Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Questions from our Readers

Surprisingly, we have them.  Readers, we mean.  In its heart, the Cabinet suspects some of their questions are rhetorical, such as the ones that begin with the phrase, "What the...."  But we are going to take a moment to answer some of them to the best of our ability, anyway.  Judging from the startling number of visitors to the Cabinet, there is a fascination to the spectacle of a professor, a university press, and a university turning lead into gold -- or at least turning a grotesquely derivative text into a work of true scholarship -- through the sheer power of insistence.  Sure, they are invoking personal authority over empirical evidence, and sure they are chipping away at the fragile edifice of humanities scholarship every day they persist.  But they are saving themselves from having to admit error, and isn't that what academic scholarship is all about?
But enough of the Cabinet's questions. On to the readers'!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Occam's Razor

The Cabinet continues to receive the occasional donation for its shelves relating to Professor Matthew Whitaker.  These are flung over our transom by people who seem to feel themselves in great jeopardy should their contributions become known.  The academic cloak and dagger initially seemed slightly overwrought.  The Cabinet, although understanding the need for anonymity, was built in a style of wry detachment and cannot easily change its grain.  But it must be admitted that these documents  suggest that the consequences of objecting to misconduct are greater than the consequences of misconduct.  All of the documents are technically public, although one is public not in the conventional sense of, "This Document Is Readily Accessible," but more in the sense of, "This Document Must Be Officially Public, So the University Cannot Actually Burn It and Make an Intern Eat the Ashes, which Frankly Is What the University Would Like to Do.  So it Will Instead Tuck it Away and Make Its Best Threatening Noises at Anyone Who Requests It." That kind of public.