Wednesday, January 10, 2007


This wonderful photo from Google Images shows two brilliant academics (aren't they all?) working together on a joint project. The skinny, sharp-edged one is the Professor while his hardworking colleague is a Senior Tutor and Lecturer. Once can only guess at what they are looking at with the telescope because, generally speaking, no stars are visible during daylight hours. Besides, there are not many stellar objects to be found at street level.

Perhaps they are Psychologists. In the distance, there might be a large window to a woman's apartment, one that has no curtains. The woman might have unusual sexual appetites. Watching the actions of such a woman who doesn't know she is being watched might reveal hitherto unknown behavioural characteristics of females to say nothing of their diverse cognitive functions. Such innovative research is very common in Universities.

Arrogance is also common in Universities as many students will attest. Staff observe a clear distinction between themselves and the dumb students. And between each other. You show me your titles and I'll show you mine is a very common ritual, much like dogs sniffing each other's tail areas. It takes place within faculties and is most pronounced when new members appear. "You're so welcome...and where did you do your degrees?" is the standard greeting.

Unfortunately there is sniffing and there is sniffing. This arises from the complication created by differences in prestige between title-awarding institutions. For example, a Ph.D from Yale is considered to be superior to one from Upper Boonsville in Bottswana. A degree from ANU is prestigious whereas one from the University of Perth may be thought of as ho hum!

Then there are further complications created by differences between faculties. People who hold multiple degrees in Philosophy or Language or Quantum Physics or Law are considered to be superior to those who are merely educationists, accountants or dental technicians (in the average High School the same distinction applies between those who teach English and Science and those who teach Woodwork and Cooking). The old saying that oil and water do not mix is carefully observed at most Universities.

The truth of the matter is that titles mean little in the real world except perhaps to open the door to a job. However they continue to have major status in the incestuous, restrictive world of Academia where mediocrity and small-mindedness too often prevail.

In the real world, people are judged by what they can do and whether they are decent human beings and whether they help to make the world a better place, not by bits of paper enclosed in fancy frames hanging on office walls.


thepoetryman said...

O! Academia! What a rot of so many! It is rather a pleasentry when a level headed humble prof emerges from out of the lot...Rare, but it happens.



Daniel said...

Universities should be at the very forefront of change for the better in this world. Yet they are generally followers and have become little more than vocational training institutions.

It tends to suggest that the principles they were once based upon have been prostituted and their doors are open to the lacklustre.

Some academics who have contributed to this blog in the past are intellectually and morally bankrupt! Cheers!

dining_philosopher said...


Daniel said...

Hey, D.P., I give in. Does this mean I've failed the test?

Welcome anyway!

ezwin said...

Test, DP?
I'll tell you what should be tested!
Peoples morals and values before becoming parents and peoples sincerity and narcassistic attitudes before becoming blog authors!
Great post,Dan.

Daniel said...

It would be interesting, Zoe, if all blog authors were given psychological tests before being allowed to push their wares on the world stage.

I suspect that the number of blogs would be more than halved!

And I couldn't agree more with your comment about parenting. When I see some of the people entrusted with the care of innocent kids I feel like crying.


Lucyp said...

Psychological tests for blog authors? I will make my excuses and leave now. Interesting thought though. Is there any online psychological tests out there on the Internet? I would like to have a go and receive confirmation of my mental state to stick on my front page.

Aunty Danielle said...

All blog authors are slightly deranged, Lucy, so don't worry. Why else would we offer ourselves as targets for the deranged and ever-increasing numbers of megalomaniacs? Cheers!

iMuslim said...

I think you already know my thoughts on academia.

"I'll tell you what should be tested! Peoples morals and values before becoming parents and peoples sincerity and narcassistic attitudes before becoming blog authors!"

The parenting comment is a little overboard don't you think? What is your idea of a good parent? What morals do you agree/disagree with? How do you propose that this rule be enforced - forced sterilization?! Parenthood changes people, many times for the better. So those who you may predict to be "unfit" parents, may actually turn out to be fantastic parents, as in some cases having a child forces them to deal with the concept of responsibility and accountability for the first time in their lives.

IMHO it would be much more ethical and fruitful to develop a more nurturing society, where the family unit is respected, protected and parents are given as much help as possible to raise their children well. I don't just mean monetory support either.

Also, isn't the whole idea of "the blog" based on a narcissitic premise? We want attention; we want people to take notice of us and validate our opinions. Otherwise why not just keep a private journal?

Of course it doesn't have to be a complete exercise in vanity. It would be nice if the blog in question was useful in some way, e.g., by exposing rarely acknowledged perspectives and/or providing a forum for discussion.

I once came across a blog written by an old lady talking about her grandkids. I don't have any grandparents left, so i appreciated the insight the blog gave into a relationship i have yet to experience. The concept of this blog won't win any awards, but it seems at least one random stranger found it useful!

I would even say the "wacko" blogs are an educational experience. It can sometimes be disturbing to read the minds of such people, but knowledge is power. If we know how they think and what fuels their bigoted opinions, it may help us to combat them in real-life situations.

So i say, let the whole world blog, no matter how boring or senseless their ramblings are - such adjectives are relative, anyway. Who's to say we're not the weirdos?? I know of at least one person who thinks i'm delusional. *Names no names*

If you don't like a blog, don't read it. If you don't like a blogger, avoid/ignore them. If you're attacked by a net troll, press the delete key/ moderate comments/ block the IP. But let's not get all elitist about blogging, cos who are we to judge?

Daniel said...

Given that the quote you used came from Zoe I won't address the issues you raise Z.....!

But you do ask, "Who are we to judge?" Good question! I experienced some unpleasant examples of JUDGEMENT recently where my comments and my posts were copied, attacked and denigrated on several other blog sites.

Unfortunately, there ARE those in blogdom who pretentiously set themselves up as judges and juries of other blogs. Inevitably, they attract followers who cling like pale, pathetic shadows.

Unity is what makes blogging a force for good. The knockers should be treated as the pariahs they are!