Academic Men (h2so4 12)

Of course the academy is a hotbed of neuroses and inappropriate behavior; for instance, professors who either fall asleep or stare out the window during a graduate student's qualifying exam, professors who cancel thirteen consecutive meetings with a student and then blame the student for not reporting to him or her, students who find conspiracy and sex, adultery and promiscuity everywhere, even when all real evidence points only to boring everyday lives spent studying late in one's room or office, students who think their lives of teaching and doing intellectual life really are like indentured servitude, without noting the very important reasons why this is not exactly the case, etc., the list could go on interminably. But of concern to this reviewer on this particular day is one particular affliction: Intellectual Machismo.

How is it that enlightened highly educated men (predominately. We are dealing in stereotyping here, no?) who know it is wrong to act the macho part, who wouldn't be caught dead in a fistfight over honor or a girl but would solve such conflict in a smarter, more civilized manner, ...why is it that these same men so often resort to browbeating, assuming highest knowledge, not listening to opposing views, putting on airs of superiority, and all-around just talking out their asses, anything to prove their intellectual prowess, whenever they are in an academic situation, especially an academic situation, in which, by definition, it might be possible to think something new? And, more importantly, how is it that these types of academic men do not see that this is the same thing as being macho, a male stereotype, always ready for a fistfight? Such behavior is just another way of--how might they say it?--entrenching the status quo. Perhaps the fistfight, as stupid as it always is, is more honest.

--Jill Stauffer