December 13, 2016
Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology
Editor’s Note: This month Greenlee School Director Michael Bugeja filed a final draft of his forthcoming book, Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, and got pensive and poetic.
They do not revel in taverns with colleagues
At happy hour. There is no happiness
Hearing grievance or condoning travel
To mid-winter conclaves in the tropics.
When they finish a draft, they are grounded,
Cloistered in offices viewing videos
On how to index, muffling profanities
So as not to offend work-study students
As text vanishes, puff, into the cloud.
Outlook is overbooked. In the interstices
Between myriad meetings and memos,
Administrators have managed to write tomes
With data and end notes in the Turabian.
Some also may tweet about the milestone
Exuberantly exceeding character counts.
No one cares. There is no after party after
The last keystroke, only thumb drives and hand
Dystonia followed by the faint pings
Of unanswered email on iPhones. Perhaps then
Administrators realize they have friends
On Facebook whence they share the news—
I have finished a book!— to be surpassed
By likes of kittens and apocalyptic politics,
The brave new algorithms of their lives,
That no one will ever heed again or cite.