Greeting from the Panopticon

I’ve arrived and checked into the Atlanta Hyatt Regency. Forgive me for what follows; it’s a deeply unprofessional conference entry, but for whatever reason, it occurred to me as I was walking to my room, and I can’t shake the idea.

Now, I tend to be suspicious of tales of illicit conference hookups — they’re the kind of friend-of-a-friend story that has the ring of apocrypha to me. (After all, we in the academy are too sexless and dull to be engaging in such activities, right?) But if, say, one were coming to the ASA with such intent, boy, it’d be hard to get away with in this hotel:


And just in case you forgot that you were in a hotel where your comings and goings are visible from every other point in the hotel, your room provides a lovely image of the atrium:

Hyatt 2

I love the academic community, really. But I can’t help but feel, every time I read a David Lodge novel, or hear the stories of former relationships among academic rock stars, that I’m standing around in the dank early morning streets, having the scholarly version of that conversation at the end of Last Days of Disco: it was a great party, and I just got here too damn late.

Back to professionalism tomorrow, I swear.

5 thoughts on “Greeting from the Panopticon

  1. Yes, though without the little crosses on the rails or the Escher floor. It’s nonetheless a bit familiar. Buildings with giant atria like this make me a little crazy; it’s either the former New Yorker or the current SoCalian in me, but all I can see is wasted space.

  2. At Kalamazoo, no one even attempts to hide the hookups, at least as far as I can tell. Not that I’m encouraging anyone to join our benighted band or anything.

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