Claims of academia being out of touch with the “real world” are hardly new. This week, it was the turn of a Conservative MP in the UK to draw the ire of many after a Twitter attack on the profession.
Personally, never thought of academics as 'experts'. No experience of the real world.— Glyn Davies (@glyndaviesmp) October 29, 2016
Glyn Davies, MP for Montgomeryshire, posted the tweet on 29 October, inspiring vast numbers of academics to defend their honour, uniting under the hashtag #realworldacademic, a term coined by Times Higher Education's very own editor-at-large, Phil Baty.
Some scholars' responses to the inflammatory tweet featured plain statements of fact…
...while others focused more on tried-and-tested academic wit.
That moment when you just can't choose the window of your ivory tower from which to throw scraps to the peasants. #realworldacademic— Ben Stanley (@BDStanley) October 30, 2016
In fact, light-hearted mocking seemed to be the preferred method of expressing disapproval…
Since Waitrose started accepting rambling lectures about Foucault as payment for expensive cheeses I've no need to be a #realworldacademic— Harriet Palfreyman (@hjpalfreyman) October 30, 2016
Sometimes I reload the printer with paper I've opened all by myself #realworldacademic— Scott Hames (@hinesjumpedup) October 31, 2016
I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion...and I worked in Asda once #realworldacademic— Martin George (@martingeorge) October 30, 2016
Mr Davies’ tweet also allowed for some lovely online academic bonding…
...while some chose to highlight the irony in a well-paid MP attacking academics for lacking the “common touch”, either through precise, poignant comparisons…
...or through the use of a somewhat blunter instrument:
Beyond the humour, the serious implications of dismissing and demoralising people who have chosen to dedicate themselves to a life of the mind, cannot and should not be ignored.
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