Our critics this week called us out on our poor timing, "form and content" generally, and our abilities to distinguish the titles of academia. Enjoy samples of our hate mail this week, posted below.
SUBJECT: Et tu, Gawker?
I've greatly enjoyed reading your articles on The Awl, and you were always the best part of Wonkette. But life today is hard enough what with the depressing stories on politics, the environment, animal cruetly, etc. in places like the NYT, Mother Jones, Treehugger...I turn to Gawker for mindless drivel.
Your Gawker story today on alligator hunting means that I'll now have the same trepidation before visiting that site as I do with the rest of them. It's like you're trying to drive me to Buzzfeed for my fix of sugary garbage! I don't like Buzzfeed any more than you do.
Also, kindly tell Hamilton that he more and more resembles a grumpy old man with each new piece he writes. "Please walk on escalators?" If he had his way we'd all be doing lunges down the escalators with barbells in each hand.
Why would we dare to write about cats or Angelina Jolie more than once on the internet? That's not what the internet is for.
SUBJECT: Same story post 35 minutes apart?
BODY: Is it really necessary to post the same stories multiple
times in the same 24 hour period?
Firefighters Rescue Cop Stuck In Tree Who Was Trying to Save Cat Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:52 AM
Angelina Jolie wrote an excellent and important op-ed for the New York Times about her Monday, May 13, 2013 11:50 PM
Angelina Jolie Reveals She Recently Underwent Double Mastectomy Monday, May 13, 2013 11:15 PM
Big day for heroic firefighters: In Georgia, firefighters received an award from PETA for Monday, May 13, 2013 8:04 PM
What was one writer's addition is the whole crux of this reader's email to us:
SUBJECT: Form and Content
BODY: to whom it may concern,
i think that your new format is crap. unreadable. maybe you can change it back? thanks for taking the time to read my letter.
"The content of the Eleus inian mystery is nothing more than this: experiencing the negativity that is always already inherent in any meaning of sense-certainty. The initiate has no need to remain silent. Just as the animal preserves the truth of sensuous things simply by devouring them, that is, by recognizing them as nothing, so language guards the unspeakable by speaking it, that is, by grasping it in its negativity … The Eleusian mystery of the Phenomenology is thus the same mystery of the poem but now language has captured in itself the power of silence, and that which appeared earlier as unspeakable profundity can be guarded in its negative capacity in the heart of the word." -Giorgio Agamben
This is an ultimately positive exchange about academia and title inflation. Good job!
SUBJECT: correction re NYU "Prof" story
BODY: I know this seems picky, but..Ross Finocchio is, according to all reports, not a professor, let alone a "distinguished" one. He's a PhD candidate who teaches at NYU. This is the kind of mistake undergrads make. You guys should know better.
RESPONSE: I don't know. The two reports I read described him as an "accomplished NYU art history professor" or an "art history professor." What are these "all reports" you're talking about? And his now deleted website included a long list of awards and achievements, making it seem like he was somewhat "distinguished." "An accomplished NYU art-history professor — who has lectured at the Met and Sotheby’s —" - NY Post "NYU art history professor Ross Finocchio was arrested on charges of unlawful surveillance," - NYU Local "New York University art history professor Dr. Ross Finocchio was arrested on Monday for allegedly videotaping women inside dressing " - Opposing Views From Finocchio's CV: Adjunct Professor, New York University, Department of Art History “History of Western Art I, Antiquity through the Middle Ages,” summer term Adjunct Professor, New York University, Department of Art History “New York Architecture Field Study,” fall term “Painting and Sculpture in New York,” spring term Those are at least four reports that ID him as a "professor." Saying "Ross Finocchio is, according to all reports, not a professor" seems like the sort of mistake an undergrad might make, no? You should probably know better.
REPLY BACK: Dude, I'm not trying to argue with you—although yeah, my initial e-mail was kind of pissy and condescending. Sorry. Calling anyone who teaches undergrads a professor just annoys me (it did so before I had my PhD) just like I hate it when every model is called a supermodel. The fact that the Post calls him a prof isn't exactly something to die by. The NYU local piece later clarifies: "Ross Finocchio has been studying at NYU for twelve years: He graduated from NYU in 2001 as a double major in Art History and English, received his M.A. in ’06, and is a current candidate in the PhD program. The Department of Art History at NYU reported in its “Alumni News“, in a blurb that has since been taken down, that Finocchio graduated summa cum laude." But then I looked around on the NYU site and found one reference to his being an adjunct associate professor, which would indicate that he did complete his PhD. I guess without his CV it's hard to confirm.
Carry on. Sorry you got he brunt of my under-caffeinated morning peevishness.
That's all. Have a glorious weekend!