Like Max Weber, I think it’s dishonest and somewhat cheesy to use the lecture platform to voice one’s own political leanings. Students deserve better than to be harangued or have their liberal or conservative prejudices confirmed.
We talk a lot about the limits of critique. I’m more worried about the absence of critique. I mean institutional critique, including self-critique. That’s how professions get out of blind alleys and advance.
The default world of literary fiction is a very professional class, with occasional sprinkles of They Closed the Mill and Now We’re All on OxyContin. I wanted to be more matter of fact about post-industrial small town life.