Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Academic Sublime

He calls himself Dr. Mandrake and his blog "Anonymous Professor" appears to have sparked such a furor that he has taken it down. Thankfully, courtesy of Google cache, here are a few of his entries [caveat lector: Dr. Mandrake uses profane language and is quite often sexist]:

"Note to self 1: Never trust facts in an article funded by the NIH

I just returned from a riviting three day adventure at the National Institutes of Health, an organization I can hardly believe we as taxpayers support. I was there to review grants on epidemiology.

One of the most amazing things I found was that I figured that when the NIH reviews grants, they actually get competent people to do so. But seriously, what has the federal government done lately that resembles competence in any way? So goes it with the NIH. You'd think if you wanted to have a good selection of proposals to fund on questions so fundamental as AIDS and Avian Flu, you would get people who know something about, say, AIDS and Avian Flu. No, not the NIH, and not our government. It went like this:

Mandrake: A sociologist
Reviewer 2: An astronomer
Reviewer 3: A grant administrator at a university with a college degree in English.
Reviewer 4: A theoretical physicist
Reviewer 5: A cell biologist

Isn't it great to know that 4 of the 5 people reviewing multi-miliion dollar grants have no fucking clue about the topic they are reviewing, and that the one who has sort of a clue - the biologist - knows nothing about epidemiology. But the NIH is run mainly by peeople with medical degrees, and we all know how smart they are.

No wonder in the New York Times Magazine this Sunday there is an article about how half of science articles contain serious errors. It's because idiots like me play a role in the process of selecting who gets your money.

Note to self 2: Move to Washington, risk losing your soul.

Seriously, Washington sucks more cock than a thai hooker. I hated it there. I was in what amounted to a shitty suburb, surrounded by high rises and office buildings. I couldn't imagine myself living in this vacuous hellhole, devote of character and identity. But then I realize, the vast majority of people who live in Washington, D.C., either are lawyers, or have something to do with the federal government. So they're soulless.

As I sat in my hotel room, watching the Alito hearings, I realized how much I hate politics. Alito's wife was crying over some pointed questions about him being a bigot. I mean, poor poor Samuel Alito, having to be asked tough questions about why he was a member of a group that opposed women's entry into Princeton. Not that Princeton is a school one should respect in any conceivable way, but I mean, the guy is going up for a job that he will have for the rest of his fucking miserable right-wing life. Oh, too bad, Mrs. Alito, that you're poor husband has to go through this. Why not give him head when both of you get home? Make poor Sam-Sam feel better about himself for having to answer tough tough questions about why he stated that Roe v. Wade was a ruling that should be over-turned? I mean, we are giving him a job he will hold for the rest of his life, right? I hope when I am going up for a job I might hold for the rest of my life, that I will be okay with being asked challenging questions. However, at least in my job, the stroke of my pen can't affect the lives of millions of women.

And I work from January until April to pay for this shit?

Other than there, there is no good food in Washington, only shitty sports bars, soulless whores and frat boys at bars in suits acting like the shallow Georgetown dickheads they are, and a lot of hot air.

The only good thing was that I was able to take a flight out of the damn place six hours earlier than it was scheduled.

Thanks American people for paying for that flight change. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Saturday, 14 January 2006).

Frying Frey


A few weeks ago I was speaking to some women at a shelter for abused women. This one woman was raped by three men, beat half to death, had her throat slit, and was left for dead behind a lumber yard. That's real. That happened. I saw the wound. I saw the results in terms of the trauma she was living through, and working her way out of poverty and addiction the tough way. But this ex-Frat boy from a shitty Ohio University (Dennison) is getting millions off the ridiculous vapid vanilla codependent soccermoms across America whose only joy is to live vicariously through the life of a lying shithead who can't even fucking write a sentence without the phrase "I cried" in it.

I will use this, by the way, as a way for filtering my friends. All you morons who wrote me, saying "You have to read this book" - you are all no longer my friends, an any further emails from you will be ignored. I don't need idiots like you in my life..... (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Tuesday, 17 January 2006).

What's with me and strippers?

