Camille Paglia, "Junk Bonds and Corporate Raiders: Academe in the Hour of the Wolf,"
, 3rd ser., 1.2 (Spring, 1991) 139-212 (at 201):
Attendance at conferences must cease to be defined as professional activity. It should be seen for what it is: prestige-hunting
and long-range job-seeking junkets, meat-rack mini-vacations.
The phrase "He or she is just a conference-hopper" (cf. "just a
gigolo") must enter the academic vocabulary. I look for the day
when conference-hopping leads to denial of employment or
promotion on the grounds that it is a neglect of professional
duties to scholarship and one's institution. Energies have to be
reinvested at home.
The reform of education will be achieved
when we all stay put and cultivate our own garden, instead of
gallivanting around the globe like migrating grackles. Furthermore, excessive contact with other academics is toxic to scholarship. Reading and writing academic books and seeing academics
every day at work are more than enough exposure to academe.
The best thing for scholars is contact with nonacademics, with
other ways of thinking and seeing the world. Most of the
absurdities of women's studies and French theory would have
been prevented by close observation of ordinary life outside the
Id. (at 202):
Rushing people into print right after grad school
just leads to portentous fakery, which no one reads anyhow.
Maynard Mack was already saying in 1969 to our graduate seminar that "95% of what is published in any given year should be ritually burned at the end of that year." The pressure on shaky
novices to sound important and authoritative makes for guano
mountains of dull rubbish. Good writing and teaching require a
creative sense of play. In American academe, as opposed to
Great Britain, playfulness and humor, as well I know, are suspect, suggesting you aren't "serious" enough. But comedy is a
sign of balanced perspective on life and thought. Humorlessness
should be grounds for dismissal. Eccentric individualism, in the
style of the old German scholars, must be tolerated.
Id. (at 205-206):
The spiritual vacuum of recent academe is responsible for the
popularity of false teachers like the mushy Joseph Campbell,
who gives people the long view of traditional mythology, and
for the spread of New Age mysticism, whose hoaxer channelers
satisfy the craving for ancestral voices. We need back-to-basics
reform on every level of education. Old German philology was
culture criticism at its learned, comprehensive best.