Monday, December 08, 2003


Michael Berube

Having posted a couple of replies to a post over at Joanne Jacobs, I am now the "distinguished" recipient of an email from Mr. Berube. Having asked where he finds all the time for not only posting on his own blog but responding on others and well as emailing the bloggers themselves, I received this response:

Good question! Here are a few of the things I've written in the past six months-- on Don DeLillo, Colson Whitehead, Helen Keller, Paul Berman, Western Civ courses, aesthetics and cultural studies. There's more, but this will have to do for now. (The Berman and Keller reviews appeared this summer; everything else is forthcoming.) When you finish 'em, let me know if you want a look at my seven entries for the "New Keywords" project or my reply to Stanley Hauerwas on disability and Christianity. Enjoy! I've got to get back to teaching literature, and today I have two important committee meetings. Best, Michael Bérubé

All the essays mentioned in the email were sent along as MSWord attachments for my perusal. Is Mr. Berube really so pathetic that he needs to seek my approval this way? Am I supposed to be wowed by his prolific pen? (Though if all of these essays are of the same quality as the one published in the Chronicle, wowed would not be the word for it.)

As for the content of Mr. Berube's writing, Don DeLillo and Colson Whitehead appear to be appropriate topics for a professor of English to be writing about.

My reponse to Mr. Berube was:

Generally speaking, I have found that the people who demonstrate the greatest degree of arrogance are those who feel most insecure in their positions.

You must feel pretty damned insecure.

Mr. Berube is perhaps the most arrogant professor of English I have ever encountered, and that's saying something, because I've met some of the ones generally considered at the top of their game when it comes to arrogance.

Given his rather unprofessional behavior and his level of discourse--his emails and posts on his own site have not been particularly professorial--I suggest that readers contact the Paterno Family or whoever it is that runs the endowment fund paying Mr. Berube's salary and let them know what kind of person their money is paying for.

And this is all I have to say about or to Michael Berube.

It doesn't sound like he publishes very much that's peer-reviewed (or double blind).
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