So yesterday I taught my first classes for the new semester. My one class has about 150 students in it and is ridiculous. My other class has about 50 and will be fun. The ridiculous class is insane because the topic makes no sense - I can't make heads or tales of it, and I just find it boring to prepare. And I have a million other things to prepare that matter a great deal more than a class for four hundred beady little eyeballs. It is a class about interdisciplinary perspectives on sociology. It seems as if everyone outside sociology has a lot of strong words of criticism about sociology. I find it insulting when some asshole humanities professor writes that "Sociology objectifies individuals, it makes them subjects to their discipline's clinical gaze (Foucalt, 1969) and forces individuals to give up their voice and agency."

Do these postmodern humanities fuckers write these sentences then masturbate to them? I can imagine the person who penned this line reclining in his or her chair, unzipping his or her pants, and going at it. Because that's how full of shit the entire literature of this field is. The clinical gaze of sociology? What clinical gaze? This humanities bullshit is mental masturbation for dickheads who were so afraid of math and statistics and science than they ran towards French philosophers who make about as much sense as Pauly Shore's existence. At least, though, I don't write academic articles about how much you humanities folk suck, I just complain about it here, and when I encounter you, I say, "Yes, YES, YEEEESSSSSS! I agree, I couldn't agree more! Derrida was so right! And Bordieu, with the notion of the habitus, YES, YESSSS, YESSSSSSSSSSS!"


However, you are dying to know about me and strippers.

In my fun class, a student came up to me and asked me if she could discuss the project she wants to do. I thought this strange, because, well, it's the first day of class. She tells me that she is a stripper, and she has always wondered about the sexual preferences of American men (oh boy, I'm thinking). She wants to study if there is a relationship between breast size and the amount of tips strippers receive.

I can't help but think at this point, "I went to fucking graduate school in a fucking miserably cold town and a postdoc in a even more miserably cold town so that I can help a stripper determine whether breast size is related to tip quantity in a strip club?" I mean, I wrote a 300 page dissertation for a job like this? I can't even afford to go to a strip club on this salary!

I just smiled and said okay. I have a suspicion that she will find a positive correlation. I am fairly certain I am going to make her submit this to the American Journal of Sociology for shits and giggles.

I actually have never gone to a strip club. I find the idea somewhat depressing. I guess I just feel that it is somewhat demeaning. The worst, I believe, are women who go to strip clubs. I spoke with another stripper student about this once, and it confuses me. She told me that women were the worst clients. They didn't tip well, were very demanding, and generally acted stupid. Men, on the other hand, "Are predictable. And they fear an encounter with the bouncer in the back alley. Women don't."

And what the fuck is up with women needing to find their inner whores, anyway? Maureen Dowd wrote a stupid, long, and dull book about this (who among you have actually ever finished one of her long monologues that plague the New York Times Op Ed pages? I'm a liberal, and I just find her about as boring as Oats and Hall.) I am sure those who began feminism would be proud of the acheivements of women today: at my gym, they offer a pole dancing class for women under the guise of being exercise. They have all these temporary poles set up in a room, and these lawyer yuppie 30 something women in yoga pants hugging the damn things, falling, looking ridiculous.

It is the only class that has a waiting list. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog,Thursday, 19 January 2006).

A Sunday Sermon

Its snowing out. This is the kind of day where you want to wake up next to your girlfriend, look outside, smile, go back to bed. Perhaps have some morning sex to keep you warm, make some coffee, throw some eggs on the stove. But I woke up alone this morning at 6:00 AM. I went for a walk, looking for a place that was open and serving coffee. Had to walk seven blocks in foot deep snow. Today, I have to write a paper that I don't want to write. It is on friendship in different cultures. I really don't want to open up that file. I don't care about friendship in different cultures anymore. I don't really give a fuck about anything anymore, and this is beginning to worry me.

I've been down lately, to be honest. A student recently asked me about whether she should go to grad school. I was thinking about it and I don't really know the answer. I gave up a lot. I satisficed a lot. I miss all the people in my life who I left behind to be here. I wish they were still in my life, or more than just fleeting memories that grow more distant. Looking out the back window of a train, the station passes you, recedes into the distance. You give up a lot, if you're not careful, and I was never careful.

But going out in the snow reminded me of my childhood, and being so excited when the snow fell. I would go out with my sister to a field behind my grandparents' house where there was a large hill. Large, perhaps, for a six year old. Nearby there was a cardboard factory that always had scraps - we would jump on them and fly down that hill.

