Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Modest Academic Proposal in the Age of Trump

We have more than anecdata that Trump's presidency is bad for academic productivity.  At the ISA, its journals reported that submission are down since January.  Why?  Because we as political junkies follow the news, and the news has been quite, um, newsy lately.

How so?  Well, when I wake up, there is usually already a shitshow in progress thanks to a latenight Trump tweet.  Once I process that, there is another shitshow.  Once I make sense of that one, there is another. and so on.  I would guess that we get about 3-5 shitshows a day, each one sucking up an hour or so of time as one figures out the source of the mess, how it is being reacted to at home and abroad, and then back to work.

I know that Trump has been very bad for my sabbatical [that's my excuse and I am sticking to it--I will present my sabbatical accounting in, sigh, sob, 17 days or so], as I have gotten less work done than expected.  True, that is always the case--one has high ambitions and then one does not reach them, but this year it has been very much Trump-related.  I remember days, weeks would go by without thinking much about Obama.  No drama Obama indeed.  How I miss the mantra of "don't do stupid shit."

So, here's my proposal for the less job-secure: everyone on the tenure track gets an additional year for every year Trump is in office.  I can't imagine how hard it is to get work done under pressure when the US is being so misgoverned when one's job is to understand and write about politics (suck it, economists, find your own excuses). 

As someone noted, if we do this for the tenure track folks, what about grad students?  Shouldn't they get more time to complete their dissertations?  More funding for that more time?  Oh boy.  Yeah, that makes sense, but universities ain't getting more funding in the age of Trump.... hmmm.

Ok, call this an immodest proposal. 

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