Re: What the hell?

1

Exemplifies the hatred for sinners that comes from being positive that you, yourself will never be such a sinner.

"LOL, those sluts! It was fun to pretend to be someone who could find herself in that situation."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 9:53 PM
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But it's totes deep, y'all. It's about Satan.

Deep down, every evangelical Christian is a Satanist.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 9:54 PM
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Also, I am a bad person because when she said that, all I could think was, "The word is 'rapists.'"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 9:55 PM
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The second link is totes broken. This works, I think, unless it was meant to be something else.


Posted by: wispa | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:04 PM
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I've been to a Hell House! They put one on in Brooklyn a few years ago using the same script as a real one from Texas. Instead of doing it ironically (as some have done in other big cities), they did it straight and faithful to the script, which was much, much scarier.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:04 PM
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4: Ooh, thanks. Fixed, and it's the same website. I lazily stole TAL's link, which is apparently broken.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:07 PM
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Also, true fact! I invited an Unfogged commenter to join me and got a big, hilarious "ummm....no". (But we're still friends! It's OK!)


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:08 PM
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Was it me, Becks? Because I think that's what I would have said.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:16 PM
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8 - Nope!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:19 PM
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I ended up going with a non-internet friend and it was definitely a much more intense evening than we'd expected. This was soon after I met all of y'all and, in the end, I was really glad that I went with someone I'd known a long time and not as one of my first outings with one of you. Because you might not have ever returned my calls again.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:22 PM
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From an article on Liberty University's Scaremare (a tamer but older version, apparently started by Falwell back in the '70s).

.Last weekend, Scaremare seemed to make its point well enough. Descending a dark set of stairs, a group of adolescent girls gripped hands and chanted, "I like Jesus. I like Jesus. I like Jesus."

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:24 PM
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"But not in that way."


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:26 PM
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The trailer shows one guy flipping off the organizers and being told "no," like "you're so inappropriate." I'd do that. Fuck them. They desperately need to be told how unbelievably absurd it is to be told how screwed you are for being a human in ways the performers only imagine doing for fun. And the Columbine thing? 6 months after it happened? Why not have a super-cool 9/11 sketch in which some lucky kids get to play the crazy musselman terrists?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:27 PM
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13: Close.

The play told the story of a schoolteacher who shares her faith with her students just before being killed in a terrorist attack. Students who mocked her message descend to hell, where demons sit around a table and laugh about "how they've been effective at things like getting prayer out of the schools . . . and terrorism attacks," said Allen Waldrep, the outreach missions pastor at the church.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 10:30 PM
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Aren't shellfish haram?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:40 PM
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Huh, apparnetly it's debated.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:40 PM
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Shellfish are makrooh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:41 PM
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But yes, it's a matter of open debate.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-26-09 11:41 PM
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See how the World Wide Web ruins the fun of half-informed arguments? In the old days, teo and nos could bicker over the question for hours.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:38 AM
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Speaking of haunted house type scenarios, all the Boston commenters, and possibly the New York ones, should go see this, because it's awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:09 AM
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I blame Saint Paul for killjoy Christianity like this. I mean, Jesus seems pretty cool in Mark.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 7:00 AM
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Was it me you invited, Becks? I knew the people involved in that hellhouse, and in fact I had been invited to participate, like as an actor or something, and had totally flaked out.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 7:10 AM
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I think it was me, and for the record I gracefully declined.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:04 AM
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21: I blame Saint Paul for killjoy Christianity like this.
Dude, St. Paul sucks. Have you ever been over there after 5 p.m. on a weekday? They roll up the sidewalks. It's like Minneapolis after a neutron bomb went off. They do have some cool street names like "Syndicate" and "Grotto" though.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:14 AM
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Speaking of haunted house type scenarios, all the Boston commenters, and possibly the New York ones, should go see this, because it's awesome.

Will I be able to explain to Macbeth how stupid it is to believe witches, because they are so tricksy?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:19 AM
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25: you may have to remind yourself of that. The witches were quite adept at convincing me to come hang out in their cabaret with them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:22 AM
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Witches cabaret? I am there.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:27 AM
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Witches'


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:27 AM
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The Hell House movie is worth watching -- not a great documentary, but the subject matter is compelling.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:30 AM
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20 Speaking of haunted house type scenarios, all the Boston commenters, and possibly the New York ones, should go see this, because it's awesome.

Wow. I hope I can squeeze that in when I'm up there in a few weeks.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:43 AM
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21: I swear I saw a cartoon somewhere with a name like "Hippie Trippy Jesus and Mean Old Paul" which contained evocatively illustrated passages of the sayings of each.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:55 AM
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Which is?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:07 AM
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Sorry, 33 to 28.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:08 AM
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31: I would love to see that. It's funny how the Baptists, who claim to use the words and deeds of Jesus as the key to scripture, somehow manage to skip over nearly all of the hippie stuff. That's more true of some Baptist denominations than others, but still...


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:12 AM
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24: every time I drive by said Avenue, I find myself dropping into my Ice T voice: "Syndicate, fool!" You'd think it would have faded in the last nearly 20 years, but no.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:14 AM
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Thomas Aquinas answers frequently asked questions about this movie.


Posted by: Gareth Rees | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:24 AM
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Being an elitist who's spent all his life in liberal enclaves, everything I know about "Hell houses" comes from this.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:32 AM
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The ad for these shirts on that Aquinas page is pretty nice.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:33 AM
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It was, in fact, mike d and his decline was, in fact, graceful!


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 10:40 AM
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37: Yeah, I'd never really heard about these Hell Houses either. I keep thinking that ignoring right-wing evangelicals is a viable strategy, but that may be a mistake.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 11:13 AM
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The TAL episode was from May 2002, in case people don't realize.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 11:23 AM
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41: Huh. So it is.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 11:26 AM
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The witches were quite adept at convincing me to come hang out in their cabaret with them.

Sifu saw the witches in a cabaret, I saw them in a black mass suckling a dead baby while a naked man in a goat head danced around. Everyone sees something different at this show.* You should go!

*Literally-- I'm not talking about differences of interpretation. You get separated from your party, and no one ends up seeing all the same things.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 11:32 AM
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43 gives me an interesting idea for a performative take on Rashomon. Oh well.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 1:39 PM
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Exemplifies the hatred for sinners that comes from being positive that you, yourself will never be such a sinner.