It is all gone, now. The hill is gone, the factory is gone, even my grandparents are gone. My sister is grown and married. The field was bulldozed and turned into houses. But I guess there are new hills, somewhere. I haven't found one yet that I like. And I am tired of looking for them. And I am tired of not looking for them. And I am standing here, and I have no idea what direction to walk. Like this morning, in the snow, randomly turning on unfamiliar streets, the world completely white. Amnesia.

So I don't know what to say. Do it, but realize that you will lose perhaps far more than you will ever gain. You will climb a mountain, only to find yourself, at thirty, waking up alone at 6:00, searching for coffee, coming back home, and opening the file cultfriendship.doc - something you don't want to work on to the last fiber of your being. That's what I got out of grad school.( Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Sunday, 12 February 2006).

Anonymous Professor Gets His Course Reviews Back

So I received my course reviews from last semester. Overall, I guess they were okay. The strange thing is that they all complained that I was too lenient. Crazy. When I give them grades, they all complain to me that they want a higher grade. When they do my evaluation, they say they want me to be harsher. Make up your fucking minds. They also complained that I didn't take attendence. IT WAS A CLASS WITH 100 STUDENTS, that's why I didn't take attendence. What, do you want me to take roll? Come on, people.

But some are worth noting here:

Quite frankly, I think you need to get over yourself. Yes, I am impressed that you are 31 and have a Ph.D. But there are many times when you come off as haughty, and almost condesending to your students. I think your sense of humor is out of line.

I agree with all of the above, except I'm not 31. Maybe he or she is talking about another professor.

Or this one: Too much general and personal information provided.

What is general information? And I'm sorry that I told you that chalk dust makes my crotch itch. It does, and that's why I am always grabbing myself in front of class. You don't want me to sit there and itch, do you?

But very few of them were bad like that. In fact, most were overwhelmingly positive.

We love you, you're so nice.

I love you too.

Very charming and cute. We love you!

I love you also. Maybe you and I and the previous person could have a threesome?

I want to have your children.

Okay, I guess. Now this is getting weird.

But my favorite is this:

Anonymous Professor has enriched my life and experience at Anonymous University greatly. By teaching with honest passion and command of his field he manages to foster a critical yet generous spirited consciousness of the guiding principles of sociological theory. He frames his lectures that encourage an exploration of questions such as: How do we define that which constitutes knowledge? How do we measure and value different kinds of knowledge? How do we preserve and transmit knowledge? Most importantly, how is knowledge produced? And what are the limits of knowledge? Anonymous Professor strives in constructing a kind of map of knowledge, charting various courses using building blocks of methodology in sociology.

Anonymous professor teaches by illuminating the subject of one discipline from the perspective of another, as when, for example, a physicist the acousics of music production. Anonymous Professor manages to integrate methods of sociology with philosophy, poetry, wit, and intelligence. He promotes our potential to think in terms of how we affect the world, frame works, concepts, techniques and vocabulary we have not yet imagined. He evokes a intellectual universe and teaches us to listen to the world around us.

Holy shit! I did all that??? I was only kidding about listening to the world. I think we really should just ignore the world. The world talks and talks and talks, and never shuts the fuck up. Listening to the world is like watching someone's vacation slide presentation - BORING.

You know I'n not being serious, but anyway, I'm glad that some students believe I did a good job. Or want to have my kids, I guess. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Saturday, 18 February 2006).

Mandrake dodges a bullet, learns politics lesson the easy way

Your anonymous professor dodged a bullet yesterday. You see, as a sociologist, I require access to certain databases that require payment. Fuckers. For my research, I needed to purchase access to this one particular data set. It costs $50. Of course, this requires going through about a hundred offices to get the required signatures. There is one woman though, who we will call Lazy Bitch, who kept putting me off. She is the last in the chain that will allow me to pay the company that keeps the data set. She has stalled me, time and time again, for a variety of reasons. First it was that I didn’t have the Institutional Review Board approval for the project. Okay, okay, bitch. The company does not require IRB approval for their data, but I got that after a month of wrestling with the IRB committee. Fuckers. Then it is that the grant that I have did not specify why I needed this data set. I came up with the bullshit excuse of how it fit into the constraints of the grant. Then she sends me an email that the Federal Government does not explicitly say that grants can be used for the purpose of purchasing data from private companies. It doesn’t prohibit it, but it does not specify that one can.

