One of the most fascinating case histories in the RCP literature is that of Bill K., who ultimately proved resistant to treatment but in the course of that treatment alerted professionals in the field to certain key symptomatologies of RCP addiction. We append the Bill K. files in their entirety, as collected by Sylvester M., Mr. K's addictions counselor from the beginning, including various dramatic scenarios found on Mr. K's person upon intake. It is not known the degree to which these are fictitious (written by Mr. K himself?) or factual, an accurate depiction of his own or his cronies' experiences.
Recently, in response to a request by Dr. X, I rummaged about in my backnotes and found "the Bill K. files." I have been involved in the field of addiction counseling for many years now, and beyond a doubt an addict as sick as an RCP addict is hard to find. A relatively new addiction, at least in terms of its professional recognition, RCP (Read Conference Paper) is fast replacing Stupid Committee Meeting (SCM) as the drug of choice among American academics, although often the drugs are used in combination--deadly combination.
RCP addicts vary considerably in their degree of sickness and chances for recovery; in fact, like many other institutionally sanctioned addictions, RCP is almost untreatable. Recovery, you see, entails an almost complete renunciation of what is termed sanity. Thus, the notes that follow are not essentially different from those of other cases--if Mr. K's behavior seems excessive, it is not because he is a recalcitrant case, it is because RCP is such cunning and baffling addiction.
I offer these casenotes in the hope that another RCP addict might pick them up and be made uncomfortable through reading them--uncomfortable enough to seek help and join the thousands of us professional hucksters who've found a better way to live.
Name: Bill K. Age: 35 Insurance: BC/BS #245265 Sex: Yes
Hx: None available; patient brought in by several furtive-looking academic types carrying briefcase who deposited Mr. K on a gurney and immediately departed in a taxi. Possible OD case; drug unknown, but may be RCP, as there are no signs of chemical intoxicants present. Pt. is wearing a badge printed with the text "Conference Presenter." This, coupled with the manner of arrival, leads us to suspect RCP overdose. If so, this is an acute case. Pt. may have been "banging" with more than one drug--in his pocket was found a reminder for a "Tenure Review Committee Meeting" to be held later this week.
Head/Neck: Facial muscles rigid; jaw clenched. Upon opening the buccal cavity, the tongue is found to be flaccid and coated with mucus. Other ENT: Eyes: Open. Pupils fixed but dilatory. Nose: Clear except for thin stream of snot. Throat: Red and constricted, as if from overuse. Argumentation and/or prolonged sonorous reading indicated.
TPR: Temp. elevated; 100.4. Pulsd rapid and weak; 100 beats/min. Respirations shallow and rapid; 20-30/min.
BP: Extremely labile; first 180/100, now 90/40.
Chest/Abdomen: Abdomen is hard and guarded. Skin of chest and general torso cold and clammy; moist. Tattoo on left breast says "Nietzsche is Pietzsche."
Genitals: Penis is in full erection; testicles slightly retracted. Source of arousal unknown.
Extremities: Nails of fingers and toes show some cyanosis. Red ink marks present on digits and palm of right hand. Ring on finger says "State U" and "B.A. 1977."
Initial Dx: Patient is probably a victim of RCP overdose, and in town for Humanities Convention. Lab report on blood trace analysis pending. Pt. sent for brain scan and EEG.
Blood analysis: Grubermann test for RCP traces positive.
Breakdown of constituents:
Heidegger/Merleau-Ponty: 88.3 (extremely elevated)
Sophistry (classical): 14.68 (within normal limits)
Sophistry (postmodern): 88.90 (extremely elevated
Biblical/Classical Allusions: 43.1 (below normal limits)
Allusions to modern/postmodern novels: 87.3 (extremely elevated)
Forebrain: Unusual activity in the tenure anxiety ganglia, appears to be networked to desire structures in the thalamus.
Midbrain: Sexual excitement corridors extremely active, impulses running to cortical area associated with deconstruction and power-tripping.
Hindbrain: Lecture structures in the sadomasochistic ganglion complex are extremely active, probably explaining the erect penis and coated tongue. These structures are related to the masturbatory self-stimulation cortex.
Dx: RCP overdose, probably both transmission and reception types, with probable adjunct SCM (Stupid Committee Meeting) injections.
Rx: Forget it. As you know, the only success we've had so far is with experimental pithing of the frontal lobes combined with electroconvulsive therapy. He oould be referred to one of the treatment centers.
