being a non-academic academic

I like books.  I like history.  I like being right on the verge of getting my PhD.  What bothers me the most about academia, I think, is that there are assumptions about what it means to be an academic.  You can’t watch TV — at least, not network TV…depressing documentaries, CNN/MSNBC, and PBS).  Popular movies are right out — if they’re not in French, or depressing as all hell, they’re not ‘real’ movies.  Pop music?  Pop fiction?  Right out.

Of course, this isn’t true of all academics.  But so many of us try to present ourselves as erudite, cultured.  We pretend we like museums, opera, the symphony, and dreary depressing French films with no plot — all because we think that’s what we’re ‘supposed’ to like.  Bu we like graphic novels, cheezy fantasy and sci fi, Pixar movies and stupid comedies filled with racial and sexual stereotypes.  And guess what?  It’s okay.  I can watch ‘Death Race’ and enjoy myself, despite everything.  Do I know it’s racist, sexist, and violent?  Sure.  Can I decry those things in my classroom and still enjoy a movie filled with them without being a hypocrite?  Indeed, I can.  It is precisely because I know the negatives that I can enjoy it.

Can I be a good academic if I don’t like museums (art goes there to die)?  Yes.  Can I be a good academic if I like fabulous shoes?  Sure.  But what I can’t be is fake.

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Published in: on June 11, 2009 at 7:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

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