Box Office Or Critics, Which Is More Important?

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Ronald Reagan would often pose that question and suggest that one should know the difference. Tenured bureaucrats, the ‘Critics’ in academia have had the run of the American campus. But the ‘box office’ of parents who write the checks will eventually rule.

But not today.

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Daniel DreznerIt was sad news recently that Daniel Drezner didn’t get tenure at the University of Chicago. His blog gets 5,191 visits each day. People care about what he writes. Lots of people. A ‘box office’ hit.

And then we have ‘critics.’

Amitai Etzioni, former President of the American Sociological Association, an advisor to President Carter, and author of 24 books — and one of the nation’s top 100 intellectuals, according to Richard Posner — recently abandoned his blog, Amitai Etzioni Notes.

After two years of blogging, he was averaging 156 readers a day. A lifetime of teaching, of research, of advancing scholarhip. And no traffic.

But Etzioni’s got tenure and critical acclaim.

Drezner’s on the job market.

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Children on Bitch, Ph.D. website banner

And then there’s Bitch, Ph.D. Charming picture, eh?

Who would knowingly send their children off to sit at the feet of the suicidal Bitch, Ph.D. who writes in her blog about abortion:

I have no doubt that there are women who are selfish, who have abortions for idiotic reasons, who do stupid things. Women can be f*cked up. But f*cked-up women make f*cked-up mothers; more importantly, the vast, vast majority of women take this whole question of children incredibly seriously. It is one of the most serious things we have to deal with (whether or not we have them, because having them will, as people say, “change your life”), and there is just no way that it’s right to take away from women, to take away from mothers, the right to make decisions for their children. Because no one is better qualified, no one cares more, no one knows better than I do, or than any woman does, what is best for my kid. Period. (Emphasis mine.)

I’m confused. When she says “make decisions for their children” is she talking about the aborted ones? Could I impose on someone to explain the logic of this highly-educated professor to me? Please. Comment.

This feminist professor, Bitch, Ph.D., is not one I would like my daughters to be on the same campus with.

But now I know about feminist professors because they are publishing in a blog where I can get to it with one click.

I would submit that these examples might be a leading indicator of the future of higher education. There is a mismatch between academia and the country.

The parents writing the tuition checks will soon need to start with some very critical due diligence before investing in a service that nobody wants. People with kids like Your Business Blogger.

Box Office will win over the Critics.

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Was this helpful? Do comment.

Thank you (foot)notes:

The Political Teen has open trackbacks.

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11 Responses

  1. Yes this was helpful. 🙂

    Jack, isn’t it sad to know that there are people out there that encourage their children to be vulgar and improper? Oh, and about the tenure thing…and the education thing…I have to tell you that one of the best books I have is The Freefall of the American University…having just graduated from a “Christian” university and dealing with the liberal trash in it, all I can say is that homeschooling is the best way to go these days especially if you want your kids to have any values…..

    And that’s it for my long run on sentence 🙂

  2. P.s. What is the blog url for Daniel Drezner…I clicked the link and saw his stats but couldn’t get to his page.

  3. Jack Yoest says:

    Stacy, you are right about home schooling–We visited Patrick Henry College last year and saw the students from homeschool classrooms — some of the brightest students anywhere. Being groomed to rule the country and more.

    And Bitch, Ph.D. having those little girls doing obscene gestures is child abuse, isn’t it?

    Best,

    Jack

  4. Jack Yoest says:

    Stacy, Terry has noted the url and it’s now linked.

    Thanks!

    Jack

  5. Very useful, though that may not be the best word. I heartily agree that some sort of overhaul is needed in the halls of academia, but how do we get there?

    Though I didn’t matriculate from an instituition of higher learning (I’m a chef and back in the day you didn’t go to school for that)I still see problems even in the culinary institutes where they suck kids in with big promises that they do not deliver on.

    Anyway, excellent blog, I particularly like the idea of judging colleges as a product in the marketplace.

    Well done,

    Jake

  6. Jack Yoest says:

    Jake, You are right that change is needed and I think some reform of the tenure system may be in order. But the challenges will be overcome by as the student cohort born since 1973 moves thru the system. These kids coming up are different from the flower children of the 60’s and 70’s.

    And you are right about learning institution providing job placement and job search skills.

    No little part of my practice is filling these gaps left by school and colleges.

    Thanks again,

    Jack

  7. Jack Yoest says:

    Stacy, Professor Drezner is probably not the best example to use.

    He voted for Kerry.

    But I feel that Dr. D. has the potential to ‘grow’ in the right direction. I think there’s hope for him; less so for his very liberal counterparts.

    Cheers,

    Jack

  8. Jack,

    I would totally agree that the parents that are teaching their children to be vulgar are abusing their kids.

    I have to say however, that my mother was one of those type of parents, so I do have a little empathy for what those kids go through.

    My mother used to pay us to swear, and then beat us when we did. Sad, sad, very sad, and all I can hope is that the Lord grabs the hearts of those parents and their kids like He did mine.

  9. Leah says:

    Not knowing much about Drezner, I can’t comment on why he did or did not deserve tenure.

    I will, however, point out that many variables are factored into the decision to grant tenure; these variables depend on the university. At the University of Chicago, I’m guessing that some of those variables are quality of published work, academic reputation, and even perhaps teaching ability. It’s possible that Drezner had a famous or widely read blog, but that does not speak to his ability to be a good teacher or even his ability to turn out good research papers.

    At my university, the students were instrumental in both granting tenure and removing the potential for tenure. One professor was fired due to extremely poor student evaluations, and another tenured professor was put on probation until he worked to realize his responsibility toward his students. I myself wrote a strong letter in favor of a professor that I’m fairly sure helped him gain tenure.

    The job of good professors is to teach students to think for themselves. Many professors do try and influence their students, but good professors will also play devil’s advocate and take stances opposing their own. A good professor will poke and prod the student into greater awareness of the world and a strong ability to read and analyze arguments and ultimately arrive at a conclusion.

    Perhaps Bitch PhD is one such professor; her personal blog is not a reflection on how she teaches in the classroom. Rather, it’s a reflection of the beliefs she has come to through examination and analysis.

    Perhaps Drezner is not a good professor, even if he is a brilliant writer.

    Unless you’re in the classroom, you can’t know. And the job of academia, in the classroom, is not the same as the role of academics in research and publishing. I posit that this difference means that higher education is not in such dire straights as one might think from reading the blogs of various professors that form a wide variety of viewpoints.

  10. Jack Yoest says:

    Leah, you may very well be right — Drezner’s teaching or student evaluations might be very bad.

    But I’m not so sure.

    Harvey “C” Mansfield at Harvard gets some bad teaching reviews from students, but his classes are always oversubscribed. I would want my kids to sit at his feet. (Goodness, Charmaine and I do whenever possible!)

    We already know Bitch PhD’s handling of children (from her banner) and her language (from her blog) it might be skitzo for her to so separate those parts of her personality.

    I like your thoughts on professors teaching students to think for themselves. My fear is that this may be far too rare.

    It did seem that Drezner’s publications were numerous enought — however objective the rationale for tenure denial; it is always a subjective decision.

    My guess is that the committee just didn’t like him. Drezner might be skitzo himself: consulting for Bush, voting for Kerry.

    Cheers,

    Jack

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