Flawless Victory

Well, so much for Tribble. Seriously. Whomever he/she is, I hope there’s at least some reflection going on there in the wake of some really very careful, methodical criticism from, oh, just about every academic blogger in existence.

I didn’t notice that the article actually says that the author is in a humanities department, so that much is pinned down.

The real screamer which almost everyone picked up on, which I didn’t mention, is the passage:

“The content of the blog may be less worrisome than the fact of the blog itself. Several committee members expressed concern that a blogger who joined our staff might air departmental dirty laundry (real or imagined) on the cyber clothesline for the world to see. Past good behavior is no guarantee against future lapses of professional decorum.”

If we’re talking academic standards here, that’s a passage that any scholar ought to be ashamed of penning–unless a pseudonymous piece in the Chronicle is subject to even lower standards than Tribble assigns to blogs. Taken seriously, that’s an argument that should lead to hiring no one.

Though if ever there was a department that needed to be taken to the cleaners, I’m beginning to think it’s Tribble’s.

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4 Responses to Flawless Victory

  1. Caleb says:

    I wonder if, in a twisted way, Tribble’s column has been good for academic blogging. I’d like to imagine that Chronicle readers who were uninformed or honestly on the fence about blogs were not decisively pushed into Tribble’s camp by such passages.

    Maybe Ivan Tribble will end up being to blogging what Edmund Burke was to the French Revolution.

  2. Witchy Prof says:

    Does “Tribble” really expect that his/her identity will remain anonymous? It’s bound to leak, sooner or later. Then everybody will be blogging about his/her department’s “dirty laundry.” What’s with this kind of Big Brother sneakiness?

  3. Timothy Burke says:

    I wouldn’t invest the effort in trying to find out. Though I suspect that if someone did, it wouldn’t be that hard to piece together. But if it did come out, so what, unless one of the candidates in question wants to bring a case? The thing that makes me feel a bit down, pessimistic where Caleb is optimistic, is that I think Tribble’s views would be passively endorsed by a great many senior faculty. Some because of general antipathy to technology, some because of general desire to control forms and norms of publication and interaction with the public sphere, and a small number because they’ve heard of this “blog” thing and they don’t like what they’ve heard. The weaknesses in Tribble’s reasoning probably matter less in that respect than the general confirmation of prejudice.

  4. Caleb says:

    I guess in some sense I have to be optimistic since I’ve already chosen my horse.

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