The number one problem in academia today is not ignorant students but ignorant professors, who have substituted narrow "expertise" and "theoretical sophistication" (a preposterous term) for breadth and depth of learning in the world history of art and thought. ... Art is a vast, ancient interconnected web-work, a fabricated tradition. Overconcentration on any one point is a distortion. This is one of the primary reasons for the dullness and ineptitude of so much twentieth-criticism, as compared to nineteenth-century belles-lettres.
Most of my writing friends are working in academia. Most of my business school friends are always talking about bringing companies public, and money, and making money, and lots and lots of money. It's just a different environment.
Well, I wanted to be a philosopher, which is the idlest occupation in the world. I wanted to be involved in abstract thought, but because of various problems with the authorities I wasn't able to pull that one off. A lifetime of idleness in academia would have really suited me. So I was thrown out, as it were. Other than that, there seemed no possible idle occupations, so writing . . . although writing isn't exactly idleness. There's an enormous tension between indolence and languor.
People who are exceptionally intelligent are often lonely because there are few people as intelligent as them. I have two little children, and everyone says: 'I hope they're doing well in school. I hope they're bright.' And I think: 'Why would anyone want their children to be the brightest?' Academia is a lonely world.
I had very little support from any feminist organization. But fortunately my post-marital lover, who had bailed out of academia over political in-fighting, was a one-man support team. He was the one who pushed me to write.
I think if somebody is so set in their ways about what they feel about something - and you get this a lot in academia, of course, and also different sorts of journalism too - you're going to sweep under the carpet the facts that don't suit your thesis. And I think that happens quite a lot in the courtroom, for instance.