Saturday, May 31, 2008

Academic Groupie?

I have a friend who is an academic rock star. Not of the home-garden variety, like local celebrity. Like internationally-known, exhibits at the Whitney and then runs off to do an interview with the Chronicle, kind of celebrity. I just friended him on Facebook the other day, and I realized (which I should have known, but just didn't really internalize) that he's friends with people that I forget are real, embodied humans. All this time, I thought that they were simply word machines who existed for me to quote.

The irony, of course, is that I don't know my rock star friend via academic channels. In fact, it's only in the last few years that I started getting into his work, as my own research grew in that direction. No, instead, I know him because we were close friends in college. You know this kind of friend: you went camping together on spring break; took late night trips to the diner; had multiple soul-searching conversations with; put him to bed drunk when he broke up with his girlfriend; accidentally saw his uncircumcised junk and were freaked out for days (not because it belonged to him, but because of all of its additional...um...material).

If, at the time, someone had told me that he would go on to be a world-renowned scholar, I would have snorted. Was he brilliant? Yes. But he also drove the wrong way up freeway exits, and forgot where he put things. He had a dorky laugh, and unwittingly manipulated women. [Suddenly, these characteristics are making him sound more and more qualified for scholarly Valhalla...]

The point of all of this is...well, I'm not really sure. ARS is often the guy that comes to mind when I think that I should be something else. He's the physical embodiment of my "why aren't you a big time scholar? You should be on your second book by now!" internal screed. And then logic kicks in. That's just not who I am, nor is it the kind of life I want to lead. [Truly. The last time I had a conversation with ARS, he looked sort of odd and nostalgic about the opportunity to teach a seminar of undergrads. That's certainly nothing that he gets to do at his big fancy R1 job. And it's not disengenuous: he was a great teacher of beginners, as I'm sure he is of up-and-coming grad students.]

Perhaps, however, the answer is that there is a significant part of me that wants a bit more prestige than I have now. That's a wee bit uncomfortable simply settling in to see whether my podunk institution can drag itself into the ranks of decent SLACs over the next 20 years. More to ponder. Meanwhile, I'll go stack up ARS books, and eat my heart out.

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3 Comments:

Blogger TLC Tugger said...

I realize you're just dwelling within your acculturation, but an intact penis has not a thing "additional." What it has is the normal amount of slack skin, possessed with over 20,000 exquisite specialized pleasure receptive nerve endings.

What the circumcised penis lacks includes the protective sheath that keeps the glans and mucosa supple, and also the awesome frictionless natural rolling/gliding action during intimacy.

95% of the non-Muslim world does not circumcise.

Sunday, June 01, 2008 12:23:00 AM  
Blogger JustMe said...

laughing at the idea of "uncircumcised junk" !!

Sunday, June 01, 2008 9:11:00 PM  
Blogger kfluff said...

Hi TLC---thanks for the information. I should have been more clear: on a completely personal and individual level, as someone who had never seen an uncircumcised penis, I perceived what I saw to be "extra." This is certainly not an objective or particularly informed view.

JM---Right. I'm a bit up in the air about that term (which I think I'm stealing from Seth Rogan?). But it seemed to keep the post in the PG rating range.

Sunday, June 01, 2008 10:32:00 PM  

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