This is my end of a droll email exchange between two dudes who have never had much of a shot at becoming friends, but who might have been had not an institutional academic chasm gotten in the way. He had asked for permission to share an earlier email. I was happy for him to share. Now it’s his turn. The “Southern Thing” referred to is this insufferable politeness of one’s public face along with the smoldering hot anger of the private face. Too true. Not confined completely to the South, but developed into an art form here.
D***,Permission granted. Bombs aweigh. Quote ad libitum. I feel badly you had potshots from sociopath wannabees. They have terrible aim, but lots of ammo.Here’s an image that says it all for me:And an accompanying text: Hugh MacLeod’s cartoon is a pitch-perfect symbol of an unorthodox school of management based on the axiom that organizations don’t suffer pathologies; they are intrinsically pathological constructs. Idealized organizations are not perfect. They are perfectly pathological. (https://www.ribbonfarm.com/
2009/10/07/the-gervais- principle-or-the-office- according-to-the-office/)BTW, this links to an astonishing piece of writing. Venkatesh Rao. Hard to describe him. Check him out.I really feel badly for our grad students. I don’t find it hard to imagine how job prospects look and feel for them. I faced pretty bad economic times when I graduated in 1977. ‘Ceptin’ for the pandemical thing. And that, as one is wont to say, makes all the difference.As for this Southern thing, I only have a story in response. When I first moved to my little postage stamp of Kentucky about 30 years ago, all my neighbors and folks I had any truck with were relentlessly polite,but I kept getting this one, odd-seeming question: where do you go to worship? The syntax was odd and only women asked the question. Confused atheist that I am, I would answer, “I’m still trying to find a place.” They would nod in sympathy and that would be that until somebody else asked. It took me a few years to finally get enough nerve to ask a native why folks kept asking. He said, “Oh that ain’t nothing. They just want to know if you’ll rob ’em when they’re gone on Sunday for church.” This was the first time I really had an inkling about Faulkner’s tragic Deep South. You are or you ain’t a Snopes. No in-between.I just heard the voice of Grampa Simpson in my head so I reckon I ought to stop.Keep on. I will, too.Just another old shitty troubadour