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I’ve always assumed that the ranks of academia was a cesspool of fuckery behind closed doors. There are too many stories of professors sleeping with students or engaging in other untoward behavior for it not to be a given that the ivory tower is often not much more than a place to go get drunk and bang one out. Slate recently ran an article that, while mostly full of anecdotal evidence, contemplated the dichotomy between the concern over college binge drinking and the similar lack of self-control among many professors.
The writer makes some really salient points, especially that the cause is professors who “take advantage–to a dangerous fault–of academia’s flexible hours, minimal supervision, and long-standing culture of booze-soaked bonhomie.” Now, I realize that sentence was likely constructed intentionally to be a vehicle for dropping “bonhomie” in casual conversation, but the point is well taken. Unlike most normal jobs, academia is pretty loose and free, and provided that you’re publishing and at least appearing to give a fuck about your classes, you can get away with a lot of things. The writer goes on to describe the culture of academic conferences, something that I also have long suspected of being frat parties for stuffy people masquerading as collective scholarship sharing:
“Many are the stuff of legend at scholarly conferences, which they treat like lost Vegas weekends. We’re talking grown-ass adults getting puke-loaded and passing out in bars; 55-year-olds drinking with grad students (or, worse, their undergrads) and thus, unsurprisingly, engaging in unethical or illegal behavior.”
I don’t know, sounds like a good time to me. Ultimately, I think professors should feel free to continue acting like Dionysian children all they want. It’s not like I have a moral leg to stand on here. What I won’t tolerate is the hypocritical nature of academics who turn their nose up at fraternities throwing a rager, only to go to some secret professor party, get loaded on brandy, and then make a pass at their TA named Brandi.