For those of you not familiar with the world of academia, there are tenured professors who can never be fired, tenure track professors who are salaried, teach, write books, and work on committees as much as possible to be approved for tenure in 5-7 years, and then there are adjuncts, who are hired to teach one course at a time, often at the last minute, often replaced, often given no health insurance. 40% of all English Ph.Ds will not get tenure track work, in part because there are so many more people than jobs, and because hiring adjuncts is cheaper for obvious reasons. NYU, in a staggering statistic, has 41% of their classes taught by adjuncts. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently said that unless an individual adjunct can lift himself above the herd (with, in their words, books, awards, or winning the lottery), "adjuncting becomes more like an expensive hobby." Around here Stephen Frug and I are adjuncts, and I know Neil Shyminsky is a graduate student teacher. Tim Callahan teaches high school, I think. I am sure there are more, possibly lurkers.
So I give you Camille Paglia, from the introduction to her book Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems:
One result of the triumph of ideology over art is that, on the basis of their publications, few literature professors know how to "read" anymore -- and thus can scarcely be trusted to teach that skill to their students. Cultural Studies, for example, despite its auspicious name, has been undone by its programmatic Marxism and is a morass of misreadings and overreadings. During the past quarter century, humanistic principles and honest practical criticism could be more reliably found among low-paid adjuncts faithfully teaching service courses at community colleges than in the vain, showy professoriat of the elite schools.
Paglia has a flair for the dramatic, and like Bloom has been known to over-state her case, but I appreciate the compliment. I put it here, because I know it applies to some of our readers.