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Why are graduate students disproportionately criticized -- why not Starbucks employees?

–2 votes
related to an answer for: Why is Academia no place for anarchists?
asked Mar 30, 2010 by Saint_Schmidt (2,450 points)

2 Answers

+7 votes
Who should be criticized? Those who wear chains or those who spend a decade of their lives measuring and fitting them to size?
answered Mar 30, 2010 by aragorn (2,310 points)
I have news: I make $300 dollars biweekly, and accumulated over $100,000k of debt in the process. I think starbucks employees get a bigger cheque.
clearly the issue is not about money, as dot pointed out above. that starbuck's employee may be paying off a student loan too.
Lawrence, yup -- I wrote this before dot very thoughtfully answered the other thing. I know it seems like i'm trolling, but I'd really like to see a nice well-thought critical answer to this question (one that doesn't conflate graduate life with academic identity).
S-S, perhaps you are in a perfect position to write a "well-thought critical answer to this question". you are critical of academia. you are aware of both sides of the argument. you are motivated. and you understand better than anyone else your own distinction between graduate life and academic identity...
Sure, I'd really like to hear something from the people that criticize me/it though, they are the ones with the case to prove.
that last sentence is why it continues to be hard to understand your position in this. as someone who is in the academy and critical of it, i would think that *you* would have the case to prove. instead you seem to be interested in the topic to the extent that you can imagine people attacking you.
embrace the contradiction that is your life. explore it. show us the nooks and crannies that only someone living it could see.
+1 vote
if some people hear graduate students getting disproportionately criticized, then they are listening to a small group of anarchists. mostly anarchists (and others) inappropriately extol the virtues of student-hood and professor-ship, and the idea of spending their lives thinking and talking about the ideas that they're passionate about (obviously a reasonable thing to desire).
when was the last time that anyone tried to organize a campaign around a starbucks manager getting fired (as people tried to do when graeber got let go)?

and don't be confused by reductionist definitions of class (as in, this group makes more money than that group). the u.s. is very good at mystifying the issue of who is actually making the decisions and calling the shots. it's no longer as simple (if it ever was) of identifying who's making the most money.

(edited for a typo)
answered Mar 30, 2010 by dot (50,920 points)
edited Apr 4, 2010 by dot
I beg to differ about this part of the statement: "mostly anarchists (and others) extol the virtues of student-hood and professor-ship".


While an anarchist may extol the virtues of learning or even studying, she or he should have their ear flicked for extoling the virtues of student-hood and professor-ship for Christ sake.

A starbucks employee is humbly servicing you and I suspect few are unaware of their prostitution. On the other hand, show me a graduate student that is aware of their prostitution. If your answer is that graduate students are not prostituting themselves then you shouldn't be so sure of the questions that you ask here.
m-t-p, you don't seem to have understood my point at all.  where did you get the impression that i thought anarchists *should* praise professorhood and studenthood? did you not read aragorn!'s answer? and then S-S's comment? what are you talking about?

ps: "humbly servicing"? wtf?
(edited for more wtf)
I can sort of see your point here, especially regarding the Graeber example. I wonder if I got kicked out of university, if leftists would come running to my rescue? I strongly doubt it, since they've tried to have me kicked out of university (professors, students, and "comrades" alike) time after time. I think that there is -some- truth to this but I think it has more to do with 1) the -type- of people that enter graduate school and become professors, their political orientation, worldview, etc, and 2) the type of people that surround these figures. If I don't think of the university as fertile ground for radical politics then I probably won't get much support if I get fired and, likewise, if others don't believe that then the same holds true. So, while I agree that there is a problem with -this- way of seeing academia, and while I agree that this orientation is pervasive, I don't believe that it holds true in all cases. Some people just have nothing better to do with themselves.

A! knows probably more than anybody else how difficult I find academia, and how many times I've tried to plot my escape. Unfortunately, for me, personally, I just don't know what else to do with myself. Thanks for the comment dot.