Academic advice

Here is one of my favorite pieces on the Ronell case, and here is the other. Both writers are far better deconstructors and are tackling a far more difficult topic than are Ronell and Butler chatting on a line from Aretha Franklin. On her scholarship, I like this piece by Martin Jay.

The MLA wrote us a letter saying they had accepted Judith Butler’s apology for the letter she wrote, and were committed to justice for all. I responded:

Dear Professor Gere,

It was disappointing that so many colleagues signed that unseemly letter – I would have expected better judgment from them. As people who have been in the profession as long as Butler and her friends have should know, such letters tend to be detrimental and not helpful to people under investigation. I do also note the professional harm its circulation will have done the student. I regret that people this indiscreet have so much power in the MLA now.

Yours,
[P Z Realname]
[Membership Number]

As we know, I don’t like the words procrastination and avoidance, I like the word strike, and I don’t think anyone who has managed to get a degree is a procrastinator or an avoider. Still, after a few traumatic experiences on the tenure track I froze in fear. We are told to be cautious. I still fear that if I allow myself to get lost in the work, and to truly do the best I can in it, I will be forced to a death more painful than any torture I have suffered heretofore. I try to move ahead without really jumping in. In obedient attempts to avoid “perfectionism” I try to rush, skipping steps, and then accuse myself of “procrastination” when I trip and fall because of the step I did not build. We must take advice, but only standard advice, and not our own.

I have, however, finally found a piece of writing on procrastination that I like, because it speaks to fear, because it speaks to the issue of loss of voice.

Procrastination is a form of resistance to the flow of life. When we procrastinate, we are in resistance to our own flow, in other words in resistance to the call of our soul, to the energy of the Universe.

The piece is about living, not about producing, and about love, not self-control. It’s not from a refereed journal, just from someone’s website, and I find it quite interesting.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under Resources, Theories, Working

One response to “Academic advice

  1. lb

    Trying to figure out whether to stay in the MLA because it is my professional organization, or quit because the executive board appears to support the indiscreet and unethical loose cannon J.B. If I quit the MLA I will still be in ACLA, ILLI, SCMLA, LASA, ERIP, AILFCH, and AAUP. I do not believe the apology and disavowal letter the board has sent because they appear not to have asked for J.B.’s resignation. I would like to say that Butler’s letter was damaging to Reitman but also to Ronell. People who have made Full at Berkeley have been around long enough that they should know NOT to send this kind of missive in this kind of situation. J.B. wanted to grandstand and did not care what that would do to her friend A.R., is one of my reads on this.

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