Now some people still discourage academics. Alex Hershaft, at the conference AR 2010 in Washington D.C., told his audience that you should not go to graduate school, implying that it is a waste of time, and one should instead become an activist - presumably of the sort he wishes to model. He himself got a doctorate in chemistry and did work in that field for a while. But I spoke up and told him he should not make overgeneralizations. I went to graduate school, and I believe that I have something to contribute to progressive discourse in a way that will help animals, both human and other. Such negativism on the part of Hershaft! As I have written before I am a grassroots activist, but also an ideas-roots activist.
But turning back the clock once more, how did I overcome my own negativism during grad. school? One of the most vital sources of renewed interest, enthusiasm, and self-encouragement was making a fresh distinction. I decided to start to distinguish the kinds of academics who are progressive, and whom I truly admire, and those who are not, who were really alone the source of my disgust and anguish. It was 1998. And it resulted in a table, albeit modified in later times, contrasting Progressive and Anti-Progressive Academics. I hope you find it useful, and perhaps even inspiring. If you are an academic, I hope that it helps to lend some positive energy to your perceptions of academia. I have seen people go through comparable phases and they were given a pause that refreshes through this table. And if you are a by-stander to the strange phenomenon that centres in our universities, may you respect "us in the academy" a bit more. Enjoy!