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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quote of the Day
"Perhaps the ugliest side of professors is the conviction that specialized knowledge about a few narrow subjects confers intellectual and moral authority on matters about which one knows almost nothing. How is it possible, we wonder, that students who do not share our fascination with the English Civil War and Marxism can somehow also be intelligent and ethical people? How is it that we are not consulted in matters of grave national importance? If the world will not come to us for wisdom, then we will stand aloof and make a world for ourselves where we can torment each other, like Milton's vision of hell, while the rest of the world goes about the business of living, unconcerned with the petty disputes that cost many of us any possibility of happiness. It is not possible to write about the sins of one's profession without suggesting that one is somehow superior to others and therefore guilty of pride, among other vices. Ultimately, however, I am writing this column for myself. I am making a confession and an apology, which might be representative of other professors' experiences, and which may, perhaps, become as helpful to others as it has been for me" -- Thomas H. Benton, the pseudonym for a professor of English writing a "confession" in The Chronicle of Higher Education

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