I don't read it this way -- it's more a love-hate relationship with sinners, and sin is always a fascinating internal temptation. Whole new permutations of hatred are possible when there's a little bit of self-hatred included.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 1:53 PM
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Hey, totally OT, but I need serious assistance.

Remember how I came home from work a few weeks ago having had some horrible somatic episode in which I was absolutely sure that I would die of shame or anxiety or something completely untraceable?

Well, I thought I was sort of getting it under control, with some resurgent episodes. I am eating better before I go to work, getting more sleep, completing my own work so I'm not as anxious about it, trying to contact people who love me, starting therapy, the whole business.

Today I had a two-hour meeting that started half an hour late, in part because the professor I was working with when this originally happened was that late. But four of the people who were supposed to be there did not show, for reasons ranging from hospitalization to no reason at all.

Periodically throughout the meeting, I felt like throwing up. Whenever I had to speak, I thought I was going to die. I was weirdly petulant and apologetic whenever I opened my mouth. Another guy I work with pulled me aside to ask me if I am OK, what happened, etc. I said I was just finding my job really stressful.

But my job isn't that stressful. I just cannot stand being in these meetings. I do not have a job title that says I should be in these meetings. I applied for that job and my application was not even good enough to get an interview. I only have the job I do have by the skin of my teeth. The only reason I am in these meetings is that the prof who runs the program thinks I'm very smart and wants my input on everything, so he's declared me an "unofficial" member of the group.

This means about a hundred pages of reading every few weeks, helping to run seminars, writing endless documents about my response to these readings and seminars, working on special projects, etc. And what I've realized is happening is that I really love and am interested in this job I don't have, and find myself gladly doing all the work, when people who just do that make twice what I do. I'm doing that, and my own title's responsibilities, for fucking pennies.

And it's real sweet that they think I'm so capable and smart and well-informed and valuable, and that I'm too talented and experienced to be doing what I'm doing, and that it must be great for me to get to do what I'm actually good at for a change. But holy fucking God, I resent sitting in there with people who don't have 1/10 the experience I have, or the years of training. But I couldn't even be considered for that job. I'm just doing it, for free, because I love it and I really really like these people.

So I'm acting out. My whole body is rejecting this situation. What should I do?


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:10 PM
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Oy. The answer is going to be "talk to the prof who runs the program," but what you actually say to him is a problem.

Is there anything he can give you that would make it worthwhile? I'm sure he can't give you money, but credit, something you can put on your resume, an inside track to apply for the job you're actually doing the next time it comes up?

If you can't be compensated in money or in genuinely valuable career-enhancing credit, I think you go to the prof and quit, explaining that while you're wildly grateful for the way in which he values your input, you have to manage your career and doing uncompensated work makes it impossible for you to do (whatever it is you should be doing. Your dissertation, right?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:20 PM
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Potu-Swab

My instinct is to say that if the job makes you want to throw up, and you aren't being paid to do it, then you shouldn't do it.

I'm not sure I follow the situation, though. You say your application didn't even get you an interview for the job, but you the other people there don't have 1/10th the experience or training as you?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:20 PM
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Is there some reason that, even now, having performed admirably on the job (gratis), you still "couldn't even be considered for it?" There's no way you could talk to the prof who runs the program and say "hey, I love this, it's great, but it's a lot of extra work and I'm doing it for free. Let's discuss?" Perhaps at the end of the semester (or year, whatever), if not now.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:23 PM
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I'm a little afraid of talking to the prof in question because I feel like part of the weird shame/anxiety I'm feeling is that I'm doing the work because I like and respect him so much, and I'm fearful that even talking to him will bring out all my crazy tearful resentment. It's hard to say "The main reason I put up with this crap is that your interest in me is flattering." The job would not at all make me want to throw up if I actually had the job title to do it.

The problem with the application process is that people applying for the job were fit into quotas by department, and my department was and has historically been way over-represented. (They want it to be multi-disciplinary.) It's not just me who wasn't considered. Almost all of my friends were outright rejected for the job.

In the group, we talk about what writing means to our work. And that's a really interesting question for someone in another field, like science or math or business. For my field, the answer is FUCKING DUH IT'S ALL WE THINK ABOUT EVER. It's quite likely that one of the reasons lit people are being shunted away from this position is that we're really arrogant about the subject, and it's hard to have an interesting, collaborative conversation with someone from a lit department in the room.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:29 PM
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You probably shouldn't accept any advice from me on work issues or anything non-scatalogical pun-related, but I think you should keep doing these meetings. But before the next one, you should talk to the professor who puts you in them and find a way to express this anxiety in a way that doesn't sound put-off about the whole thing (though you should feel a little put-off, I think) -- so that he could ease you in for the next few or just know about it so that if he notices you feeling oogy at the next meeting, he can chip in or something.

And basically decide that you are going to worm your way into being a part of these meetings for good because you are that awesome, and do so. If you need to cut corners elsewhere, then cut them, and if this doesn't look like it's going to turn into a getting paid to be in the meetings kind of situation, get this professor to write you a rec to go elsewhere.

Do that or the opposite of that.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:30 PM
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This is very similar to what is going on with the administraitor of our building. When we reorganized our administration, she asked to pick up a ton of loose tasks, each one at a time.

She is now putting together a job description of what she actually does, and I imagine taking it to higher ups. Perhaps that would be a good place to start: write out a job description of how you actually spend your time, so that you can hold it up next to the published description and ask for a raise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:31 PM
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Dying of shame is usually pretty untraceable.

If the uncompensated work is something that will significantly enhance your CV, it might be worth continuing, and it might make it easier to continue if you keep reminding yourself of the deferred rewards of doing the work. OTOH, like rob says, there's the wanting to throw up.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:32 PM
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In other words, there is lots of room for flexibility in creating new positions. So you may or may not be able to get the old, published job, but possibly one can be created where you're compensated for what you're actually doing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:33 PM
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administraitor

Intentional?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:33 PM
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Unfortunately, no.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:34 PM
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50: Part of what makes this confusing is that I have no idea what 'job title' means in this context -- I know you're a grad student working in various capacities for various universities, but by 'job title' do you mean that everyone else is tenure-track full time faculty? Or is the job-title you're talking about some sort of adjuncty part-time thing that would reasonably make up part of the mosaic of jobs you have now?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:36 PM
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Are you just offering your input on material that everyone is going over together, or are you doing work that would have to be done by someone else if you weren't there?

