The Parisi Paradoxy: An Imperative — Part 2

This is probably more tattling about F/M politics than most students (and others) may want to know - Lingua Franca, not – but students should be aware that their careers can be affected by the vicissitudes of department politicking, especially if the politicking is lame and feeble and partisan with a narcissistic bent so that earning and education are devalued in pursuit of the great game.


My colleague Peter Parisi’s suggestion this past semester on the Department of Film and Media Studies listserv for students — fm-l — that they should submit articles to the WORD is an excellent example of the Paradoxy and the many layers on which it operates. He should have conferred with his colleague to know if that colleague operating the WORD wanted his teaching load significantly increased but Parisi seems a slave to the imperative.

The post also represented the continuing efforts to camouflage  a major shortcoming in the F/M journalism effort. Quickly: Not enough done by the department to help students develop portfolios to compete in the competitive New York City internship-job market. F/M has been, however, active in claiming that the WORD reflects what is done in the department and that’s not true.

And my colleague’s intrusiveness also reflects the department’s ambience, which can be described as a gauche, smoke-and-mirrors abracadabra that is, among other things, a disservice to students who are considering careers in media and communications and, thus, have to navigate a maze where distinguishing between the real and the chimeras  can mean the difference between a good job or a good internship.

In other words, do students want better access to the service roads or the express lanes of their post-campus careers, Granted, there are students – I estimate 30 to 40 percent – who want the degree sans serious academic effort but the rest want the learning and education that a good diploma signifies they have obtained.

Question: Is There No End to This?

Hunter has been undergoing a Middle States review. During this past academic year, my colleague wrote in a document presented to a Middle States team reviewing the department that in his opinion the WORD was passé because of the startup of the Hunts Point Express, a nonprofit, online publication operated by another colleague in the department (it’s sputtering along with all manner of startup problems). Now, even though the document lacked intellectual depth and was trivial enough to be dismissed without discussion and gnored without comment, it was another clear example of the Paradoxy at work.

A while back, speaking spuriously at an effete journalism award ceremony in the Lang Auditorium, he said, spuriously, of course, that the WORD was a department project and not the effort of one colleague to address omissions and shortcomings of a sputtering journalism effort. Yet, students in his classes at that time (who were simultaneously taking my courses) complained that he encouraged their peers to write for the student newspaper the Envoy (at a time when it was being savaged by so-called student activists and their supporters who were running the newspaper) but wouldn’t allow them say anything about the benefits of writing for the WORD.

[I told my students who were upset at the time to ignore him. I was becoming less interested in working with masses of students who weren’t taking classes with me because of several significant issues. One primary reason was this: Writing requires re-writing and in my classes students were required to rewrite and to learn the importance  to rewriting. The rewrite imperative did not go over well with students not enrolled in my classes.

It would be easy to mock the undisciplined students for expecting their misspelled and grammatically poor submissions to be published – it is still easy to mock Hunter/CUNY students - but for me the opprobrium and contempt should have and should be showered on the instructors, and not just those in F/M, who nurtured mediocrity in their students].

Answer: I Guess Not (Though Things Can Always Change)

And the following is going to sound bizarre. At a meeting this past spring semester between among those faculty supposedly interested in teaching journalism, my colleague and the colleague struggling with the Hunts Point Express asked  – incredulously – if I wouldn’t mind sharing the WORD with them.

They sure weren’t talking about sharing the workload. And they weren’t talking about sharing ideas about better ways to get students to develop portfolios or ways to improve student writing. They wanted to share in the recognition that the WORD receives and they wanted a piggyback, especially an easy one.


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