Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Ph.D. in the humanities? - A kinder, gentler xtranormal video

This is response to the now-viral video I linked to in an earlier post. This one is kinder, gentler, and more idealistic -- except when it takes a few jabs at the earlier video. It's also a lot more like the actual conversations I have with actual students. And bonus: it makes a Dr. Who reference. It's also really inspiring and I think that every time I get in a funk about the future of the university and especially the humanities, I'm going to watch this to recharge myself.

You should watch it, too.



h/t Karl at In the Middle

I'm posting this not only because I like it, but also especially for Jeffrey, meg, Flavia, and Clarissa, all of whom I know didn't like the original, cynical version (or, in meg's case, didn't like the emerging genre of xtranormal videos in which experience berates naivete).

14 comments:

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I just ganked this from Karl, too. It made me a little ashamed at my nodding along with the earlier videos. In other words: a good wake-up call for yours truly.

meg said...

For the record (because I know you know this, Dr. V.), I didn't dislike the earlier cynical version but the whole *genre* of experience-derides-naivete.

Dr. Virago said...

Sloppy writing on my part, Meg. I'll fix it.

Karl Steel said...

I love the verb 'gank'

Anonymous said...

God, I needed that. After reading a stack of student papers, most of them arguing that college is a waste of time and money and they'd wish they'd just be given their degree, I was feeling bitter and grumpy. But this reminded me of why I got into this gig in the first place. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with comrade PhysioProf. But then, I'm also not in the humanities. And I value expensive cheese.

What Now? said...

Thanks, Dr. V -- glad to see this version.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I wish more students were like the one in this version.

Dr. Virago said...

Anon at 7pm - did you mean to leave that comment at another blog? It doesn't make sense here.

Neurtoic Workaholic - Heh. Well, yeah. Though my students interested in grad school are just as earnest and revved up, if not as prepared.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Much love for this (and I am SO glad to see the earlier version called on its geographical snobbery).

Mistress Medieval said...

Thanks for the link! So lovely and positive in comparison to the earlier one which made me a bit angry and depressed all at the same time. Glad to see something positive done with it (whereas I just ranted to anyone who would listen!)

Anonymous said...

I'm a current MA student, and I actually found this substantially more depressing than the other snarky version of this. I am working extremely hard, hoping to earn/win the "golden ticket" (a la Willy Wonka) as it were.

Watching this served as a reminder of how deeply I want to go on to a Ph.D. program with funding, job prospects at the end, et cetera. I've already done the corporate route -- ten years worth -- and I want this so bad that it hurts sometimes, even when I'm slogging through piles of undergraduate papers. Seeing this video just caused me to experience one of those moments of visceral heartache...!

RRRoberts said...

To Anonymous 11/14/2010 12:11pm

I, too am a brand new MA student. I am studying anthropology--a field increasingly melting into the humanities. I believe that the heartache you felt from watching this is a result of its truth. It is impossibly difficult, but it is over and against the insane banality of our materialist society that we feel driven towards our disciplines.

My brother, as it happens, is in law school right now. I tell him a different version of the same thing. He wants to study educational law because he wants to be a force of reform and humanization in our increasingly mechanical public school system. It is the very same crushing inhumanity that we are forced to deal with in the university and the job market that is the enemy of our work and our words. Sadly, in order to be the sort of subject-in-the-world which we would like to be, we must subject ourselves to the very machinery we hope in our hearts to undo.

Thank you so much for posting this video. It is fresh air that I badly needed--and I'm only starting! I know it gets harder, but I am constantly reminded of the passion that drives me. I take shelter in the work itself.

Anonymous said...

I must prefer the first one. Much more realistic.