Friday, February 12, 2016

Why are Most Academics Miserable?

By Nicholas Stix

95. Academics are unhappy
September 21, 2015
100 Reasons NOT to Go to Graduate School
You know that today's graduate students are unhappy when the Wall Street Journal can refer (and not entirely facetiously) to the world's best-positioned graduate students as Harvard's Les Miserables. If the discontent experienced in graduate school were only a temporary condition to be endured on a path to a better life, then it might not be so bad. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of unhappiness among those who make it all the way through graduate school, and not just among the thousands of PhDs living on welfare (see Reason 83), or the thousands burdened by crushing debt, or the thousands working as barely paid adjuncts (see Reason 14). (The plight of adjuncts has turned so tragically absurd that it's now fodder for the Sunday comics.) There are also, of course, those who have suffered through the devastating humiliation of being denied tenure.

And then there are those for whom everything worked out. Yes, a great many academics who not only found tenure-track jobs (see Reason 8) but managed to survive the long road to tenure (see Reason 71) are surprisingly miserable. For some, their unhappiness began as soon as they were tenured; the Chronicle of Higher Education has covered the phenomenon of post-tenure depression on more than one occasion. For others, an unshakable sadness took hold much earlier in their careers. The culture of fear (see Reason 76) that pervades academe ensures that the deep unhappiness felt by so many academics is rarely discussed openly. [The “culture of fear,” to which the anonymous author refers is not what readers will expect it to be.] More often than not, it takes an observer working outside of academe to bring the subject to light.

The miseries of academic life are on full display, however, in fictional depictions of the university. Over the decades, those depictions have grown darker. Edward Albee's 1962 play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" put academic torments on the stage. Countless novels put those torments on the page. As most academic fiction is written by academics, it is worth considering the source. In fiction, academics have found a way to describe their professional environment without jeopardizing their jobs. In
Faculty Towers, Elaine Showalter notes that since the 1970s professors portrayed in academic novels have "become more and more grotesque figures, full of self-doubt and self-hatred." Why is this so?...

[Read the rest here.]
That most academics are miserable is an exceedingly odd fact, if a fact it is. That normal, patriotic, white men slaving away as adjuncts (and on the rarest of occasions, professors), and being harassed by racist, sexist students, colleagues, staffers and administrators should be miserable makes perfect sense. However, that demographic has largely been purged, and now probably accounts for less than 10% of those on academic payrolls.

The remaining 90% of academic check-cashers should be as happy as human beings can be. After all, they get to spend their professional lives expressing, promoting, and acting with hatred. And yet, they claim to be miserable.

Many are simply lying.

Others may have deluded themselves, like a salesman who sells himself a bill of goods, that the lies they constantly spout of their “oppression” are true.

Some readers will counter, “If you feel miserable, you are miserable, and no one has the right to question or challenge your feelings.”

Au contraire. A privileged person has no right to lie about his existence, and expect others to believe him.

If one’s feelings of “misery,” “pain,” etc., have no basis in reality, the person claiming them is either insane, and needs to be put in a strait-jacket, or some sort of a fraud—a hypochondriac, a malingerer, a liar.

The antiversity is full of privileged black supremacists, feminists, reconquistas, militant homosexualists and racial socialists, none of whom has the right to claim to be “miserable,” “oppressed,” what-have-you, as far as his academic existence is concerned. These are the same people who produce fraudulent “research,” and who support, and even engineer “hate crime” hoaxes assembly-line-style: Noose hoaxers; Black Lives Matter; Campus Rape Hoaxers such as Crystal Gail Mangum, Jackie Coakley, Emma Sulkowicz, et al. They are deeply wicked, and even evil people.

If one feels compassion for those who deserve none, one will then withhold compassion from those who deserve it. Nobody has an unlimited reservoir of compassion, and those who claim the loudest to be full of it, are… full of it.

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