Some advice for the newly academic, from the Notorious B.I.G.

Crack Commandment No. 1: Keep that Harvard monograph to your self, homeboy.


Andrew Leonard
September 1, 2007 12:09AM (UTC)

(Note: The following has nothing to do with globalization, even under my ultra-generous definition. But A) a significant proportion of How the World Works readers appear to be affiliated with academia and B) when you get a chance to put the Notorious B.I.G. in a headline, you thank a beneficent heaven and take it.)

So, Phil Ford, an assistant professor of musicology who teaches the cultural and intellectual history of the counterculture, writes an amusing column for Inside Higher Ed, reinterpreting the Notorious B.I.G.'s "The Ten Crack Commandments" as career advice for new professors. (Thanks to iPienso for the link.)

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Thus, Commandment No. 7: "Keep your family and business completely separated" is transmogrified into "Don't screw up a good dinner party by getting in a shouting match with the orthodox Schenkerian over the ontology of background structure."

This is so, so true. Don't do it.

The real fun, however, comes in the comments, where an early contingent of stuffy prudes wax indignant about Ford's use of profanity, racial stereotyping and, gasp, hip-hop, but are soon overwhelmed by a horde of hip, with it, undoubtedly untenured academics shouting out their props to the musicology man for his daring subversion.

But the best line of all comes from a commenter who, while amazingly managing to somehow simultaneously come across as stuffy, hip, and academically rectitudinous, settles the question of whether or not one should be profane with unassailable logic.

"Profanity? Well, yes, but the priority goes to accurate quotation of the source."

Enjoy the weekend.

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Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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