Oh, Twitter….

This weekend’s drama on Twitter:

Some modestly and deliberately bad satire trumped by high-minded sanctimony.

My summary of a drama in which a contingent, alt-ac woman of color, a satirist at heart, was pressed to apologize to a tenure-stream professor at an R1 who took offense, without even the gentlest courtesy of offline conversation.

And then, as the throngs cheered:

An amazing reversal, in which the stylized quitting of an online venue in a blogosphere firestorm was followed by the submission of the fiery broadside to the venue in which the satire appears, the very same venue originally quit with such vigorous declarations, such strong-worded refusals.

And a completing of the circle, so that the privileged on the tenure-stream profit at the expense of the marginalized.

And the alt-ac woman of color, hustling for a career, making a space for herself – an inclusive space, too – is shamed.

And the prof, also hustling, gets a check.

And the chance for productive conversation – about students and intersections, and different ways to think and read and talk about where we are right now – is pinched off.

And satire (good, bad, or otherwise) dies. Again.

All in clear view of the public.

So I’m glad the weekend is over.

7 responses to “Oh, Twitter….”

  1. To be clear, I never “pressed” @DrStaceyPatton to apologize. I asked the @chronicle to apologize. And certainly not to me. I named no names on Twitter or in the piece and made quite clear that this was a systemic critique. My goal was to create a conversation about public student shaming, and my post succeeded at that. What I would call out is the culture we have all contributed to that reinforces teachers belittling of students. I also think the comments from students on my post, like this one, indicate that we ought to find better subjects for satire: “Part of the reason why I never asked for help was because I saw what my professors thought of those who did.”


    • Well, I think that the woman who conceived of the feature deserved more than a self-serving broadside on a blog. Especially given that the stories in “Dear Student” are not merely obvious satire, but also hypothetical and abstract, and therefore quite different from the typical Facebook post in which a Prof describes the day’s encounter with student X or Y. In their own way – imperfectly, perhaps – they were meant to perform a kind of critique, too. And if you weren’t expecting an apology from *her,* then I’m honestly not sure what you were looking for or from whom. At the very least, it would have been polite to approach her directly first. Instead, you have unwittingly reproduced the very hierarchies you aspired to expose, expanding your digital presence and privileging your voice at expense of a very talented young woman of color, who has done an extraordinary amount of work on behalf of the same just systematic critique, but whose current position and near future is considerably more contingent than your own.


      • My final paragraph: “I won’t stand beside this water cooler. I won’t encourage anyone else to come near to it. Until ‘Dear Student’ has ended its run and the Chronicle has published a public apology to students, the words right here (in this ‘Dear Chronicle’ letter) are the only words of mine the Chronicle has my permission to publish on Vitae.”

        I was not actually demanding anything. I was explaining why I wouldn’t be writing for Vitae and the conditions under which I would reconsider. There are lots of other important topics we could discuss here, but I’m not sure how they are responsive to my critique of the Chronicle, which has a history of student shaming and profits directly off of encouraging a culture that pits vulnerable teachers and students against one another.


  2. ….aaaaand….crickets from Jesse.

    You said it, mpg734. Privilege has its own reward, it’s been proven over and over.


  3. Despite what the GOP might lead us to believe, the Chronicle is not a person and therefore cannot apologize. People apologize (on behalf of institutions) and we know what happens when people in position are forced/pressed to apologize . . . the accountability trickles down so @Jesse do you not think that the a demand to Chronicle or Vitae doesn’t impact Stacey in material ways? And while we are talking about apologies and accountability, do students ever have a responsibility or a need to apologize to faculty?

    MPG – You are the best!


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