the trappings of academia

I inevitably get annoyed by the fact that so much of academia is focussed on anything but knowledge, ideas and the pursuit of a better world. Mostly it's about protecting your office space, sniping at that idiot at Clearly Inferior University and the Pursuit of Funding™.

I abhor having to look up the (apparently randomly generated) APA referencing style; to say nothing of how much it ticks me off to lose marks for getting it wrong. The extraordinary amount of attention and energy spent referencing (and checking references) takes the joy out of discussing the other paper in the first place.

I have a mental image of being accosted by a ranting academic, screaming "Who cares if their point backed yours up, or if your paper shot it down completely? You put the wrong bit in bold and there's a space in the wrong place! You sir are a bounder and a cad! Hall Porter? Throw this wretch off campus!"

I may be exaggerating of course; and I don't know why the ranting academic was transported through time and space from 19th century England.

I know I should be defending the APA referencing style, being a Standards Guy and all. But it's a poor standard for referencing websites - it has far too many minor variations for unfathomable distinctions between types of website. For example there's a different style for a journal article published online versus a journal artile published in print and online. If I accessed a website, how am I supposed to even know if it was also printed?

So anyway, the minutiae of academia annoy me. I probably wouldn't have entered postgraduate study if it hadn't been required to progress my career. At least I don't have any exams this semester... "exam" being academic-speak for "nasty event invariably scheduled at 8am and designed to penalise you for the bits you can't remember under stress, with no hope of parole based on the bits you do recall..." Hmm. APA referencing doesn't seem so bad now that I think about it.


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