BOTTOMING OUT

Posted in Rants on February 11th, 2009 by Ed

In any line of work there are certain signs that one has hit rock bottom in a professional sense. For a lawyer, it's getting disbarred or working as an ambulance chaser. For a classically-trained ballet dancer it might be stripping in a club located behind a dog track (which is in turn located behind a rendering plant). For an actor, appearing in straight-to-DVD horror films or anything starring Pauly Shore.

I often wonder what the equivalent is for an academic. Being an adjunct (i.e., a temp professor)? Some people swear they enjoy it. Teaching at an online-only "college" like University of Phoenix? Maybe. Being a grad student for 15 years? All of these things are pretty bad. But I think the true moment at which the average Professor sits back and says, "Oh my God, what the hell happened to my life?" involves having a serious panel discussion with Joe the Plumber and Michelle Malkin.


Not pictured: dignity

Glenn Reynolds, aside from being almost comically immune to facts and offering the level of insight available from the average 19 year old College Republican, seems so shallow that he unable to feel self-conscious. The idea that he has any shame whatsoever is as ridiculous as his attempts at wit. If he subscribes to any logic deeper than "Look at all the money I have! I must be awesome!" it would be shocking. But any other professor (regardless of field) with a tiny shred of dignity would take a look at himself engaged in a roundtable with an unemployed plumber and a psychotic skeleton and do the only honorable thing: stand up, bow to the audience of bedwetters and abortion clinic bombers, and commit seppuku with a Cato Institute letter opener, withdrawing it at the last moment to spray the webcam with his entrails.

Can we really expect more of the man who linked Timothy McVeigh to Sadaam Hussein? Who claimed that comparing Guantanamo Bay to a gulag crippled Amnesty International's credibility and helped the Bush administration? Who thought Gitmo and Daytona Beach spring break had some things in common? Who thinks most of his readers are so stupid that they won't notice how often he reverses himself and how 99% of what he says either distorts facts or is flat-out wrong? Who exists for no reason other than to put the illusory stamp of intellectual legitimacy ("Wow, he's a professor! His opinion on foreign policy carries much more weight!") on what is nothing but histrionic, blind partisanship and regurgitation of the daily talking points from the bowels of the Free Republic forums and tar-paper shacks in the Bitterroots?

Believe it or not, yes, I'd have expected a little more from him. A little more than this. I'd like to think that there are some depths to which he wouldn't sink, some point at which he'd say "OK, I'm not going to interview a fucking unlicensed plumber" in the same way that a self-respecting actor would draw the line at starring in Baby Geniuses 4. I was wrong. Congratulations, Professor Glenn Reynolds. You officially have no shame, no self-respect, and no dignity. Surely this makes him a more attractive commodity to the ratings-hungry media, though. This guy will officially do anything! Paint him up in blackface. Have him debate a kodiak bear. Hire him to officiate competitive eating contests. Film his segments from the center ring of a circus. Book him at a bunch of county fairs. I guess that feeling ashamed requires being smart enough to understand how stupid one looks, a mental burden of which Glenn is obviously and gloriously free.

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