Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Guide to Drinking

This one is meant for dummies professors. Here's Jacques Berlinerblau on drinking with your departmental colleagues:

Don’t underestimate how unpleasant drinking with your departmental colleagues can be: Decades back a colleague became frightfully wasted at a loud, raucous affair held at the chair’s demesne and passed out in the bathtub. Our fallen comrade was a bit of an oddball—a journeyman Chaucerist who many suspected had been involved with paramilitary organizations in South America.* Two immediate problems presented themselves. The first was that none of us left standing liked the fellow enough to want to take him home. The second was that the chair didn’t like him much either. What emerged as people were reacquainting themselves with their coats and heading out the door was something we all knew well: the tensile, subtextually ridden play of power that embodied every sober moment in our dysfunctional department. After all, wasn’t the task best suited for the associate professor with the student evaluations hovering in the negatives? Or maybe, the new guy we just hired? In other words, our “party” mode began to replicate our non-party mode. Drinking with colleagues at your own institution, I wish to say, is fraught with peril.