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Date: 23 Sep 2010
Time: 00:42:54 -0500
Actually the real joke is that I did once go the academic route -666- through years and years of grinding fucking research all the way up to a dissertation that did have a hotshot Harvard examiner and delirious acclaim. But cos I’m from so the wrong side of the tracks, and a nomad without school tie or prestige, a loner given to independence, the old varsity network made sure I got no teaching or publications. That would be taking opportunities from those nearer and dearer. And we’re not talking some sarf London shithole like Goldbricks. NO, I got cut-off in no man’s land - just where they thought they had me. Ha! Ha! ha! Joke was on me, for trusting my supervisor to keep his word (to provide a second examiner, with the kind of connections I could use elsewhere in the art world…). And of course, once you embark upon an examination of a dissertation, you can’t withdraw or transfer universities. You’re stuck. Sure they’ll let you do a PhD in practically anything on account of completed doctorates add to a university’s research record and are then used to gauge funding allocation, not just at department and faculty level, but way up there at government level. That’s how universities compete, dig? It gets very political, VERY financial. The trick is to pull topics or examiners from the TLS hot 100 – either Oxbridge or Ivy League preferred (international is like winning a CAP for Ingerland!) because – contrary to everything they’ll tell you – all doctorates are not equal, are not worth as much. You’ve got to go for that world ranking, the names and places, that’s where the money is. Hence the prizes for ‘research’ – actually they’re prizes for making a lot of money for the university – for earning max brownie points for that all important ‘research record’ by which they are duly rewarded in funding. Of course there are supposed to be rules about this stuff – a university’s own principles, statutes and guidelines dictating choice of examiner, suitability, impartiality etc, and you can go through the pantomime of complaining to its appointed Academic Board when you get double-crossed or short-changed, and you will get the token hearing, hurriedly adjourned in some scruffy little coffee room, and even when you patiently martial the many documents that prove you have been robbed, that process was invalid or that your supervisor was simply incompetent (and this only to try and salvage some serviceable contact or endorsement amongst examiners, in lieu of a job or publication) but guess what? Higher up, at say, the Deputy Vice Chancellor’s level, they’re not actually obliged to accept the findings of their own Academic Board! (which in my case, was in my favour) not obliged to keep their word or rule to a student, when the reputation of a favoured member of staff is in question. So basically you get the big fuck off, you couldn’t afford a lawyer, anyway. Which is true. Yeah, so I could have the piece of paper that wouldn’t let me do anything with it, or I could deny them a little of their research record, by refusing to continue with the examination. Guess which I chose?