The Plague: Academia

The Plague: Academia

There I was, sitting, frightened, scared, indignant.

“But this is your language…”

Accusations staring me in the face from this woman
pretending to know me.

What does she know about my language?

Who are these grand inquisitors?
These uninvited visitors, forcibly putting themselves in front of my future.

There she was the angel of death sitting across
with her falsities, accusations, sly smirk and smug departmental head at her side.

And that woman with conniving mischief seeped in her veins
sitting at the head like some royal landlord.

“Man, I gotta get out of here” I thought, protesting the winds of change
blowing me helter skelter.

Here I was on trial for my life – Academe

but how did it all happen?

Chapter 1

6:15 toast got to catch that big yellow bus
where’s my backpack books homework
toast gotta catch that yellow bus
walking running dog barking
that goddamn dog!
run don’t walk

there it is that big yellow bus
its almost at the corner!

run, wait for me, wait for me, I’m almost there
can you see me?

running, dog, running, toast, bus

Salvation
Sitting thinking sleeping meditating mostly sitting
somewhat sleeping

bus

On the way to School.

Eyes Open. Teacher mumbling rapidly about something nothing much
algebra or was it history?

walking head down 1000s running past
jostling moving going headed

head down
muttering moving sleeping

Eyes Open.

class teacher algebra or was it history?

fire alarm walking muttering murmuring moving

Eyes Open.

Going. Sleep.

Yellow Bus.

Eyes Open.

Ch. 2

“So, how does it feel to be a Blue Hen?”

“Thanks Dad”

There I was, the University, I made it.
I was in college, ready, excited, anticipating newness

Education!

This is what it was all about, my life was moving forward,
on track, ready for whatever

Yea, I was going to get the most out of it
too bad they couldn’t stay with me.

I’m on my own now.

Big Dorm Room calling me in
take off my shirt
breathe

Ch. 3

How do you do this thing?
Don’t let your mind think.

O OK that’s easy
wait no it isn’t
stop Mind! Stop!

Zen

trying Brian Julia Phil Leah
sitting in a circle

eyes shut, not sleeping, meditating
trying

trying

Ch. 4

“The world is connected, the different dimensions, by an axis mundi
this pole structuring the world fundamentally, the sacred and the profane
everything close to the center is the sacred, everything else far away
is profane”

teacher speaking, Dr. Fox, world religions

whoa, something’s going on here. this is new. i think i like this

Ch. 5

“It isn’t about force, you want to relax, let your body do the work, let the chi
slide up your arm, breathe deep, and pose”

this is cool, I’ve never done this before

thanks Russ

tai chi

Ch. 6

“Come on you ready, I’m ready you ready, I’m ready
let’s go take a shot, OK give me a beer, here you go
let’s go, everyone ready alright let’s go!”

Walking, crowd together walking walking
house, house, walking

Haines Street

Party, must find a party, floor together
finding a party, excited

freshman year, first weekend

College

Party, Drinking, Girls, Cards, Drinking,
Making Out, Drunk

walking, walking, Dorm, Girl, Bed, Up all night
Next Day

Ch. 7

“I think I want to study philosophy and Religion”

“Ha, yea I’d like to study that too but I want to get a job someday”

Dorm room skepticism, floor mates, supposedly
they don’t get it, do they?

Ch. 8

Frisbee, running, catching, throwing
exhilaration

go go go live breathe jump

air

fraternity

connection

being

this is what it’s all about

the sun shining on my face
loving every minute of it

summer skies

Ch. 9

Classes Grades As good
Bs good moving going going
Spain France
good good

girl

Ch. 10

Lauren.

“do you want to come over and watch a movie”
“OK”

first time

intimacy excitement explore

sleep

go!

