Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The psyche of the university professor

(according to my colleague Margaret Soltan, AKA UD)

A lot of professors are eerily good at ignoring everything in the world. They've written 14 books with obnoxious children and harridan wives bedeviling them every step of the way. To call them "absent-minded" would be an insult. They are not there ...

Professors have nothing against getting quietly tight in their own snug lodgings, but the idea of braving the cold and getting soppy with a bunch of fellow drunks is revolting. In general, professors are not team players -- groups of any kind give them the heebie jeebies.

It is not very nice to have my sweet little progeny described as "obnoxious" (Kid #1 did not shoot HER with a Nerf dart gun when he had erected his cardboard Fortress of Solitude at the door to the English Department this summer; that honor was reserved for a senior colleague who was not at all amused to have a nine year old demand that she provide the secret password ["pickle juice"] or be denied access to the copy machine). Yet I take Professor Soltan's point. College sports are indeed out of control and so far beyond the core mission of an educational institution that the investment of so many dollars in them at a time of academic cutbacks is nothing short of obscene.

(via Inside Higher Ed)


Anonymous said...

I take this to mean that Margaret wholeheartedly endorses me and my lifestyle--as you can well attest, I have a local pub.

When I saw SJT report on the status of GW a few weeks ago the organisers of the event played lots of video footage of the great man opining on all manner of subjects. At one point he was asked about college sports, and he said, laughably, that "we aim to provide a sound mind and a sound body" and that our basketball programme is key to this. It's hard to take a fat man seriously when he drones on about sound bodies, and, to use your word, obscene when alumni who have actually made some actual use of their educations are being shaken down for donations.

Heo said...

Eh, 'harridan wives?' I can honestly say that I have never met a harridan wife of a professor. I have, though, met some academic spouses that I couldn't believe would descend to marry the academic in question (male and female) willingly. And I mean that. One group I was in often half-joked about storming the house and releasing the academic spouse's family from the basement, so the spouse could safely run.

Favorite fellow TA quote regarding sports fever on campus:
"This is a *University.* Football is a game, like hopscotch."

Jeffrey Cohen said...

JKW: Did you actually donate?

Great quote, Heocwaeth. The harridan wife thing I guess was pure humor on MS's part ... the same with the obnoxious children, I hope. In fact, though, scholars' acknowledgment pages are usually full of sweet kiddies and supportive spouses, typically the type who understand why mommy or daddy or Sweety Pie is translating obscure passages out of Latin in the cellar rather than mingling with the living.

As to who marries academics ... no comment.

Karl Steel said...

harridan wives bedeviling them every step of the way

Good lord, I wouldn't get a lick of work done were it not for my harridan wife. I know I wouldn't be able to write a coherent sentence without her.

I'm reminded of Steve Buscemi in Ghost World saying "I hate sports." It's not much of a line, and I know it was meant to envelop me in a rah-rah outre camaraderie, but nevertheless it worked.

Anonymous said...

No, I didn't donate.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

OTOH, she's clearly never been to K'zoo!

One of my football players quit the team last week. I'm so proud of him. He said the coach had no sense of proportion and no understanding that academics are important.