March 11, 2004

The DAZE Rant

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Attention English majors: there is a virus affecting all seminars and lectures. Symptoms include exaggerated confidence in one’s ability to discuss metaphor, nonsensical rambling, misuse of subordinate clauses, atomic verbal diarrhea, loud self-importance, and a rampant disregard for syntactical cohesion. If you have been suffering from any of the above, please remove yourself from the major immediately and quarantine yourself in the Hotel School.

I know, we all love to look more intelligent and well-read than we really are. I admit, I am guilty of making Biblical allusions and references to Kierkegaard that I was entirely unqualified to utter. But you people are ridiculous. Sometimes I am utterly baffled as to whether your comments are a parody of academics (which would be hilarious) or discourses that you believe to be valuable class contributions. Sadly, I am fairly certain that it is the latter.

And I know that we all love to score those coveted brownie points with the old professors. What you don’t realize is that you are pissing them off. Do something else — bake the professors brownies, take them to dinner, give them oral pleasure — but please just shut the fuck up already. You are ruining the experience of Beowulf for the rest of us and allowing semi-illiterate individuals like Engineers to make fun of us.

I mean, it’s just not right goddamnit. For the love of God, you’re English majors! What do Chinese majors speak? Chinese. Spanish majors? Spanish. You, however, are not speaking English.

If you weren’t so busy lacerating the English lexicon, you might realize the expression of confused boredom upon the face of your professor. Or you might notice that every time you raise your hand, the rest of the class buries their heads, fantasizing about suicide.

In case you don’t realize that you are an offender, let me offer a sampling of such a faux academic. Usually, the comment will be prefaced with a phrase like “I would like to point out that,” or “I noticed those schemas and problematics as well,” or “to elaborate on the point of … “

Then, the commenter will drop the bomb. While sitting in my lecture on 17th-century English poetry, I was dumbfounded by a comment that sounded something like this: “I found the dichotomy of volition and agency contingent upon temporality to be interesting. Satan was exiled to a metadivine temporality external from the primary temporality of the ethereal, while man’s punishment through the agency of Christ was contingent upon a textual trope and naturalistic temporality. Why were there divergent temporalities contingent upon the violent volition of God?” I pondered the meaning of this for the rest of the class, and realized that it meant absolutely nothing. Had I asked the same question, it would have gone something like, “Why did God exile Satan to a realm with an eternal notion of time, while upon man’s betrayal, God sent Christ into a world with a natural sense of time?” (I know, the question itself makes no sense, but I am just translating).

Predictably, the professor looked uninterested and unsure as to how to approach such a train wreck of an inquiry.

Oh, and one more thing. When writing a critique or a review, DO NOT refer to yourself as a critic. What are you thinking? Last time I checked, you weren’t being paid to be an asshole, you were just doing it for free.

Archived article by Zach Jones