The age of Gotcha

Such is the nature of today’s politics, and this is what happens as a result:

[T]his blog really only worked when I was willing to discuss my thoughts in a much more unfiltered manner. Even though I’ve never used this forum in a way that might undermine collegiality, I have come to appreciate more that taken out of context — which much content on the Internet inevitably is, due to search engines — some of my more unguarded thoughts might be seen as representing more general attitudes that some might find as a convenient excuse to use to undermine future professional opportunities.

Being in a tenure-track position also, paradoxically, places me in the position for the first time of not being able to be quite as forthright about the serious issues that exist in academia generally and political science specifically. (I leave aside the paper trail of political views that would put me simultaneously outside the mainstream of academia and those of the American public at large yet somehow somewhere in between them, which certainly is a recipe for loathing from all sides.) I have no direct evidence that the blog has harmed my potential professional status to date, but frankly at this point in my career I feel the need to play it “safer” than I have in the past.

I’ve met this guy; “forthright” is his middle name. (And if by chance you’ve arrived here via search engine and are anxious to tell me that no, “Horatio” — or whatever — is his middle name, please be advised that you’re not helping; should you point out that there is no I in “team,” I remind you that there is a U in “STFU.” Three of them, if you spell it out.)

As for “loathing from all sides,” there’s a certain comfort in it, but usually not enough of one to pay the rent.



  1. Charles Pergiel »

    9 June 2010 · 5:18 pm

    Sad. Very sad. Prime example of “what’s wrong with America”. Can’t say as I blame him for wanting to get tenure, but I suspect it will be like ashes. Either his self-imposed censureship will drive him crazy, or at some point someone will dig into his past and discover something that will cause his tenure to be revoked. Of course, I’m not in his shoes, I’ve been sort of lucky, and I am at least half crazy. Of course, all the best people are.

    This is all based on the assumption that I understood what he said. I had to read it twice. The first part should get an award for awkward sentence structure.

  2. CGHill »

    9 June 2010 · 5:24 pm

    That latter might be the fault of my editing; I scissored that out of the middle of his post.

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