Okay, so after this email I was about to go to her office and challenge her to a fist fight. I really was. I don’t give a fuck that she is a woman. And I could have taken her on, seriously. She is a fat fuck who deserves an ass beating, and I go to the gym pretty regularly and have an Irish temper. I felt that this was the last straw. But I kept my cool, realizing that in academia, coming to blows is usually a poor strategy, particularly when you place a woman in the hospital without teeth. So instead, I sat and wrote a letter to the Dean basically trashing her, threatening that if she continues to act this way I will have to begin looking for jobs elsewhere so that I can accomplish my research. I was about to hit send, but I then decided it would be best to speak to the dean in person, and that I didn’t want the dean to say, “Go ahead, find another job.” He is an asshole and I wouldn’t put this past him.

So I go to the Dean’s office, fuming, and speak to the secretary. She asked me what I wanted to speak to the Dean about. I said, literally, because I am down with her “I want to kill Lazy Bitch. I seriously want to take her out back and pummel her. She is an incompetent idiot that should never have a job above the level of barrista.” It is always good to bring secretaries candy on Valentine’s Day if you are interested in getting things done. A small price to pay for the priceless gem of knowledge she provided me:

The secretary replies, “Uh, Mandrake, do you realize that Lazy Bitch is the Dean’s wife? She kept her original name.”


So the secretary made a few phone calls, and by the end of the day I had access to the data set. I bought her a bouquet of flowers today, with the message, “Thanks for saving my ass.”

This should be a lesson to all of you budding young professors and graduate students. Keep your fucking mouth shut until you learn who is fucking who. Because, after all, it is the Dean who ultimately puts that signature on your reappointment form. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Friday, 3 March 2006).

Politically Incorrect

1. I really hate Nirvana. There. I said it. Fuck you.

Personally, I hate dreadlocked hippies. I have one in one of my classes. One of those white girls who was not pretty enough to be accepted so she decided, apparently, that the way to address this is to never wash her hair or her clothes and carry around an Allen Ginsburg collected works. That is so fucking grunge, which, I believe, went out in 1994 along with Kurt Cobain's parietal cortex.

2. Unfortunately, fundamentalists can't spell fundamentalism

The problem with fundamentalists - of any religion - is that the vast majority of them are illiterate.

3. Feminists got what they didn't want

Woman at local bar:
I think it is totally unfair the way society treats women. I mean, women are not having children because they have to decide between their careers and having a family. And I believe that this is an unfair choice that women have to make.
Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? This is the fucking price you pay for feminism. Yes, you want to be treated equally as men? Do you think, throughout the period of modern industrialism, than men really LIKED going to factories and spending the day away from home, slaving away meaningless lives at factories or at desks in soulless industrial parks doing entirely meaningless and menial labor? Did you not ever consider the fact that almost any man would give up this ridiculous shit to take care of kids. And you wanted to enter this miserable dog eat dog realm, you wanted to become a lawyer and now you are here, and you gotta take what comes with it. Do you think you are special because you have tits? Do you think you deserve something I don't deserve because you have to make a difficult choice between career and taking care of children? I think it is unfair than men were never really given the option. But you have to take the good with the bad. The enormous joke is on you: Feminists wanted to have equality to men, what they apparently didn't think about is whether what men have is something that is really worth wanting. And now you have it, and you are beginning to realize how much it sucks, and now you are crying that it isn't fair to you because you think you should be treated special because you are a woman. Make up your mind. Either we are equal or we are unequal. Either you want to be a lawyer or you don't.
Woman at local bar:
That you are a professor of anything disgusts me. She gets up and leaves.

4. It's a shame you didn't learn everything you needed to know in kindergarten

(To a student) There is a difference between hearing yourself speak and listening to yourself think. You like to hear yourself talk. You have no idea how to hear yourself think.

Ah, and people never know when I am serious or when I'm joking. Sometimes you have to say something controversial to start a dialogue. But Lawrence Summers learned that this can backfire - the hard way. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Tuesday, 28 March 2006).

