From the Editor's Disk
The rhythm of BMCR is simple and easy to describe: BMCR happens when we make it happen. That reviews started to ship right after Thanksgiving, then, should be no surprise; and that they will finish before the holidays, also no surprise. It is curious that e-'publications' generally are on no such compulsive schedule as regular print periodicals, for the reason, I think, that in print world, many people's efforts must be invoked (compositors, printers, binders, wrappers, mailers, etc.) and reasonably cost-effective use of their time requires a regular schedule -- TIME magazine just can't decide to publish Tuesday one week and Sunday the next. Without the apparatus of mechanical production, it reduces to the whimsy of editorial life, a much less austere discipline.
It's been a vaguely interesting fall in our racket, of course. Everybody's been sitting around trying to figure out what to make of the Ved Mehta profile of Jasper Griffin in the Nov. 11 New Yorker (if it hadn't been written by Griffin's oldest and best friend, I'd be tempted to call it a hatchet job), and it was about the same time that the short list for the Harvard senior position was on all the networks (Mr. Rogers used it to ask the children if they could say 'endogamy'), Yale mounted a coup (whose effectiveness is at the moment not quite confirmed) against a dean whose name we all recognize, and snits are being chucked left and right around e-world over the results of the APA elections (often by people who forget how and why they chuckled over the mayoral re-election of John Lindsay), while at Penn we had a profoundly Byronic addition to our Penn community in the person of George Gordon viz. George Murnaghan Gordon, to say nothing of the arrival of Charlotte Emily Rosen who will spend long adolescent evenings, with any luck, trying to decide between Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
The job market is warming up again as well. Some who remember that I did a little piece for these pages last year have been kind enough to ask if I would return to the subject. Now unless the December list is suddenly brimful (and November was much lighter than October), there does seem to be a drop-off from last year. There are now advertised a total of 37 tenure-track jobs (6 Greek, 12 Latin, 13 generalist, 6 history), and 27 temperary jobs (4 Greek, 3 Latin, 18 temporary, 2 history). The candidate pool (on very indolent scuttlebutt) is thought to be decent, particularly in Latin, but one never knows, do one?
But we do not necessarily live a charmed life. The University of Bridgeport is going belly up and throwing 'liberal arts and sciences' overboard ahead of a lot of other things, and meanwhile Columbia's department chairs are threatening mass resignation over impending budget cuts while Yale is portrayed in the New York Times as posturing over how much excellence they can afford, especially when they've rather neglected the bricks and mortar for a while. The California state system is reported to have cut back offerings at the low-prestige campuses to the point where people have to take, not the course they want, but whatever course carries degree credit that happens to have a space open. Have we as a profession positioned ourselves for the 21st century yet?
JO'D, 2 December 1991