 16 years since then.  When I was in high school I went from wanting to be a pilot to a lawyer to a high-school English teacher.  I was inspired by the middle-aged, bearded, Hemingway and Vonnegut-admiring, possibly-alcoholic man who was my junior year English teacher.   My first two years of college were completed at a community college, where I majored in LAS with a concentration in British and American Literature.  I breezed through it.

However, after I transferred to the U of I, I quickly became aware that I was out of my league.  I had a couple of gen ed requirements that I had to finish up during my first semester, so I could only take three courses that applied to my major- Shakespeare Across Cultures, Middle French Literature, and The Harlem and Celtic Renaissance.  Shakespeare Across Cultures taught me that the stereotype of the lecherous, drunken professor hitting on coeds while plying them with wine and wearing a tweed jacket with suede sleeves was based on reality.  Middle French Literature taught me that I was wholly unprepared to study in a deadish language that I didn't know well.  The Harlem and Celtic Renaissance taught me that you can sometimes have a course taught by two tenured professors who figured out that if you combined two related courses into one you could both get full pay for doing half the work simply because you're considered to be an expert in your field.  All of my courses taught me that you have to be present to BS your way through them, but if you are present, it's easy to BS your way through them.  Unfortunately, I learned those lessons too late.

I also learned that pretentious people are often very insecure, college girls fark like minxes, and that you can live off of coffee, cigarettes and Guinness for 3-4 weeks at a time.
 
2013-04-05 05:49:06 PM
Well, what if I told you that by "five hours" I mean "80 hours," and by "summers off" I mean "two months of unpaid research sequestration and curriculum planning"?

It took a PhD to get taken off guard by this?
 
2013-04-05 05:52:44 PM

basemetal: The English Major would be pushing the evil devil's soap weed, cilantro, on everyone!


You can't have proper salsa without it. But if I'm making it for someone else, I leave it out because I never know if they're a genetic abnormality like you, basemetal.
 
2013-04-05 05:57:47 PM

brantgoose: Read and right? Whoops. Verbal dyslexia acting up. I mean reade and wryte.


Aphasia, dyscravia, or maybe dysgraphia, but certainly not verbal dyslexia. You should know the difference, am I right?
 
2013-04-05 06:09:54 PM

OgreMagi: Seriously? You want a bunch of teenage boys to actually read that snore-fest?


Actually that may be what the current generation needs. The millenials were taught that everything they did is special, and we're turning out to be a generation of self-entitled jackasses who won't do any actual work until we're broke (all the while, complaining). Maybe the next generation needs a nice dose of reality - that most of the time, you're going to be doing something you'd rather not be doing as an adult (whether that's taking a menial boring job to make ends meet, or reading a book even the over-imaginative victorian society would have found snoozeworthy..)
 
2013-04-05 06:16:48 PM
FTFA:

No, I now realize graduate school was a terrible idea because the full-time, tenure-track literature professorship is extinct.

This has been the case in just about every field for well over a decade. Universities realized a while ago that they could save a ton of money just keeping everyone at the Assistant Professor level, and there are so many people out there with PhD's looking for teaching jobs that they don't need to offer tenure to recruit high quality professors. There are also way more adjunct professors than ever before. People are increasingly willing to take those positions for little money because they want to pad out their resume. Basically the only way to get tenure is to go somewhere that nobody wants to go, or be considered the top person in your field.
 
2013-04-05 06:19:38 PM
Meh, if the article smacks reality into a few book-wormy dreamers' heads, the author has succeeded. Make sure you're not buying into someone else's "big lie."

You can always study what you love, but you can't always get someone to pay you to continue doing it after you graduate -- even if you graduate with a Ph.D. So major in something more career-oriented and make your passion your Plan B, or have a Plan B ready in case your passion doesn't pan out into a career.
 
2013-04-05 06:21:07 PM
I have an MA in English and, at one time, thought about pursuing a Ph.D.  The job prospects are dim, and most colleges are trimming grayed out positions left and right.
 
