Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

The Dark Side of Academic Life

A chance encounter in a coffee shop yesterday led to a discussion of the way in which personality and mood can be transformed by the process of socialisation into the academic profession. My friend commented that, when they started out, they felt enthusiastic about both their teaching and their work – possessed of a baseline optimism and idealism that, they felt, had been gradually eroded over the course of their graduate degree. As a symbol of this shift, they mentioned that their partner, noticing the darkward trend in their mood, had given them a Darth Vader action figure as a gift some months back:

So that was funny – and it stayed in its box for a while. But lately… You know… I have this Einstein figure that sits on my computer, and I’ve been thinking… I kind of want to, you know… take the Darth Vader figure out of its box, you know… and have it sort of kill off the Einstein…

So what do folks think: is the chalk mightier than the saber?

Einstein and Darth Vader action figures confront one another.

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