19 April, 2010

Upon the occasion of yet again, some person I know in academia getting undue praise...

... I couldn't help but think of this classic.  From Insider Baseball, by Joan Didion (1988):

It occurred to me, in California in June and in Atlanta in July and in New Orleans in August, in the course of watching first the California primary and then the Democratic and Republican national conventions, that it had not been by accident that the people with whom I had preferred to spend time in high school had, on the whole, hung out in gas stations. They had not run for student body office. They had not gone on to Yale or Swarthmore or DePauw, nor had they even applied. They had gotten drafted, gone through basic at Fort Ord. They had knocked up girls, and married them, had begun what they called the first night of the rest of their lives with a midnight drive to Carson City and a five-dollar ceremony performed by a justice still in his pajamas.
 Later, regarding a Dukakis photo-op, baseball toss:
What we had in the tarmac arrival with ball tossing, then, was an understanding: a repeated moment witnessed by many people, all of whom believed it to be a setup and yet most of whom believed that only an outsider, only someone too “naive” to know the rules of the game, would so describe it.
So I will raise my glass once to forget those unwarrantably honored, and then I will raise it once more for all of the people in academia that have not completely succumbed to cynicism and forgotten why they are there.

Source: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1988/oct/27/insider-baseball/?page=3