In honor of a recent wonderful post on how to use the life lessons from Seinfeld to revolutionize your academic career, I am throwing my own Seinfeld post into the ring.
In a season eight episode, the eternally milquetoast George Costanza accidentally reinvents himself. Elaine tells a co-worker to stay away from George due to a misunderstanding, causing her to think of him as a “bad boy.” To keep up the act he transforms from a schlub into a muscle-car owner who wears a Yankees jacket and chews gum as insouciantly as possible.
Jerry responds to the strange metamorphosis in perhaps the best exchange between the two characters in the later years of the show:
George: I’m the bad boy. I’ve never been the bad boy.
Jerry: You’ve been the bad employee, the bad son, the bad friend…
George: Yes, yes…
Jerry: The bad fiance, the bad dinner guest, the bad credit risk…
George: Okay, the point is made.
Jerry: The bad date, the bad sport, the bad citizen… (looks at table as George
exits) The bad tipper!
The idea of George Costanza as bad boy came to mind when I was thinking about how to describe a certain breed of academics. In a recent blog post I talked about alt-acs, or alternative academics. These are scholars who work at full-time non-teaching or research positions within a university. Their bad-boy counterparts are Post Academics, or post-acs.