If your presence directly makes someone else's load lighter, and they are being paid, and you are not, you are being exploited. Grad students get exploited in this way all the time, and you should't have to stand for it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:37 PM
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52 is sort of what I did this afternoon. The administration is asking this program to provide statements about what each of its members does, for the purposes of some kind of embattled "measurable outcomes" BS. I asked if I was also supposed to provide one, and was told, yes, it would be good to have it.

So this afternoon, I drafted a very long description of everything I do, with this program listed at the very bottom, with some clearly dubious warrant for my participation in it. I am hoping this will at least alert sensitive minds to the fact that I am doing all this work on top of the other demands on my time that I'm actually being paid for. I sent it to the profs in charge.

The main guy who has included me in the program is someone I've talked to about the fuzzy boundaries of my work, and that I feel that I belong to everyone, am responsible to everyone. And whenever he asks the group to do a task, I ask if he expects me to do it too. He says, "Oh sure! That would be great! We'd love to hear how these things work in your courses!" He knows I like the work. But it's hard to communicate to him that he's part of the resentment I feel.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:39 PM
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"Job title" in this case refers to the specific kind of fellowship I do not have, versus the fellowship I do have. The former is highly prestigious and obviously related to my professional life. The latter also involves rewarding, interesting work, but pays a lot less, has less discernible boundaries, and is only tangentially related to my professional life.

I can't really argue that I should be paid more or have a different job title, as it's a very large system and these titles are usually totally and undeniably distinct.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:43 PM
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Is there a way that you can get the prestige of the fellowship you don't have, even if you can't get the money? If it doesn't end up on your resume somehow, I really think you should quit (explaining to the head prof that you love the work, and it breaks your heart to quit, but that there's not enough hours in the day to work for no money and no credit, you have to get a dissertation done).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:47 PM
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The main guy who has included me in the program is someone I've talked to about the fuzzy boundaries of my work, and that I feel that I belong to everyone, am responsible to everyone. And whenever he asks the group to do a task, I ask if he expects me to do it too. He says, "Oh sure! That would be great! We'd love to hear how these things work in your courses!"

He is exploiting you. It may not be conscious, but he is at least oblivious to how his actions affect the people below him. Furthermore, this blindness to the needs of contingent faculty is really convenient for him. This is classic exploitation of contingent faculty.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:49 PM
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I am hoping this will at least alert sensitive minds to the fact that I am doing all this work on top of the other demands on my time that I'm actually being paid for. I sent it to the profs in charge.

I would guess that there is very little chance of this. It sounds like the profs in charge think they're giving you a neat opportunity by letting you do the work for free. Making it clear that you're working for free, without explicitly saying that that's a problem, probably isn't telling them anything new or interesting.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:50 PM
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you are being exploited

Just wanted to second that. You're obviously in a bind, but a situation that's causing physical symptoms like what you describe fits any reasonable definition of "intolerable" that I can think of.

61 seems like a straightforward if temporarily anxiety-producing approach.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:51 PM
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Pretty much pwned by helpy-chalk, who knows infinitely more about academia than I do.

And I realize that saying 'just quit' is really hard to do -- you feel committed, you love the work, it's not obviously unreasonable of them to invite you to do it for free. I don't mean to be flip about it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:52 PM
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Right, I think I do feel exploited here. He has apologized for asking me to do this or that task, and most of the time, I cheerfully reply that I'm happy to do it. But when he calls me on the phone and asks me what he should write when describing the program, or when at a meeting he requests my expertise on an issue, I find myself snapping at him. And I'm ashamed that I'm not being more direct with him about my feelings.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:52 PM
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Is the same guy your boss in your actual job?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:53 PM
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No, he is not my boss, strictly speaking. I was hired by a very high-up administrator who does not have time to micromanage my activities, though she seems concerned that I am not qualified for or useful in my job, continually asking for measurable outcomes and so forth. She introduced me to this prof during my early hiring process as someone I should work with if I have time so as to have enough to do. (My job did not exist at this school before me, so I'm sort of making it up as I go along. It exists at our sister institutions in a much more organized and centrally-controlled fashion.)


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:57 PM
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You need a work buddy, someone beneath you on the totem pole, to the work that is nominally yours while you do what you care about. Ask for one, explaining that you cannot do two jobs. If you won't get a work buddy, ask how your work will be evaluated at renewal/recommendation time, and by whom-- if the extra work does not help you in that narrow sense immediately, graciously decline it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 2:58 PM
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When I was in graduate school, I decided I should write a movie called "Chronic Fatigue Vampires," about undead villains who do not kill their victims. Nor do they turn them into other vampires. They merely drain enough life out of them to sustain themselves and keep the victims from finding the energy to fight back.

The vampires would all be tenured faculty, and the victims all grad students.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:02 PM
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Oh. If this fits, maybe tell underling that you want his support in explaining to admin that your new position actually calls for 2 people to be done right. Failing the support from underling, consider in writing telling them both that you do not wish to fail at the most important bits and that you would greatly appreciate written prioritization.

Physical symptoms are a warning not to be ignored.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:03 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:06 PM
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I've been saying "quit, quit". But is there anything you want that the prof who likes your work can give you? I'm sure he can't give you money, and he can't give you the job title you don't have. But I don't have any sense at all if there is anything concrete in his power he can 'pay' you with.

If there's something concrete, I'd go in and haggle for it. If not, I think helpy-chalk is telling you the right things.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:06 PM
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Rob is right.

Also, I think this may be part of the problem:
nd whenever he asks the group to do a task, I ask if he expects me to do it too.

In my experience, there is a non-small number of managers who do not hear this kind of query as a question. That is, you're asking "Do you expect me to do it too?" and probably meaning something like "Given that I have a boatload of paid responsibilities on my plate, is this one of the few unpaid responsibilities I should take on, or would you rather save my scarce free time for something that's a higher priority?"

But he's hearing a different question. He's hearing "Do I want this talented, smart, well-informed workhorse's take on Thing X? Heck yes!"

