Monday, October 25, 2010

Even More on Anonymous Blogging by Academics

There is another aspect to anonymous blogging by autistic academics that non-autistics will never understand. Even for somebody who loves teaching as much as I do, the constant visibility that one experiences as a result of being in front of students for a large part of the day can be daunting. A student's gaze is both attentive and unforgiving. Every little detail of the favorite professor's appearance, clothing and demeanor gets noticed, analyzed, and discussed. For an autistic, it is hard enough to deal with this scrutiny at work. Having the students intrude into the personal space of one's blog would be crippling.

Of course, there is also the issue of an academic's personal politics. I go to great lengths to keep the students' exposure to my political views to a minimum. Letting them know in detail what I think about the political issues we discuss in class through allowing easy access to my blog would limit their freedom in arguing the points they want to make based on their own political views. Lat year, for instance, a student wrote a passionate essay in my Hispanic Civilization course, defending the constant interference by the US into the policies of Latin American countries. Had the student known how passionately I hate those policies, he might have been afraid of stating his views.

There is no doubt that none of these arguments will be deemed convincing by those who are paid to criticize academics en masse. In the eyes of some people, we can do nothing right and any excuse is good enough to attack us.

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