Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm a Creep, I'm a Weirdo, What the Hell am I Doing Here?

I know everybody pores with rapt attention at the letters to the editor in the APA Proceedings, but maybe a handful of people, like me, haven't found the time to look at the latest issue. Lucky for us, PJMB reader J never misses an issue, and points me to this letter (sub. req., I think) from James Madison philosopher Charles Bolyard. It has his fourth-grade son's description of last year year's Eastern APA:

2 days after Christmas I went to a philosophy confrence [sic]. It was horrible. There were 200 philosophers. They all did weird things. They couldn't make jokes, many had beards.

In the elevator it was worse. Once a philosopher got off on the wrong floor, so said, "wait for me." "We'll take you to the 27th," said another. Nobody laughed. "Get it there are only 10 floors," said some random old guy in a country accent. You get the point it was creepy.

. . . I'll never go to a philosophy confrence [sic] again.

"They couldn't make jokes, many had beards. . . . You get the point[,] it was creepy." Yes. I do get the point. I get the point loud and clear.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I liked the "country accent" comment! Clearly this kid's already on the way to being in concert with the "Southerners are 'the Scary Other' trope" of many good horror flicks!!

Anonymous said...

OK, we're now entering the two-week period where interview offers will be coming fast and furiously. What time of day should we expect the call? This morning I figured no chance, since committees that met last week would haven't have waited the weekend to start phoning. I'm guessing committees meet no earlier than 11-12 and mostly around 2 or maybe 3pm, so probably phone calls will come in the afternoon. (Then I'd be able to reduce my worrying to a few hours a day.) Does that jibe with other people's experience?

Anonymous said...

This made my day! but you didn't quote the whole thing.

I'm still laughing!

Phone Waiter said...

Anon 9:17, I think some people like to call right before they leave their office, so like 2 or 3 like you say, but others like to wait until they get home and call at night. At least, I would probably want to call from home if I were them.

Phil Fodder said...

I feel like I am on some extremely boring reality show and these phone calls are like a really lame version of getting a rose (or a giant clock)...nonetheless I hope I get one!!!!

tt assprof said...

First, this is the week when a bulk of the calls are made.

Second, departments usually call right after the meeting, so you can expect most of the calls in the late afternoon, early evening.

Anonymous said...

I've had more than a couple of invitations for interviews, and almost all have come via email. Are folks really waiting by their phones, or do they mean they're refreshing their email browsers?

Phil Fodder said...

Both!!!

juniorperson said...

"First, this is the week when a bulk of the calls are made."

Way to worry everyone, ttassprof! ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay, so who here is an expert on the semantics/metaphysics of 'bulk'? (Surely there's at least one!) Is 'a bulk' extensionally equivalent to 'the bulk'?

Anonymous said...

Refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh.

But I wouldn't expect much action until mid-week.

Anybody know who got the Tilburg job -- the first hire of the season?

Asstrophilosophist said...

What I'd be curious to know is how many junior faculty members are frequenting this blog. I've ben scarred so horribly by the job market that I just can't help myself from returning here every few hours -- and I already have a good job! I have no stake in this. It's like the People magazine of professional philosophy. What's the scuttlebutt man?

And yes, philosophers are frackin' weirdos. For those of us who've let our memberships lapse, any chance you could post the whole story? I don't think Janet Sample will come after you.

Anonymous said...

I would interpret 'the bulk' to mean 'more than half' but 'a bulk' to mean 'more this week than any other single week'. So a bulk might be true, but the bulk probably isnt.

Liberal Arts Prof said...

I think "Bulk" is roughly equivalent to "Fuck Load". But YMMV.

Will philosophize for food said...

By request:

Proceedings and Addresses
November 2007 (Volume 81, Issue 2)

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I recently received my 9-year-old son’s yearly schoolwork portfolio from his fourth-grade teacher, adn I was pleasantly surprised to find included an account of his impressions of the Eastern Division Meeting in Washington, D.C. this past winter. In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that my family chose to accompany me to the meeting despite my warnings!

In any case, here’s what Atticus had to say.

[see attached document]

Best,
Charles Bolyard

"2 days after Christmas I went to a philosophy confrence [sic]. It was horrible. There were 200 philosophers. They all did weird things. They couldn't make jokes, many had beards.

In the elevator it was worse. Once a philosopher got off on the wrong floor, so said, "wait for me." "We'll take you to the 27th," said another. Nobody laughed. "Get it there are only 10 floors," said some random old guy in a country accent. You get the point it was creepy.