Unfortunately, ALL your time is "free" to him, because it's not costing him anything. One of side effects to writing a lot of proposals is that I've gotten extremely ruthless about how much people's time costs and when it's OK/not OK to impose on it. Granted, I've always been a bit of a grouch about it, because I've witness the toll that endless unpaid labor takes on people, but now I'm concrete about the costs.

Shorter me: He's successfully externalized all of the costs. You've internalized them (literally). Put them explicitly on the table so that he has to acknowledge what you're giving him, and pay up. In money, prestige, connections, whatever currency works in your field.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:06 PM
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61 I really think you should quit (explaining to the head prof that you love the work, and it breaks your heart to quit, but that there's not enough hours in the day to work for no money and no credit, you have to get a dissertation done).

This. And what rob said.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:20 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:25 PM
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To me the worst part of Hell House was where they depicted the faculty meeting, and everyone is whining about parking privileges. I was just like, "I'll sacrifice my children to your god or whatever you want, just let me out of here!"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:26 PM
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50: The problem with the application process is that people applying for the job were fit into quotas by department, and my department was and has historically been way over-represented. (They want it to be multi-disciplinary.) It's not just me who wasn't considered. Almost all of my friends were outright rejected for the job.

In the group, we talk about what writing means to our work. And that's a really interesting question for someone in another field, like science or math or business. For my field, the answer is FUCKING DUH IT'S ALL WE THINK ABOUT EVER. It's quite likely that one of the reasons lit people are being shunted away from this position is that we're really arrogant about the subject, and it's hard to have an interesting, collaborative conversation with someone from a lit department in the room.

Sorry to quote at length. But it seems as though this is the problem, and may hint at a solution. Is this fellowship annual?

One approach might be to try to bring the prof. in charge of the program to see that this policy on the department's part is problematic, as evidenced by the fact that he is valuing your input and participation so much, and yet he has been barred from accepting you formally into it.

If you do talk to him in order to explain that doing this uncompensated work is too much of a burden on your time, so that you will have to (regretfully) scale back your participation, an angle to press could be to point out that you regret that the structure of the program precluded your being officially hired.

The idea is to make him realize that the department's policy (excluding lit people from official hire) is making the program suffer. If he gets that, maybe he can take it up with the department, and you can be hired -- receive the fellowship -- next year. Not the greatest solution for the here and now, though. And it may be that the response would just be that No, they tried that, with a bunch of lit people, and they didn't like it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:27 PM
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Wow, that was long. I think it's continuous with what Witt said, though: try to get him to see that the department's policy is indeed costing him something (since you'll have to walk away if you're not compensated).

A grad school professor from another department, not my own, once told me in strong terms -- in the hearing of the head of my department! -- that if I wanted something, I should make the department find a way to do it, and if I was good at what I did, they'd find a way. !!

Weird. I used that advice once or twice, though, and it actually worked. Huh. All accompanied by anxiety attacks on my part -- I'd say your visceral reactions over this are normal, Bear, even though not funny at all for you.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:37 PM
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Darn it. Too much time spent editing bad English. Witnessed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:40 PM
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Thanks, all. This advice is dead-on and clearly what I should do. I need to explain to him why I can't do this job in addition to my own, even if I have the time to do it, because of the structural problems of me being hired to do it. I'm trying to figure out whether I can sit across from him long enough to say this in person without vomiting on him, but even thinking about this in terms of professional resentment is making it all feel a lot clearer.

I honestly could not, until this afternoon, figure out where these feelings could be coming from. I've never had such a violent negative physical reaction to being in someone's presence in my whole life.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 3:59 PM
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I just want to endorse Helpy-Chalk's advice here.

Also Professors tend to be appallingly bad at picking up hints that a grad student is stretched to the breaking point. I got rather badly dinged by this.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:00 PM
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Madame Bear, why do you have to tell the guy this in person? Sure, it is extra classy to do that. But it doesn't seem strictly necessary. If the thought gives you strong bodily reactions, why not take some pressure off and tell him in text. If this isn't an occasion for a letter, I don't know what is. Why do more?

Or why not send him a letter that explains your situation and ask for an appointment when you guys can talk about it after? If you don't know how you can approach this with him in person, don't do it in person.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:06 PM
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84: Not sure if this will help, but I notice that you tend to get into the subtleties of the situation from the get-go, which is probably not the best approach to this. Prof has to be confronted with forest up front before the trees are anywhere in sight. You have a lot of important responsibilities, you need to prioritize, so demanding work that doesn't pay has to go.

Incidentally, you already have service on this thing on your CV. Staying longer won't add additional items, just change the end date.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:08 PM
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I was away from the phone for an hour talking about this with my mom, who is experiencing some similar job-based resentment. She's choosing to swallow hers and wait for it to get worse, when she'll, you know, really let them have it, and she advises to do nothing by email, which could get forwarded around to, e.g., the high-up administrator who hired me. I do fear that, but I think she might be extra-paranoid about the written word and its ability to be transmitted.

Overall, it's hard to confront because it's so obviously something about which I feel completely insane and irrationally emotional. It's not just whatever my feelings of genuine liking and respect for the guy are; it's also bound up with my dissertation-year feelings of being treated like anything less than a fully respected and valuable member of my profession, about which I am pretty arrogant. And those two things are at odds here. I know it is clear that I am only putting up with this shit, which is humiliating to me, because I am ashamed of being humiliated by it, and because I like these people.

Thanks for the commiseration, y'all.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:14 PM
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Best of luck, whatever you choose to do.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:32 PM
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Witt gets it completely right in 76. You're unintentionally volunteering yourself for more work, and obviously the toll is getting too great.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:50 PM
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Also Professors tend to be appallingly bad at picking up hints that a grad student is stretched to the breaking point.

This. So, so, this.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:58 PM
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Sounds like POTUSAWB is exhausted by this now, but this:

why not take some pressure off and tell him in text. If this isn't an occasion for a letter, I don't know what is

did strike me as worth considering. Your mom's concerns about an email being forwarded around make sense, however -- unless it's the case that a well-written letter from you actually should be read more widely in the department (to get them all to realize the problem with their policy). That gets sticky.

