Patria libre o morir

As the assiduous reader knows, a central subtext of this weblog is Augusto César Sandino‘s “No me rendiré y aquí los espero,” from his response to USMC Captain Gilbert Hatfield’s request for a surrender. “I will not surrender and I await you here.” And the lines of my liberation front shall not be moved.

My liberation front is not quite politically correct, and it seems shocking. It should, because it proposes a revolution in consciousness.

In real life my committee, the one charged with convincing the legislature and the general public that academic work is work and has value, spawned a subcommittee last year and I am its chair. I had been ignoring it so far because there was so much else to do but now the subcommittee has to really start working. It is going to track and come up with dignified resistance strategies to the ominous changes that are being made in the health insurance and retirement systems. This is onerous, but important.

So I really am working on behalf of others, in major ways. I require license to say that this, too, is pleasant and interesting because, if I say it is a picky, boring burden that involves looking straight in the face of rather frightening prospects, I will lose steam. I believe I deserve to animate myself in this manner.

I was reading somebody’s book earlier today, preparing for class, and I thought: “The author obviously had a good time doing the research that went into this!” The exhilaration of it beamed from the pages. I thought, “This was the kind of thing I thought I would do when I became a professor, and this exhilaration is why!”

I don’t actually like to read this exhilarated kind of book because I feel so nostalgic for the time I have lost and that will not return — all the time in which I did not have the means to undertake projects like that. The nostalgia can be overwhelming. But still, I think it is a lot more practical to say work is interesting and exhilarating than to constantly point out how hard it is. We know that and furthermore, at my current institution we also document it. Yes, we each create documents tracking our usage of time, to be used to various purposes including showing the legislature that what we do is work.

And that committee is going to do its job, so I am working for you in real life, under my real name. Allow me to say it is fun, here, even if it isn’t, really.


3 thoughts on “Patria libre o morir

  1. I so love your recent posts!!!

    I have made a resolution for this new academic year and they are, to a great degree, inspired by your posts. I also remember the time of exhilaration and just totally loving every aspect of the academic life, thinking the work is fun and publishing is easy (and it was, it really was for me.) When I allowed the world to convince me that it was hard and painful, must be hard and painful, it became so.

    So I’m now done with this self-pitying melodrama. My resolution is to find the exhilaration, bring it back, and not let it go.

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