Stanley Milgram, M.D., neurology
1:00 p.m.--Pt. admitted to addictions treatment ward. Dr. Milgram's orders. Dr. Critter attending. S.M., staff counselor, therapist assigned.
Dr's orders: Standing. Pt. is resting comfortably under Musak sedation.
Hourly bedchecks ordered.
2:00 p.m.--Pt. awake, disoriented. Asking for ice water to be placed on table and microphones to be adjusted. Musak increased to 100 units/hr. per orders of Dr. Critter.
3:00 p.m.--Pt. placed under restraint, per Dr's standing orders. Had become increasingly violent; thrashing about, demanding that we "Pay attention, dammit!" and repeating loudly that we "Of course have read the text in question" . . .
4:00 p.m.--Pt. now understands that he is in add. ward of University Medical Center. Demands immediate release; says that he has "another session in one hour."
5:00 p.m.--Demands for release are more frequent; restraints have been broken twice. Muzak no longer effective, even at maximum dosage. Dr. Critter called in for consultation.
6:00 p.m.--Dr. Critter arrives and makes analysis of pt.'s economic status. This serves only to enrage pt. further.
7:00 p.m.--Pt. is not in room. Window open and bedsheets tied together leading down to first floor parking area.
7:15 p.m.--Security reports that pt. was seen leaving in taxicab with several other people.
I knew you guys would come. Shit, what a nightmare! What are you laughing about? Oh--this hospital gown. Ha ha, yeah, real fucking funny. Why did you guys bring me here, anyway? I don't remember anything after I heard that my paper had been bumped from the schedule.
I got up and tried to read it anyway? Oh, jeez . . . I wouldn't shut up?
Who? The dean was there? Oh, Gawd.
I collapsed? Right on the floor? Took the podium with me? Shee-it.
So I was lying there twitching, and you guys pulled me out--what'd you tell the panel?
Epilepsy. Good. They'll buy that.
Is it too late to get across town, so I can make that seminar at Kneejerk Academy?
Good. But what about clothes? Yours? Good, thanks.
Paper to read? Nahhh, they took it away me back at the hospital. They said--get a load of this--that I OD'd, that I was an addict, for Chrissake. Yeah, really. Addicted to listening to and reading academic papers, they said. You ever heard anything like that?
Can you go any faster--? I don't wanna be late for that seminar. If it's a good one, maybe that editor they've got there will publish me. Hell, yes, you know I'm ready. I'm always ready. I'm not a Ph.D. for nothing.
Oh, I don't know. Those people at KA are really into Husserl. Maybe I'll deconstruct one of his political essays. Drag in some Barthes. They'll like that . . . Compare him to Max Weber or something. I dunno . . . I'll figure it out as I go along. The main thing is to keep talking, you know, and I can handle that. I do wish they hadn't taken my paper back there, though. It was such a brilliant one.
Mr. K's RCP addiction is a classic example of the institutionally approved and enforced alienation of the individual from the community under capitalism, the commodification not only of the "read conference paper" as alienated and alienating product, but of the "paper reader" as alienated and alienating producer as well. The ideal RCP user is "automated" by the academic factory, interpellated as automaton, subjectified as machine: as a mechanized reproduction device designed not only to (re)produce hegemonic ideologies in hegemonic discourse for hegemonic consumers, but to reify all counterhegemonic impulses in that discursive economy as inert fact and thus as incapable of fomenting unrest and a desire for change. RCP addiction is an ideological channel through which potentially deviant interaction is thwarted, suppressed, or coopted through jargonization, contraphatic isolation, and anesthetization.
In the academic economy RCP functions above all as a medium of exchange: the RCP user is "paid" for his labor with RCP--that is, with the right to do RCP, with an officially sanctioned voice at (future) academic conferences.
It could be argued, of course, that RCP users receive various forms of monetary recompense for indulging their addiction as well: they receive partial or total funding to cover travel, hotel rooms, meals, and conference fees; RCP addiction "counts" in tenure and promotion decisions and may thus indirectly contribute to the institutional determination of salary; they also occasionally receive job offers as a result of successful RCP use.
But this tenuous connection with the money economy of the surrounding culture obscures the extent to which RCP (along with other academic addictions) exacerbates the user's alienation precisely by rewarding RCP use with more RCP use--alienation with more alienation. The RCP addict may incidentally gain the perquisite of "free" travel--but only to conferences to do more RCP, and to meet other RCP addicts who invite him or her to sit on panels and do RCP at later conferences. The more RCP an addict does, the more he or she is invited to do.
