I enjoyed Carol’s post highlighting how the typical college reading assignment seems designed to make students feel “spoiled or privileged.” In fact, professorial contempt for “spoiled or privileged” students is nauseatingly common. Yet this is yet another example of academic blindness. It is tough to imagine a more “privileged” person than a tenured faculty member at a major university. Six figure income. Ten month work year. Absolute job security in the absence of actual fraud or criminal behavior. No other profession in America enjoys such benefits.
When I visit universities, I am endlessly amused by the clippings and slogans on the office doors of senior faculty. “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore,” says the prof who was the subject of a high-profile bidding war, teaches her (one) class sometimes in sweatpants, and is currently away (at university expense) at a conference in Helsinki. “No justice; no peace” screams one bumper sticker on the doorway of a BMW-driving academic rock star who barely keeps his office hours, lives on a stately street in the most prestigious part of town, and delegates most of his teaching to graduate assistants and most of his writing to interns. Or perhaps I’m getting the wrong message here. Perhaps there is justice, because most profs live a professional life about as peaceful and non-stressful as exists in this country.