I'd think about writing it all out in advance in any case, in order to test out the various voices and approaches you might adopt for a face-to-face conversation -- and delete anything that sounds defensive or cringing or put-upon, or arrogant. For me, that'd help in hearing it coming beforehand for the actual conversation. Hell, maybe it would help to make an outline! (Sense of humor, babe, don't forget. It's like Comp 101: don't forget to articulate the part about how much I like working with them, oh right, that's important.)

The prof. in question is going to see this as coming from left field, and probably has no idea that there's a problem.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 4:59 PM
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I have to admit that if I'm not at these meetings, I'll probably just be sitting in my office hours with my thumb up my ass. But I can't know! Because I'm in meetings!

What grates is that these are meetings that someone at a central office decided were way too hard for me (or whatever). Prof's acknowledgment that I am awesome and that I ought to be doing work I find stimulating and worthwhile is gratifying--but also deeply embittering in the long term.

Part of me wants to say that if I'm making a shit salary, I might as well be doing something I love, which is a bargain I've made like a billion times in the past. (I'm looking at you, $5/hour sterile-cell-growth job. And at you, $7/hour "receptionist"/graphic design job. And all my jobs.) Getting paid shit to sit in a horrible lab with my teeth clenched is no prize. But OMG my ego cannot take this crap anymore.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:01 PM
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92 is all correct and the only way. Prof knows I like him, and generally my emails are all full of sly jokes and chatty nice whatnot, and I think he's confused and embarrassed that I can't even smile at him or maintain eye contact for more than two seconds without staring, burning-necked, back into my lap. I'm sure he thinks I'm a psychopath. But in explaining my problem, I still need to make sure he knows that the problem is that I like working with him and the other people in the group, not that I hate him or anything. Chatty, fun, light, but clear, yes. I think I can do it.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:04 PM
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Oh, one more thought:

There is a very sweet nice boy whom I like a lot who works in this group in the capacity from which my application was barred. He and I have become pals, and ask after one another's work and whatnot. He noticed that I was totally psychopathic today and pulled me aside afterward to ask me what was up, why I was so weird and tired and stressed, since I am normally the charming life of the meeting. I was all "I dunno stuff hard to explain." Prof walks by and I burn and do not say goodbye.

Do you think it would be insane to ask sweet nice boy what he thinks? I don't relish the thought that he thinks I'm insane and possibly murderously enraged either, and also, he might have some good advice. Or would that be suicidal?


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:09 PM
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I disagree strongly with sending something in writing (though agree strongly with writing out what you want to say beforehand)--unless you are building a case, for enforcement by a union, a court, or even some kind of non-binding grad student assembly kind of thing. Otherwise it becomes a passive agressive note, or the professor gets to draw upon reserves of time and wit into talking you out of your feelings. This, unfortunately, needs to be handled in a confrontation. Sorry. Not necessarily an impolite or even heated one, but yeah, your body isn't lying to you.

This is exactly why professors fear and grad teachers need unions. All the stereotypes about work rules preventing people from developing informal pedagogical relationships? That's what's going on here--this is the kind of thing that is usually romanticized by anti-union faculty and administrators.

(i.e. helpy-pwned.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:09 PM
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96 posted before 94. If you go ahead with writing a note, make sure that you make it as constructive as possible. Use plenty of "I" statements and offer him as many opportunities to come up with a solution. And frame things so that he knows what you would consider a solution.

As for sweet boy -- if you have reason to believe he would appreciate his privilege and your disadvantage, then sure, but otherwise intelligent people are remarkably dim about these sorts of things. I wouldn't want him to make you crazy.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:13 PM
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The prof. in question is going to see this as coming from left field, and probably has no idea that there's a problem.

Good point.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:16 PM
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Come to think of it, 96 was not actually posted before 94.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:16 PM
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oh, go talk to the sweet boy


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:21 PM
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Prof will see it as coming from left field, but probably because he thinks this has only to do with some weird, inappropriate feeling I have that he seems to perversely delight in inciting in me, going out of his way to pop unannounced into my office, asking me questions when I'm staring pointedly at my lap, etc. I.e., I think he thinks I have a crush him, and that it is cute.

It is not cute; this feeling is horrible and not fun, and only tangentially related to my liking him, and fully made unbearable by the professional bind it puts me in. So part of me wants to exonerate myself from suspicion of being painfully in love or whatever by making clear the professional context that is so unhappy for me.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:22 PM
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Clearly I need to have intercourse with the sweet boy. That will make things a lot easier.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:23 PM
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Intercourse is always the answer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:25 PM
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If having sex with one person on the committee makes things easier, think how much easier it would be if you had sex with a few of them!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:26 PM
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Intercourse... with a vampire!

(Sorry, the vampire's a friend. And it's not like it was unprompted.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:27 PM
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See, now we're getting somewhere!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 5:27 PM
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95: Uh, I'll be serious one more time: I'd say don't sleep with the sweet boy (yet). He's funded for his work with the group and you aren't, and your lack of funding is pretty much the problem, and you're resentful as hell about it?

It sounds like a danger zone. These things are really, really sensitive. And, I suppose I'm thinking that if you sleep with him, you might be more inclined to just let things continue as they are. And it might put him in a really awkward position if you leave the group.

I just reread 95: okay, he's tuned to your state of mind, which is lovely. Maybe take him into your confidence, but honestly, I'm not sure introducing another factor, in the form of sleeping with him, into the mix is a good idea. The way to make clear to the Prof. what the problem is is to tell him, not to exhibit that you're not in love with him.

I'd really just wipe all sexual stuff out of the equation for now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:03 PM
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I just realized that 102 was heavily tongue-in-cheek.

Maybe I should go eat something.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:05 PM
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I agree with the warnings to be careful about what you put in writing. In an official situation, I'd be tempted to say you should only write in print to avoid the easy cc:everyone, but that's probably going too far and in any case one of the problems with this situation is that it's all unofficial so there aren't normal channels and forms and such.

It would probably be a good idea to give some hint before you bring it up that you're going to bring something up: say you have "concerns" to discuss about the meetings or something like that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:07 PM
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Do you think it would be insane to ask sweet nice boy what he thinks?

