Here's what stupid uneducated people imagine that college literature professors do: teach. Har har, stupid ignorant idiots! Here is what college literature professors actually do: write obscure papers that nobody will read. Now that's where it's at!

Teaching stupid 19 year-olds about what James Joyce "meant" is not why literature professors spent nine years in college getting various degrees of questionable value to society, okay? They got those degrees in order to be able to eloquently engage in literary microfeuds conducted via barely-read niche publications, okay? Now, traitorous Emory English professor Mark Bauerlein is suggesting that all these academic papers that lit professors spend all their time on might be, you know... what's another word for "worthless?" Let's just say "worthless" until I can find my thesaurus.

"Many professors enjoy their work, finding it rewarding and helpful to their other professional duties, but if their books and essays do not find readers sufficient to justify the effort, the publication mandate falls short of its rationale, namely, to promote scholarly communication and the advancement of knowledge," Bauerlein wrote in the report. "To put it bluntly, universities ask English professors to labor upon projects of little value to others, incurring significant opportunity costs."

To translate that into American: liberal elite college professors are using your money to write about, probably, homosexual pornography! Or, worse, the tepid ennui of upper middle class life in a university town! And worst of all, nobody even cares: although English lit professors are turning out published writing at an incredible pace, most of their work is never cited by other "scholars" in the field, according to Bauerlein's research. And if it's not cited by other scholars in their own stuff, what's even the point?

Ha, trick question. The point is that your English lit professor will be celebrated as a genius long after he dies in obscurity, when the rest of America finally "gets" what he was doing. You'll feel bad then. You can't put a price on genius, okay? Just wait until you see the academic papers by English lit professors taking issue with this one. Socks: prepare to be blown off!

[Inside Higher Ed; Bauerlein's full paper is here. Stock photo via]