Many of my regular readers are probably familiar with three basic facts about me:
1. I have a Ph.D.
2. I am unemployed.
3. I blog anonymously.
The anonymous blogging thing may seem like a no-brainer to many of you. You probably think that a lot of my humor would turn off potential employers who are looking for someone a little less cruel, vicious, and outlandish. Of course, you’d be wrong… as usual.
Now that I have left the university, I am often confronted by people who believe that Ph.D.-holders are incapable of interacting with “normal” people or being an enjoyable colleague to have around. The education is supposed to turn you into a lifeless walking brain. Hooray for stereotypes, and all that other stuff!
But that situation is also liberating when I sit down to blog. If a company is ever able to attach my real name to this blog, what could they possibly say against me? No matter how brutal or grotesque I become around here, I will always be more wonderful on this blog than they think I’d be in the office. Despite that, I have no intention of going public with my true identity any time soon. That also means I won’t be posting any nude photos of myself; I apologize for the disappointment.
And there’s one more interesting fact to consider. After less than five weeks in existence, this blog is already inching towards Alexa’s top million websites for the past month. So… yeah. Stupid Ph.D. person can’t connect with other people. Right…
PS: If you would like me to post nude photos of you, please send them to me and I will consider putting them on my test blog. If you don’t want me to post nude photos of you, please send them to me anyway and I promise not to post them. It’s almost wonderful to live in a world where asking people for nude photos is less likely to get me in trouble than writing intellectual posts about philosophy or history. On the other hand, a world where nude photos are valued more than knowledge is a world where Sarah Palin can become president.
Today I am writing about a blog written by someone who goes by the name M. Rae. Fortunately, this is her bowling name… which means that we’re off to the gutter again.
M. Rae’s blog is called Peas and Cougars and the banner image shows the cougar chewing on something tasty:
That’s right, the cougar is chomping on a pea. There are several reasons why this might be significant. Cougars are old by definition and they need a high fiber diet to stay healthy. But: there’s another P-word that cougars like to have between their lips… but this is a PG-rated blog and it is impolite to talk about that here. If we talk about impolite things, the WordPress Angel of Doom will come for us.
The danger is that our cougar (M. Rae) and the catlike Angel of Doom will get friendly and make cougar babies:
Um… no. That was a misprint. Since no one in their right mind would want to have sex with babies, we will have to find a new use for these cougar kittens. It was hard for me to find anything on M. Rae’s site that wasn’t sexually charged, but there was one idea that really stands out in my mind:
And that brings me back to the high fiber diet. M. Rae is doing a great disservice to her readers by encouraging them to follow that healthy practice; it makes everything taste bad. Those kittens would have loved to give up their lives to make a tasty entree and she’s insulting their sacrifice by cooking up “Peas and Cougars.”
This has been another installment of Victimizing Other Bloggers. All images were taken from Peas and Cougars, although I did have some fun messing with the picture from this post.
And as a gratuitous public service announcement: don’t forget that sharing these posts and clicking on my Facebook Like Box will help future victims find this blog. We all must work together to make sure that everybody has a chance to be victimized! (When I run for President, that last sentence will be my campaign slogan. I tell it like it is…)
I’ve been here a couple of weeks now and have been surprised by the response this blog has received so far. However, I’ve been even more surprised by how many people have clicked on my “About Me” page. It has been a lot of people…
And so I have decided to put out something fuller than the non-statement I had on the blog and I hope it will correct some of the misconceptions I’ve run into during my short time here.
The first thing you need to know about me is that I am under 45. (Therefore: not retired.) I left teaching mostly because I could not stand inflicting the things I describe on my students. Let there be no mistake about it: I write about things that are often required of college teachers if they want to keep their jobs. If you are put off by my regular mocking of students, please remember that I view students’ negative qualities as a direct result of the educational system they have been put through. I don’t hate them and I don’t blame them, but I worry that they will grow up to do the same things to their children as was done to them. I feel bad for them and I have come to see the consequences of what is happening to them.
