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Prelude: Before the Fox News Special Report


Tom-Cruise-minority-Report

I want to open up a dialogue now even as I continue to investigate a possible future crime to be committed in the against the Adjunct Nation by the major news media. So far, the mediums are in their goo water (or whatever that stuff was in Minority Report), stirring, relentless in their flash imagery, unpredictable in their ability to track and trace ghosts in their machine. I’m no medium; but I do seem to be holding a bit of a media seance these days with different ghosts, both real and unreal.

It’s been an uncanny couple of weeks (Fox contact 12/3/12; negotiations 12/3-12/9; interview in VT 12/10 11am-2:00pm; lunch; b roll trip to Hanover, NH where Dartmouth College is located)

Given the attention FoxNews will bring to the Migrant Intellectual blog, I want to start this thread as a gesture to my readers and concerned friends, family, and colleagues–nothing will change. We will continue to discuss this matter in the open. Let’s focus on the tactics that send a message of “no more” loud and clear to the people who make decisions that destroy careers, student enrollments, and whole institutions. Please–no pety disagreements and cheap shots. Affinity can only happen when we acknowledge the situation we’re in and attempt to set up triage; from triage comes an evaluation of choices that led us to this crisis; and then, from inside the crisis, we can begin to look at ways to improve working conditions for adjuncts, learning environments for students, and creative, dare I even say “entrepreneurial” ways to move universities and colleges from austerity to prosperity (abundance, really, is the goal here).

I wish the academic press received any attention in the main stream media. The last time FoxNews seemed interested in anything or anyone related to Dartmouth was the Zantrop murders. I’m just an alum who went on to pursue his doctoral work with people I admired from across my desk to the bookshelves that housed their revolutionary thinking about literature, history, philosophy, media, and countless other subjects, especially new media and communications.

My first book (Itself as a way for us to “get over ourselves”–ironic, I know, for someone who sat down to discuss this crisis with the SPECIAL REPORT team). I’m sure I’m going to make countless mistakes as I encounter the likely swarms of different individuals, communities, lobbies, etc. who respond to my comments, especially my unflinching position that the academic press covering adjunct issues care about as much as they did back in the culture wars and MLA battles of the mid-to-late 80s (graduate student unions) and across the 90s when this silent majority of suffering colleagues started to realize the permanency of their migrant and outsourced worker status.

I’d like to get ahead of what I hope will amount to a spirited conversation. I will do my level best to not participate in yet another hysterical (and easily dismissable) series of rapid fire media talking points and sentimentalized public relation attempts by major academic publications. I discussed at length the crisis, my experiences, the micro-economy of personal loans, public health care assistance, the strategic use of applying for food and fuel assistance as reserves, a real “safety net”–I have an amazing family and I also work hard as a musician, writer, editor along side my legal assistant wife.

Please consider this thread, and the Migrant Intellectual blog itself, a place where we can offer a series of fragments, journal entries, and dialogues with other bloggers, journalists, academics, students, writers, editors, and new readers–friend or foe. (Isn’t this the problem? Becoming embroiled in social media hand to hand combat rather than sparring as worthy adversaries? Contributing to the endless sensationalism of mediated conversations–yes, like the ones we see on the cable news channels in the States–rather than finding opportunities to “short circuit” the competative ideologies of divisive left/right thinking (dichotomies). In the deconstruction of these dichotomies, we seek to overwhelm them with intelligence, determination, commitment, and humor.

So, here are the terms: there are no terms.

Just talk. But know that when you address the problem of adjuncts in the States and around the world, compensation, professionalization, health care, unions, guilds, and so forth, you do so with a group of people, an “affinity group” who have come together from around the world to “express” their desire to “occupy” this subject in ways that will bring about real, sustainable, permanent, equitable change.

All spamming, trolling, and mean-spirited comments designed to inflame an already volatile subject will not be posted. Well, not yet. They will be collected and published in a special series of threads called: NO WONDER WE’RE IN SO MUCH TROUBLE. I believe Dennis Miller stated my attitude correctly back in the 90s when he described free speech in his first rants book:

The same Constitution that gives you the right to say whatever jagoff comment you want also gives me the right to ridicule you mercilessly.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to write me here on the blog any time.

-Dr. Robert Craig Baum (aka Migrant Intellectual)
Still a South Shore Long Island punk . . . living in VT . . . trying to live a creative life with courage . . . .

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About Dean RCB

Dean of Academics Lebanon College Philosophy and Integrated Liberal Arts Writer & Producer (theatre, television, film) Composer & Producer RCB lives in the Upper Valley with his wife and four boys.

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