Ch. 11

I’m a Sophomore now.
That means something, I’m on my way, 1 step at a time
I want to be a professor

classes religion, philosophy
Freud, Jung

Indian, Chinese

daodejing

there’s something there

shower Matt Jake

parties black out carried home

Ch. 12

sitting talking thinking ruminating
being

going thrilling professor professor
that’s what it’s gonna be

let’s do this thing
more classes
grades As mostly C what are you doing here?

don’t piss off the department
piss of the department

friction something missing

“Can anyone study philosophy?”

Pust “Well, anyone could, so long as they have a PhD”

What?

Ch. 13

Germans beer parties fun connection
good spirit
DC trips

Cafes bars beer
movies watching loving every minute of it

studying writing thesis
waiting trying striving did I get in?

Ch. 14

I’ve made it.
Here I am would you believe it?
Academia. The holy grail.

University of Chicago.

There’s my brother. Glad he’s here.
It’s not so cold.

Taking classes. Still excited.

explore

Ch. 15

“Can I take that class on Jung”

“Nah, it won’t look good. Here, take this instead”

OK

hmm is that right?

Ch. 16

International House

Parties Dancing Excitement
living being meaning
brother

this is cool

Ch. 17

Shabbat. Chabad.

This is good.

A sense of home continuity
fridays

time passing

man is it cold out here!

brother, is it supposed to be like this

yes

Ch. 18

Israel
sunshine
wake up have to go study Hebrew

have to take this language
take it right in the

get it get it good

this language Hebrew
you need it

you’ll never become a Jewish Studies professor
without Hebrew

but I don’t want to study Hebrew
I don’t want to wake up in the morning
what am I doing?

Don’t worry
Shwarma
Falafel

rice beer hookah beer shwarma
falaf shwarma beer rice hookah

dancing
dancing

beach dancing

wake up can’t get up
try to get up

falaf shwarm hooks hooks beer beer beer
beer beer beer rice shwarm falaf

Tel Aviv

dancing festival brother party beer apartment
pool lying sun

don’t wake up
don’t worry

Hebrew

Ch. 19

Year 2
Back in Chicago

Still cold I don’t understand these classes
why is this not interesting?

Hebrew. Always Hebrew. More Hebrew.
Hebrew teacher doesn’t like me.

She doesn’t like me because she thinks I’m Orthodox
because my hat has an aleph on it
and she’s Israeli.

I’m not Orthodox. She doesn’t like me.
Skateboarding.

ice on the ground.

Skateboard.

ice snow wind blowing cold

where’s my brother?
that’s right he’s gone.

it’s just me.

Ch. 20

I impressed him!
I impressed him!

Dr. Flohr I impressed Dr. Fishbane!

Wow, that’s really something.

Did you glorify his ego?
Yes, I did!

Wow, good for you.

thank you

Ch. 21

frantic running accomplish papers essays
never ending
never ending

frantic
freezing
stay in dorm

winter

january

snow peapod van delivery
stay in dorm

working writing reading writing
meticulously

40 page paper, must complete
must impress, must get into

the phd!

Ch. 22

“Hey Ad, guess what. I got in.”

“You got in?”

“I got in!”

“You got in!”

Wow, unbelievable, I made it
I got in

I was going to be the real thing

Phd Chicago
here we go

cold but that’s OK
I’m a Phd now

Ch. 23

“We have a problem.”

“What do you mean.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein has accused you of cheating.”

“What do you mean.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein has accused you of cheating.”

“What do you mean.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein has accused you of cheating.”

“What do you mean?”

Ch. 24

Anger frustration what’s going on?

6 years of work I’m in I signed my contract

What is going on?

Cheating?

What is going on?

Ch. 25

“Come in Mark, sit down.”

nervous confused ready to settle this thing

“Do you know what you did wrong?”

confused nervous what is going on?

“Your answers are the same as Enrico”

Ch. 26

“Mrs. Finkelstein, did you read my email?”

“So what?”

“Well, as I explained, I was sick that day.
I got the notes from Enrico
when they went over the review packet.”

“Mark, your answers are the same as his!”

