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Read my book, TEACHING BEAUTY IN DeLILLO, WOOLF, AND MERRILL (Palgrave Macmillan; forthcoming), co-authored with Jennifer Green-Lewis. VISIT MY BRANCH CAMPUS AT INSIDE HIGHER ED

UD is...
"Salty." (Scott McLemee)
"Unvarnished." (Phi Beta Cons)
"Splendidly splenetic." (Culture Industry)
"Except for University Diaries, most academic blogs are tedious."
(Rate Your Students)
"I think of Soltan as the Maureen Dowd of the blogosphere,
except that Maureen Dowd is kind of a wrecking ball of a writer,
and Soltan isn't. For the life of me, I can't figure out her
politics, but she's pretty fabulous, so who gives a damn?"
(Tenured Radical)

Monday, July 23, 2007

A Sort of Companion-Piece... William Deresiewicz's anxious American Scholar piece appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education. An excerpt:

'...[T]here is a special charisma attached to professors — to those who live in and tell us about the realm of spirit or mind — just as there was to representations of preachers in the 19th century. The stereotype, the haughty, bumbling, or lecherous professor, doesn't dispel the fascination with the life of the mind. A professor represents, as Stanley Aronowitz once said, "the last good job in America," where one has relative autonomy in doing one's work. People might begrudge that freedom, but they also might envy it.'

Shouldn't that be "begrudge that freedom and envy it?"

UD reminds her readers that in Money magazine's most recent list of best jobs in America, professor came in second. The magazine provides some commentary:

'The college professor category scored particularly well in stress level, flexibility and creativity. In addition, college professors reported the lowest average number of working hours per week (30) and the highest average number of vacation days (31). Dentists reported the shortest average vacation allowance (14 days).

"While salary is one of the most important factors in determining the worth of a job, workers today are far more selective in their career choice based on the job's growth potential, advancement, stress, and flexibility than in years past," said Meredith Hanrahan, senior vice president of marketing at'

It's even sweeter than this. Don't forget sabbaticals.

UD and others (including Deresiewicz) have pondered the odd fact that, given just about the best job in the world, American college and university professors don't as a group report much happiness. For what it's worth, UD thinks the core reason may lie in all that free time. Free time can be a drag if it's not taken up with engaged thought. Tenure can be a nightmare if you realize you've been given free time for the rest of your life, and you're pissing it away.