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Friday, 29 July 2005

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» The Academic Life: Logged and Blogged for the Benefit of All from The Valve

At the behest of a reader laboring under the mistaken impression that I'm anything more than a favor, last Thursday I kept a log of what I was up to the entire day. Sure, I left some information out, but who wants to read: 1:24 Concede to cat&a... [Read More]

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padmini

Wonderful to know I'm not the only one - how far away are you from submission?

p.

Jonathan Dresner

I know which series, but not which line....

I don't usually read these kinds of posts, but the whole thing was worth it for "Bang head on desk with manly vigor."

Mike S

Scott, not sure what to make of these last two passages. Are you trying your hand at surrealistic short fiction? As for your day-in-the-life post, it pretty much confirms what I'd suspected. Your day consists of work, brief intellectual excursions, prosaic interactions with your significant other, and fleeting moments of introspection/self doubt. And by day's end it sounds as if you typically achieve some degree, however minimal, of progress on that curious dissertation.

Questions (of the formal variety): Do you frequent the library? Or are you pretty much set with what you have at home? Do you let your wife or anyone else read your dissertation?

Questions: (of the informal variety) Did you ever have a class with Derrida? Can you explain to me the metaphysics of presence fallacy?

Mike S

Almost forgot, are you a Beatles fan, or did their lyrics simply provide a suitable title for this post?

Scott Eric Kaufman

padmini, I've a long, long way to go. I'd say at least another year, possibly longer. All this pesky "research" that must be done before writing slows me down.

Jonathan, thanks for not outing the wife and I. As to the line, it involves Chris Eigeman, his young Jersey girlfriend, a contested parking spot, and begins: "He'd already rather be..."

Mike, those last two passages are the Ben Marcus stories "below the fold." Of course, if you read the post directly there's no evidence of the fold; so I'll edit that to make it easier to understand. Now, as for your questions:

I don't frequent the library so much right now because I've already done the research for the chapter I'm working on. I've either purchased, copied or checked out all the work I need. The wife doesn't read my work right now, but will in the future. The person who reads endless drafts of my work is a fellow graduate student, Stephen Schryer. In fact, instead of commenting here I should finish commenting on the chapter on Mary McCarthy he sent me yesterday. (But I'm on holiday for half an hour.) I highly, highly recommend you acquire yourself a Schryer or two when you get to grad. school, as it will vastly improve the quality of your work. Knowing that you have actual readers means you have to consider audience; too often, as other's have recently noted, graduate student work reads like intellectual masturbation, i.e. work written solely to please its author and which never considers the possibility that it may be read. The knowledge that it will be read, immediately, by someone whose opinion you respect (but who isn't a professor, as that's a different story), puts demands on the prose that it would otherwise lack; namely, that it communicate.

I've mentioned before that I did, in fact, participate in one of Derrida's seminars (and two of Hillis Miller's); that said, it would be difficult for me put the metaphysics of presence in its proper nutshell. I could make some breathtakingly vague statements, but they'd be as useless to you and reveal me for the fraud that I am. So I won't.

And I'm a Beatles fan the way of lots of people are Beatles fans: I have a favorite Beatle, own pretty much all the albums and know all the words on them, but for some reason haven't listened to them in years.

Mike S

Sorry, Scott, not gonna let you off the hook that easily. However breathtakingly vague your gloss may be, I need The Kaufman to reduce the metaphysics of presence to an intelligble (and probably oversimplified) soundbyte. The only reason I'm keeping on you about this is because a couple semesters back I wrote a brief (3-4 pages) essay on the m.o.p.'s implications for the study of rhetoric. Now, you're likely wondering why I feel the need to pester you with this when I've already come to some of my own conclusions about this slightly arcane concept/theory/metaphysical hogwash. The reason I'm interested in your thoughts is because in your posts, blogs, and banter you've proven yourself to be a logical, scrupulous, and articulate fellow. Pardon the unseemly number of complements I've given you this past week, but...well...I like you, Scott. You're honest and good-humored, and it's refreshing to know we've chosen the same profession. Okay, now get to work on that m.o.p. post! Perhaps it ties in with some of those Wittgenstein pieces you've been perusing.

Mike S

On a scale of 1-10, Scott, a 10 being someone who has attended several Beatle impersonator concerts, spent a considerable amount of dough on Beatles memorabilia, and named a pet after a Beatle, you fall somewhere in the 5-6 range.

I'm a solid 7-7.5.

Scott Eric Kaufman

The idea of transforming complicated theoretical paradigms into sound bytes actually has some appeal. What Theorists really need is an ad campaign. Flash a picture of Nietzsche with "Just do it" pounded underneath in a most manly font...or, alright, that's the best and only I can come up with. But as I've told others already today, my brain is shot from all this stuff currently cluttering it up. Expect more later. I may have ideas. (Also, you're more than welcome to keep up the stream of compliments, but you do so at your own risk: given the bottomless pit into which my self-esteem mutely plummets, I'm liable to think less of you the more you think more of me.)

Adric

One of my favourite movies, although I haven't seen it in several years and so am a bit rusty on specific lines. (It can be a bit hard to find, obviously.) Would it Eric Stoltz describing the book during the book club? Or the ending "I wish we were old", knowing how bittersweet and forlorn that memory would be? But more likely it is something Chris Eigeman said...I'm just drawing a blank on specfics.

Will you tell?

Scott Eric Kaufman

Adric, it begins: "He'd already rather be..."

I just don't want to spoil the punchline for those who haven't seen it.

Knemon

Yeah, that line's okay, but there are better ones.

"All you guys talk the same" is up there. Funny cuz it's true.

How about "And we all know how old Mozart was when he did all of that ... *stuff* ..."

In fact, pretty much anything Carlos Jacott says in that movie is comedy gold.

Kristen

Is it possible to have 192 windows open on Mozilla without your computer crashing?

Scott Eric Kaufman

Funny you should ask, Kristen. Just today the wife of a friend of mine wrote this. Take a look at that screenshot down there. It's frankly insane.

Mike S

Scott, in revisiting this thread, it occurred to me that this "day in the life" snapshot (or feature length film, depending on you look at it) takes place in the very recent past (ie: during the final phase of your academic training). When convenient, and provided you feel generous and nostalgic enough to do it, how about a prequel to this post entitled, "A Day in the Life: Year One?" My interest in peeking in on a young S E Kaufman during those first few quarters of coursework at UCI has only to do with the fact that, in a few more fortnights, I will start my own graduate program. A typical day's tasks/responsibilities in September will differ considerably from my current ones. So take a break from psychoanalysis, Scott, and dust off your memories of 1999 or 2000 or whenever you started.

Spam

[I once was spam, now am I dead.]

Spam

[Spam was here.]

tomemos

Odd that your overzealous spam filter wouldn't catch these two, Scott…

SEK

It's because they don't contain links in the body of the HTML. That's why it's flagged all of mine.

For the record, TypePad really needs a better system for alerting bloggers why spam's being flagged. All I get when I comment is a little message on a white page telling me that TypePad's marked my comment as spam and that it won't be posted. But TypePad doesn't send me an email indicating why some spam's been blocked, so I can't even white-list people like, say, myself.

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