In this sense, money is only a marker in the more abstract economy of RCP--an economy of prestige, of recognition, of fame, of stardom, of "being seen" and "being heard," but above all an anesthetic economy of "people" as unfeeling "things," as transceivers that do not internalize the messages they transmit and receive; as noncommunicating communicators. The dialectic of RCP addiction moves from thesis through anesthesis to thrombosis. The ideal RCP user is an academic radio or tape recorder, a dehumanized transmitter of depersonalized "truths" that are capitalistic in origin but idealized, like all fetishized beliefs, as universal. Such is the power of ideological repression, of course, that any suggestion to replace the RCP user (or any other academic addict, such as the lecturer) with a tape recorder is met with uneasy scorn: that would concretize the normative reifications too blatantly for comfort.
My recommendation for further treatment: Mr. K. should undergo aversion therapy, perhaps in a simulated RCP environment with disruptive inputs that fracture transmission-RCP (uncooperative audience) and/or reception-RCP (neurostimulation causing various forms of bodily discomfort, micturation, fight-or-flight impulses, etc.).
(Note: Shortly after the inclusion of this recommendation in Mr. K.'s file, Dr. Critter was himself admitted into the detox program here at RCP Outpatient Services, following his collapse at a conference where he was reading a fuller version of the above diagnosis. S.M.)
It is late at night, the time when drug addicts usually do business, and along a quiet suburban street walks a nervous-looking man. He is a approaching the dimly-lit door of a kind of run-down house. He is carrying a sheaf of paper and a book. He glances often back over his shoulder as if he thinks he's being followed.
He opens to the door and knocks softly. A man answers.
"Open up, man. It's me, Dave. I got the stuff."
"Me, man, Dave. Open up. I got the stuff. Hurry. I think the cops saw me coming in here."
"Yes, man. Dave. Hurry. I got the stuff."
"Dave's not here. He went to get the stuff."
"Yes I know, godammit, you moron. I am Dave. Open up the fucking dcor. I got the stuff and I think the cops saw me coming in here."
"Yes, Dave . . . D-A-V-E, Dave. Open up the goddamn door."
[The door is opened by a spaced-out looking man wearing a rumpled business suit and professorial spectacles]
"It's about time, man. I think the cops saw me coming out of the bookstore. What the hell's wrong with you?"
"Awww, nothin', man. I just . . ."
"You bastard! You're loaded! You've been into the Heidegger, haven't you? I'll bet you wrote a proposal for that Kitsch paper, didn't you?"
"Well, man, I knew you didn't want to do it, and I got a bad jones while you were gone. I hadda have a fix."
"Well, just see if you get any of this Derrida I got here. A whole RCP's worth. And two proposals. Right here. And you ain't gettin none, you leech."
"Wowwww, man . . . two proposals? And a Derrida? Come on, man, just one hit. That's all I want. I'll give you the leftover abstract . . ."
"No, bastard. You can't wait for me while I'm out dodging cops and scoring, you don't get a hit. Not even a paragraph."
7.21.92--The patient is a 36-year-old male RCP addict, Bill K.; typical history: began reading early, and icnreased usage beyond normal needs range. By age 14, wide range of pre-addiction behaviors reported by parents, but no action was taken as behaviors socially acceptable and even rewarding for patient and family. Over time, this progressed into full-blown RCP addiction. Mr. K presents as an advanced case--probable life expectancy without treatment is under five years. Other drugs are involved in this case.
Mr. K brought in through planned intervention. Intervention was orchestrated and attended by myself at the request of Mr. K's family and employers.
7.20.92--Mr. K's employer, University X, sent representatives to the intervention: two colleagues (English professors) and a dean. Also attending were Mr. K's family and a family friend, Doug R, himself a recovering RCP addict.
(from audiotape of session, 10:00 p.m., 7.19.92, at K's home)
S.M.--Is Mr. K expected soon?
Wife--Yes. He's been at his office since about six o'clock . . . that means he should by now have finished that stack of conference proposals. Bastard oughta be home any minute.
S.M.--And he isn't suspecting anything?
Wife--Not from me. (Glances significantly at Doug R)
Doug R--Back off! I'm a scientist! I know how to keep my mouth shut. Besides, I want Bill to get help. I know the hell of untreated RCP addiction.
