What to expect in your inbox
Here’s the Newsletter I sent out on February 21st 2019:
Best tell academia to buckle up, 'cuz I'm back
Dear friends and fam,
Not that I ever went anywhere, but what I mean when I say "I'm back" is this: the lawsuit filed against me has been dismissed. I get to keep my blog, the original posts that caused so much trouble, and my words have been returned to me.
As you can probably imagine, I now have a lot to say. And a lot of it is gonna take aim at academia. Not my own story, because I have bigger fish to fry (not sure why, but Carly Simon's song "You're so Vain" comes to mind as I write this). But before I fry up those fish, I will be doing a series of posts to answer everyone's questions about what, exactly, has been going on. How the lawsuit ended. What it was like living with the terror of a lawsuit against your only skillset (writing), and so on and so forth.
This post "Academic Relapse, Part I: Time Travel," is the first installment of this. I'll be doing them in parts, because, well, this all just happened.
If you wouldn’t mind, dear readers, sharing this email or the link to my newsletter or Post-PhD the blog, I’d be much obliged (as my southern people say). I want to keep growing so that I can talk to as many people as possible, and the quickest way to do that is to ask you all to share <3
What I’ve been reading:
Just two books this week, but they have both been instrumental to me. And because I like to give credit where credit is due (so strange that citing sources would be so important to me), I'm going to talk about what I was most influenced by in these two books:The first is Eva Hagberg Fisher’s new memoir How to be Loved: a Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship. While her experience with her PhD program takes a backseat to the life-threatening illnesses and the friendships that saw her through them in the book, I nonetheless was struck by how apt her descriptions of higher education are. Her writing took me back to that graduate school mentality of working yourself to death, feigning superiority, and nourishing a strong sense of intellectual elitism.
In her book, the legacy of grad school, and a PhD for that matter, does not stand up to the legacy of friendship. Not even close. In fact, her academic experiences fade to the background because they should. Because life has so much more to offer. Because the toxic mindset that flourishes in academia is destructive to our personhood, our quality of life, and how we treat and love those around us.
I’ll end with a quote that reminded me that the standards of success and a life-well lived are not one-size fits all, as the culture of academia would have us believe:
“I had always lived by ambition. I had always lived for my future […] Things were going to be great when. Things would finally be okay if. All I had to do was this one thing. Invest in my future. Plan for the future. But what about now? What about this moment?
[…] I thought of [my friend] again. About how what she had done with her life wasn’t ever going to be visible in any kind of public record […] I wanted to publish so that I could know that I had mattered. [She] hadn’t published. [She] mattered so much.”
The second book is Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her. The book struck me as an example of how to be a public intellectual. Going in, I assumed I would not learn anything I didn’t already know. After all, I have been academically trained in the rigorous methodologies of intersectional feminism. And then I realized, there was that toxic sense of superiority again. The kind that ironically limits you intellectually. The kind has no place in my life anymore, nor should it ever have.
The way Chemaly describes channeling female anger is beautiful and oddly peaceful:
“Gendered ideas about anger make us question ourselves, doubt our feelings, set aside our needs, and renounce our own capacity for moral conviction. Ignoring anger makes us careless with ourselves and allows society to be careless with us.”
(can I get an amen?)
"Like many women, I am still constantly being reminded that it’s “better” if women didn’t “seem so angry.” What does “better” mean exactly? And why does it fall so disproportionately on the shoulders of women to be “better” by putting aside anger in order to “understand” and to forgive and forget? Does it make us “good” people? Is it healthy? Does it enable us to protect our interests, bring change to struggling communities, or upend failing systems?
An unqualified no.
Mainly, it props up a profoundly corrupt status quo.
Here’s to upending failing systems and refusing to be complacent with a corrupt status quo.
Until next week,
P.S. This one's for my trolls. I hate to do this, but such is life: to the trolls who email me all upset about my grammar, say that I am not smart enough to do 'justice' to a topic as important as higher education, pejoratively say things like "I really want to like your blog, but..." I have a tip for you: if what I have to say upsets you, just stop reading. Take your trolling elsewhere, your presence certainly won't be missed.
And because all of my trolls are literally all men (shocking, I know) who frequently put in a fake email so I cannot reply to their assaults on my intelligence, a warning: Dear Sirs: I do not have time for you. Which is to say, I will drag you publicly on twitter purely for the purposes of entertaining my fellow feminists. I also reserve the right to drag you on my blog, such as I do in this post. You have been warned.**want to see if you’ve already been the subject of a twitter drag? Follow me @postphdtheblog! xoxo