I do love me a good blogosophere kerfuffle, like this one brewing over at The Chronicle. Er, I used to. I wouldn't even have known about this, given how infrequently I read that esteemed publication these days, if JC hadn't mentioned it and linked in her comments to an old post of mine.
A couple years ago, I would have been slinging mud with the best of them. These days, the pettiness and incivility just strikes me as sad. I think the author of that piece takes a reasonable stand, but readers don't have to agree with her in order to respect it, especially since it's a personal piece. That's what's the real turn-off for me -- the personal attacks against someone who courageously speaks up against what she has experienced as an illness-inducing, hopeless, and exploitative situation.
What gives? You expect it from opposite sides of the political divide, say, in the comments to a HuffPo piece on the climate wars. Even there, comments are more along the line of "You're a stupid commie shithead!" "No, YOU'RE a stupid right-wing douchewad shithead!" This is sad in its own way, but it isn't personal.
When it comes from inside academe to another academic, a postacademic, an altacademic -- or whatever -- it is both personal and unprofessional. It is a reflection of the toxic environment that, for a lot of us, is one of a host of factors that caused us to choose to leave. Frankly, I haven't encountered it in the workplace culture on the outside. You have your friends, your enemies, and your frenemies, but people basically treat each other with a degree of professional respect. It's refreshing.