September 21, 2004

Half Past Drunk, Heading Toward Hungover

Time was, I wouldn't have batted an eyelash at this chick's dissertation topic, other than to snarkily note that it lacked a certain je ne sais quois in terms of originality. "Bats as phalloi!" I would have sniffed to my equally snarky pals, "Why how EVER did she make THAT connection?!" And we all would have laughed. The larger stupidity at play--that we were treating this crap like a worthy topic at all--was just the forest which we'd carefully covered over with trees. After all, phallic bats are much easier to write about than, say, actual literature, as a statement like "bats are obvious phallic symbols" requires no research or proof beyond, "Well, just look at them! They're, like, all long and round and hard, hard wood!"

Nowadays, far removed from the reaches of the feminist lit crit brigade, my snark-o-meter still goes to eleven when I read stuff like this, but it now encompasses the whole forest, not just a tree or two (and how's that for an extended phallic metaphor? Wood. I said "wood." huh-huh). In 2004, it seems that PhDs in literature are apparently all about taking the easy road.

Seriously, what sort of intellectually lazy, half-assed professor wannabe greenlights something like this as a legitimate topic of inquiry? Is he or she drunk? Is the student drunk? Is EVERYONE DRUNK?!

Unfortunately, they're probably sober but suffering from acute "closed social circle-itis" in which no-one bothers to point out the pointless intellectual onanism they're all engaging in, because no one thinks it's in any way out of the ordinary. It simply is "the way things are done here." Gah.

Academic departments like the one referenced in this post are the intellectual equivalent of a very small community in a hillbilly backwoods holler--in desperate need of an infusion of fresh genetic material. Perhaps one day the lady in question will awaken from her four to six year drunk and realize that the lampshade on her head is her dissertation. Perhaps one day literature departments will have the grace to be embarrassed by the excesses of foolishness they've succumbed to in the last decade. Yes, and perhaps monkeys might fly out of my ass.

But a girl can dream, you know? And not about the monkeys. Ouch.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at September 21, 2004 03:22 PM

So I guess I should be suspect of my friends if they suggest we go shag some fly balls.

Posted by: Lennie at September 21, 2004 07:12 PM

I take it nobody has noticed the Zeppelin over the stadium.

For a good time, see the Index of Symbols at the end of Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at September 21, 2004 08:39 PM

And Babe Ruth took his nickname in an attempt to wrest away women's reproductive stronghold, flaunting the idea that it may be possible to implant synthetic uteri in men so that they lay claim to their rights to bear children.
What about cleats? Innumerable strategically placed phallic symbols raping the field with every step...
I'd like my sheepskin, now, please. I just qualified under her conditions. I feel so, so, EDUMACATED.

Posted by: Sally at September 22, 2004 10:13 AM

This kind of thing is why my daughter (who may I add, took the ACT as a HS junior and scored 34 English and 36 reading) is pursuing a career in the sciences. If she had to deal with this kind of thing I think it would kill her.

Posted by: Laura at September 22, 2004 01:18 PM

When I say "and monkeys might fly out of my ass", I always add the important caveat "without someone putting them in there first".

I mean, just think about it.

Posted by: Sigivald at September 22, 2004 01:59 PM

Sigivald, sweetie, I'll stick to my kink and you just stick to yours, and no, I'd actually rather not think about it!

Posted by: Sgt. Mom at September 22, 2004 04:30 PM

1. Where did the monkeys ref come from? I first heard it from Mike Myers (meyers?) as SNL's Wayne (Wayne's World) as "Yeah...and monkeys may fly out my butttt!!"

2. Je ne SAIS quois. ;)

Posted by: hodge at September 22, 2004 08:50 PM

Wow! Sally! have real talent. Whatever you've been doing, you must drop it and pursue a career in English literature immediately.

Posted by: David Foster at September 22, 2004 11:05 PM

Hodge -

Thanks! My second language is spanish, not french, and wasn't any help...

And I think you're right about the monkey/butt origin--that's who I think of when I use it.

Posted by: BAW at September 23, 2004 08:38 AM

Sorry, guys, but with the monkey/butt reference, ya gotta go farther back than Mike Myers.

Used that expression in college quite a bit, and Mr. Myers wasn't an SNL guy until after I finished the B.S. (The degree, that is; the real bs didn't start until grad school.)

And now that I've posted my important contribution to the debate, I'll take my leave cuz I have no idea where the expression originated.

Posted by: di at September 24, 2004 08:20 AM

I've always suspected that home plate was really a house of ill-repute.

Posted by: DisinheritedKnight at October 1, 2004 09:20 AM