13 may. 2011

I Get Email

Dear Jonathan,

My name is XXX and I’m a contributing writer for diplomamill.com. I came across your blog recently and I think it’s great that you offer such eclectic and interesting commentary on a wide range of neat topics.

I was wondering if you accept guest blog posts because I would love an opportunity to write an article for Bemsha Swing. The main idea of the piece would be to discuss how the online PhD is changing education. As PhDs are traditionally very advanced degrees that require a lot of face-to-face interaction amongst peers and professionals, the online PhD has evolved in a different way while still remaining credible. I’d like to discuss what it’s like to get a PhD in a foreign language online, with the hopes of showing that there are options for people who want to get a PhD, but who feel hampered by the collegiate atmosphere. The article would also highlight some of the major differences of a virtual degree.

Please let me know what you think of this idea. I’d be happy to provide writing samples if that’s necessary.

It would be great to hear from you!

All the best,

My response:

Dear XXX:

Sorry. Call me old-fashioned but a lot of what a good PhD program does is face-to-face mentoring. In today's very competitive academic marketplace you have to be very committed to get a PhD. Since the PhD in Spanish mainly is a degree for future Spanish professors, I don't see how someone "hampered by the collegiate atmosphere" is going to cut it. On-line PhDs are not in fact, "credible." Did you really think a credible academic blogger would provide free advertising for a diploma mill?


Jonathan Mayhew
Professor of Spanish
Department of Spanish & Portuguese
1445 Jayhawk Blvd.
Wescoe Hall, RM. 2650
The University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045-7590

Ah de la vida.
Y una sed desmedida me apresura,
y un hondo amor, y un derredor urgente.

--Luis Feria

Of course, I assume the person writing me is not even a person, but a spambot of some kind. The diploma mill in question does not offer a PhD in Spanish, though they do offer fake degrees in nonexistent fields like "theology" and "professional studies."

5 comentarios:

Clarissa dijo...

Poetry is "a defense against people or machines who send out emails like that"

-I absolutely loved that. This is one of the most original and insightful definitions of poetry I have ever heard. And it's so true!

Thomas dijo...

The thing I hate about questions like that is how they imply that you can just answer it anywhichwayyoulike; it's, you know, "subjective". I like your way of turning it around: "I don't know what it's for," you're saying, "but I know it's against stupid questions like yours and the insistent mediocrity from which they arise."

I do, of course, think I know what poetry is for. But that's just me committing "Mayhew's fallacy". I.e., I take it that it is for whatever I use it for, since I'm using it the right way.

Andrew Shields dijo...

The idea that poetry is a defense against certain kinds of thinking is also a defense against discussions of how to make poetry more popular.

[Working on my classic style here.]

Jonathan dijo...

Very nice. Without the brackets because a classic writer would never explain that he is being classic.

Andrew Shields dijo...

Oops, you're right! Next time, just do it!