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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hello, World!

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. Didja miss me?

Really, it's just that things have been busy. Getting a report at the PZ through internal review and the comms (that's "communications") and pubs ( "publications" -- and, yes, they're ALL separate yet ill-defined processes) is a pain in the motherfucking A$$. All the other analysts hate it, too. Really, some streamlining here would be helpful.

You'll have to wait for another post for me to fully explain why. But, for starters, I'm actually even OK with the part the other analysts hate most, which is the nitpicky copyediting. We have two very good copyeditors who pick up on even the most miniscule flaws, like the extra space you left in between the end of a word and a comma because fifteen bazillion people made changes to the sentence since the last time you saw it . Some of the other analysts are baffled, in a bad way , by this level of attention to gramatical detail (didja catch those two extra spaces?). Why would anyone CARE about a motherfucking COMMA when the world is burdened with so many REAL problems? But I genuinely appreciate it. If more people cared about commas, maybe fewer would care about -- oh, I dunno -- holding onto their assault weapons?

So, awesome! Two full-time, paid staff members who have very little else to do besides copyedit. Why am I stuck copyediting my own shit? Iz itte teh PhD in teh Englishit, because that ain't a requirement for being a good copyeditor ...

It isn't really that I would mind so much if I had the time, but I have other research/writing tasks piling up. I have the same amount of that type of work the other analysts do and the same expectations for getting it done. But copyediting is time-consuming to do well. And the PZ has its own byzantine style guidelines I haven't fully internalized yet. And I really just don't want my shit up on the web (well, excepting for this blog) unless it has been properly copyedited.

You know, it makes me think about how poorly valued the humanities are, even when that sort of education is applied in a practical setting. The PZ copyeditors have undergrad degrees in communications and English and a lot of experience doing what they do, and, like I said, they're really good at it. Copyediting is tedious, certainly not something I'd want to do full-time. Yet, it's necessary. I think my colleagues here at the PZ would acknowledge that, but I also think they don't really value or appreciate what goes into it. Frankly, they get irritated with the ample turnaround time the copyeditors, quite reasonably, request. Why the hell should it take so much time to correct a couple commas?

And, yet , that is exactly why I am now stuck copyediting my own shit -- because the copyeditors rightly grumbled about too short a turnaround time. Why didn't we anticipate and give them more time? Why , because of the chaos of the internal peer-review process, of course! But you'll have to wait for another post to hear about that. Heh, I used to think dealing with academic journals was a pain ...

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