Frankly, yes. Don't put anything in writing, and don't tell co-workers.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:17 PM
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just wipe all sexual stuff

You should be doing this regardless.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:17 PM
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Apo keeps hand sanitizer in his back pocket.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:29 PM
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It would be embarrassing if you all knew how long it took me to figure out who POTUSAWB was. I assumed it was an acronym from a previous thread that I'd missed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 6:59 PM
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I don't know enough about the academic milieu to really comment confidently, but I'm generally less averse to written communication about this kind of thing than some of the folks above. A polite email that says "I've really enjoyed being part of this group, and I'm sorry that I'll be unable to continue because of the demands on my time" seems entirely innocuous.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 7:50 PM
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The only problem with 114 is that it doesn't at all erase the appearance that I have a problem with the group because of attraction to Prof.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:04 PM
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115: Okay, ignore me if this is a stupid or inappropriate question, but how accurate is that appearance? Obviously there are significant issues here beyond that, but if there's an attraction issue, it makes things a bit more complicated. Actually, if there's not but Prof thinks there is and is treating you differently because of it, that's complicatedtoo. treating


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:18 PM
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Don't resign before at least trying to discuss the situation with the professor! Go in with formal notes if you need to, be prepared to hand in a letter of resignation if you need to, but from what you've described, the professor has no idea that the expectations/rewards structure has gotten so badly out of whack for you. I doubt he'll be able to rustle up money, but he certainly should be more aware of your time demands and maybe seriously cut down on the hours.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:23 PM
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116: Yes, there is an attraction issue, and I have been going along with his ideas about my time since the beginning not least because I find him perversely attractive. But I am a big girl and have had many, many perverse attractions before. If anything, the problem is that I have grown out of letting my attractions run my life, and really deeply resent people manipulating my very clear attractions for their own ends without any benefit to me. There is an element of this that I resent because I so clearly take no pleasure in whatever attraction there is and this should be obvious to him. I don't joke and tarry with him anymore, and haven't for weeks. It became, quite suddenly, un-fun, and he hasn't stopped pursuing it. Interest in my expertise and intelligence is not enough to explain recent phenomena.

117: This sounds right to me. I think, even if it is weird and difficult and sickening-making for me, I should address this in person.

Dollars to donuts says he drops by unannounced during my office hours tomorrow and I'm forced to confront this. Any bets?


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:30 PM
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Any bets?

Ugh. My bet is it gets worse before it gets better. 118.1 was pretty close to what I was sensing/picturing and it makes me nervous. The prospect of this guy using the mutual or formerly mutual attraction to essentially exploit you does not bode well. I hope to hell I'm misreading and/or just being paranoid. Gah. Sorry you are in this position.


Posted by: DK | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:40 PM
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Like most guys in this situation, he's probably not articulated it to himself beyond something like "I think she likes me." But it's manifesting itself in really annoying ways and forcing me to be way more standoffish and weird than I would be normally. I've been through a lot worse, sexually and romantically, and have been embarrassingly unable to control my hostility toward, say, the guy who stopped speaking to me after a solid month of telling me he was obsessed with me when I had to host a talk by him. In that case, I blushed slightly and called him a coward in front of my colleagues.

This is worse, in part because I am more annoyed with myself for reacting to the provocations, and because the stakes are professional rather than personal. I'm sure an observer today would have thought I was sitting in the room with my rapist, not someone with whom I was annoyed for taking up bits of my time and energy without pay.

As I've said, I'm also starting therapy again.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 8:50 PM
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112: Apo keeps hand genital sanitizer in his back pocket.

Fixed.

93: I'll probably just be sitting in my office hours with my thumb up my ass.

I hadn't heard there was something wrong with 'free time'. Especially when it occurs in conunction with 'unpaid'. (It doesn't matter if you're in your office or whatever - if you aren't getting paid to go to fucking meeting, you aren't getting paid to go to fucking meetings. 'Pay me, motherfucker!')

101: I.e., I think he thinks I have a crush him, and that it is cute. It is not cute; this feeling is horrible and not fun, and only tangentially related to my liking him, and fully made unbearable by the professional bind it puts me in.

Well, now I know why you're reacting somatically: this is starting to border on sexual harassment and/or sadism. You're obviously hypersensitive to that (and that's OK), and he obviously don't care. Not acceptable.

max
['Especially without the 'getting paid for this shit' part.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:06 PM
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I have no idea how max can tell that this guy can tell that POTUSAWB is hypersensitive to a certain type of behavior, enough to use the word "obviously" twice in one sentence.

Do we know that this guy knows he is causing you pain by his behavior? Do we know that he enjoys causing you pain?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:08 PM
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Long comment deleted here to say, yes, I think I have evidence that sadism is part of what's happening, and that he is not fully aware that it is what is happening, or in what way his behavior is sadistic.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:17 PM
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He is aware. Your distress was obvious enough for the nice young fellow to pull you aside and ask if you were okay.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:26 PM
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121: I have no idea how max can tell that this guy can tell that POTUSAWB is hypersensitive to a certain type of behavior

Because I have this kind of shit over and over and over.

123: and that he is not fully aware that it is what is happening, or in what way his behavior is sadistic.

Understood. That's why you've got to defend your boundaries here, especially where you're vulnerable.

max
['Which is probably fairly terrifying for you to do in this kind of situation. You *can* do it however.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:28 PM
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125: Because I seen have this kind of shit over and over and over.

Also: looking freightened/zoned out/out of the room/not speaking isn't 'psychopathic'. It might sorta qualify as 'autistic'. Normal humans register it as 'very uncomfortable'. He may be just too damned enthusiastic.

max
['And perhaps I am here, as well. But as, I missaid, I have seen this way too many times before.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:31 PM
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Max is right, though nothing that has happened could at all qualify as harassment. He puts himself in discussion groups with me, criticizes my ideas as irrelevant, identifies really personally with my professional methodologies, asks me pointed questions about my work and response to things, is obviously grateful when I show up to meetings, cannot believe I'd be so daft as to respond in certain ways to questions--he's never laid a hand on me except on the shoulder in greeting. I just feel really jerked around and unhappy about the whole situation and it makes me feel like I'm 21 again and going through a lot of very old and unhappy shit.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:44 PM
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I should also add that people being total assholes to me is not usually a problem for my ego, and is completely normal in my field. This weekend, I was at a conference where a guy cornered me with some of the most assholish questions I've ever answered, and I maintained the wherewithal to confront him about these issues in a productive manner that was flattering to yrs trly. I'm good at what I do and am no wilting lily. A few months ago, I believe I commented quite explicitly about talking down a superior of mine who called me out on some major pedagogical issue to the point that, after the ensuing fight, department standards were altered. This is different from that. I am usually a total bitch on professional issues. Part of the problem is that because this is not really my job, I can't really be a cunt in the ways I usually am. Somehow, today, I managed to inspire unprecedented fights between others, but it's not like I got in the fray. It's not my right, and it's above my pay grade.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 9:59 PM
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I like when max's little Oliphant last-words are earnest and encouraging.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 10-27-09 11:56 PM
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I wouldn't argue that you have a provable case here, but you don't need physical touching to have sexual harassment.


