Monday, February 22, 2010

Suburbs of Our Discontent

When Professors Kill: A Crazy Academic is also a Crazy Mom

“Is she so hot a shrew as she's reported?”—The Taming of the Shrew, 4.1.18

It’s hard to be a shrew and still get tenure. I did it. But as we all know, Amy Bishop did not. Reading The New York Times front page story on Bishop yesterday, I was struck at the parallels between her life and mine.

Amy Bishop and I have a lot in common:

1) The tenure process made her crazy. And very hostile.
2) She’s an academic with an “unadvisable” number of kids. Just like me, she conceived all of them pre-tenure.
3) She’s often displayed her fiery temper at work and at her kids’ schools. The Huntsville Times reports that “Bishop had a reputation at her children's schools as being very involved, sometimes pushy when it came to her children's education.”
4) Her husband praises her for “[proving] you could be a wife, mother, and researcher.”

So far, same-same.

Of course, there are some important differences. For one, I did not shoot my brother. I don’t even have a brother, but if I did, I feel confident that I would not shoot him, even accidentally. Or if I did shoot him accidentally, I definitely would not run out of the house with the gun and steal a car.

Plus, I would never physically hurt my colleagues. I am fully satisfied by saying mean things to them when I need to.

Amy Bishop is clearly a murderous and horrific human being. This is why I am freaked out that the IHOP incident is always listed as part of her “Crazy Mommy/Academic” profile.

From the ABC News website:

“His wife fit the profile of academics," [husband James Anderson] said. The 44-year-old was "focused, driven, determined." Some would say she was too driven; others described her as a little weird, and some neighbors have said she had problems controlling her anger. She fatally shot her brother, Seth, in 1986. Police in Braintree, Mass., declared the shooting an accident, and she was never charged. But records show Amy Bishop was armed with a shotgun and crouching behind a car when she was taken into custody. "I drew my service revolver and yelled three times drop the rifle," Officer Timothy Murphy wrote in his report. "After the third time she did." The incident provided probable cause to file weapons and assault charges against her at the time, police said, according to The Associated Press, but charges were not filed and the statute of limitations has expired. Bishop was also questioned, and again never charged, in a 1993 attempted mail bombing of a Harvard professor. In 2002, Bishop admitted in court to punching a mother in the head after the woman was given the last booster seat in an International House of Pancakes restaurant in Peabody, Mass., the AP reported. Bishop apparently wanted a booster seat for her own young child and yelled at the woman, "I am Dr. Amy Bishop," according to the police report.”

I have yelled at people for taking the last booster seat. Granted, I’ve done so without hitting anyone or announcing my job title, but still.

I shudder to think what my public rap sheet would look like. Once I dropped the f-bomb on an innocent stranger who commented on my “teeny” infant (she’s underweight—don’t rub it in!). And then there was the time that I criticized my daughter’s Hebrew school teacher and made her cry. Does this qualify me as a Crazy Mommy/Academic? A Mommademic?

1 comment:

  1. Seriously - I shudder to think what would come out of the woodwork if I ever got arrested for something (my son still talks about how his elementary school principal dropped dead on the golf course the day after I said the guy should be fired!). Probably the best we can do is continue being the non-heat-packing, all-profanity-laced-talk-and-no-action type of liberal elitists that manage to keep it under the radar!