Listen, Academics!

Listen, Academics! September 21, 2014

Doctor Who Listen Academics

Almost as soon as the Doctor gave his monologue in the episode “Listen,” I had the idea for this version of it, playing on a dream that all people may not have, but I am pretty sure all academics have. You’re at the conference, you’re supposed to present, and your paper isn’t there for whatever reason – it isn’t ready, or you’ve left it behind somewhere.

Just as the Doctor asks whether perhaps we’re never truly alone, here I envisage him asking whether perhaps conference papers are never, ever, completely finished, done, without possibility of improvement or revision.

Have you had this nightmare?

Just as the idea that we are never truly alone might be a comfort or terrifying, so too the idea that conference papers can never be “finished” in any absolute sense might comfort or terrify the academic. Which reaction do you have?

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  • Hmm, This leads to a bigger question: Is any academic paper or academic book beyond revision? 🙂

  • I think the Doctor’s original question suits the academic conference quite well:

    DOCTOR: Question. Why do we talk out loud when we know we’re alone?Conjecture. Because we know we’re not.

    You might think that no one came to hear your presentation. But what if no one is ever really alone? What if every single living being has a companion, a silent passenger, a shadow? What if the prickle on the back of your neck, is the breath of another academic listening close behind you?