I hate my students

I teach a very large class of undergraduates. There are 145 students in the class. I assigned a 5 page essay. My university, realizing that I actually do research when I'm not drowining my sorrows in beer, gave me funds to hire a grader to read the papers. She is an English Ph.D. student who is harsh. I felt this was a good idea because all of them could use a lesson on their grammar. Oh, yeah, and about 15 of them blatently plagairized. I handed back their papers today and low and behold, they noticed that the hand writing wasn't mine. They asked why, and I explained this fact to them.

Holy shit, the class exploded in an uproar.

You see, my students think they are geniuses. They feel that their shitty essays written fifteen minutes before class should earn them the Nobel Prize for literature. They feel entitled to that A simply because they came to 20% of the classes. No, they were having no part of this. I cheated them. I robbed them. I violated their trust. Not to mention I know for a fact that only 5 of the 145 downloaded this week's articles because they don't know I can figure this out using a simple counter on my webpage.

"We have no idea who this person is, and it is unfair that she had complete say in what grade we got."

"You have fundamentally disappointed me."

All this bulldhit simply by having an English ABD grade their assignments. And I'm sorry, but if you are not going to respect me enough to read the articles I assign, then I don't really give a flying fuck if I disappoint you. I really couldn't care less.

Student 1: "I can't believe that you got a stupid grad student to grade these papers. That is so unfair of you. I pay tuition so to have a professor grade my papers. Not some T.A. out of college."

What I said: "I understand your concern. I will be happy to read your paper and give more substantive comments"

What I wanted to say: "You stupid bitch, you can't even string a coherent sentence together and you probably threw together this paper the night before anyway, and you are calling English grad students incompetent? Do you realize that your esteemed professor was a grad student just two years ago?"

Student 2: "I don't understand how you could grade more on structure than on content. I mean, this isn't english comp. I think this is ridiculous."

What I said: "I understand your concern. I will be happy to read your paper and give more substantive comments"

What I wanted to say: "Hey, moron, no one will give a fuck about what content you have when you don't even know the difference between than and then or weather and whether. They will just laugh at you. So shut up and sit down and fuck yourself.

Student 3: "I am really interested in becoming a sociologist and I feel ripped off that you gave not a single comment on my thoughts of sociology."

What I said: "I understand your concern. I will be happy to read your paper and give more substantive comments"

What I wanted to say: "You idiot. Sociology is all such bullshit. Academia is such utter bullshit. Do you know what sociologists do all day? They sit around and give each other the intellectual equivalent of a happy ending massage. And why do you think your thoughts are at all interesting whatsoever. If they were you'd probably be an econ major. Do yourself a favor: econ and sociology are similar enough, switch majors, and end up having a job that will allow you to buy that $800,000 condo in Brooklyn, instead of being a broke drunk from a Tom Waits song who wants to vomit every time you hear the fucking letters AJS (American Journal of Sociology)."

It was one of those days. It was just one of those days. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Thursday, 6 April 2006).

Yet another thing I hate hearing my students say

I really hate it when one of my students says to me that "My wife and I" or "My husband and I" are trying to get pregnant.

Do you think I really give a fuck that you are fucking?

Thank god it's Friday. (Dr. Mandrake, Anonymous Professor Blog, Friday, 7 April 2006).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I waded through a whole lot of bullshit to figure out what the root of all of your problems is; unfortunately there's no cure: You're an Irish-American. I'm sure you've read HOW THE IRISH BECAME WHITE. That inferiority complex is a hard nut to crack, no? I recommend intense psychoanalysis (5 days a week) and anti-convulsant medication.

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How could you have gotten out of graduate school with such limited notions of feminism? That woman should have thrown a drink in your face, lacking the discourse to make you wet your panties and run screaming from the bar. Most of the world's women have the same complaint that you have with the variety of white middle-class feminism that she may have been espousing as I assume you very well know. Just try not to slip up and bring your bigoted, sexist, essentialist opinions of your fellow human beings into class with you. (In other words, don't drink and teach, my Irish friend: tit for tat viz. essentialism. I speak for the silenced.) You're one angry fucker. Or is that just your blog pose, pussy?

10:18 PM  

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