In over 35 years of friendship and conversation, Walter Michaels and I have disagreed on only two things, and one of them was faculty and graduate student unionization. He has always been for and I had always been against. I say “had” because I recently flipped and what flipped me, pure and simple, was Wisconsin. When I think about the reasons (too honorific a word) for my previous posture I become embarrassed. ... The big reason was the feeling — hardly thought through sufficiently to be called a conviction — that someone with an advanced degree and scholarly publications should not be in the same category as factory workers with lunch boxes and hard hats. Wisconsin has taught Stanley Fish that academics are workers too. Marc Bousquet (author of How the University Works) responds at the Chronicle of Higher Education with five lessons for academics from Wisconsin.
A new 'prose translation' of Milton's classic poem has been written by Prof Dennis Danielson in an effort to help make it available to a wider audience, if they find the original language too difficult. Apparently he wasn't the first to think of it, but considers his a translation rather than a retelling, and it is printed as a dual edition / parallel text. [more inside]
According to Stanley Fish, "Students can't write clean English sentences because they are not being taught what sentences are." The solution: make them invent their own language. After a generation that privileged content to the exclusion of form, is the pendulum swinging back the other way?
Something about Shooting Stanley Fish in a Barrel Once, when asked by a student how he can get away with his famously unsourced assertions and oddly malicious personal attacks, Stanley Fish replied, "Because I'm Stanley Fish, and you're not." Which he defends by claiming that his actions derive from his theoretical work, mostly on the subjective nature of authority (albeit in a literary sense, but then who's to argue). So it's a little odd that in this article he attacks journalists - whom, other than a few anonymous beat reporters and David Brooks (who is a columnist and commentator, but hardly an objectivity-seeking reporter), he groups as "they" - for being less than fair to academics. Don't get too riled up, though; this is likely just Fish's latest attempt to bait a controversy and stick his name at the top.