PHILADELPHIA -- MLAde is based on the idea that "if given lemons (by the MLA), make lemonade." Its debut two years ago mocked the guide the Modern Language Association creates to help navigate the annual meeting. Last year's focus was on the demands faced by job applicants in their job letters, featuring mock letters, such as one for "a specialist in Chaucer with subfields of post-modern literature and pre-op transsexuals."
This year, with the MLA having officially embraced not only blogging but Twitter as a means of a conference communication, MLAde -- the brainchild of Aaron Winter and Andy Warren, two former University of California at Irvine graduate students who have landed jobs at National Tsing Hua University, in Taiwan -- has followed suit. And since the MLA has a conference blog, so does MLAde.
MLAde's tweets focus on job fears, with some of the necessarily short items saying things like "The amphetamines are to mask the taste of the angst." Or this one: "Jack & JIL went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down & broke his crown & JIL said he should have specialized in Rhet-Comp." (JIL here refers to the MLA's Job Information List, which is notably thin this year.)
Other tweets note the potential cutthroat mentality this year over those jobs that are available: "Santa Claus knows if you've been wishing weather delays on the other interview candidates, so be good for goodness sake."
Rosemary Feal, the MLA's executive director, gave MLAde Twitter a welcome shout-out on her own Twitter account, but that didn't stop the MLAders from spoofing Feal's convention blog. She began the day by noting seven things on her schedule. And while her agenda took note of the "bleak" job market and the impact of the economy on the profession and on attendance here, it was generally an upbeat (and busy) plan.
MLAde's seven items for the day are a little more cynical -- including consideration of sleeping in a car as a cost-saving move. And while Feal linked to MLA suggestions on restaurants (including frugal options, provided by an anthropologist), that wasn't frugal enough for MLAde. It suggested but one restaurant (Burger King) for graduate students and others on the job market to "combine pleasure, thrift and networking in the same outing." (We're not sure what MLAde would suggest for the vegans.)
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