Dec

14

Professor Archetypes: The Marxist

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Bwog got a little misty-eyed when we applauded for our favorite professors yesterday. The end of classes always both feels much too soon and way overdue—in a “shit, I haven’t done anything for this class since the midterm” kind of way. This week, we’ll celebrate the people who teach us things by reducing them to pithy stereotypes. It’s only because we love! We’ll start with the Marxist.

Here we have the Marxist. He is a bit dated, torn, a collector’s item, one might say.

Marching through Hamilton with round yellow-tinted lens from which he sees the commodification of the globalized world, the Marxist struggles to provoke the children of Generation Y. In the prelude to his course, he recites an account of a Chinese migrant worker who spends 87% of her day in a factory for a salary of $70 American dollars a month to make Tonka trucks for Target. Pointing at his students donning screen-printed tees and chomping on granola snack bars, the Marxist reminds the bourgeois elite that sit before him of the sweat and blood of the proletariat that are forever in the threads of their discount tops and the grains of their crunchy snacks.

The Marxist does a significant amount of scoffing. Why wouldn’t he? His every day is haunted by Walmart, the mass consumption of grapefruit in the dead of winter, 12oz steaks, and PhD students. He often reminds the class that, “I too am a commodity. And when you enter the workforce, you will be nothing but an expendable source of labor.”

Rubbing his withered temples, he asks if anyone knows the meaning of “fetishization.” Silence. Nothing! His students are a spectacle of kitsch and bouge. They oppress with every apathetic sip from their aluminum water bottles. He denounces the “iTunes,” the “MyBooks,” and the “FaceSpaces,” and begs for someone, anyone, perhaps the androgynist who sits in the back or maybe anarchist who walks in 40 minutes late, to stand with him in protest against the forces of capitalism.

—Sarah Camiscoli
Illustration by Chloe Gogo

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22 Comments

  1. seminars  

    So the solution to not becoming a commodity is just to go to grad school?

  2. Yo  

    this stereotype is so stereotypical it ain't even exist at Columbia!

  3. ---  

    it just makes me sad that this is a joke
    ---that we're so resigned to this that it's funny

  4. Idea for next profile  

    The incestuous professor.

  5. While you pick on the Marxists,

    the capitalists are busy wrecking employment benefits, degrading the environment, reducing job stability in favor of "flexibility," purchasing policy-making power at all levels of government, and convincing large swaths of the country that those who question their agenda are enemies of Freedom.

    Have fun graduating into the post-crash, post-career, post-Middle Class, Creative Economy!

    • economics major who has studied marx  

      Sure Marx offers some great things for us like public education and public health care

      But will we still be able to do what we want? Will people be allowed to pick their jobs or will they be assigned? Will people really want to do stuff for the benefit of the whole? Will people want to do work if they're all going to be paid the same?

      I think it could work in a very small population. But I think the main reason it doesn't is because of human nature. It is in our nature to only worry about ourselves and our offspring. It is also in our nature to be lazy creatures; even the first human beings only began to hunt and gather because they needed to for self-survival. It is the reason we study and work so we can essentially make money that will buy us the things we need to survive as well as other pleasurable things.

      Also I feel like people tend to forget that all these (capitalism, socialism, communism, marxism) were and are just plain economic theories. I'm sure you can apply them to other fields like Marx tried to but they really started as a way to get the most profit out of our society.

      so sure we are just consumers but it is in our nature. we are consumers more now than we used to be because there are more things to consume.

      • ---  

        human nature? seriously?

      • I, the commented upon,

        am not a Marxist. I just find the patronizing fetishization of "Marxists" to be obnoxious.

        The capitalists I described aren't theorists of the market - they are its protagonists, in the specific, postindustrial iteration of capitalism under which we live. I tried to be specific about the features of this world we live in, features which I find are neglected to a surprising degree among Columbia's students. Snark (e.g., this profile of the abstracted tenured radical) is our generation's substitute for thinking critically about society, a not-so-comforting surrogate for the radical dreams students used to dream. Our motto? IRONY OVER PROFITS!

    • marxist  

      I hope you meant to reply to some overly ignorant commenter. This profile was clearly not anti-Marxist and hardly patronizing. It's just a cute little Bwog feature that's obviously written by someone well-versed in the social sciences (otherwise they wouldn't use all the Marxist terminology and be able to describe the professor archetype as well as they have). So just chill out. I don't think Bwog is run by B-School students yet!

  6. hey!  

    Whatever happened to the Butler Marxist and his entourage? Get on it Bwog, I don't miss him, but I miss knowing he's there.

  7. ...  

    I like this new feature!

  8. cc'1910

    Grapefruits are a winter fruit. Also Karla Marx was my mom and I'm super offended by all of you.

  9. Anonymous  

    i swear i've seen that guy in the anthropology wing of schermerhorn...not even joking

  10. Lots of b-school  

    students read Bwog, and find this hilarious.

    Silly little undergrads.

    • because  

      Because you B-schoolers popped into the universe you are master of at age 22. Karl Marx would probably be surprised at how little a country like the USA actually produces today, other than new and creative ways to profit from one's own already privileged status.

  11. Anonymous

    Love the sketch, can I buy the rights to it?

  12. This person  

    definitely was in Sassen's Global Urbanism class. An entire class on fetishization in India, my God...

  13. Anonymous

    As Marx once said in responding to a journalist's question a French group calling themselves Marxists: "If that's a Marxist, than I am not a Marxist"

  14. G. F. Hegel

    Is your Prof upside down...with his head up his ass?

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