Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Patrice O'Neal Posse

Patrice O'Neal has a posse.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Reposting: A Note to Spouses

A few people have requested that I re-post this....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Note to Spouses

Dear Spouse of an Unemployed Philosopher,

As you are no doubt well-aware, we're now creeping into the all-important ten-day period during which hiring departments will be contacting job applicants in order to schedule APA interviews. The whole process is, indeed, every bit as awful as your spouse says it is. In fact it's probably much worse that your spouse realizes. In any case, expect your spouse to begin behaving strangely.

Over the next several days, your spouse will begin incessantly checking his or her voice-mail and email for any signs of hope. Information about which schools have contacted interviewees, some of questionable reliability, will be posted on various blogs and wikis. Rumors about canceled searches, insider candidates, and "courtesy interviews" will abound. Given the horrendous job market, even under the best circumstances, things will look excessively bleak. And they are.

Should your spouse get no invitations to interview, do whatever you can to help soften the blow. You spouse worked extremely hard on his or her PhD. Spending another year adjuncting for slave-wages, or worse, is a terrifying prospect for your spouse. And, indeed, that your spouse has not gotten any interviews does not entail that your spouse is not a highly qualified, well-trained, and promising academic. Most job ads yield hundreds of applications, and departments interview only twelve or so at the APA. The search process at many institutions is nearly blind to all the things that matter in selecting a new faculty member.

Those who get interviews will have but a few hours to feel affirmed and accomplished. Enjoy this all too brief period of satisfaction. Celebrate. The joy will soon give way to a morass of anxiety and self-doubt as your spouse begins to prepare for the interview. Of course, it will quickly dawn on your spouse that the only way to prepare is to practice running a gauntlet of the cruel, the ignorant, the hostile, the maniacal, the stupid, and the clueless. Chances are the some such assemblage will be deciding your spouse's fate. This only compounds the anxiety and self-doubt.

Perhaps your spouse will be among the three or four who survive the APA interview. If so, she or he will be invited to an on campus interview. In some ways, the anxieties of the job-seeking process lift at this point. But they're quickly replaced by a different set of anxieties: what to wear, what paper to give, how to deal with off-the-rails questions at the Q&A, how to interact with the faculty member who behaved like a jerk at the APA interview, and so on. Of course, if your spouse has reached this stage, he or she has already accomplished a great deal. But that makes the prospect of not getting the job all the more depressing. And so it goes.

In short, the next month will be unbelievably trying for your spouse. Resign yourself now to the fact that the entire holiday season will be a drag. Devise ways to cope with the fact that your spouse will be psychologically compromised for several weeks. And, if you can, cut him or her some slack.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'll be away for the next week or so. Probably no blogging until December.

Have a happy Thanksgiving-- it will go some small way towards compensating for the crummy X-mas you're going to have.

Monday, November 21, 2011

When You're Right...

"He is a stupid man's idea of what a smart person sounds like."

Krugman on Gingrich. Classic.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Best JFP line

Best JFP line:
Through introspection, reading, and discussions with domain experts, you will codify and formalize important, general pieces of knowledge about the world, and you will test the growing AI system’s understanding of what you’ve taught it.

Pretty much what we do in our classes anyway...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nigel Tufnel Day

Happy Nigel Tufnel Day to all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

JFP 192

The November JFP is out. 99 US jobs. More details of DOOM coming soon.

DOOM: I count roughly 45 TT Assistant Prof jobs in the US.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Mondays

The air you're breathing is toxic.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Andy Rooney Posse

Andy Rooney has a posse.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Cory Smoot Posse

Cory Smoot (guitarist for GWAR) has a posse.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Eastern APA Survey

The Eastern APA is now conducting a survey about meeting dates. I am confident that if Philosophy wants to have three national meetings a year, one of them will have to be between Christmas and New Year's. So the survey is in my view useless.

The issue that to my knowledge has not been explored is why the late-December meeting has to be held in the East. Since the December meeting is (for natural reasons) the big job-market meeting, shouldn't it be held in a (geographically) central location? I think so. I also think it should be held someplace that's not so prone to December blizzards as, say, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., and Baltimore.

Back in the old days, a main reason for holding the big December meeting in the East was that only big cities in the East had hotels large enough for the crowd. But this is no longer the case.

In short, the Eastern APA is wasting time with this survey. What is needed is a change in the location of the late-December meeting, not a change in the date of the Eastern meeting.