2013-04-05 06:23:22 PM

Copper Spork: The_Original_Roxtar: don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.

If you're doing a subject where it comes down to opinions, you're doing the wrong subject.


those of us who actually obtained degrees know that there are these things called "general education" requirements. Just because you major in computer science doesn't mean you take nothing but programming and math classes.
 
2013-04-05 06:24:05 PM
Restating once again what should be obvious to everyone - don't go into any field where the only outlet for employment is academia.
 
2013-04-05 06:26:16 PM

Pumpernickel bread: Restating once again what should be obvious to everyone - don't go into any field where the only outlet for employment is academia.


Or macadamia. 'Cause that would be nuts.
 
2013-04-05 06:32:45 PM

The_Original_Roxtar: don't you dare disagree with a tenured professor's opinion.


I almost flunked PoliSci because I had not learned that simple wisdom.

Teacher said, "there are four ways to change the Constitution".  WTF!?  I knew there were two ways.  He went on:

1. Constitutional Amendment.  Correct.
2. Constitutional Convention.  Correct.
3. Supreme Court decision.  Not correct.  The Supreme Court ENFORCES the Constitution.  They don't change it (well, they aren't supposed to).  They change lesser laws (usually by throwing them out) that conflict with the Constitution. But this is a common mistake, so I was willing to let him slide.
4. Congress passes a law.  WTF!  No.  Not only was he wrong, I knew the exact Supreme Court citation that proved he was wrong.  So how do you piss off a college professor?  By citing the Supreme Court in a way that proves he is wrong in front of the entire class.

No, I don't remember the citation.  That happened over 25 years ago.
 
2013-04-05 06:33:03 PM

raerae1980: pedobearapproved: I'm an archaeologist

I received my MA in archaeology two years ago,  Haven't found a job in it yet.  :(  Very, very close to giving up.


I'll tell you a secret that let me get a job using my masters in theoretical linguistics: The perfect job isn't.

Just get something that sort of maybe could use your skillset. And your skillset isn't archeology, it's the ability to understand complex problems, explain them, read technical reports and produce them.
I mean, if some small town needs someone to map and describe historically important buildings or sites, go for it. If some small museum needs someone to index their stuff, you're their dude, right?

If someone needs an executive officer who can read reports and do some slightly complex task like...I dunno, read and file applications based on twenty+ analogue variables it might be enough that you have an MA; the field isn't really that important.

That might help, it might not. I don't know you. Best of luck!
 
2013-04-05 06:41:31 PM

HatMadeOfAss: This dickhole is incredibly long-winded when trying to convey "I made bad choices because I'm stupid."

/College doesn't mean shiat anymore


Somebody get this Farker a pickup truck full of whatever beer is preferred.

That one line = post of the 2Q
 
2013-04-05 06:46:13 PM

pedobearapproved: Explodo: BWAH-HA-HA!  That person thinks that literature grad school is "the hardest work you'll ever do".  That's why you didn't get employed, young lady.  You thought literature grad school was "the hardest work you'll ever do".  You have no idea what hard work is.

Boy that's funny.

You had to read something, understand it, and talk about it. Sometimes you had to explain that information to others... yeah, hardest thing ever.


Maybe not the hardest thing ever, but harder than you think.
I've worked as a fisherman on a trawler, installing windows (the see-through kind that goes into walls and roofs, not the microsoft-thingy), as a stevedore, repairing sewage damage to houses and other menia, sweaty dirty jobs. I'd still say that writing my MA-thesis was amongst the harder jobs i've had. I mean, I could walk upright after 4 pm, which was nice, but you never really get a break. Since it's your mind that's working and making it stop is really really hard you end up sorta-working all day long, even when you're on a break.
And then it's the sheer volume of text that needs digesting. For me that was ridiculous. I tore through ca 100 pages of academic text each day, except when I was writing. Did you think your exams in High School were hard? Puh-leease.
So, it might not be the hardest thing ever (both fisherman and fixing sewage damage has it beat easily) it's still harder than you might think (if it paid better I'd still be a stevedore or work in deconstruction).
 
