Thursday, June 09, 2005

Why Ms. Mentor?

(I'd like to move on from introductions, if that is OK. Here goes ...)

One detail of Hall's introduction disturbs me: his critique of Ms. Mentor. Considering that he endorses such self-help pap as "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff," it is remarkable that he would conduct an extended close reading of MM in order to accuse her of endorsing both a thoughtless youth and a cranky professorate (pp.xvi-xvii).

While I have not read "Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women," I am a devotee of her Chronicle column where, it seems to me, she imparts clear-eyed advice on the muddy waters of the profession. I have always liked the fact that MM admits that academics are cranky -- rather than attempting to shine up the image of us as thoughtful and wise (very rare, in my experience). She is also consistent and unsparing in her valuation of women's professional selves in a society AND profession which devalues them. (I love when she tells women with selfish husbands that tenure lasts longer than marriage.)

So, I wonder why Hall chooses to challenge MM so blatently ("attack" is too strong a word, but considering Hall's gentle tone throughout, it is perhaps the closest to it in the book).

Any opinions?