“Yes, did you get my email?
I was sick that day.
I got the notes from Enrico”

“Mark, your answers are the same.”

“Yes, I know. Did you get my email?”

Ch. 27

“Come in Mark, Sit Down”

Thank you.

“OK, I’ve reviewed what happened
and there will be no hearing.
You did nothing wrong.
Clearly you were getting the notes
because you were sick
I understand.”

Yes! Thank you Dean!

You understand.

Justice.

Now I can get on with my plan.
Dreaming

Phd

Ch. 28

“Come in, Mark”

“Hello, Dean. How are you?”

“There seems to be another issue.
Mrs. Finkelstein is now accusing you of a second charge of cheating.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein is accusing you of a second charge of cheating.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein is accusing you of a second charge of cheating.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We’re going to have to have that hearing.”

“I don’t understand.”

Ch. 29

“Hey Dad”

Son

“You remember that teacher I was telling you about?”

“The one who doesn’t like you?”

“Yea, well she’s charged me with a second accusation of cheating.”

“What do you mean”

“She’s charged me with a second accusation of cheating.”

“What do you mean”

“She’s charged me with a second accusation of cheating.”

Ch. 30

“Come in, Mark”

“Hello Dean, so can you help me understand this second charge against me?”

“Well, Mrs. Finkelstein says you used an online dictionary to translate
an essay from English into Hebrew which you submitted to her.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein says you used an online dictionary to translate
an essay from English into Hebrew which you submitted to her.”

“What essay?”

“Mrs. Finkelstein says you used an online dictionary to translate
an essay from English into Hebrew which you submitted to her.”

Ch. 31

“Dean, the essay was for a different class.
I translated it into Hebrew myself for practice over winter break.
I sent it to my professor Flohr, and additionally forwarded it
to Mrs. Finkelstein, my Hebrew teacher, asking for help.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein says you used an online dictionary to translate
an essay from English into Hebrew which you submitted to her.”

“It wasn’t for her class. I don’t understand the accusation.”

“Mrs. Finkelstein says you used an online dictionary…”

“It wasn’t for her class. I don’t understand the accusation.”

“Well, unfortunately, Mark, we’re going to have to have
that disciplinary hearing after all.
There are just too many accusations flying around,
and we have to settle this thing.
In the meantime we’ll be suspending your Phd acceptance,
until the result of the hearing, 2 months from now.”

“I don’t understand. The first accusation you said was erroneous
and it was dismissed. Now I’m being accused of translating
an essay which wasn’t assigned for her class.
This doesn’t make sense.”

“I’m sorry Mark, but really with all these accusations flying around
we’re going to need to have a disciplinary hearing
to straighten this all out.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Mark, we’re going to need to have a disciplinary hearing.
Have a good day.”

Ch. 32

“Hello.”

“Come in, Mark.
Now, what is it you wanted to talk to me about?”

“Yes, well, I’m a bit confused.
As you know, I was accused of cheating by Mrs. Finkelstein
and the Dean understood that I hadn’t cheated
but merely got the notes for the review packet
on the day I missed as I was supposed to
from my friend Enrico.”

“What’s your question?”

“Well, now the Dean is saying that there is a second accusation
against me, that I cheated by translating an essay into Hebrew
using an online translator. But the thing is, this charge makes
no sense. I didn’t use an online translator, but, the essay
wasn’t for Mrs. Finkelstein’s class. I had translated it
over winter break, in my free time, for practice,
and showed it to Mrs. Finkelstein, my Hebrew teacher,
to let her know I was taking Hebrew seriously
and practicing over the brea-”

“Mark, Mark. Listen, with all these accusations flying
around we’re going to need to have a disciplinary
hearing. That’s the only way to clear this up.
You want things to be fair, don’t you?”

“Yes, but I don’t understand why we need a disciplinary
hearing for something which wasn’t for her clas-”

“Mark, Mark, Mark. The only fair way for everyone
is to have a disciplinary hearing.
We’ll let you know when it will be.

