honestly, I'm still sort of upset about the M&Ms

I had a post all planned out and then I made the mistake of reading Don's post.

He said pretty much what I was going to say about wondering whether the academy or the public appreciates such work, except that he said it better. So, uh, I guess I'll just sort of soldier on or cowboy up or whatever the inappropriately masculinized term implying I have a gun and I'm not afraid to use it is.

This is something that I've considered with both hooks and Williams (and others, in other classes and other contexts): Whenever I encounter something "academic" that is written in an easygoing style, something where using the word "style" to describe an aspect of the writing doesn't make me feel as though I should be using scare quotes, something that is pretty widely accessible, something that talks about events in the writer's life and everyday events that we see on the news and events that our friends and family tell us about, I wonder how you get to the place where you can do that.

It's not that I want to spend my academic career devoid of theory ranting about how personally distressed I was when they abolished light brown M&Ms (because those were, my brother and I always joked, the ones that represented us). I enjoy theory, I regularly make use of theory, theory and me are tight like Teddy Ruxpin and I would've been if my parents had ever had enough money and little enough sense to buy me a teddy bear friend. But, to be honest, I pretty often have the sneaking suspicion that I--and I really do mean this to be personal, because I don't know what other academics think about this--end up using highly theoretical writing to try to prove myself in academia, and at the same time, to unintentionally (or perhaps not so unintentionally) distance myself. From the writing. From the academy. From that moment where I want to grab people and scream, "This is my LIFE, you ass clown."

I want to scream this because some people, they get to look down from their theoretical standpoints on poverty and racism and domestic violence and exclusion, and from up yonder on their mountaintop, they try to figure out a universal solution, but hopefully one that doesn't mean they'll have to do anything difficult or anything that would remove even an iota of their privilege. But I don't scream that. (Well, I almost never do, anyhow.) Instead, I try to join them on the mountaintop and I try to structure my theoretical standpoint in a way that doesn't make me an ass clown and whenever I can I try to shift in some of the reality that is LIFE, not just the academy, because the academy and life, they shouldn't be so very different from each other.

So. Is that what you do? You pay your dues, you convince people that you belong on the mountaintop, and then once you've got a nice solid established place there, that's when you get to say, "All right, so what had happened was..."? And then you wonder who's listening? You made this accessible, right, but just because it could be accessed doesn't mean it will be. I'm reading Patricia Williams and I'm loving that I can do so and I'm loving the way she's writing...but at the same time, I'm wondering who else is reading, and what would have happened if she'd tried to publish this book at the start of her legal career.