A few days later there was a fire. Only one person was hurt, but everyone did weird things. Like people were standing in the roads, so nonphilosophers had to lead them out. Some people went back into the hotel. Firefighters had to lead them away. Still one guy stayed and had his bags blocking the door. Firefighters told him to move his bags, so he did, but when they left he put them back. I'll never go to a philosophy confrence [sic] again."

Anonymous said...

Boy, not much action on the wiki today. What's the story?

languagepolice said...

This letter, especially the full version recently posted, reminds me of Irwin Edman's chapter "The Philosophic Neurosis" from Philosopher's Quest" (1947).

Anonymous said...

What IS the story? Where's my wiki-action? Lafayette, why not me?

tt assprof said...

asstrophilosophist, et al.,

I know what you mean. I have a good job too, but I keep coming back here. And I don't now why either. But I think you're right about at least one thing: it has something to do with some kind of perverse desire to revisit what was the single most traumatic period of my life, which plays out in at least four different stages, each worse than the last. So:

(1) waiting to see if there are enough jobs in your area (which is now over)

(2) waiting to see if you get any interviews (which is the current stage)

(3) waiting to see if you get any on campuses

(4) finally, waiting to see if you get a job in February or March

As for what I mean by "bulk": more this week than any other week, but not most. This year, I think a lot of calls should come in the following week as well, since that week doesn't include Christmas and I can see a lot of dept.'s scheduling their meetings during that week.

Also, in my experience, I usually got more calls on Fridays than any other day. But I've gotten calls on the day before Christmas eve; and once, on site at the APA in the form of a bulletin board message.

Further, the vast majority of the calls I got were through the phone and not by e-mail.

Anonymous said...

I feel sorry for any nine-year old named Atticus.

wikimonger said...

I feel sorry for 20 something named wikimonger.

Anonymous said...

ahh jobmarket

how do i love thee
let me count the ways






(I let you know if I come up with a good reason, if not law school it will be)

I got a job! Woo hoo! said...

Oh yeah, the fucking fire at the Eastern APA. Oh my, was that ever so fun. I had two interviews last year at the Eastern, both of them pointless. On the last day of the APA, I was awakened by the loudest noise I had ever heard in my life, and my lovely wife and myself ran out of the building so as not to die in a fire during the APA. Then, after a bit, they let us into the hotel again--not into our rooms, but into the hotel, into the ballroom. When we got into the ballrooom, the philosopers were all gathered together in there and lo and behold the fucking SMOKER broke out again at 4 in the morning. It was a room full of philosophers schmoozing at 4 in the morning, the most hideous sight I could imagine. If I never have to go to the Eastern APA again...

Anonymous said...

The beards comment just makes me think that the person writing that was an idiot. "Oh no! Facial hair! Full retreat, boys, these people look like adults!"

Anonymous said...

There is a nothing wrong with a beard. But there is plenty wrong with someone who can't grow a good beard insisting that he try. And philosophy seems to have a higher proportion of the latter than is usual.

undetached rabbit parts said...

"The beards comment just makes me think that the person writing that was an idiot."

That seems a little harsh; he's just a kid. I wonder about taking children to the Eastern APA...that's borderline child abuse. But Bolyard does say he tried to warn them.

juniorperson said...

asstrophilosophist, et al.

I'm a TT asst. prof., with a job at Bliss College--superb students (we have students who've turned down Princeton), low teaching load, serious research focus (everyone hired in my incoming year in the humanities had at least one book, all from good to excellent presses), great colleagues, excellent location.

I am unbelievably lucky!

And I most definitely NOT from a Leiterterrific department... so sometimes the APA gods smile!

asstrophilosophist said...

Hey JuniorPerson:

I hear you loud and clear. I'm a at a very good school ranked higher on the Leiter scale than my own PhD program. I think all readers should take heart in that.

To a certain extent, how you do on the job market actually, in fact, believe it or not, depends on what you do with yourself and your career. Hiring committees are not populated by numbskulls who blindly follow rankings.

recent hire said...

Ha! I was staying in the other hotel at the last APA and I missed the fire.

Anyway, about "What time of day should we expect the call," "Do departments phone or e-mail" -- different departments do different things. I got calls on weekends, morning, afternoon; I got contacted by phone only and by e-mail only. (But, as per the previous cartoon, I don't think there's any department that would give up after getting a busy signal.) Nothing's universal.