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 3:15 AM
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Sure, but there does have to be something sexual about it.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 3:26 AM
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Anyway, you probably should drop the extra, unpaid work and distance yourself from this guy professionally as best you can. I wouldn't explain anything to him (or anyone else) beyond "too overloaded to keep volunteering". Unless, of course, the sly emails are sufficiently non-subtle/non-plausibly-deniable that you can add "the e-flirtation is making me uneasy".

But I might leave that out for now regardless, given that calling him out on it will likely lead to defensiveness may lead to new hostility. If he's still hoping to flirt, your resignation will be met with "oh, wow, we'll all miss potus -- you were such a help". If he feels spurned and nervous that you are accusing him of harassment, he'll want to discredit you, "stupid potus just couldn't cut it".


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 3:37 AM
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131: Technically, just something gender-based. And if he thinks you're so hot for him he can freely exploit you, it sounds gender based to me. Though, again, I wouldn't dream of claiming you could prove a case. (Then again, not my area of law.)


Posted by: di kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 3:43 AM
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I don't even think anything that's happened constitutes flirting.

Since it was the administrator who got me into this mess by saying I could help this program, should I talk to her? Prof seems to act like I'm incredibly important to the program and am essential to its function, but this is certainly not true in my capacity as Job Title. Would that be like going behind daddy's back to mommy?


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 3:59 AM
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Ah, okay. I overinterpreted. (Though I still think based on nothing more than my own overactive imagination that he's guilty -- guilty I say! -- just really subtle...)

You probably do want to talk to the administrator, especially if she more or less volunteered you -- but I wouldn't leave it to her to communicate with him. That really would seem like going over Daddy's head. Hell, she may even be able to give you some ideas for how you can get something career-advancing out of the efforts you've put in. You probably want to think before you talk to either one about whether your real goal will be to be able to do this work and be properly compensated/respected for it or whether you really just need to distance yourself completely for now.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 4:19 AM
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93, 121: I'll probably just be sitting in my office hours with my thumb up my ass.

First, what Max said -- if you're not getting paid for the extra work, what's wrong with having free time? But if this is worrying you because you don't feel as if you can be forceful about saying "I really don't have the time or energy for this," you've got a dissertation to write, don't you? Professionally, you don't have any free time this year -- you have a project that's supposed to be all-consuming (remember, of course, that I don't know jack about academia or dissertating. I'm laying out an argument which may be accurate, but which I think is at least defensible if you want to use it in talking through this). Anything taking up your time and energy this year is actively screwing you over.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 4:48 AM
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I'm laying out an argument which may be accurate, but which I think is at least defensible

I'm having this line added to my business card.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 4:50 AM
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I should also add that people being total assholes to me is not usually a problem for my ego, and is completely normal in my field.

Even if it is "normal" (which it shouldn't be if people are acting professionally), that doesn't make it okay.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 5:10 AM
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137: Mine says "All arguments guaranteed colorable."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 5:21 AM
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139: I'm not sure I'm prepared to go that far out on a limb...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 5:24 AM
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Agreed, and it is not my wish to reflect this tone with my students and colleagues, ever. I am all too well aware of the phenomenon of faculty being manipulative and exploitative to students and younger faculty because they had it so hard coming up.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 5:28 AM
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Ahhhh... coming in really late on this thread, but.... I've been looking for this link for about 30mins now - am I missing a necessary program/codec or is the link broken for most others as well?
...And yes, I tried the link in 4 with no luck as well.

peaked interest + no satisfaction = severe disappointment


Posted by: speakeasy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 5:39 AM
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the phenomenon of faculty being manipulative and exploitative to students and younger faculty because they had it so hard coming up.

This pisses me off to no end. Half the faculty at most colleges couldn't make it in today's job market.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 6:10 AM
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re: 143

Varies a lot by institution I'd imagine, but it wouldn't surprise if that's a minimum figure. I'd bet it's higher in most places. The system is pretty broken in many ways, though. Lots of really really good people in my field would never have gotten a permanent job in today's system as their best work and major publications came quite a long way into their career. And don't get me started on the class element of the whole picture ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 6:55 AM
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142: Hm. If you google "Hell House" right now, it looks like the website hellhousemovie.com has temporarily exceeded its bandwith, no doubt from the droves of lurkers, supporting my 7-years-late post via e-mail click-throughs. Try again later perhaps?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 7:01 AM
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143: The one i knew well who could have made it in any job market in any century in any western country was extraordianrily sensitive about these things. He didn't want to overwork his students and he was very accomodating to the grad students with children. Perhaps because he had his own young daughter at 60. His wife was an independent scholar, but he canceled (apologizing profusely) meetings with me when he had to go pick her up.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 7:11 AM
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Half the faculty at most colleges couldn't make it in today's job market.

Preach it Sister!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 7:22 AM
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143 and the rest are so, so true.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 7:29 AM
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But the had to walk to school, in the snow, uphill both ways!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 7:43 AM
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143 is very true. The worst is that this kind of crap is often visited upon young women by older women who fetishize and romanticize their own historical hardships while ignoring the continual hardships of a sexist discipline and profession. They think we've got it so easy, which, in certain ways, comparatively, yeah, but in other ways, we are more poorly funded, more likely to be told we'll never be employed, still subject to backlash, still more likely than men to be hired as teacher/nurturers rather than serious scholars. Etc.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 8:31 AM
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Yeah! Just because you can get someone fired if he sexually harasses you nowadays doesn't mean you are in an enviable situation.


