July 24, 2006

"A shameful question."

Seven bloggers -- including me -- have short essays in The Chronicle of Higher Education about Juan Cole and the risks of being a blogging professor. Cole has a response that begins:
The question is whether Web-log commentary helps or damages an academic's career. It is a shameful question. Intellectuals should not be worrying about "careers," the tenured among us least of all.

14 comments:

Craig Ranapia said...

Very good response, Professor Althouse - but I must admit my teeth begin to grind when academics want to put themselves out in the public square (be it the blogisphere, newspaper op-ed pages or television), bask in the attention and (dare I say it) noteriety, then get twitchy when the wrong people are looking and talking back.

This isn't very well expressed, but I can't help but wonder if some blogging professors (like Cole) aren't trying to have their cake and eat it too.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tiggeril said...

I should find old professors of mine and spam stupid crap on their blogs too. It looks like fun.

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe the Journal of Higher Education could do a piece about how blog commenters can hurt their careers. Well, it's just the Deb Frisch question. We know the answer. What you do on the web shows.

Gerry said...

Cole's problem is not that he's blogging.

Cole's problem is that he is a whack job.

Blogging only serves to give exposure to his problem.

Internet Ronin said...

That could be an interesting subject, Ann. Another group that I'd like to see a psych study on is people who comment obsessively about what someone they obviously can't stand has written.

P.S. You missed one - see Dreamspace comments.

Mary said...

I think Ms. Althouse's problem is that she cannot tolerate criticism or opinions that do not echo her own.

Funny how you're acceptable for such a long period of time, then suddenly labeled a whack job when you disagree with others in the majority. Particularly on controversial topics, or when you challenge the validity of stories told by others here.

Internet Ronin said...

No Mary, it is not funny how someone like you uses someone else's PRIVATE LIFE to score POLITICAL POINTS or engage in a PERSONAL VENDETTA. That is why your posts are disappearing. (I'll delete this one once yours does go)

Walter said...

But back to Ann's orignal question/observation:

Should academics worry about their career's? It sounds like he just setup a strawman. Or is he just naively idealistic in his assumption that University professor should only focus on thinking/research and not ever pay attention to real-world issues like how much they are getting paid, University rank, etc...

Why was he moving from Michigan to Yale? Did it have anything to do with his career? Or was he just looking for a change of pace?

brylin said...

I have read Juan Cole's blog for some time now, and I must say that on occasion his Bush bashing indicates that he suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome.

However, his blog does present many serious issues for those interested in the Middle East and Iraq. In fact, I know of no other source of such detailed information, and that is probably why he has such a large readership.

From time to time I have emailed Professor Cole asking questions or commenting on his posts and his responses are always courteous and considered.

Dr. Cole is right to feel some pride for his work. And he is absolutely right when he says, "The ability to speak directly and immediately to the public on matters of one's expertise, and to bring to bear all one's skills to affect the public debate, is new and breathtaking."

Informed Comment is a valuable part of the academic community. It would be a travesty if academics concluded that blogging posed too great a career risk.

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