The MLA is coming to Chicago, and while I vowed to avoid it, last night I rashly promised my three-year-old son Ben that next week I’d take him on a train ride to downtown to see the "towers" (anything taller than three stories is a tower, and he loves them) and maybe the Shedd Aquarium to look at the clown fish and the sharks. It’s possible that I might bump into a Victorianist briskly confident that she knows exactly where the Arthur Hugh Clough panel is located or trip over a drunken comp lit grad student curled up in a little ball because he didn’t get a job interview. So to remind myself of the world I used to inhabit, here’s a dead-on satire of academic life in the form an Office episode, complete with a shaky video camera, awkward but meaningful pauses, and secret drinking. The setting is the poli-sci department at Harvard, but except for the matching chairs and better lighting, it could be any department in any research university in the country.
Now take away the shaggy hairstyles and that guy with the bow tie, and you’re right back in the corporate world.