Sunday, October 20, 2013

real adjuncts with Cyrus Duffleman

As part of a post titled "Adjunct instructors in dire straits with lack of pay, full-time jobs," Real Money With Ali Veshi described a 39-year-old teacher living in his parents' basement and earning less than $10,000 a year. At the end of an accompanying video (top of article), the adjunct is seen in tears, crying because his plans have not worked out; far from a ticket to dignity and security, higher education has proven to be a path to dependence and disappointment.

In fact, as much as a possible adjunct's tale, and I don't necessarily feel his circumstances could be described as "representative" of all "adcons" in academia, his story is an American one. It resonates, I'm sure, with any reader of Frederick Exley's A Fan's Notes, the 36 percent of millenials who report living at home, the twenty-five percent of recent college grads without any job at all, and, even, most tenured professors in the humanities, who do commonly have their financial needs met, but feel forgotten or disregarded as intellectuals, writers without readers, the neglected and rejected, the true 99 percent of the literary world.

And that's the real story of America, the more universal one of failure and disappointment, what Exley understood to be an honest representation of American democracy full of earnest expression from teachers and parents about "doing what you love," "if you work hard, you can make it," and "follow your dreams." Although both Exley and author Saul Bellow much preferred the engagement and anticipation of American adventure described in Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, and that was the book Freddy Ex indulged in on his mother's Davenport sofa (yes, a couch from a defunct company is where he sat and read before he was to, finally, write his first substantial drafts in a mental institution), Bellow wasn't kidding when he wrote that more die of heartbreak.



1 comment:

no said...

thought I'd leave a bookmark comment so you know that you are appreciated/read. Part way through your book which depressed me/was a mirror to my middle aged, almost dead, why did I let this happen to my self self....