Right Effort

Work, Work, Work, Post-Work

Dear Editors,

Lifetime n+1 member, first-time letter writer. I’m grateful to you for publishing “Spadework,” as well as the other academy-related pieces, in Issue 34. Alyssa Battistoni’s granular approach to describing organizing in the era of Obama and Trump reminded me of the defeated feeling that I often had doing Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) work during the late Clinton and early Bush years (1999–2003), when I was a grad student in the French department at Yale. Plus ça change!

Depending on whom you ask, I was either railroaded from the program in 2003 by my professors due to my union organizing or I chose to leave the program ABD after no tenured professor in my own department would agree to steer my thesis about the influence of the EU on French literary and cinema culture. Or maybe it was a mix of those two things, plus a few others. In any case, I remain angry and bitter at the institution, though profoundly grateful for my time in the union.

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I usually worked with a camera in the room. That didn’t mean that the content of my work was performance rather than service.

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I wasn’t selling furnace and duct cleaning. I was selling my voice, the fantasy it could embody. I was selling a myth of…

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In my dreams, I think I can conquer death.

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Issue 28 Half-Life
Party Foul
July 18, 2011

Thoreau early in life taught school with his brother, but otherwise returned to Harvard only for its library.

Issue 7 Correction

The injunction had once been to marry Jews. Now it is merely to masturbate to them.

Issue 10 Self-Improvement

Today it’s the bearers of culture rather than the wielders of power who are taxed with elitism

Issue 14 Awkward Age

Dear Editors, Your liberal fangs are showing.

December 1, 2015
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