Pay us like you pay Petraeus

If you’re an adjunct at CUNY, you make about $3,000 per course.

If you’re an adjunct at CUNY and you’re David Petraeus, you make about $200,000 per course.

With an army of teaching assistants and graders.

With travel and research funds.

While you’re getting boatloads of money for teaching at USC (“You won’t believe what USC will pay per week,” Petraeus kvells in an email to Ann Kirschner, the dean of the CUNY honors college where Petreaus will be teaching).

Gawker has the whole email thread, plus some other documents they got through a Freedom of Information Law request.


  1. Critical Reading July 1, 2013 at 1:07 pm | #

    You mean $200,000 per course.

    • Corey Robin July 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm | #

      Thanks! I just fixed it. Not a mistake I want to make.

    • I was gonna say that. Here is the headline: “CUNY is Paying David Petraeus $200,000 to Work Three Hours a Week”.

      But when I read the post I kinda figured that the figure in the headline was the intended figure for the post even before clicking to the article. Everyone else will conclude as much. But, all — read the aricle anyway.

  2. Kurt Petersen July 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm | #

    200,000 not 200.00

  3. Ken Sherrill July 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm | #

    Joe Lhota chairs the CUNY Board’s Fiscal Affairs Committee. Did he approve this? Did he vote for it as a Board member? If he becomes Mayor, I doubt that he will he approve a comparable contract for the CUNY faculty.

  4. Will Boisvert July 1, 2013 at 5:14 pm | #

    Jealous, Robin?

    Think you’re as good as Petraeus? Think you’ve earned it?

    Well, you both have PhDs. But that’s where it ends.

    You didn’t lead an army.

    You didn’t re-collate the book on unconventional warfare.

    You wouldn’t know a theater commander from a movie-house usher.

    You’ll never get CIA as consolation prize for losing JCS.

    You’ll never know what it’s like to hold the reigns of power in your hand, or drop them over a long-time affair with your biographer.

    Do you even have a mistress, Robin? Or a biographer?

    Petraeus’s course description says it all. He’s leading a seminar on “developments that could position the United States…to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown.”

    Think about what that means. Development. Positioning. Leadership. That’s the kind of dynamic thinking, unchained from specific knowledge, that can simultaneously save and destroy the world. How much would that seminar be worth on the open market? Not ten thousand an hour—more like ten trillion.

    What’s your course description, Robin? Wait, I know: “Students will learn how to pick through the cast-off rags of dead philosophers.”

    I’d say it’s pretty clear why people are eager to pay him the big bucks, and not you. He’s uniquely positioned among professors—among men—to answer the questions that need answering.

    “When should I transition from killing the insurgents to bribing them?”

    “Should I surge, or withdraw?”

    “What if my biographer comes on to me—and she’s hot?”

    Nietzche had your number, Robin. Admit it: You’re seething with ressentiment. You secretly want the power, the medals, the moolah. Petraeus is rubber. You’re glue.

    Don’t fight him, learn from him—and become what you are.

    • casino implosion July 1, 2013 at 7:07 pm | #

      You actually had me going up until:

      “Think about what that means. Development. Positioning. Leadership.”

    • BarryB July 1, 2013 at 9:45 pm | #

      Loved it from the first line. But then, I’m fluent in snark.

    • Blinkenlights der Gutenberg July 2, 2013 at 7:30 am | #


  5. Witt July 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm | #

    That’s the kind of dynamic thinking, unchained from specific knowledge, that can simultaneously save and destroy the world.

    I desperately want to steal this line.

  6. Glenn July 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm | #

    That devious plagiarist know how to run a country.

    Instead of tying together governance, security, and economy like a bundle of sticks to strengthen them, he prefers to strengthen these functions by binding them together like weak strings into a strong rope.

    Departing from the analogy of fasci (bound sticks) he introduces the concept of strings bound into a funis (rope). Funism, anyone?

    See figure 5-3 in his opus, U.S Army Field Manual No. 3-24, available on line.

  7. Jimmy Reefercake (@JimmyReefercake) July 2, 2013 at 9:41 am | #

    my goodness, look at these liberal educational institutions. this is friggin insane. what more needs to be said about our country.

  8. Aaron Baker July 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm | #

    They cannot bring on the tumbrels fast enough.

  9. Corey Robin July 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm | #

    NYC Councilman Brad Lander has organized a petition drive to get CUNY to rescind its $150,000 boondoggle offer to Petraeus. Please sign the petition and share it widely.

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