never trust anyone over 30
A parable inspired by a story that just keeps getting told because it just keeps happening.
Tenured professor gets stirred up, feels his moment in the sun of history is upon him, and leads his students up on the barricades, departmental or university-wide. Things are heady for a bit, and then, as is wont to happen, less heady. And then the inevitable reaction comes, the blowback that always occurs occurs. Said tenured professor is immune, because said professor is, yes, tenured. But the junior staff and grad students that followed him up there, well, they are not. They learn new lessons, lessons on the meaning of words like “blacklist” and “Barnes and Noble.” The tenured professor, when he has time in the evenings, writes letters of deep appreciation and support to his students, now ex-students and under-employed, thanking them for their service to the Cause. Perhaps he even facebook friends them, because he is just that sort of guy.
Students listen to their teachers. Why wouldn’t they? There is nothing worse than the look that you get from people younger than you are and who look up to you when you let a Cause down. Sometimes you do it out of self-interest, but mostly you see what is coming up the pike, slightly more clearly than they do as you’ve been around the block a few times, have heard all the stories about how these things go, and worry about their welfare, spending all that they have and are on a fight that won’t be won.
I’ve been there, and have made the right decisions at the right times. Thank Christ for that. I’m there to help them stay in the business, not usher them out of it in a blaze of hypocritical glory. Just saying.