G and I were just joking that we could produce a parody book contract for academics. In my thinking, it would arrive pre-signed in lieu of your signature. It could be from the Omnipotent publishing company. It would be take its or leave it set of provisions. And it would function in the same wording as any and all other companies, that remain in existence; they could be called Megalith and Associates, and World Rights Unlimited. One of the provisions can be that if you die all unpublished work along with your entire estate is forfeit to the publisher. Another could indenture your children to work on zero hours contracts in whatever capacity determined by the company and in perpetuity. Another would take guardianship of your pets. I’m embellishing now. But not by much.

S read the email inviting me to sign and noted that it was odious. Pre-emptive, peremptory, entitled. My mother pointed out that this is what is known as an adhesion contract. This is a take it or leave it model of indenture. The offerer writes all the provisions, garners all the benefits. All obligations  are arrogated to the signee. It also defines the status of a contract between unequals, under conditions of coercion.

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