People in Academia & Public Service Aren’t Smarter Than You; They Just Never Got In Trouble Before

Another one I got from just googling “Academia”

And I didn’t google whatever Dark Academia is; but if I had to guess it’s academics who think they’re cool in some way. And they might be, to some people I suppose. But to me, it signals a lot of lazy professors who don’t particularly want to deal with difficult students. They don’t know how to deal with their own peers & bosses, and they coined a term to make themselves feel better about it.

Look, academics, I get it. I was one of those difficult kids then (and now) and I understand the frustration. But too bad, as someone used to tell me back in the day; no one made you become an academic, did they?

Someone on Twitter at one point had the term “alt-academic” at one point, and I was immediately confused. Not upset or frustrated, just really confused. And now just googling “academic” brought this picture with the words “dark academic” on it. And now I’m starting to wonder if academics just like making labels and categories to fit people in.

Academics, and by extension people who love to do public service, aren’t that much different from your average person. However you define the average person, they aren’t too far off from that definition; and I mean that too. The whole point of public service in a democracy is that anyone can do it, so even from that perspective, they aren’t supposed to be different from you and me. But sometimes, they do want to believe they’re different than their peers. And that does fascinate me a little.

I haven’t been writing regularly for that long, really only since the pandemic began. I was able to write passable essays in class, but that was only to not get in trouble with my peers and my professors/teachers. People who look to get in trouble, don’t actually want to be in REAL trouble. We all after all, still need to have some sort of function in this society.

And before the advocates for disabled people jump down my throat, I know that disabled people don’t serve “functions”. People do deserve to just be and just live. But we live in the here and now, and the here and now says most of society expects even the disabled to serve a function in society. Otherwise the “Americans With Disabilities Act” wouldn’t exist.

Ever since I took the advice of an academic, who no longer thinks I’m a good person, to just write more. My writing has gotten better; I applied this same philosophy to practicing fighting games, and it too improved. I didn’t need a label to do it, I just needed to get over myself.

I looked at this academic as no better, or worse than me and I immediately took the sound advice they gave out and started to see results. Me: the person who barely got any A’s growing up because the instructor always made sure I knew I was lesser; who still doesn’t want to ever join academia/dark academia/alt academia or any of the sort in his career because of the academic trauma he’s faced since he was 5 years old. I got better at writing at listening to the advice of an academic who hates me.

The same phenomenon happened with my stint in political activism; once I realized I wasn’t really liked in that space, I asked myself if it was worth even doing. And the answer, was no.

I’ve written on here on the times I felt actually afraid of getting in trouble in the past couple of years; the thing was I wasn’t afraid for myself, I was afraid of what could happen to the people who live with me. And that’s the crux of a lot of society; I’m afraid of what could happen to the people I care about. And once I realized this is what actually motivates most people, then I knew I had cracked a lot of what behaviorists still don’t understand.

As a disclaimer; I still am not a psychologist, I don’t work in any field that deals with psychology anymore, I’m not an academic, and none of these things you have to care about.

But, it seems to me that a lot of cultures and societies can be boiled down to individualism, and collectivism. Either you want to help people because it gives you some intrinsic value, or you don’t; either you want to keep to yourself because of past experiences, or you don’t. You could probably design a study around this idea (that could be stolen, but I’d have to care about that).

Dark academia is a harmless word; Alt-academia, is also a harmless word. And that’s ok, I no longer care about their labels anyway. Public service, for whatever reason, is still public service; I no longer care if people do it for less than scrupulous reasons, I for sure don’t want to do a lot of public services any more. Especially because of past experiences in those spaces.

“Dark academics” & “political radicals” most of the time, are harmless people. It’s why collectivism is so strong in the face of an individualist interest because enough individualist eventually makes up….a collectivist body. And individual interests that collide, can (and will) cancel each other out in some way.

So if you’re reading this and white academic susan is calling the university dean on you, yeah that sucks…happened to me too; or if you have white queer karen trying to doxx you on Twitter, sucks and I’ve been there.

But those people are afraid of you and your potential because they never told you. They’re not much better than you mi gente.




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E. I. D. Esqueda

E. I. D. Esqueda

Writer/poet for hire and fighting game enthusiast. I’m a neurodivergent queer who is also a military veteran. I write about politics & culture sometimes.