“But I don-”

“That is quite enough! Now, you don’t want to get
ME angry do you?”

what?

Ch. 33

“Hey Mark, what’s wrong?”

“John, they’re accusing me of another charge!
I can’t believe it, this Hebrew teacher must hate me.
It’s this crazy story she’s come up wi-”

“Mark, relax, don’t worry. Now, what’s going on?”

“This teacher Mrs. Finkelstein. Remember when
I told you she accused me of cheating
and the Dean understood it was bullshit
and they dismissed it?”

“Yea.”

“Well, now she’s charging me with something else!
I can’t believe it. She’s saying I used an online
translator but it doesn’t make any sense.
The essay wasn’t for her class.
It was just practice.”

“Mark slow down. What’s going on?”

“This teacher, Mrs. Finkelstein, she’s
accusing me of a second charge of cheating.
She says I used an online translator for this
essay, but it wasn’t for class, just practice.”

“You might have a problem.”

what is going on here!

Ch. 34

“Hey Ad, this teacher Mrs. Finkelstein
She hates me. She’s trying to destroy my career.
She’s made a second charge against me.
This essay, she says-”

“Mark, I know. I read your email.
What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. What can I do?”

“I don’t know.”

“I guess I’ll have to explain myself.
I’m innocent.”

“Yea, well, good luck with that.”

what is going on?

Ch. 35

Here I am.

“But it’s your language.”

What is she talking about?
Hebrew isn’t my language. English is my language.

And what does that have to do with anything?
Why won’t they let me talk?
Why are they ganging up on me?

I thought this was a fair trial.
She wasn’t allowed to bring someone,
no one is allowed to be here but me and her
and the committee.

Why is her department head here?

Why won’t they let me talk?

It’s like their minds are already made up
and this is just some formality or something…

Ch. 36

“Come in, Mark.”

“Well, we’ve rendered our decision.”

“And?”

“Well, we’ll let you know sometime next week.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We’ll let you know sometime next week.”

“If you’ve already decided, how come you can’t let me know now?”

“We’ll let you know sometime next week,
it’s better that way.”

“Dean, this is my life. I was in the doctoral program.
I signed the contract. I have to sign up for housing next year.
My family is worried. I need to know.”

“We’ll let you know sometime next week,
it’s better that way.”

where am I?

Ch. 37

“Hey Dad”

Son

“They took away my Phd spot.
They didn’t say I did anything wrong, but they took away my Phd spot.”

“What do you mean?”

“They didn’t say officially I did anything wrong,
just that I wouldn’t be in the Phd program next year.”

“What do you mean?”

“The letter. from the disciplinary hearing.
it doesn’t say I did something wrong.
just that as a result I will be ineligible to be in the Phd next year.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know. It’s confusing.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Well, I can try and appeal their decision.”

Ch. 38

Son

“Yea?”

“Did you intentionally let yourself get into this mess
because you really didn’t want to do the Phd program?”

“I don’t think so.
I mean, I worked hard for the last 6 years to get in,
this is what I wanted to do with my life,
to be a professor, that’s why I took those classes
that’s why I went to the Masters program,
that’s why I stayed all winter in Chicago
in the negative 0 weather writing that 40 page paper
that’s why I killed myself”

literally

“Yes, well, that may be true.
But did you want to get in trouble
so you would have your acceptance revoked?
Because you didn’t really want to be there?”

“Dad, of course not. I did nothing wrong.
This whole thing is one insane joke.
The teacher accused me, the Dean recognized
it was a false accusation, and then the
teacher accuses me a second time
something else something completely random
it made no sense and then the Dean says
well we need to have a disciplinary hearing
now. What was I supposed to do?”

“I understand, Son. But do you think you
didn’t want to be in the doctoral program
and that’s why you allowed this to happen.”

“No, I worked so hard. I was already in.
I already signed the contract.
Why would I do that?”