Monday, February 1, 2010

The Company She Keeps

Last week, a colleague at the Matron's very fine community college sent an email message to a professional listserve.

The listserve goes out to over 2000 English instructors teaching in community and state colleges throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. These are people who hold advanced degrees. Why, the Matron herself is the proud owner of a P-H-D. Dang! Her colleagues, by nature of their employment, must also own such a degree, or a Masters at the least.

The people on the listserve are responsible for shaping minds! For passing on essential information, appropriately.

The message the Matron's colleague sent? Completely appropriate! Professionally valuable, even, asking for feedback and discourse about developmental writing at the college level. Bring it on, thought the Matron, when she saw the message in her inbox.

Instead, this popped in the inbox next:

Remove me from this list!

Please delete me from this list.

Who put me on this list in the first place? Take me off?


Get me off this damn list!

Why am I getting these emails! Take me off the list!!!


My, my, these people are testy! Demands to removed from the list fairly flew into the inbox. All of these fine, well-educated people appearing incapable of reading the instructions for how to unsubscribe at the bottom of the message.

Finally! A voice of reason and calm!

Hello colleagues! If you want to be removed from this listserve please do one of two things. Follow the instructions for how to be removed from the list, copied here, or contact the listserve administrator, Dr. Very Nice Guy, at here's his email. Please don't continue to hit 'reply all' and perpetuate the very problem we're trying to avoid. Thank you and have a good day!

Whew, went the Matron! Back to blogging and coffee now that this drama's all wrapped up. But wait! What is this she is seeing?

Take me off this damn list.

Please remove me from the list.

Get me out of here!

You're all stupid which means your school must be stupid too.

Are there more morons on this list than anywhere on the planet?

Get me off this list.

Please remove me from the list.

People get a brain! Are you idiots allowed to drive let alone teach?!

F$(#k off or get me off this list.

Remove me too.

Take me off.

Reason and decorum vanished. Chaos ensured. People fell apart before her very eyes. Supposedly well-balanced professionals turned into L.A. drivers during rush hour: road rage by email! Email mania meant it was OKAY to call your professional colleague a "whining meanie."

The thing that REALLY amazed the Matron (okay, the entire toddler-like squall blew her away) was that these people were not anonymous: everyone sent an email with,well, NAME and EMAIL address and institutional information attached!!

So Dr. Doo-Doo at College Q can tell 2000 of his professional colleagues to: "F$(%K off."

She can't wait to see him at the next conference.

The Matron even googled several people to see if she could find a picture of someone who can be conscious and still write "your school is stupid and you are too." Middle-aged white woman wearing a really bad sweater, it turns out. Honest to God-Buddha-Oprah-Universe-Allah she wishes she would have saved that link to show you.

Forget Actual Student Email. Check out who's doing the teaching!

why cant u weanies get a live?

Didn't know such high end people were helping to shape our nation's future, did you?


Suburban Correspondent said...

I'm finding this hard to believe, Matron. Has the world gone mad?

Minnesota Matron said...

While I will admit to enjoying hyperbole from time to time --and enjoying it here : -) -- many are true, including your school is stupid. Lovely.

Laura said...

Sadly, I used to work in an IT department, my job being to support faculty in their use of technology to teach. This often involved the sending of email to the faculty listserv inviting them to workshops, to call me for help, sending them important notices about services, just generally trying to make sure they could find me if they needed me.

Almost every time, someone did the very thing you mentioned in your post. Please don't email me anymore. Take me off the list, etc. The list, however, was required by the provost. Nothing I could do about it. It was kind of fun to email those people back and tell them to take it up with the provost if they wanted to. None of them did. And they all forgot and the cycle repeated itself.

One of many reasons I no longer have that job.

Suburban Correspondent said...

I wasn't questioning the veracity of your post, by the way; only commenting on the insanity of it all.

jenn said...

Wow. I've heard more interesting smack talk from third graders! :)

Deb said...

I, too, have seen this kind of response on a FYE list-serve of COLLEGE PROFESSIONALS, PEOPLE! I mean, how hard is it to scroll to bottom and unsubscribe yourself?

I am constantly amazed at what constitutes "higher ed". ;-)

Karen said...

These are your people!!!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

This happens on our "all faculty" e-mail.. What amazes me is that folks claim they are "too busy" to read "messages like this"...

I have to wonder a) why you are so inefficient that you became swamped, and b) how long it takes them to delete the frigging message?

Daisy said...


MJ said...

I was all about to type in "remove me from your list" when I realized that I voluntarily clicked onto your blog & am chortling as I leave a comment! I've been happily solicited by an open blog! Neato!!

carol said...

In reply to the final question......I have known the quality of educators from the time my children were in elementary school. I volunteered once a week for several years at their schools.
while working in the teachers' work room I heard many outrageous and telling things. One that comes to mind is hearing the words, "Does anyone know how to use this?" coming from over my shoulder. I turned to see the 6th grade math teacher holding up a protractor! When I mentioned this to my sister who is also a math teacher. Her response was, "Well, at least she asked."

Anonymous said...

The bigger the title, the bigger the ego and the bigger the baby. Just sayin'.

Luciole said...


Actually, as a teacher (though not at your level), yes I can believe it. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

The most amazing part of all? That instead of clicking that wonderfully easy "DELETE" button, each professional took the time to write out his/her tirade.

The meanie part of me thinks you should blog each response with a photo, name, and e-mail link. Then people who google them could see how very professional they are.
But I might be feeling vindictive because I forgot to take my happy pills this morning...