It’s a truth universally acknowledged that manels and whanels are bad ideas. As one of my favorite colleagues, LaVonna Lewis, says: “You can’t be it if you don’t see it.” Representation matters so much, and in general, I support this line of thinking a great deal.
The problem is that no
I have rather unfortunately overscheduled myself a little bit in March and April, largely to prove to myself that I can still do the job I’m getting paid to do, illness and all, and one of these situations came up. One of my very favorite people asked me to do something for a USC student conference: be a moderator.
Now, I remember student conferences and how fun they can be for the students, and it’s very nice to get to know students from all over, not just your own, and what they are working on, as they are usually on the cutting edge of things. And again, one of my favorite people asked. So I said, “sure.”
THEN I get the agenda for the day, and there is a keynote speaker. It’s a white dude. It’s the same white dude that gives the keynote at every single everything and has since I was going to student conferences myself 400 years ago. White dudes always seem to be “keynoting” here and there and everywhere, which is one of the reasons why I hate the word, other than my general dislike of adjectives used as verbs, and the self-important way dudes always say “I’m keynoting at this upcoming thing.”
Now, in reality, this gig is a very nice thing for this gentleman to do. He’s a very accomplished scholar, and by all accounts, he’s wonderful
BUT: WHY THE ACTUAL FECK AM I ALWAYS GOOD ENOUGH TO MODERATE BUT NEVER GOOD ENOUGH TO DO THE KEYNOTE IN MY OWN FECKING HOUSE? WHY AM I ALWAYS ASK TO DO HOUSEKEEPING BUT NOT THE CENTER ROLE?
And to myself: HOW MANY TIMES ARE YOU GOING TO DO YOURSELF OUT OF A DAY’S WRITING TO DO NICE SERVICE WORK FOR PEOPLE WHO DO NOT APPRECIATE YOU ENOUGH TO LET YOU STAND IN A SPOTLIGHT?
Part of this, I am pretty sure, is a Baby Boomer-Gen X thing. The guy has been around a long time, and Gen Xers like me in planning, like lots of fields, have been squeezed into some nonexistence by the fact that many urban planning departments started up with a big set of hires in the 70s and 80s, guaranteeing Boomer scholars a long time to dominate. Meanwhile, those of us who have come after have been a bit like Prince Charles, keen to do our bit but never really being wanted or needed since we already had Boomer
In reality, I am a full professor at an elite university (God don’t even get me started on the cheating crap from yesterday; it’s all so gross), so all of this is just so much whining. But part of me is outraged because I
It could also be because I’m not a very good public speaker. But I feel like I’ve done some good ones.
Or maybe it’s all just my bruised ego.
Maybe I’ll just say no to everything from here on out and fully commit to my life as a grumpy old hermit.