Miles Coverdale (manos74) wrote,
Miles Coverdale


As most of you know, I've spent the overwhelming majority of my life in some sort of educational system. For better or for worse, I feel that academia, or at least being academic, is an integral part of me.

And to be honest, I welcome that. I do believe in the esoterica and arcana of English theory. I do honestly understand and can apply, for example, Barthesian semiotics to a text or to the world around me. And I will puff up like a threatened cat and defend these theories against those who think them to be just a collection of anally-extracted buzzwords that get made up by the BNF's of the academic world.

There's a rub, though.

Despite my love for academia and the realm of pure ideas, I have an issue with the whole game. And I think I can express it best with a rather extended metaphor.

Picture a large car factory, all shiny and new and powerful and ready to produce whatever its assembly lines get tooled for. Inside this factory are many different offices, with many different staffs, all coming together on the floor and having loud and often vicious arguments about what should be produced. One group wants to produce sports cars, another wants to produce trucks and SUVs, another wants to produce buses, another wants to produce motorcycles, another wants to produce subcompacts. Some groups want to produce locomotives or bicycles; some groups are trying to, say, make a hybrid between an 18-wheeler and a motorcycle. Often, one group will seize control of the assembly line and crank out a few units before being dragged away. And the arguments continue, on and on, late into the night and early in the morning, with people becoming best friends or mortal enemies solely depending on what groups they're in. To the participants, the arguments become matters of not just life and death, but about the integrity of the universe itself.

This is what is going on inside the factory.

Outside the factory, there are no roads.

(And the people are beginning to wonder whether or not the wheel is even a good idea in the first place.)
Tags: "serious" business, academia
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