An idle self-scolding:
1. Everyone – not all the time, but every once in a while, acknowledge the fact that human beings occasionally produce something noble, beautiful, or virtuous without oppressing anyone. Writing like Eeyore is not doing us any favors.
2. English faculty – it’s okay to get excited once in a while about silly things (Archie comics, zombie movies, Happy Meal toys), but it’s gotten out of hand; try to spend more time with grown-up material.
3. Philosophers – if you are working on problems that only interest people with PhDs in philosophy, there’s a decent chance you are spinning your wheels. Get real.
4. Historians – just because it hasn’t been studied before doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth studying. You’ve got to make the case that it’s worth someone’s time.
5. Classicists – You’re doing a great job; keep up the good work!
6. Everyone again – bitching about not getting enough respect is a losing strategy for getting respect. Write about something important in a way that lots of people can understand. If you get it right, you’ll get respect. (That’s right, by the way: we can get things right, and we can get them wrong – if, that is, we are actually saying anything. It’s not all just interpretation. What? You think I’m wrong about that? Good. Point made.)