Stream of conscience

Whenever I have a lot to do, and I finally muster the resolve to do it, I’ll say “time to get down to it.” This always reminds me of that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song, which makes me think of Kent State, which reminds me of the time I interviewed for a political science job with some of their professors at a convention in Chicago. The position was funded by an endowment they’d received from some donor or another who wanted the money to fund research and teaching about peace, whatever such an endeavor looks like.

I told them my research and teaching wasn’t focused on the topic of peace, but on the politics of cities and organizations. That was no matter, they assured me, they could finesse my resume to make it look like I was doing what the donor wanted.

I didn’t get the job, and I didn’t want the job, so I suppose that worked out well for everyone. I did decide, however, never to endow a university with a large amount of money. And so far I’ve stuck with that resolution.


  1. Adam DeVille

    Stanley Hauerwas tells the story of a would-be benefactor coming to Duke to offer them a pile of cash to fund a centre for applied ethics. This was when Alasdair MacIntyre was still teaching there. MacIntyre was consulted on how to set this up, but didn’t give the expected answer: he told the donor to keep the money as the whole idea of a centre for applied ethics was itself a mistake.

  2. Tony


    I like to think that one day universities will appoint a commission similar to that assembled years back to nominate military bases for closure, and then set about the business of clearing the pseudo-academic rubbish. I figure they can start with MBA programs and work their way down. Or, more likely, up.

  3. Adam DeVille

    Speaking of your research on the “politics of cities,” I’d love an essay from you on Jane Jacobs. I read her as an undergraduate 15 or more years ago now and have always been impressed by her, but never had a chance to delve into her thinking more deeply.

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