S.M.--You do understand, don't you, Ms. K, that this intervention is necessary? That if you want Bill to get help, this must be done, even if it means that his prestige as an academic may suffer? We've discussed this. RCP addiction may seem normal, especially for an up-and-coming academic, but it's truly pathological.
Wife--Yes, I understand. I just wish . . .
Wife--Oh, that the world wasn't the way it is . . . or something. Oh, I don't know! [sobs] I just don't want to have him gone all the time at conferences, away at the office writing proposals and RCPs, ignoring me and the kids and making us feel stupid . . . that's all. [sobs turn to anger] In fact, if this shit doesn't change, I'm getting the hell out, I can tell you that . . . ! No money and prestige is worth all of this bullshit and suffering . . .
S.M. [cutting her off]--We'll deal with that later. Right now, we must be completely prepared to confront Bill with the reality of his problem, and you are an important part of that. Are you ready? [Wife nods] Does everybody else know what they're going to say?
[Nods all around, except Dean Q, who appears anxious]
Dean--Do I have to be completely honest? I mean, Bill can still do an occasional RCP, can't he? After all, the University does gain some recognition from his reading, and . . .
S.M.--Dean, we've been through this. For the addict, one RCP is too many and a thousand never enough. I know how you feel about this, and we can deal with your prestige-addiction later. Right now, all we need is for you to report honestly what Bill's behavior has been, without judgment.
Dean--Yeah, OK. [still seems unsure]
S.M.--Children, are you ready? I know this will be difficult for you, but you must be honest with your Daddy . . .
Children--Yes, Mr. M, we're ready. We want our Daddy back.
S.M.--And the rest of you, be honest--stick to behaviors. And be careful. Bill, like most RCP addicts, will minimize his using and, when that doesn't hold up against our frank description of his using behavior, he will promise anything just to get us to stop confronting him. He may even walk out; in a worst case, he may become verbally brutal or even physically violent . . .
[The sound of a key in the door; Bill enters carrying a thick sheaf of papers and looking weary]
Bill--What's this? [Looks puzzled and alarmed; then realizes what must be happening and smiles crookedly as he prepares his act]
S.M.--Sit down, Bill. We'd like to talk to you.
Bill--Sure, sure. Let me just put these papers up. I'll be right back.
S.M.--No, Bill. It's those papers, and papers just like them, that we want to talk to you about.
Bill--These papers? They're nothing. Just some school stuff, you know . . .
S.M.--Cut the lies, Bill. Those are conference proposals, aren't they?
Bill--OK, so yeah, they are. And so fucking what? I am an academic, after all. That's my life! And I'm good at it, too! Tell him, Doug! [Turns to S.M.] Say, who the hell are you, anyway?
Wife--He's an RCP addictions counselor. I invited him to come, Bill. We want to talk to you about all of those RCPs you've been doing and how they're destroying you and the family . . .
Bill--Oh, so this is some more of your shit, huh? Still jealous? You know I only do this for you and the kids!
Doug--That's bullshit, Bill, and you know it. You have to do RCPs; you couldn't quit if you tried. You do them to feed yourself . . .
Bill--You bastard! It's easy for you to talk. You're tenured; you can afford to quit! Goddamn, let a guy stop reading for a coupla months and he thinks he's God or something . . . I could quit and be happy, too, if I already had your job and title . . . you two-faced bastard.
Doug--I just love you, Bill, and don't want you to sink as far as I did, that's all . . .
Bill--Oh. right. Love, is it? Love is irrelevant! It's easy for you to talk about "love," you shit . . . And get them out of here. [points at the children]
S.M.--We're all here because we love you, Bill.
Bill--Oh, please. Don't make me puke. You just want to keep me down, that's all. The kids are just pawns you're using. You two [pointing at the two colleagues] especially. You're just jealous. And you, Dean, what's your stake in this? I bring a lot to you with my RCPs; in fact, you keep asking me to do more RCPs. What are you here for?
Dean--Well, I--that is, the University--can't really afford to keep financing these conferences, your RCP use. The budget, you know, and besides--this man [points at S.M.] says that it's bad for you, and we don't want to lose a valuable member of our team, heh, heh . . .
Bill--Bad for me? How can it be bad to want to get ahead, to share knowledge with one's colleagues?
Doug--Cut out the bullshit, Bill! You know that's not what it's about! It's the rush you get when you stand in front of that crowd, total control, RCP takeover of the mind and body . . .
Bill--OK, OK, look. Whaddya want me to do? What's the bottom line?
