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.
Sunday, November 03, 2019
… Two Forms of Despair | Front Porch Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)