Myth #4: Elitist academics do not live in the “real world.”
True. After riding on tornadoes in our homes from Kansas, landing on the Wicked Witch of East, and stealing her ruby tacones, we skip off down the yellow brick road to our offices in the Emerald City, but not before taking a detour into Middle Earth to say hello to our Hobbit friends and engaging in a little Elvish chit chat along the way.
EA #1: “Mára aurë” [Hello!]
EA #2: “Suilaid” [Greetings!]
EA #1: “Nostach be Orch gaer.” [You smell like ten Orcs.]
EA #2: “Gen hannon.” [I thank you.]
EA #1: “Navaer.” [Farewell.]
EA #2: “Ná Elbereth veria le, ná elenath dín síla erin rád o chuil lín.” [May Elbereth protect you, may her stars shine on the path of your life.]
What world do we live in? The world of ideas? Okaaaaay . . . but how are these not real? Rene Descartes proposed, “Cogito ergo sum.” In other words, I exist because I am thinking about my existence. Hmmm . . . but this does not mean that I am real, only that I existed for the moment of my thought. Existence then requires constant thought, constant inquiry, which sounds an awful lot like work. Maybe Baudrillard and his “desert of the real” is the way to go with this. Then again, he would argue that we are living in an age where the real is absent, replaced, instead, by pure simulation but the good news is that we don’t seem to care. Maybe I am in the midst of a teachable moment here. Maybe we don’t exist in the real world. Wait . . . Dumbledore. [Note: Baudrillard would find it hilarious that I have turned to Dumbledore to prove my point, thus proving his point.] After Harry has been avada kedavraed but before Dumbledore departs for the last time, our bespectacled hero asks, “Tell me one last thing . . . Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
The-King-of-Awesome, as he is called in our house, replies, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Exactly. So there you have it.
No real world for me, icky, phwet, blech. Therefore, I will return to my magically purple world where the sky is filled with cotton candy clouds and no one writes in little tiny print in the backs of their bluebooks or surreptitiously tries to Google answers on their iPhones in the middle of exams.
Gotta go, my unicorn is double-parked, and fantasy-land police can be a bit overzealous.