Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Would you like to buy some drugs?" Teachers and their second jobs...

I loved the movie Mean Girls. In my opinion it was the best teen flick since Clueless, but feel free to challenge me on that. We live in a world where John Hughes' most recent projects were Beethoven's 5th and Maid In Manhattan, John Cusack has to play the "quirky" love interest in Diane Lane vehicles about internet dating to make a buck, and Jon Cryer is relegated to the small-screen in costumes sourced from Sears instead of the fedoras and brothel-creepers he so richly deserves. The golden age of teen cinema is dead, so when movies like Mean Girls come along (except for the ending, which I freely admit was really half-arsed) I get a warm glow in my heart. Like maybe the world isn't such a terrible place, after all?


What I don't want to experience are Mean Girlseque moments in my own life. Today I had one such moment. (Funnily enough, it happened about an hour after I described a pair of earrings as "fetch".) I ran into one of my university lecturers at her other job at a bookstore. It just about broke my heart, because I love her (she's one of those young and enthusiastic lecturers) and the course she's in charge of is one of my favourites because I can write essays about Kylie Minogue and get away with it. She has a PhD, is the course co-ordinator and runs half the tutes herself; shouldn't she be getting paid enough to live off academia?! Call me naïve, if you will, but if I was running the show people would be encouraged to do tertiary study, and encouraged to take up what is perhaps the noblest of all pursuits; shaping the minds of the future!

As Janis Ian said;
"That is grim."

The above is a still from the movie where Cady (Lindsay) runs into her teacher Ms. Norbury (Tina) on her way to her second job. It was about as awkward for me as it was for them! OK, so my lecturer wasn't bartending in a kitschy jacket covered in "flair", but it still depressed the hell out of me. The encounter only served to further cement my centainty that I won't be pursuing a post-grad career. Has this happened to anyone else?


Blogger russ said...

Not so naive, but overly hopeful. Universities are cut to the bone right now, so the pay isn't so good for casual tutors, sessional staff, and so on. It will change in a few years when the bone gets severed. But who knows into what.

On your question. Does having a couple of former students say, "you look familiar" count? And is it depressing for me or them?

Man, a bookstore though, that'd be sweet.

12:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was a first-year, I used to see one of my lecturers at this crappy pub every Tuesday night, standing on his own beside the bar, until he - fortyish, short, fat, bespectacled - got drunk enough to start listlessly chatting up girls who were about the same age as his students.

Nowadays he just writes stodgy letters to The Age: it's sad, really...

1:53 PM  
Blogger Jon said...

I met someone yesterday who'd just finished their PhD; she was pretty depressed about the fact that her department regarded her lecturing and tutoring as a favour they were doing for her rather than a job she did for them, and resented the few dollars the law required to be thrown her way. It is indeed a shame...

russ: I have it on good authority that working in any bookstore not run by Bernard Black is not all it's cracked up to be.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo Al,
I know a guy who does lectures at Melb Uni, he gets $170 per hour, but that's only for the actual lectures, not for all the other work that gets put in. So unless it's a very popular subject, that has 6 lectures per week, it really aint all that good. He also writes for a couple of newspapers, and is the singer of Yidcore (they rock!) It does however amaze me that someone who looks like him (he has about 6 big fat dreds that are different fluoro colours each time i see him, he dresses like the punks that hang around camden market in london, and has more facial piercings than i've ever seen) could ever be taken seriously, or employed for that matter by melbourne uni to talk to a bunch of people a couple of times a week about criminal justice!
...this crazy world we live in!

12:39 PM  
Blogger ManicLovely said...

I can't recall that happening to me. However it is depressing when you run into an authority figure and it's all wierd. Like at 21sts and reunions when people's dad's check you out now that "you're all grown up". EEWWWWW.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh god. svet, i hope that wasn't my dad. then again, you are hot. if i was somebody's dad (which hopefully safe sex has prevented), i'd check you out too.
i ran into Mr Opt'Hoog shopping with his girflfriend once. was somewhat disconcerting that she and i wore the same clothes...
and last semester i fell in love with Connal, a law lecturer who moonlights as a muso (part of Your Wedding Night). Or vice versa. i'm with aster - melbourne uni was the last place i expected to find these kind of ppl. it's fucking weird, but good

9:05 PM  
Blogger ManicLovely said...

Cat: It wasn't your dad, I thought I'd put your mind at ease.

9:46 PM  
Blogger obtuse-a said...

note: proportion of female tutors to female academics vs male tutors to male academics.
and proportion of female academics to male academics, and their rankings.
and their backgrounds. ethnic. class.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cat, about your dad...just kidding.
I love Mean Girls I think it is by far one of the smartest teenage flicks I have seen. fave quote : If you are from Africa, why are you white?


3:50 PM  
Blogger ManicLovely said...

Anonymous or KP:
Are you mimicking me? Because u are doing my head in.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a freind of a freind once told me about a freind of his. A hardXcore punk rocker. His favourite band was black flag and he resided in a squat. Essentially he was a hardnut muthafucker rather than a pansy tea n two eating pink glove muthafucker like myself. But anyway, this punk dude gets a nice little job in one of those slightly alternative kind of bookstores, you know the ones, they play 'world' music all day and sell books about chakras. So black flag boy sits reading all day, hearing the gentle sounds of the lute and occaisionally some indigenous chillian music(just for a change of pace). And apparently he went a little funny, you know, funny, in the head.

12:06 AM  
Blogger TimT said...

Love the concept of this post: 'The second best teen movie ever'. You could really take it places: 'The second best talking dog movie ever', 'the second best movie where Julia Roberts gets together with a guy, then breaks up then gets together with him again', 'the second best movie where John Malkovich does a cameo as a taxi-driver ever'.

Great stuff.

8:13 PM  
Blogger divinetrash said...

That actually is a good idea, TimT. I might just take up that suggestion.

However, I should just clarify that Mean Girls is only the second-best teen film since the 1980s finished. The second-best teen movie EVER is The Breakfast Club.

5:18 AM  
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6:40 AM  

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