TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, June 2, 2014

Professor of the Year: 'If You Don’t Give Me Any of Your Shitty Papers, You Get an A'

Critical Theory:  Professor of the Year, “If You Don’t Give Me Any of Your Shitty Papers, You Get an A”:

Cover 3Slavoj Zizek fans and haters can finally agree on something: he probably doesn’t like any of you.

Zizek has always been vocal about his general disdain for students and humanity writ large. He once admitted in 2008 that seeing stupid people happy makes him depressed, before describing teaching as the worst job he has ever had. “I hate students,” he said, “they are (as all people) mostly stupid and boring."

In a recent interview at this year’s Zizek Conference at the University of Cincinnati, Zizek talked about his personal life before delving into his thoughts on teaching.

“I hate giving classes,” Zizek said, citing office hours and grading papers as his two biggest peeves.

“I did teach a class here [at the University of Cincinnati] and all of the grading was pure bluff,” he continues. “I even told students at the New School for example … if you don’t give me any of your shitty papers, you get an A. If you give me a paper I may read it and not like it and you can get a lower grade.” He received no papers that semester.

But it’s office hours that are the main reason he does not want to teach.

(Click on YouTube button on bottom right to view video directly on YouTube to avoid interruption caused by blog's refresh rate.)

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I'll have to try this out.

Posted by: michael livingston | Jun 2, 2014 4:56:46 AM

He hates students? I suspect the feeling is mutual. The University of Cincinnati should show him the door and find a professor who like students and enjoys teaching.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Jun 2, 2014 12:33:43 PM

Yeah, teaching would be a great job if it weren't for the damned students.

Posted by: JD | Jun 2, 2014 7:32:48 PM

A sinecure, not a job.
The man is a parasite.

Posted by: PacRim Jim | Jun 2, 2014 7:39:14 PM

If he hates students, he should probably apply for the job recently vacated by the late Maya Angelou. She did not teach classes or have office hours, because she didn't HAVE an office.

Posted by: miriam | Jun 2, 2014 8:10:25 PM

So, he can't stand doing half of the job of a professor? He should find a job at a think tank or a research institute, as opposed to a university.

Posted by: OmegaPaladin | Jun 2, 2014 10:14:53 PM

He's a neo-Marxist. And, in general, Leftists "love" humanity but loath real, existing, humans. Too needy.

Posted by: Orson | Jun 3, 2014 2:08:11 AM

He sounds like a not very bright man. One would have to be boring and unimaginative to find humanity boring.

Posted by: tim maguire | Jun 3, 2014 4:14:06 AM

Obviously a celeb trophy professor, one wonders why the university troubles him with any classwork requirements at all.

Posted by: The Sanity Inspector | Jun 3, 2014 4:38:46 AM

One less vacancy at the Alpha Hotel, IYKWIM. I once had a professor who loathed office hours. It's useful to be reminded of how lucky I am to have escaped academia when I did...

Posted by: werewife | Jun 3, 2014 4:42:45 AM

No one who has ever graded papers enjoys the task. Most of us trudged on anyway, because it's part of the gig. Still, I have known, and known of, several professors who had a very similar attitude toward students and teaching.

They were smarter than this guy, though. They never gave tests, never read or returned papers, and simply gave most or all of their students A's. (Anyone who didn't get an A, got a B -- these professors had an incredible instinct for which students were so bad that a B would seem like a gift from God.) Their big revelation, though, was that they DIDN'T TALK ABOUT IT. With no provable paper trail, no self-indicting comments, and no students inclined to complain over a good grade, they could continue their work and play nearly uninterrupted.

When you're committing educational fraud, honesty is perhaps not the best policy.

Posted by: Demosthenes | Jun 3, 2014 5:32:02 AM

All the solemn, po-faced replies here reveal that most respondents know nothing about Zizek. I am no fan of his, either (albeit for different reasons), but if you don't get his humor, then the joke is on you.

Posted by: Rob T. | Jun 3, 2014 7:45:45 AM

Alternatively, if you don't get a professor's humor, perhaps the joke wasn't funny?

Posted by: Former Editor | Jun 3, 2014 12:45:38 PM

"This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers"
- Randall Graves, Clerks (1994)

Posted by: blank reg | Jun 4, 2014 8:36:10 AM