2013-04-05 06:50:52 PM
I have an English MA - my thesis was on Beowulf's dragon.

What I learned was how to research, analyze, and write clearly.  These skills are very much sought after in the world outside the ivied walls.

I can't believe the guy can't get a better job.  What a dork.

PS - Graduated 33 years ago, and never been without a "real job".
 
2013-04-05 06:52:23 PM

over_and_done: I never understood the "tenure track" thing.  After reading this article from start to finish, I still don't understand it.


The idea is that a professor who has tenure will be able to pursue research without having to consider the institutional and national political implications of their work.  A tenured professor can advance a theory on it's own merits without having to consider if it will get them fired.

In practice, research grants and funding competition has killed a large part of that original goal.
 
2013-04-05 06:57:35 PM

Explodo: BWAH-HA-HA!  That person thinks that literature grad school is "the hardest work you'll ever do".  That's why you didn't get employed, young lady.  You thought literature grad school was "the hardest work you'll ever do".  You have no idea what hard work is.

Boy that's funny.


I've dug ditches for a living, and I've written research papers (unpaid). The papers were more difficult.
 
2013-04-05 07:04:11 PM

Somaticasual: OgreMagi: Seriously? You want a bunch of teenage boys to actually read that snore-fest?

Actually that may be what the current generation needs. The millenials were taught that everything they did is special, and we're turning out to be a generation of self-entitled jackasses who won't do any actual work until we're broke (all the while, complaining). Maybe the next generation needs a nice dose of reality - that most of the time, you're going to be doing something you'd rather not be doing as an adult (whether that's taking a menial boring job to make ends meet, or reading a book even the over-imaginative victorian society would have found snoozeworthy..)


Forcing teenage boys to spend an entire semester on a book like Wuthering Heights is a bit extreme.  It's difficult enough to engage them with a book they might be interested in reading, but this is going too far.
 
2013-04-05 07:06:13 PM

pedobearapproved: Explodo:

You had to read something, understand it, and talk about it. Sometimes you had to explain that information to others... yeah, hardest thing ever.


And yet, thousands of college Freshmen find that task impossible (to judge from the papers I have had to grade).
 
2013-04-05 07:10:07 PM

thornhill: FTFA:

No, I now realize graduate school was a terrible idea because the full-time, tenure-track literature professorship is extinct.

This has been the case in just about every field for well over a decade. Universities realized a while ago that they could save a ton of money just keeping everyone at the Assistant Professor level, and there are so many people out there with PhD's looking for teaching jobs that they don't need to offer tenure to recruit high quality professors. There are also way more adjunct professors than ever before. People are increasingly willing to take those positions for little money because they want to pad out their resume. Basically the only way to get tenure is to go somewhere that nobody wants to go, or be considered the top person in your field.


Or pursue teaching in middle school/high school in an affluent suburb. We have teachers making six figures ---mostly PE teachers but with a few years teaching it is attainable for all. We still have summers off too.
 
2013-04-05 07:13:34 PM

OgreMagi: Somaticasual: OgreMagi: Seriously? You want a bunch of teenage boys to actually read that snore-fest?

Actually that may be what the current generation needs. The millenials were taught that everything they did is special, and we're turning out to be a generation of self-entitled jackasses who won't do any actual work until we're broke (all the while, complaining). Maybe the next generation needs a nice dose of reality - that most of the time, you're going to be doing something you'd rather not be doing as an adult (whether that's taking a menial boring job to make ends meet, or reading a book even the over-imaginative victorian society would have found snoozeworthy..)

Forcing teenage boys to spend an entire semester on a book like Wuthering Heights is a bit extreme.  It's difficult enough to engage them with a book they might be interested in reading, but this is going too far.


