The Internet’s English Language & Usage Stack Exchange explains the phrase “It’s all academic.” this way: “‘Academic’ refers to formal study. Formalities are motions that people go through because they have to, whether they want to or not. They're often meaningless.” College professors spend a lot of their time doing academic research. Why? For publication. Why publication? That leads us to a second interesting phrase: “Publish or Perish.” And that leads us to Research Digest Ph.D.: Piled Higher and Deeper. It’s a book with a bit of a satirical bent, involving what is all academic in the publish-or-perish world of your professors. Whether they want to or not, most university professors must publish to keep their jobs and advance their careers. Richard Q. Fleegle Jr. III has written a book that examines the worth of such work. Is it worth the curtailing of office hours and the lack of creative preparation for classes that often result because of the research/publication imperative? You decide. Here are some of the questions pursued by academic research: --Will cows give more milk if they ride on ceiling fans? --Should the government mandate the use of anti-beer goggles in bars? --Is it wise to compliment a gal on her elephant cankles? OK, it’s all made up. Credit-card incarceration. Contraception intoxication. The pain of childbirth. All concocted from the academically burned out mind of Dickie Fleegle. Well, most of it is made up. Some of it rings true—at least in terms of the time, energy and resources professors devote to publishing or perishing. Research Digest Ph.D.: Piled Higher and Deeper is Dickie Fleegle’s way of showing us how some professors spend the bulk of their time. The fictional Fleegle pursues a fictional Ph.D. by doing the academic: He reads hundreds of fictional articles and then synopsizes them for the curious reader. Granted, there are no such publications as The Journal of Biblical Economics, Nut Cases in the News Historical Bulletin or The Journal of Busted Doo-Hickey and Ass Haul Studies. Well, not those exact names, anyway. Research Digest Ph.D.: Piled Higher and Deeper is 200-plus pages of academic chain-yanking tomfoolery. This “all academic” primer for the seasoned and budding researcher alike includes a detailed glossary and a final exam. Illustrated by Brent Brown, Research Digest Ph.D.: Piled Higher and Deeper contains depictions of “Custer’s Last Sit,” “Freud’s Torrid Affair with an Exotic Nut,” and “Moses Stops the RV to Restore Order,” among other cartoons that titillate the academic libido in all of us. Is it simply “all academic” to want to know about the consequences of peanuts envy? Should not we investigate the epithets uttered by women during childbirth? And what about all the “ass-hauls” (grad students) out there who risk their lives to gather data for their professors? Should we not recognize them as the penniless slaves they are? Fictional Fleegle had a lot of fun compiling formalities for an all-academic, all-star squad of deep-piled, perishable bull droppings in Research Digest Ph.D.: Piled Higher and Deeper. Hey, if you cannot laugh at your incompetent pecker-on-a heifer boss, diapered geese riding ceiling fans and nose-hair length as a measure of intelligence, well, then your life is all meaninglessly academic. Because those who can, do; those who can’t, do academic research.
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Richard Q. Fleegle Jr. III is the author of the two-volume reminiscence "Dickie in The Eighth." See dickieintheeighth.com for more information.
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