I'm very much at the beginning of my career, so reading this article was a glorious reminder that even those much further up the ladder can be fairly cynical about conferences. It is usually the duty of the young (and perhaps the very old?) to think conferences are a farce - this article certainly tears the whole notion of them to shreds.
I don't feel qualified to disagree with Gloria Monday about conferences; I've only been to a few. I have to say, though, that I'm much more optimistic about the next few that I'll be going to (including the International Medieval Congress in Leeds in a couple of months), and can't imagine too many old leches having a go at me, as was Gloria Monday's experience (I'm a man in my mid-twenties, so it seems a little unlikely). At the end of the day her comments are probably all true - they are part of the terrible race to the top of the ladder, they will include a mix of things I'm interested in and things I'm not, and of course there is always somebody who is a bit forceful with their questioning. Does any of this really matter, though? I'll get to meet some new people who might share some interests. It does count as work, so it's a few days away without any guilt. And I've never been to Leeds, or most of the other places I'll be conferencing at, so hopefully it will just be a bit of fun.
If this blog keeps going for a few years I may feel differently about the conference scene - but for the moment I'm happy to hit the road with my powerpoint.