S.M.--We want you to quit doing RCPs. We want you to--
Bill--No problem! That's all you want? And then you'll all lay off? [glances significantly at Ms. K and Doug] Hey, I'll quit . . . I've just got a couple more conferences--
S.M.--No. No more conferences. We want you to go into treatment.
Bill--Treatment?! Are you saying I'm sick?!
Mr. K's daughter--Daddy, we don't want you to act like this anymore. We miss you. We want you to be silly and fun like you used to be . . .
Bill--Oh, darlin', you know I want to be with you all . . . it's just this damn pressure . . . as soon as I get thess next few RCPs behind me, I swear it'll be different. I swear . . . they haven't brainwashed you, too, have they?
Child 2--I want you to get better, Daddy . . . I want you to talk to us again . . .
Bill--You've even turned my own kids against me! You shits!
Wife--If you don't get help, we're gone. Me and the kids. Outta here. We can't take it any more; all of your posing and prancing, going here and there, practicing your damned speeches on us. Get help or we go while we can.
[Bill looks thoughtful, and I know what he's thinking: "How bad can it be? A month or so in a cushy place, insurance to pay for it, and I'll figure something out while I'm in there . . ." These thoughts are typical. What we hope intervention will accomplish is just getting Bill in, and once in, that we can bring the reality of his disease home to him, make him see where he's headed with continued RCP use]
Bill--OK, OK, you're right. I need rest, er--help. I'll go.
7.24.92--The conference room mockup was a qualified success. White tablecloths clipped onto the foldup tables; plastic pitchers of ice water, plastic cups, round water marks here and there on the tablecloth; podium with disconnected mike; room full of uncomfortable tubular furniture.
When Mr. K. stood up to give his paper, the audience played its prearranged parts adequately. Mr. Davis and Ms. Hartley handled the loud talking; a conversation about lox, I believe. The four recovering RCP addicts from Euphoria U played the boisterous game of strip poker; we even had some bare chests. Admirable zeal in the performance of what was, after all, only a simulation. Ms. Simos from Peoria landed four or five ripe tomatoes in the subject's facial area; several missed, but if anything this only enhanced the air of realism. Our janitor and two secretaries staged the beer-guzzling contest with gusto. Ms. Nasrudin mooned the subject with a gleeful cry of "Hey Bill check this out!" The four Hari Krishnas in Mardi Gras costumes sat like statues throughout the simulation, except for the four or five times they stood up and turned around twice, never breaking out of character.
During the first five minutes of the simulation, Mr. K. showed no signs of responding to therapy; clearly, he was so high on RCP as to be utterly closed off to his environment. At 5:14 he swallowed hard and gave a slight shudder but did not look up or otherwise present a response. From 5:22 to 6:03 he evinced increased shudders (11) and swallows (08) with a slight increase in pace. At 6:04 he looked up for the first time, but blindly, apparently seeing nothing. At 6:06 his Adam's apple started bobbing and he glanced up nervously, repeating these glances every second or so until 6:11, with every glance looking more blanched of face and panic-stricken of eye--the first strong sign that the aversion therapy was breaking through the effects of the drug. At 6:12 he stumbled for the first time on a word; the break in the smooth flow of the RCP was minuscule, perhaps 0:10 or 0:15 in duration, but highly significant, of course, in terms of his gradual disengagement from the drug high. All of the above-mentioned anxiety symptons (swallows, shudders, eyes lifted from page, Adam's apple bobbing, paleness of skin, signs of panic in eyes, break in the flow of RCP) continued to escalate without significant change until 6:24, when his hands began trembling violently and he seemed to have increasing difficulty holding the RCP in his hands. At 6:56 the first major breakthrough was made: Mr. K. stopped reading, lay his trembling, white-knuckled hands clenching the RCP on the podium, looked up, and actually focused on various distractions, pausing for 0:5 to 0:10 on each and then scanning to the next. At this point (approx. 7:13) he moved his mouth spastically, trying to bring to voice unwritten words, but to no avail. After an admirably long break in his reading--0:21--he turned back to the RCP and resumed reading, but had lost his place, and stumbled for a few seconds, until 7:27, when he found his place and continued reading, now with a determined edge in his voice. As we now know, this is another telltale sign that the drug is losing its effect: the appearance of passion, determination, decisiveness in the reader's voice. By 7:52 this decisive tone was faltering, and at 8:17 there was a loud commotion from the strip poker table: one of the men from Euphoria U. had been forced to remove his trousers and there was a loud whooping and hollering in derision and delight. At this, by 8:23, Mr. K. stopped abruptly, laid his