March 19, 2004

Professor Plum, in the Library, with the Candlestick

Well, we don't disagree too strongly, other than perhaps you gotta stop calling people 'Professor'-- I feel like a murder suspect in 'Clue.'

-- Timothy Burke to Matthew Yglesias, comments to "We All Agree!"

It's been years since I've played Clue. I used to love that game.

Posted by Invisible Adjunct at March 19, 2004 07:29 PM

clue was good stuff as a game. colonel mustard had a hot look in the c. 1980 version of the game - a sort of English series on PBS elderly fighting machine type. nothing like professor plum, whose wimpy image set the tone for generations of ineffectual academics.

how about the film, though? didn't they film 6 different endings?

Posted by: better left nameless at March 19, 2004 08:39 PM

3 actually, and it's still a hilarious movie. There's lots of great one-liners, and the racing around is classic sight-gag.

Posted by: AGM at March 20, 2004 06:14 AM

My roommate and I have a joke about Professor Plum in the Music building with the ugly tie. There's a certain professor who frequently wears a plum-colored shirt with a yellow-and-turquoise striped tie.
There is now a version of Clue which is played with a special set of cards. It's a much more conveniently-sized box for those of us with limited storage space, and almost as fun as the original.

Posted by: Jane at March 22, 2004 12:05 AM

Perhaps I'm out of step here, but I react negatively to people who are strongly attached to hierarchical titles. I can't imagine getting the least bit upset if I were introduced at a either a social function or a professional one by first name.

During my graduate training, all my professors -- including my elderly adviser as well as the younger assistant professors -- expected the formal acknowledgement.

I'm just an adjunct, but I can't imagine expecting grad students or even undergraduates really to call me "Professor" or even "Mister / Miss".

My questions are:

1) What do others here expect from students?

2) Does the formal address spoken by undergraduates serve any didactic purpose?

Posted by: P at March 23, 2004 09:22 AM

I guess having been in institutions and with individual faculty that expected full titles in all contexts (even between grad students and advisors in private), I feel a little bit slighted when an 18-year-old kid calls me "Tom." I'd prefer they not call me anything.

I suppose I also feel like I owe it to my family to be addressed by the title. I remember how it felt as a little kid to hear my father called by his first name by someone younger than him (but college educated) whom my father had to call "Mr." Seems like rejecting the use of titles has something to do with the background of the persons in question. Not using the honorific is a privilege that comes from feeling secure in one's class position. I still feel like an imposter, even after the PhD, the book, and ten years of college teaching.

If class matters here, how about race and gender? Don't we feel obliged to use the honorifics for those who have been customarily denied the right to them? I prefer to err of the safe side of courtesy and use titles for others, even if I am not sure of their degree status, unless I have been explicitly asked by them to do otherwise.

Posted by: THB at March 23, 2004 01:41 PM

Well, even with a Ph.D. I'm still a P.O.S. contingent worker (P.O.S. = Piece of Sh*t). So, I'd say POS will do.

Such is life in perma-temp land.

Posted by: Chris at March 23, 2004 04:03 PM

well, after years as a TA (including one memorable time when a student snapped his fingers at me and called "Hey you!"), I'm pretty happy with any term of respect, be it "Dr.", "Miss", "Professor" or my first name.

Posted by: ricki at March 25, 2004 10:46 AM