Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Want/Need/Love: A Non-Response to Craig Smith

Craig Smith at FACE Talk graciously and thoughtfully unpacked the issues raised by my fragment of a post on tenure, which was itself a sequel to my post raising the possibility of negotiating in addition to lobbying for more tenure-track lines. In neither post was I advancing an argument that I'm 100% behind, but instead floating possible solutions to longstanding issues that arise when a faculty union (or faculty/professionals one like mine) represents both the tenurable and the nontenurable--and seeking insights from Blogoramaville. So I really appreciate Craig's taking the time to take up these issues in an ongoing exchange with me and I encourage anyone interested to join in.

But since work is actually getting in the way until the very end of the week, what I can do here and now is thank him for making explicit my Queen allusion. Or whatever it is you call it when you've forgotten (repressed?) that you are, in fact, making an allusion. I can't quite say it was unintentional (is this a non-denial denial?)--I must have put it in quotes for a reason--but to the best of my memory it was for a technical rather than musical one (look and clarity, that is). But, yes, I am a Queen fan. Or maybe they're just one of the many bands from the '80s in particular that have burned their way into my memory bank, never to be rooted out. I'll blame Wayne's World rather than my ex, who was the real Queen fan in the family at the time! Who am I to put down her love of Queen when, pre-grad school, my musical tastes spanned Journey, Men at Work, Weird Al Yankovic, "Eye of the Tiger," and more that I really don't have time to confess to.

So, back to Queen, I suppose one of the biggest problems with the actually four-tiered tenure system (RTS, RT, RS, TS) I was proposing in a thought experiment kind of way is that it institutionalizes the dichotomies of want, need, and love posed in my not-quite allusion. And not only from the perspective of the institution but also from that of the faculty member. I'll really have to finish unpacking this later. Lots to do before I drop the girls off at day care!

[Update: Reading over Craig's post again just as quickly as the first time, it strikes me that I may have been working my way toward a quibble--and maybe more than a caveat--with his proposed starting point. And with that perhaps-suggestive fragment, back to work!]

[Update 2/28/08: I am SO tempted to erase all evidence of my humiliating Queen/Meat Loaf switcharoo here, which Craig was ever so kind to point out in comments, especially since Inside Higher Ed decided to feature the first two posts in our exchange. But no, let the historical record show that I am an idiot! I'm just glad they didn't link here.]


cps said...

Hey--I am gonna wait til you decide if it is a quibble or a caveat, but dude the band is Meatloaf! You may be a closet Queen fan as well--that is your issue--but two out of three ain't bad is definitely primo Bat out of Hell stuff!

Now get back to your work!

The Constructivist said...

Yeesh, that's a sad commentary on my state of mind this week, isn't it?