Print Story I foolishly destroyed my last diary
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By gzt (Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 05:08:00 PM EST) gzt, vague hunches, unconfirmed opinion (all tags)
I clicked on a link in my e-mail program and it ate my diary.


Went to Wisconsonia this weekend to visit people. Good times were had by all. I had thought about giving a shout out to some friend of mine besides the ones we were visiting who just started going to that school, but I had seen on facebook that his family was visiting that weekend, so I didn't give him a holler because it would be of no use.

Interview Wednesday. Hope I do well. I realize that, no matter how good you are, it's always an odds game, so I'll try to maximize my probabilities and then just chill out about it. Probably never gets better than a coin flip even when everything is stacked, so no need to feel bad when the coin doesn't come up heads.

Remark about how sucky contemporary literature is: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/10/smaller-than-life/8212/ Using Franzen as an example.

The same narrator who gives us “sucked” and “very into” also deploys compound adjectives, bursts of journalese, and long if syntactically crude sentences. An idiosyncratic mix? Far from it. We find the same insecure style on The Daily Show and in the blogosphere; we overhear it on the subway. It is the style of all who think highly enough of their own brains to worry about being thought “elitist,” not one of the gang. The reassuring vulgarity follows the flight of pseudo-eloquence as the night the day.
And then something about MFA programs and such, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n18/elif-batuman/get-a-real-degree
I should state up front that I am not a fan of programme fiction. Basically, I feel about it as towards new fiction from a developing nation with no literary tradition: I recognise that it has anthropological interest, and is compelling to those whose experience it describes, but I probably wouldn’t read it for fun. Moreover, if I wanted to read literature from the developing world, I would go ahead and read literature from the developing world. At least that way I’d learn something about some less privileged culture – about a less privileged culture that some people were actually born into, as opposed to one that they opted into by enrolling in an MFA programme.
Take it with a grain of salt, of course, and I want to tread lightly because I don't want to shit publicly on an option Teh With is considering someday. And later in the article:
Why can’t the programme be better than it is? Why can’t it teach writers about history and the world, and not just about adverbs and themselves? Why can’t it at least try? The programme stands for everything that’s wonderful about America: the belief that every individual life can be independent from historical givens, that all the forms and conditions can be reinvented from scratch. Not knowing something is one way to be independent of it – but knowing lots of things is a better way and makes you more independent. It’s exciting and important to reject the great books, but it’s equally exciting and important to be in a conversation with them. One isn’t stating conclusively that Father Knows Best, but who knows whether Father might not have learned a few useful things on the road of life, if only by accident? When ‘great literature’ is replaced by ‘excellent fiction’, that’s the real betrayal of higher education.

And Key Opinion Leaders: http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/124335/ The comments are particularly illuminating, discussing how the article is misleading and where it is accurate.

I've been thinking about recruiting lately, both personally and professionally, because I'm interviewing for a job and because I'm sort of supposed to think about how we can measure how effective it is or something like that. It's probably the most critical area of "people decisions" but it's also the one where we collect the least data and drive the most decisions by vague hunches or unconfirmed opinion.

The link I clicked on is something about discounts for MS Office for home use. Yay!

< And I trust it like the ground | Perhaps I have finally become old. >
I foolishly destroyed my last diary | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
"very into" and "sucked" by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 07:55:05 PM EST
...because we should make sure all contemporary literature reads like it was written in 1920 I suppose.

Not that I am likely to read Franzen. 
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

re-read Babbit by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 08:31:56 PM EST
it's a card..

[ Parent ]
Also ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 09:07:40 PM EST
... how much literature published in the 1920's had effectively the same criticism hurled at it?

For some reason when we consider the literature of ages past we only consider the good stuff and ignore all the crap.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Besides by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 10:02:10 PM EST
We certainly don't mind that the "greatest American novel" was full of slang and bad grammar.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
but that's not quite the criticism by gzt (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 12:39:02 PM EST
Besides, the slang and bad grammar is contained in dialogue.

[ Parent ]
and the intro by garlic (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Sep 27, 2010 at 08:48:51 AM EST
talks about the whys and wherefores right off the bat.

It's a good book, I just reread it.


[ Parent ]
the crap disappears by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 12:37:59 PM EST
If the literature of the 20s had the same criticism levelled at it, it was most likely accurate and that lit has disappeared from our memory. There were a lot of criticisms of the stuff from the 20s we still like, but they weren't of that line (usually). I don't think, for instance, Fitzgerald or Hemingway fall prey to this line of criticism.

[ Parent ]
Fitzgerald and Hemingway... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 12:31:28 PM EST
...have aged very well. Except for the dialogue and a couple now-rare words, their works could have been written last year (the dialogue, quite rightly, reflects the time). Joyce, OTOH, feels very much like a product of his times, IMO.

If you go back to the 1820s, even Jane Austen has aged remarkably well. (yes, I know she died in 1817, but her popularity increased after her death) Again, except for the dialogue, I feel like it could have been written quite recently.

[ Parent ]
Languages change by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 12:52:28 PM EST
Come back in a century, and you will likely find that "sucked" and "very into" are considered normal, standard non-slang English.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
doubt it. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 01:03:23 PM EST
Both have been around for decades already.

[ Parent ]
And they're both considered pretty normal by lm (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 08:47:00 PM EST
The generation before mine knew that "suck" was a reference to oral sex. Not many in my generation know that. I doubt any in my daughter's generation know that. The only reason that she knows that it is slang and that it is for some mysterious reason inappropriate in academic writing is because her teachers say so.

I suspect fhat for the next generation, or possibly the one after, it will be quite normal.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
really? by gzt (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Sep 21, 2010 at 10:03:50 PM EST
I think your daughter doesn't know it because she's 12 or something like that. People are pretty well aware of it, esp. given the recent popular substitution of "blows" with the exact same meaning and the common elaborations like "sucks donkey dong" and what-have-you among the more refined.

[ Parent ]
By 12, I think you mean 17 by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 08:25:15 AM EST
And there is a fundamental disconnect between saying 'x sucks' and 'x sucks dick' in the minds of most of her friends. The same disjunction exists with the word 'screw.' Saying "I'm screwed" these days is pretty much devoid of any sexual innuendo. For that matter, so is "frig."

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Does John Stewart worry about sounding elitist? by lm (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Sep 20, 2010 at 08:51:45 PM EST
Somehow I have my doubts.

I don't read much contemporary fiction but I don't think using "sucked" and "very into" will make such any worse than contemporary fiction that does not all other things being held equal. Take Twilight as an example.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
I foolishly destroyed my last diary | 14 comments (14 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback