Marc Bousquet rants eloquently about the crisis of the humanities and the academy. What I really like in this recent post, When “Bad” is Right, is the righteous indignation he builds up about professionalism and the generally absurd connection management literature has implanted in our heads between profession and success. In this vein, “professionalism” is today more of an ideology than a lifeway. As an ideology useful to one’s employers, for instance, professionalism as devotion to one’s clients, the public good, and the culture of one’s field is clearly a vector for the super-exploitation of all kinds of other workers, from retail sales to schoolteachers.
I was watching a few of my favorite episodes from Ren and Stimpy on DVD last night and I started thinking about comedy and taste.
Commedia dell’Arte is a form of improvisational comedy theater which flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th century. It consisted of stock plots, and characters, which were often adapted to fit the local audience. I was reading up on this subject for last Tuesday’s book club, The Innamorati by Midori Snyder.