Filed under: college, event, web | Tags: academics, blogging, ML 2.o?, multilingualism, symposium, The University of Arizona
Do you have too many blogs?
When I started blogging, my first entry was about the very nature of this action. What was I personally expecting from blogging, and more than that, what was blogosphere waiting from me? These were my central questions. I tried to set myself free of limitations, because blogging was itself being limitless, or less limitless than usual. I only wrote about things I wanted, with no time limitation or academic concern.
This weekend, at the University of Arizona, we are holding Multilingual 2.0?, a symposium dealing with the timeless phenomenon of multilingualism. We will be hosting amazing scholars, and the coming together of leading scholars with participants from all around the world will contribute to the local, national, and international debate(s) of languages.
And guess who is “the blogger-in-chief”?
When Dr. Gramling, one of the core faculty members of the organization committee, asked me what I would want to do for the symposium, I had no idea. I had been volunteering for such events since my early undergraduate years, and I have done a wide range of things, from serving wine at the cocktails to making opening speeches. He looked at my perplexed face, and asked: Do you want to blog the event? I said “why not?”
However, how do you blog events? I have blogged mostly personal stuff about life and death, or music, or traveling, or changing the continent I live in—but how could I blog a symposium? Do I cover the whole thing, summarize every speech, note down every question, and then say “Wow, this was a great conference?”
Dr. Gramling said, “No. Make it personal, introduce your analysis.”
I should tell the truth: When he bestowed me the title of “blogger-in-chief”, I was intimidated at first. I felt a huge pressure on my shoulders. Mary Louise Pratt is going to speak, and I will record it? Me, a graduate student who one day wants to be an academic? But David quickly gave me the freedom I needed, the freedom that actually blogging signified: Be free, be ridiculous, tell us your take on the issues. Write like an aspiring academic, but don’t write academically.
So, I accepted the challenge. Dear Readers, if you wonder what are the contents of the speeches, please go to our website and watch the symposium live online. If you wonder what is going on in the symposium, keep on reading my blog.
And see how I deal with a roller-coaster of ideas.
Completely ignoring that my latest post was written almost 9 months ago, I realized today what a wonderful idea it was to share this blog with my dear friend and co-editor of this blog “bayripley” who kept this wonderful space on the web alive during my blog laziness. My plan was -it actually still is- to collect here all the musings of my life, after my departure from Istanbul. If you were worried about how it all went (oh you are, aren’t you?), it was and still is wonderful. However, this post is not about this theme.
Summer has come and the heat is on, and I have a confession to make. I recently had a strange revelation about young academics in universities (completely innocent, I swear). It would be an exageration to call it an attraction. Yes, we all had crushes to at least one of our teachers anywhere during our education, but academics in universities are different. Teacher-crushes are childish, resulting from the recent entry to the adolescence, maybe from the attraction coming from the authority over students. Whereas for academics, I can’t argue that any of this is true. They barely associate with the authority in the university and they are not part of our adolescence. Young academics are instructors and yet they still are students. I also notice that they are also getting more good-looking everyday. None of those can be said for teachers in high school, since they are mostly stupid, unsuccessful, boring and aged versions of academics. If anyone who’s still in high school is reading this, (which is highly unlikely by the way), let me tell you, forget about your teachers and keep your school fantasies for the academics when you go to the university.
What makes them attractive in the first place is that they are smart. The PhD title assures that. Here, the evolutionary theory will support me. Although I insert this picture here, I don’t totally agree with the recently popular saying from the past few years, “Smart is new sexy.” Smart was always sexy. Being smart increases the chances of survival, thus bringing an attractiveness that some would call “sophisticated”, for reasons that they want to seem sophisticated. If you are one of those, I have some bad news for you: you are not sophisticated just because you are attracted to the smart, it’s all in your genes; so don’t take a credit. Smart is sexy and the young academics world take every advantage of that fact, where smartness is continously replacing the formerly promoted hardworking/nerdy stereotype.
Another thing is that young academics are technologically savvy. You can wonder, how this can count as an attractive element. During the few past decades, technological discoveries were merely scientific accomplishments. Those who were into it, were only said they were nerds because they were into sci-fi. Talking about Asimov novels or making jokes about Wookies was not cool. Let me clear further how this works: someone who is babbling about lightsabers, robots and cloning is not attractive; but someone who has a lightsaber and a few robots in his house, that’s attractive ! This is one of the reasons why James Bond was a sex god in the 80s and 90s, because he had gadgets that seem ridiculous now, but Bond was able to use those things perfectly. (No, it has nothing do about dirty martini.) Young academics are James Bonds of our communities, they never go buy a lame BlackBerry and fool around all the time on messenger like those underachieving university students. They have Android phones, iPads and Macs (oh and they all have blogs ! For more information on why, us bloggers are cool: See past posts of bayripley here and here). They install ridiculously good technologic improvements to their properties: soundsystems, projectors and a little cloning machine to go with them.
Ever wondered what happened to this man in a suit, exiting his office and heading to his car to go back to his apartment in the suburbs? Or to this woman with a red lipstick, wearing a white blouse, black skirt and high heels in the elevator of her favourite 50-story plaza? Hey, I got another news: They are not attractive anymore. The academic world trumps the biz world now. Cubicles (where I would end up probably), plazas and afterwork parties are extremely lame! Business people are the new nerds and they are going down. Young academics are aware of this and they want nothing to do with this life. In fact they could have been very successful in the biz world and get those nice paychecks easily. But instead they have chosen to live on education grants and teaching “tips” from the university. They hop on their bike in the downtown, looking extremely gorgeous and head on to the “holy grounds” of their university. And that’s why they are so cool !
This revelation came to me months ago, since I’m a master student for a while now -No, I will not get a Phd, so this post is not a self-appraisal-. (note to bayripley: Since you will get a Phd title, you can thank me later for this post) Maybe it is because I spend too much time in the university and the computer lab (which is partly true), but more probably, it is because the university is my only social life. Can you imagine that I spend more time in the university than in night clubs ? (Yeah, it sucks.) And believe me when I say that when I walk in the hallways of my university, all the offices of doctorate students I pass by, seem like a fornication chamber to me. (This post is almost getting kinky, but I’m going to stop there). To summarize, academics are no more associated with the nerdy and loser stereotype, as they were before. They are dangerous and should be looked out for. Everytime you see a research or teaching assistant with an iPad in his hand, chase away your prejudices and observe his curves (no, not the distribution curves. body curves !!) and hopefully you will get the same revelation I got.
P.S: Don’t forget to send an e-mail to me when you get your Phd degree. I will be waiting.