I. L. Literate

I. L. Literate

The ©Rime of the Centrist Academic
Saturday, 15 July 2023 12:32

The ©Rime of the Centrist Academic

Published in Poetry

The ©Rime of the Centrist Academic

By I.L. Literate

I’m supposed to earn a living from original thought
And question power structures of every sort.
I claim to be a lefty or at least vaguely pink
But in truth I’ve tranquilised myself with centrist groupthink.

‘Be sceptical and questioning,’ I tell my students loud,
While of the fact I’ve never been I’m oddly proud.
I cite radical scholars but can’t escape the fact
I’m a chicken-shit conformist liberal technocratic twat.

I’ll wear a rainbow lanyard for the LGBTs,
And spout banalities about diversity.
But that’s all just careerist masturbation,
For I don’t care about our uni’s links to corporations:

Racist ones, imperialist ones, sexist ones, they say,
And investments from despots who oppress the gays.
But to get yourself some juicy great research grants
You’ve got to suck up to all those murderous c…

…Can’t you see that propositions need no evidence?
That the best form of offence is sitting on the fence?
I promise you there’s nothing at all defective
About strongly feeling Keir Starmer is effective.

I’ll babble my bromides about austerity,
But when it comes to striking I’ll plead poverty.
I can’t miss an instalment of exorbitant school fees
By wasting time on a picket line in minus 5 degrees.

And anyway politics only happens in Whitehall
Where geniuses rule… remember Ed Balls?
But if loony lefties stand around chantin’
I’ll gladly reap the benefits of their collective bargain.

’Cos it’s so much easier to re-tweet James O’Brien
And blame the Palestinians for Palestinians dyin’,
And roll your eyes at poor people who don’t understand
The niceties of the Brexit backstop plan.

I’ll change my Facebook picture to the flag of Ukraine
‘Cos unlike Iraq and Yemen – there’s someone else to blame.
I’ve got a ‘love’ emoji for the refugees,
But not the ones who got that way from our brutality.

Two hours later I’ve changed my pic to the stars
Belonging to the EU – Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
’Cos apart from drowning migrants and looting the Global South
Brussels is perfect – I heard it from Blair’s mouth!

Oh, I claim to treat all sources critically,
But the BBC and Guardian I trust completely.
That’s tantamount to drilling a hole in my bonce
And filling it with bullshit right up to the top.

Oh I hate fake news, disinformation,
All of it comes from non-Western nations.
Russia and China must be blamed for everything,
Brexit, Trump, UKIP, especially Corbyn.

He was a commie who hated all the Jews,
I heard it on Andrew Marr, so it must be true.
He lied about the Tories’ plan for NHS-beating.
That’s accurate ’cos it came from Wes Streeting.

I wear a badge that says ‘I hate racists’,
But I also hate Iran, North Korea, such places.
That’s justified because we’re nicer than them;
We’d never lock our enemies up in some nasty pen.

Never mind Mr Assange – that story’s stale!
And forget 2 million Blacks in American jails.
Let’s only fret about those Uyghur lives
And not about our slaughters since 1585.

See, I’ve always had a rather fuzzy moral perspective,
Even though you needn’t be a genius detective
To know Blair killing a million overseas
Is hardly better than Tory deaths from Covid-19.

I’ll name-check Said, Spivak and Gilroy,
While I write about as well as Robert Kilroy.
Lucky that’s no barrier to promotion and that,
When you’re a chicken-shit conformist liberal technocratic twat.

’Cos I’d rather veg out over Pol Toynbee
And let Jon Freedland give me a lobotomy.
The Guardian turned right when my students were tots
Now it’s Jones, Malik, Monbiot – that’s your fucking lot.

I’ll piously prattle about democracy
But it’s undermined by my hypocrisy.
See, I’m all for voting parliamentary
But totally opposed to it inside HE.

I marched against Thatcher in the eighties,
But now I use her language in my spreadsheets.
Everything’s a ‘business case’, a ‘strategic conversation’,
When we sack a whole department it’s called ‘rationalisation’.

’Cos it’s just easier to quote-tweet J.K. Rowling
Than devise original transphobic growling.
I think I’m being edgy but in truth I’m far from that:
I’m a chicken-shit conformist liberal technocratic twat.

While I claim to be a rationalist, I’m immune to proof
And can’t get my head around this simple truth:
Online I rant and rave about Tory capers,
Though between my views and theirs it’s just a Rizla paper.