Inside Higher Ed Trolls

There must be something uniquely satisfying about mocking the academy & insulting professors. How else to explain the obsessive energy of the trolls, Ayn Rand cultists, and illiterate weirdos the site attracts? The sneering is palpable. Honestly, I have to stop trying to reason with them. It would make an interesting sociological study to investigate how a presumably specialist profession-oriented publication became the site of such intense reactionary pushback. A rhetorical study might also be revealing, though it wouldn't be as interesting since the single technique deployed by the trolls is the classical straw man device in which the writer substitutes a fantasy of academia for the actual thing & then proceeds to attack the fantasy. There is also a distressing inability or unwillingness to read the articles or comments about them before propping up the old straw prof & going to work.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

1 thought on “Inside Higher Ed Trolls”

  1. i’ve a moody piece that addresses your response, joseph. i think. ed
    A CENTURY IS A SKULL FACTORY

    I.
    It’s another century, careless, rudderless
    when what’s next is curtains
    riding the night air
    and victims living their injuries
    sledding along like a shell in a swift stream
    the color of coral, of flamingos
    transparence twilled over and
    intersecting recesses of hurt.

    II.
    Discrete bits of elsewhere become
    yellow tulips in a sodden light
    that doesn’t equal dusk because it’s split
    from a century like a skull floating like a factory
    whose function is clotting
    where optimal longings gather under a mask,

    III.
    but first it curdles into a dance
    of confusions called a CLINICAL TRIALS, “mono-
    therapies” somewhat like
    a mobius strip adder doubling on itself
    as I sit wanting to fly from my speech into
    silent brown eyes
    flecked with gold
    crosslegged
    waiting
    drifting on the current
    like a flag.

    EDWARD MYCUE

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