The other detail you didn’t know about me is that I have been looking for a job for a few months now. The lack of skills among college graduates has appalled me; I wish I could post some of the grammatical atrocities I’ve seen in form letters and official correspondence from businesses. I’ve also had the opportunity to see that businesses recognize how little many college students are learning in school. And don’t get me started on the anti-intellectualism and stereotypes that make it nearly impossible for someone with a Ph.D. to find a job. Eventually, I’ll start posting thoughts on the challenges of looking for a job with a Ph.D. if unemployment lasts much longer.
But I am still thankful not to be teaching. I enjoyed teaching when the goal was to impart knowledge, but those days are long past. Although you could get a basic idea of academe’s problems from visiting the Chronicle of Higher Education, I blog here to reach people who would not know to look for this kind of information. As long as it does not last forever, unemployment is a small price to pay for what I was able to escape. Believe it or not, it’s less stressful.
In closing, please know that I intend to remain anonymous because I don’t want my former educational institution to be singled out unfairly. (Caveat: If you want to offer me a job, we may be able to work something out.) I’m not writing about one institution’s problems; I write about what happens at many institutions. And: I remain anonymous to protect my former students. I don’t publish anything about any individual student I taught, but quite a few of my former students could look at my blog and think I’m writing specifically about them. In turn, businesses could look at my blog and say that they won’t hire grads from Dr. Tafisk’s university.
And please tell me that you didn’t really think my name is Lou Tafisk (lutefisk). Something should have smelled fishy.
This post is being copied to my “About Me” page as the official replacement.
If you’ve spent much time reading my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I don’t use any pictures. Sure, I have the image in my header but that one’s not exactly designed to be an eye-catcher. There’s a reason for my spartan layout.
During my time in teaching, I noticed that student attention spans shrunk considerably. It became daunting for them too look at a page of text without a huge block of color to break it up. You can see this trend in popular newspapers and magazines as well. (If you’d like to read about this from someone who has done a little research on the topic, take a look through Mark Bauerlein’s blog entries over at the Chronicle of Higher Education. He blogs about this sometimes.) All too often, photography and pictures help dumb down the educational materials our students are given and it seems profoundly hypocritical to use those same tactics in a blog that is devoted to mocking what’s wrong in higher education and the effects these shortcomings have on graduates.
But I have to admit that I’m not completely opposed to photos or pictures in blogs. Sometimes, the photos or pictures are the main attraction and sometimes they help explain what the blogger has written. But in case you can’t live without your daily photo fix, I’d like to share a blog that has some really neat pictures:
I really do like those photos…
Unemployment is everywhere these days, and so are unemployed bloggers. Because there are so many of them, I would like to offer a few bits of “friendly” advice.
1: Imagine that you are looking for work in the (legal) drug industry. If you are, it might be a good idea to refrain from attacking drug companies again and again in your blog. Eventually, these companies will look up your blog and they will find that you were lying to them about how great you think their company is. HR personnel, while not known for their extraordinary intelligence, are not as dumb as you are.
2: If you must bite the hand you want to have feeding you, publish your blog under an alias and keep that alias to yourself.
3: Your blog is not a recruiting site for employers. It’s nice that you posted your resume, but it also shows that you’re not willing to protect the privacy of the former employers you are criticizing in your blog. The resume is also a useful tool for stalkers, but that’s a topic for another day.
4: If you persist on using your blog in an attempt to attract the attention of employers, please make sure you are writing quality posts. This is especially important if you seek to be a writer. If your work doesn’t rise above the quality of what everyone else is doing, you are giving potential employers a reason not to hire you. If you want to know how good your blog really is, ask someone who does not care about shattering your fragile self-esteem. If you ask, I’d be happy to
put you in your place gently suggest improvements.
5: If you harbor a profound disdain for the country you live in, keep it to yourself. Besides scaring off recruiters who are intelligent enough to appreciate their country, it’s not a very good strategy for securing government employment. And let’s be honest: who else is hiring much these days except the federal government? Oh yeah… the government can check out your blog if they do a background check, and having an alias won’t help your blog evade investigators.
6: You were never a professional studnet. You may have been a student, but not a studnet. If you’re too dumb to realize the dangers of working as a stud net, I recommend going downtown and finding yourself a nice comfortable street corner with the other prostitutes. (You may also want to avoid the aforementioned government investigators.) WordPress is a family site and there is no room here for prospective stud nets flashing their wares.