Posted by: Es-tonea-pesta | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 9:04 AM
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Just because you can get someone fired if he sexually harasses you nowadays

Assumes facts not in evidence. There's a whole lot of harassment that still goes on in the world with impunity.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 9:46 AM
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The prospect of this guy using the mutual or formerly mutual attraction to essentially exploit you does not bode well.

Based on the information that has popped up in this thread since I last read it, I now think you should kick this guy in the nuts.

Ok, maybe that's overstating things, but I think it would be great if you just said flatly to him "I'm not doing any more unpaid labor for you, and I am not comfortable at all with the kind of attention you have been paying to me." Yes, it will come out of left field from his perspective, but that is a good thing. This guy needs a wake up call.

In related news, it turns out that it was just the campus police that were looking for one of my students...but they want him because he's been sexually harassing another one of my students! I am both sending a strongly worded email and talking to him directly.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 9:53 AM
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I'm not kicking anyone in the nuts. Each person in this thread has probably spent more time thinking about the dynamics of this relationship than he has. I'm not making excuses for dudely cluelessness, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that thinking anything is really about you in some intentional way is usually wrong, just as, if he has thought about it and thought I am acting weird because of some crush or whatever, he'd be wrong. Yes, people act in almost instinctively sadistic ways, picking on people at their worst moments, but not because they consciously hate them. Maybe he thinks he's drawing me out because I've become shy all of a sudden.


Posted by: POTUSAWB | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 10:20 AM
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Well, you don't need me to be irate on your behalf. Like max, I am mostly reacting because I've seen this kind of situation before. I get very sensitive about grad student exploitation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 10:26 AM
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...thinking anything is really about you in some intentional way is usually wrong...

Smart. I'm sorry you reject nuts-kicking, though. It's an underutilized form of communication.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 10:27 AM
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I'm not making excuses for dudely cluelessness,

Actually, you are. NTTAWWT.

but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that thinking anything is really about you in some intentional way is usually wrong

We've discussed this here in terms of racism/misogyny before. It applies to sexual harassment, too. Just because conduct isn't intentionally malicious doesn't mean it isn't both harmful and in need of a wake up call. He may be paying you special attention because he thinks you're awesome (smart guy!) and may be roping you into all this extra work because it's a good excuse to see more of you and because he figures you'll do it because you think he's awesome. It may never have occurred to him that it's having negative repercussions for you personally. But it is. It doesn't really matter that this was not his intent. The point is that you need that effect on you to stop.

I went through something similar at one point and eventually snapped and laid out in detail exactly what the problem was. It had never occurred to him that the things I raised were things that would make me uncomfortable, but mostly got it once it was explained to him and made a lot of actual changes. But it also didn't hit him full out of the blue -- individual components had been discussed previously and my moment of truth moment was mostly about laying out how all my minor, petty, silly gripes all tied together into a big picture.

Previous attempts to have that moment of truth, however, went spectacularly badly, so I am officially not offering any advice. Just saying it's not really about whether or not he's a terrible person, it's about whether it's making you feel awful and affecting you professionally.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 10:56 AM
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[I shouldn't comment right before I stagger off to bed, huh?]

I'm not making excuses for dudely cluelessness, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that thinking anything is really about you in some intentional way is usually wrong,

And that's usually correct. However, just because 'it's not about you' doesn't mean it doesn't affect you, any less than, say, a roommate's persistant drunkeness would affect you.

just as, if he has thought about it and thought I am acting weird because of some crush or whatever, he'd be wrong.

Sure. Again, why he's doing it doesn't matter. What I was picking up on, was the fact that he's behaving aggressively and exploitively, and this obviously bothered your subconscious early on, and you've been deliberately tuning that out. So your subconscious is basically saying 'FUCK YOU BITCH! DO NOT WANT! DO NOT WANT!' Ye olde subconscious might be reacting too strongly, but I don't think it's wrong.

Yes, people act in almost instinctively sadistic ways, picking on people at their worst moments, but not because they consciously hate them.

Agreed. But his subconscious (subbbbbtextualllllll!) message is that he's found your weak spot and he knows it and he intends to keep hitting that point because he can. And he may be totally fucking unaware of this. Quite possibly because he doesn't want to admit it to himself. I maybe shouldn't have said sexual harassment, but I was reaching for 'aggressive', as in possibly sexually aggressive, in a not so nice way.

Maybe he thinks he's drawing me out because I've become shy all of a sudden.

Could be. If I was in the situation of, say, walking into a female instructors room, and there was an older (?) man leaving over the instructor's desk, and the instructor was sitting in her chair, stammering, avoiding looking at the man and had a distressed expression on her face, I would wonder 'WTF is going on here?'. It wouldn't matter if the man was smiling and laughing. I would at a minimum interrupt (throat clearing noises) and might very well go over and pointedly ask the woman if she was OK.

128: I'm good at what I do and am no wilting lily.

I wasn't calling (and wouldn't call) that into question. I know you're pretty tough - I also think you're smart enough to realize that this is not some kind of perfectly normal endurance test that will get you an award for toughest academic at the end.

134: Since it was the administrator who got me into this mess by saying I could help this program, should I talk to her?

I think so. It seems a reasonable place to start.

max
['Gotta start somewhere.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 10-28-09 1:52 PM
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I just watched the movie, and was underwhelmed. By which I mean: I expected the "haunted house" to be much more outrageous/offensive than it was. The house was (moderately) graphic, but was otherwise a relatively straightforward presentation of vanilla right-wing evangelical Christianity. The only reason anyone would be "shocked" by it, or consider it outrageous, would be if they consider right-wing evangelical Christianity inherently shocking or outrageous. That's not a crazy view, of course, but I'd expect most people (Americans) to be relatively desensitized to it at this point. Maybe I overestimate how much exposure most people have. (Probably so, considering this was deemed a worthy subject of a documentary.)

Also, I thought the filmmaker was exploitative of the guy with the two special-needs children, whose wife had left him. There really was no reason whatsoever for him to be a plot focus, other than (implicitly) to make the whole Hell House bunch seem sort of pathetic. And that's pretty offensive.

I didn't listen to the TAL episode; maybe that has more eye-opening details.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 01- 1-10 9:48 PM
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