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Stanley Fish: Hating on the Academics

9 February, 2009

Stanley Fish:Hating on the Academics. Again.

Is it me, or can Stanley Fish no longer write on topics where most sensible people — including academics — would agree with him without sounding like a complete and utter tool?

Short version: Academic Freedom doesn’t protect you from not actually doing your job.

Longer version:

I have a faculty meeting to go to, so this will be shortish. What the hell is it with Fish? This entire piece reads as though those of us in the professoriate actually support idiots like Denis Rancourt. No, really. Most of the people I know are incredibly frustrated when we have colleagues who hide their tendencies to be lazy, stupid, or just plain ol’ mean bastards behind a false banner of academic freedom. We know that Academic Freedom doesn’t mean that. We’ve read the AAUP definition, among other things.

So it would be really nice if blowhards like Stanley Fish would not set up straw man arguments that basically imply that “academics” think this way. Because you know? Most of us don’t. We aren’t the enemy, Stanley. You are.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 9 February, 2009 9:50 pm

    I once heard of an instance in which an academic claimed that sexually harassing a colleague was “academic freedom.” He didn’t win his case.

  2. 10 February, 2009 2:19 am

    Matt — ya think?

  3. 10 February, 2009 7:06 pm

    I wrote about this, too, and thought exactly as you did: “straw man.”I guess if you’re Stanley Fish, the NYT pays you to say whatever you want.

  4. 10 February, 2009 11:32 pm

    But the piece would make a great illustration of how NOT to make an argument…

  5. 11 February, 2009 5:48 am

    Fish made me cranky, too, but you articulated WHY much better than I.I hate, hate, hate being blamed for the failings of academia, as though we profs are ALL conspiring to destroy young minds, waste tax dollars, and seduce the the students. Some of us just want to do our jobs, and to do them well. Why is that so hard to believe?

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