[Milton-L] West Coast MLAs and rules

Michael Bryson michael.bryson at csun.edu
Wed Dec 31 00:46:10 EST 2008


The fact that West Coast MLAs (which often, though
not always, means San Francisco MLAs) have lower
attendance than East Coast MLAs is interesting. It
says something about either the travel preferences
of our tribe (humanities academics) or the
demographic and population statistics of our tribe,
or both (and this lower attendance seems to be a
phenomenon that dates back well before the current
economic meltdown). But one of the supreme ironies
of humanities academia has always seemed to me to be
our sheer an(or un)aestheticism. We flock to major
(if often slightly dull) cities, while wearing
badges on the town, and stand dozens deep at the
hotel Starbucks. And cities like Philadelphia
(lately, seemingly the semi-permanent home of the
MLA...I have family from there, and roots there, so
my snark comes from experience--Pat's and Geno's are
great, but cheesesteaks are hardly the pinnacle of
the culinary arts, and while the Italian Market is
great, the fact that it is frigging freezing that
time of year is hardly a draw) in winter draw more
of us than San Francisco in winter. San Francisco,
which is a scant hour and a half south of
Napa/Sonoma. San Francisco...home to Michael Mina,
Gary Danko, and Fluer De Lys, and (with the
requisite drives) Chez Panisse, Auberge De Soleil,
and the French Laundy. San Francisco, possibly the
most beautiful of US cities...or Philadelphia...gee,
which one of these? Yes, I realize that financial
considerations means many (or even most) of us
travel to this annual exercise in academic
togetherness at university expense (or not at all),
but still...

Curiouser and curioser...

And as to the recent flurry of "one comment a day"
comments...oh, please. Rules? Really? No...really?
Might we have rather fewer of those, and rather more
of a more Miltonic self-discipline? A top down
hierarchy on something like a web/email-based
discussion group strikes me as about as unMiltonic
as it is possible to get. Oh yes, let's do have more
rules...maybe some decrees which "unrevoked shall
stand"...that'd be good...that doesn't cause any
trouble, as we know.

Michael Bryson

---- Original message ----

  Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 22:45:53 -0600 (CST)
  From: Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>
  Subject: [Milton-L] MLA
  To: John Milton Discussion List
  <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
  >The program seemed as thick as ever. Hiring was
  down. I don't know how that translates into
  numbers, but West Coast MLA's usually have fewer
  in attendance.
  >
  >Jameela Lares
  >Professor of English
  >The U. of So. Mississippi
  >118 College Drive, #5037
  >Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
  >601 266-6214 ofc
  >601 266-5757 fax
  >
  >
  >
  >
  >-----Original Message-----
  >>From gilliaca at jmu.edu
  >Sent Tue 12/30/2008 10:14 AM
  >To John Milton Discussion List
  <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
  >Subject Re: [Milton-L] "Mirton"
  >
  >
  >How is attendance?
  >
  >Because my former university had to swallow a 15%
  buget cut from the state, only those interviewing
  job candidates could get travel money - and we
  sent fewer of those than usual. We were lucky to
  have begun the hiring process before these cuts
  came. There will be no hiring next fall, probably.
  >
  >There are no raises, there is no travel money for
  research or paper presentations, and 3 former
  colleagues who had earned time off for research
  were told that the money [to cover their classes]
  was frozen, but they would get their leaves 'in
  the future.'
  >
  >Some deprtments and schools have their own
  private foundations, so they may be able to travel
  as usual - the School of Business, for example.
  >
  >Anyhow - evidence of the economic flop at MLA?
  >
  >Enjoy and safe travel.
  >C
  >Cynthia A. Gilliatt
  >English Department, JMU, ret.
  >JMU Safe Zones supporter
  >"You have made God in your own image when God
  hates the same people you hate." Fr. John Weston
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