trembling hands on the podium once again, and was clearly intending to address the poker players when a spasm in his left hand set the pages of his RCP in sudden motion. He was quick enough to catch them before any actually dropped off the podium, but the pages were wrinkled by the rescue effort and Mr. K. was visibly shaken. Dropped or disorganized RCP pages, of course, mark the onset of a bad or "bum" trip, or what RCP users call a "fuckin nightmare." He had pulled himself out before that happened, but the wrinkled pages clearly disturbed him; they were a sign of his close call. At 8:58 he resumed reading without a hitch, though with heightened traces of emotion in his voice (estimated 35% desperation, 35% frustration, 15% anger, 15% bewilderment), read until 9:44, at which point he stopped, set his jaw, and spoke for the first time: "Do you people mind?" Tone: sarcastic, supercilious, superior. Good sign. Looked down at his RCP, looked up again, looked down, then raised his head slowly and intoned, with deliberate control that progressively slipped, "I'm trying to read a paper here!" On "pa-" his voice broke, skittered jaggedly up the scale, then dropped suddenly back down on "-per." "Here" was tremulous. The actors continued to ignore him and to play their parts, and he looked about him in disbelief, as if to find a single face that would sympathize with his plight--another strong sign that the drug was wearing off and he was increasingly able to seek out and sustain phatic contact with members of the audience. At 10:36 he heaved a deep sigh, shook himself as if awakening from sleep, widened his eyes, and started reading again, this time with another burst of short-lived fierceness. By 11:02 his gaze was drifting erratically across the page, he was stumbling over words, and at 11:27 he stopped at a particularly loud burst of laughter from the poker game (one of the men was down to his briefs, one of the women down to her bra and slip), clenched his jaw, unclenched it, opened his mouth and clapped it shut, then started three or four separate sentences: "Would you-- Dja think I-- Hey, look, folks, I--" and finally, losing his temper and shouting: "WOULD YOU SHUT UP!" Everybody stopped at that, including Mr. K., he looking sheepish but also determined and shaken, the actors looking bemused. There was a pause (0:13), after which one of the poker players said cheerfully, "Fuck you, Bill," and went back to the game. Immediately all activity in the room resumed, Mr. K. looked around aghast, and it was at precisely this moment (12:55) that the first rotten tomato struck him approximately one inch to the left of his mouth.
up until Bill K. breaks through the effects of the drug and responds, actually stops reading and says something out of character, like "Would you people fucking sit down and shut up!" or "Please, please let me read this!" or whatever. Ms. Simos let out a "Yiii-haaa! Bullseye!" as Mr. K. whipped his head back and forth in horror, neglecting at first even to wipe his jaw or shirt, where the bulk of the tomato had dripped. Then he broke through the drug: exploding with anger, he pushed the podium from him, letting the pages of his RCP go flying out into the room, waved his arms frantically and began tapping out an angry dance step behind the table. At this point (13:22) another tomato landed, one missed, and another landed, and, to put it in technical terms, all hell broke loose. Mr. K. charged out into the audience, arms flailing, knocking over one of the Hari Krishnas in Mardi Gras costumes (all four continued to do their ritual motions, even the one on the floor), and then collapsed in a heap very near the fallen Krishna, curling up in a ball and sobbing loudly.
At this point (14:31) it was determined that total breakthrough had occurred and the simulation was halted; all of the actors flocked to Mr. K.'s side and consoled him, stroking his shaking body on the floor. (S.M.)
8.11.92--Mr. K to be discharged today . . . it is difficult to say whether treatment has been successful or not. Time will tell. He has faced up to many of his repressed desires, his pitiful need to be reassured of his adequacy, his academic discourse conventions, his compulsion to be recognized and prove himself right. Of course, in the present academic climate, there is a huge potential for relapse, and there are few rewards for honesty, openness, and being willing to change. Therefore, Mr. K's continued association with other recovering RCP addicts is essential. He says that he understands this, and is already in touch with several groups of Academics Anonymous groups in town. Mr. K is certainly talking like a changed person; the extent to which this is just a manifestation of his chameleon-like ability to pick up new modes of discourse is unknown. Time will tell. He seems to have dealt with some of the difficult issues in his life: possessive love, unhealthy dependency on the approval of others, &c. If nothing else, we hope to have taken all or most of the fun out of using RCPs for him.
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Copyright 1993 Doug Robinson and Bill Kaul