Actually, I mean that in a more positive sense than it no doubt sounds. I tried a few other variants (Mouthing Off Pays Off!) but none were quite as satisfying. And it’s possible that the ambiguity is intentional.
In any event, the payoff: I got a letter in my mailbox from the MLA today, not one of the mass-produced kind but clearly a more personalized type thing. I’m the chair of the discussion group on Literature and Media this year, and so I assumed that the letter had to do with that. Instead, the letter began:
Dear Professor Fitzpatrick:
It is my pleasure to inform you that at its recent meeting the MLA Executive Council appointed you to the Program Committee for a three-year term, from 1 July 2009 through 30 June 20
I’ve got to assume that the Executive Council is at least not wholly unaware of my recent mouthings-off on MLA-type issues, so I’m taking this as a good sign, and as an opportunity to have some influence on the future of the field.
I’m extremely excited about the possibility — perhaps more excited than I should be. As a friend of mine has been known to say, it’s alarming how much good news in academia comes with a big pile of work attached…