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Academics: Underappreciated or Entitled?

Abandoned as an infant high in the mountains of Colorado, James was taken in and raised by a family of marmots. They trained him in the art of satire, but warned him: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ He didn’t understand the truth of their words until his adopted rodent brother, Donald Trump’s hair, turned to the dark side.

James could only sit by and watch, helpless and appalled, as his evil brother meme’d his way to the White House. Forever changed by what he had seen, James fled to The Netherlands and vowed to always use his powers for good.

Any soul who, sometime over the course of the past twenty years, has suffered the misfortune of wandering too close to a university is familiar with the lamentations:

‘It’s publish or perish!’

‘The fact that a 95% confidence interval is the industry standard for statistical significance means that for every twenty papers published, the results of one of them will simply be wrong!’

‘The coffee machine is broken! Again!’

‘Academia is being corrupted, universities are working their employees to the bone!’

While the right to a workplace with functioning coffee machines is spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, many people shrug off the other concerns, dismissing academics as ‘living in a bubble’, and ‘out of touch’.

To see if this was truly the case, we at the UKrant blackmailed a career academic (who wished to remain anonymous) into getting a real job for a month. He had this to say:

‘Horrible.’

‘It was fry or get fired.’

‘You thought 95% confidence was bad? Not a single one of the dishes were peer reviewed before they were sent out.’

‘At least the front of house staff would make me coffee if I asked nicely. I think I’ll start requiring that of my grad students.’

Later in the interview he started trying to make a point about how it made sense for a business to operate like that, but not for a university. It seemed like it might have been good point, but he shut up after we began pointedly leafing through our folder of blackmail material.

Overall he said the experience was ‘enlightening’, and that he was sure our article would sort out the whole issue once and for all.

‘There’s absolutely no problem with expecting every single lecturer at every single university to constantly produce groundbreaking papers. There. Was that enough? Will you give me that folder now?’

Nederlands

28 May 2019 | 28-5-2019, 9:57
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