"In many disciplines, for the majority of graduates, the Ph.D. indicates the logical conclusion of an academic career." Marc Bousquet

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh, the Irony!

As a secretary, I am not paid to think, yet I spent the past decade developing my thinking, reading, and writing skills.

As a secretary at a think tank, however, where a fair amount of writing is done by other people, my skills do have value. I am asked to edit things.

As a secretary with progressive political views working at a libertarian think tank, I am asked to edit things that make arguments with which I do not necessarily agree for publications that stand for things with which I do not necessarily agree.

Yesterday, I edited an article that will be published in the National Review.


  1. Well, I always thought that it is good to know what the opposite side thinks, so take it as an exercise in logic (and imagine how you would answer the arguments presented in the article).

    Do they know you are a progressive?

  2. Yeah, they know I'm a progressive. I'm actually one of two resident liberals, so I'm not totally alone. Also, the satellite office where I am (there's a main office in another city) tends to deal with less controversial issues, the kinds of things that get bipartisan support.

    Actually, teaching college composition for all those years was good practice for the editing I'm doing now. Students would write papers supporting positions I didn't necessarily agree with, and my feedback would address helping them say what they wanted to say better -- not telling them to say what I would have said. And this is exactly what I'm doing now, only for better writers writing for a "real" audience. I also used to assign a paper called "Considering Another Side," in which they did exactly what you suggest and got acquainted with how their opponents thought.

    My students always found this was one of the hardest assignments and would probably laugh to know that now my life is one big experiemnt in "Considering Another Side."