Yesterday, I was sitting in a department meeting for ninety minutes listening to a bunch of liberals whine and argue about things of little or no consequence. But, suddenly, in the middle of the meeting, something happened that has never happened in my eighteen years in the department. That’s right - a liberal came up with a good idea! It sounded unique in its simplicity as he suggested “Let’s all move to Madison, Wisconsin, where they have collective bargaining!”
Shortly after work I went home to smoke a fat one (a Cuban Cohiba, not a joint) and enjoy an evening strumming my 1962 Stratocaster (American, not Cuban, made). As I reflected on the day’s events I thought about how much better things would be if the faculty really did revolt and move to Madison, Wisconsin. Shortly after I went to bed I fell into a dream.
In my dream the liberals were all gone and I had to rebuild the university from the ground up. Before I began hiring, I made this major announcement: “Faculty will have to teach four classes a semester, instead of just three. This will allow us to cut back on the number of adjunct faculty we hire. It will also mean that faculty can teach instead of doing research that is absolutely useless at best and harmful to society at worst.”
That part of my dream might have been caused by my recent decision to pick up a copy of the journal Feminist Theory, which is a favorite among some of my angry feminist colleagues (I use the term “colleagues” loosely). In the journal, I read an article by Jane Kilby called “Incest and the Question of the Child’s Love.” Just by reading the following abstract one can see that the term feminist scholar, like gay conservative, is an oxymoron:
“In contrast to Judith Herman, who understands incest exclusively in terms of power, Judith Butler insists on the importance of the child’s love for our understanding of incest. Butler’s thinking in this respect is suggestive but underdeveloped, while also holding considerable implications for how we might understand the role of violence in social life. This article develops and assesses her thinking on the child’s love and its relation to the question of violence and trauma more generally. At issue is the question of how we are to understand violence. Is it always motivated? Is it always destructive? And finally are there limits to what can be understood?”Brilliant scholarship, isn’t it? Next thing you know the Journal of Homosexuality will publish an article called “First Degree Murder and the Question of Matthew Shepard’s Love.” Was it really motived by hate? Or was Matthew really into that sort of thing? Can we ever really see things from his perspective?
The best part of my dream, of course, was its effect on our pool of applicants. Armed with the knowledge that the teaching workload would be increased by 33% without a pay increase many top “researchers” decided not to apply. Those seeking to teach three classes and do “research” – like feminist “research” fostering a more sophisticated view of incest - decided to apply to The University of Wisconsin (and, quite possibly, The University of West Virginia).
In my dream, professors were encouraged to try something they had never tried before; namely, working twelve months - rather than nine months - out of the year. For the last couple of years, I have taught nine months out of the year at UNC-Wilmington and three months at Summit Ministries. I don’t take months off at a time. Summer vacations are for children, not for people who insist on being called “Doctor.”
In my simple dream, if professors didn’t like the fact that they received no pay-raise they were expected to start teaching in the summer. UNC-Wilmington pays 8.3% of one’s annual salary to teach a single summer class, which lasts less than half the summer. That is 1/12th of one’s salary – the equivalent of one extra paycheck. In my dream, I told the faculty, “If you don’t like that you will not get a raise this year then give yourself a 16.6% raise by actually working during the summer.” The few entitled liberals who slipped through the hiring process quit and were replaced by people who actually wanted to work. Too bad it was only a dream.
In my dream, professors who wanted to travel had to convince people they had something important to say – preferably not about incest – so they could get hired by outside organizations to come speak. This had the advantage of saving the state money so taxpayers would no longer have to subsidize drunkenness, topless dancing, and adultery (those who want to destroy marriages would fit in better in Madison anyway). It also had the advantage of earning faculty extra money so they could smoke Cuban cigars and play nice guitars (and even make rhymes like Jesse Jackson!).
In my dream, professors who disliked my policies could simply criticize them in speeches given on their own time rather than griping for hours during department meetings where they are supposed to be working. Letting private citizens criticize the government on their own time - rather than playing sick and skipping work in protest - is the way James Madison would have wanted it.
Of course this was only a dream. Moving to Madison would require renouncing tenure and embracing individual initiative. Those ideas aren’t very popular among the Madison crowd.