I've done a few litterature courses.They ranged from snore-fests with uninteresting drawl trite bs, to enraging scream-bait when I was required to learn how female writers are superior, to awsome stuff where we were required to read "do androids dream of electric sheep", "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus", "His Dark Materials", "Der Erlkönig" and "He, She and It" in addition to some smaller novellas. Needless to say the last course was the most enjoyable ;)
 
2013-04-05 07:15:46 PM
thousands of parents of wide-eyed college freshmen are discouraging them from taking literature, philosophy, foreign languages or history  the disciplines that comprised a college education in its entirety for thousands of years, but whatever), even though quite unlike humanities Ph.D.s, humanities B.A. degrees are actually among the most hirable?

Yes, that would be the thousands of years when people thought the world was flat and witches should be burned at the stake, you know, before the scientific method took hold to the limited extent that it guides thinking today.  Humanities B.A. degrees are most hirable because there will always be more jobs for take out burger fry cooks than there are for scientists and engineers.
 
2013-04-05 07:20:22 PM

OgreMagi: Forcing teenage boys to spend an entire semester on a book like Wuthering Heights is a bit extreme. It's difficult enough to engage them with a book they might be interested in reading, but this is going too far.


Ok, fair enough on an entire semester. Maybe a solid week or two, that would be enough to say "you're more likely to be an assistant than the guy in the $5000 suit if you don't try, so try to have goals and actually work.." for the millenial purposes..
 
2013-04-05 07:21:56 PM

OscarTamerz: thousands of parents of wide-eyed college freshmen are discouraging them from taking literature, philosophy, foreign languages or history  the disciplines that comprised a college education in its entirety for thousands of years, but whatever), even though quite unlike humanities Ph.D.s, humanities B.A. degrees are actually among the most hirable?

Yes, that would be the thousands of years when people thought the world was flat and witches should be burned at the stake, you know, before the scientific method took hold to the limited extent that it guides thinking today.  Humanities B.A. degrees are most hirable because there will always be more jobs for take out burger fry cooks than there are for scientists and engineers.


No, they're hireable because understanding aspects of humanity is actually a useful skillset. I work at a university and we have quite good statistics when it comes to who gets hired and as what. Graduating, whether it is a B/MSci or a B/MA will usually get you hired; buuuuuut getting a science degree will get you a slightly higher starting salary. Like 5-10% higher.
This is however in Norway, so not neccesarily comparable to the U.S :)
 
2013-04-05 07:22:41 PM
I'm a librarian with a heritage library at a university and I think going down the path of a master's in library studies was a better option for me than pursuing a PhD in history, which I had considered a few years back. I prefer being more of a generalist than focusing on one narrow topic. I still get that leafy, green academic environment. I still get the opportunity to go to the occasional conference and I don't have to worry about generating new research.
 
2013-04-05 07:23:31 PM

wickedragon: to awsome stuff where we were required to read "do androids dream of electric sheep"


I call bullshiat.  That book was in no way awesome.  That they got the outstanding movie "Bladerunner" out of that shatty pulp is a farking miracle.
 
2013-04-05 07:26:58 PM
Shiat, they need to get some literature majors to edit the terrible grammar and mechanics in AP articles.
 
2013-04-05 07:41:20 PM
Not sure which is worse, people who go "lol studyin books is dum n stuff stoopid art shiat yall got burger jobs" or people who think spending 15 years exploring deconstructionist literary criticism of one Poe short story is useful.
 
2013-04-05 07:47:43 PM

OgreMagi: wickedragon: to awsome stuff where we were required to read "do androids dream of electric sheep"

I call bullshiat.  That book was in no way awesome.  That they got the outstanding movie "Bladerunner" out of that shatty pulp is a farking miracle.


When I read the book I knew that the movie was based on it, but I had been told that the similarities were few. I think the only thing they really have in common is scenery and some of the depicted technology(novums). The megatextual stuff isn't comparable at all imo, and I have problems with relating them as one work. They must be seen as two completely different stories. I loved the book. The story it tells and the problems it explores makes for an interesting read.
 
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