I may have mentioned that last month I presented at this colloquium at my uni. It was only about a dozen researchers from across the uni, but quite well-attended. I presented some of my very rough work in progress on this book project.
A couple of weeks ago, a writer from the uni's communications department (or whatever it's called) contacted me to ask me for a slide I'd used in my presentation. She told me she was really interested in my research, and that she was going to be including some discussion of it in an article for the next in-house, pat-ourselves-on-the-back publication/piece of official propaganda.
Sure enough, the piece came out today. The article about the colloquium is huge and up front. There is a close-up photo of me giving the presentation, instead of the image from my presentation. I look about fourteen, tops. Both my Chair and the admin assistant commented that they didn't even recognize me. Whereas in reality I have a quite long and angular face, the angle of this photo makes me look like I have that particular kind of very distinctive round-faced look that young teenagers often have. Also, my hair is unkempt, somewhat in the manner of a high school student. (Note to self: investigate hair strategies!) I look like their little child prodigy prof!
As if that were not bad enough, there is quite a long description of my presentation, which (predictably) schematizes and oversimplifies it. But the worst is that the author says something like "Prof. Hilaire is one of the only scholars doing academic research in this area". Now, I did not, I absolutely did NOT, say that!! It's not true. How arrogant-sounding! What I said was that there is a dearth of research from the particular perspective I employ and field that I work in - that is true. But that's very different from seeming to imply that I'm some kind of boldly original (baby) scholar, daring to tread in completely unmarked terrain.
You start to see how misconceptions arise. If I hadn't met me, I'd have an eyebrow seriously raised, if I knew anything about the field I work in. I want to go and bury my head under the covers for a month. Sigh.