Sunday, November 03, 2019

Cri de Coeur …

… Two Forms of Despair | Front Porch Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The truth is that academia was a kind of consolation prize for me. What I really wanted was to be a famous singer/songwriter. (Even writing that sentence humiliates me, but then humiliation is etymologically related to humility, so maybe that’s a good thing.) And even in that goal, what I wanted was to be famous; when it became clear to me that the music industry was cutthroat, unfeeling, and rapidly collapsing in the digital age, I made a calculated decision to break up my college band and go to graduate school. Even then, I imagined for awhile that fame would mysteriously swoop down and carry me into rock stardom. “Why yes,” I imagined saying in one of the many interviews I’d grant the adoring press, “I did write a dissertation. Let me tell you about it . . . ” It was an absurd fantasy, but then I’ve already confessed my predilection for living in fantasy worlds. Over my years in graduate school, this dream morphed into the dream of being a brilliant and fêted intellectual, flown all over the world to give lecture series and interviewed about my massively popular—but still unassailably academic—books on CNN and Fresh Air.

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