Sunday, September 6, 2015

APSA Needs .... A Stunt Baby!

Newly revised thanks to Putin's efforts to make Irredentism hip!
After enjoying much good food and friendship and professional networking stuff in San Francisco, I had to explain baby-gate/baby-ghazi/whatever to Mrs. Spew.  The story is summarized and then criticized at the Duck of Minerva by Charli Carpenter.  The essence of it is that a woman who was carrying her baby into the exhibition room was stopped by security apparently because APSA's event insurance did not cover kids in the book room.  Yeah, the room that has a bunch of publishers trying to promote their books.... like this one:

What kind of danger would a baby face in this area?  This, after all, is not where the job placement room is--where the newly minted PhDs are waiting for short job interviews.  The musk of fear and desperation in that room might be poisonous to a baby, but that was on another floor. 

Maybe the concern is the poster area?  That is the spot where mostly junior faculty and grad students (and some older faculty) post illustrations of their research and then chat about it to whoever strolls by.   Is this a dangerous area for babies?  Maybe as some research can blow one's mind, and younger folks do face a higher risk of concussion. 

Maybe it is the lounge in the exhibit hall where aspiring authors are meeting with editors, hoping to get their book published.  Early exposure to pandering may be harmful to infants?

What we need is a stunt baby!  A baby that can be exposed to all of these potential dangers and see if any harm is caused.  I owe Buck Henry and early SNL for inspiring this idea.*
* It is episode 6 of season 3--maybe it is on Hulu, which I cannot access now that I am again above Scott Walker's wall.
For those taking me at all seriously, I am mocking the APSA and its incredibly dim policy.  The APSA has been good about providing day care at a cheap price and a room for folks to nurse their babies, but this policy is just dumb.  There is no risk, nothing to insure people from.  We could have used some insurance to deal with being gouged by the conference hotel's extraordinarily expensive breakfast buffet (the one in Hawaii is better and cheaper!).  The APSA could have used some insurance to deal with the threat of renovation that might make it far harder to coordinate meetings--the lobby of the Hilton had a giant box (literally) that contained the renovation to the bar, which meant not only no bar but one could not see people on the other side of the lobby due to the giant box.  Epic fail!

The conference itself went well because the individual political scientists kept up their end of the bargain--they presented interesting research, my co-authors helped me make progress, my friends were good at moving to a different bar to share tales of academia and so on.  But the organization failed us--by embarassing us and by treating families poorly just at the time that the organization was already facing increased grief for scheduling the conference on Labor Day weekend.  That has long been the pattern, but last year's protest seemed to met with a poor response.  So, maybe doubling down on a bad policy about infants in the book room was a bad idea.

My review of the APSA's performance this wee:

Oh, and now Duck of Minerva is attracting trolls due to this story.  Thanks, APSA. 

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