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Monday, 17 March 2008


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This is probably funnier if, like its author, you picture Socrates as Chico Marx in your head.


I don't get it ---- where does the Hemlock come in?


So Plato is played by Zeppo or the wealthy dowager or ...?

I'm guess that in the more literally minded world this is more or less how Irvine is fucking with you now. If so, my sympathies, and I solemnly promise never never to complain about my home bureaucracy again.


You forgot the part where Cratylus keeps walking up and putting his leg in Plato's hand. Otherwise, sounds about right!


The one step missing from all this is that Plato does not have to make his way across The Academy grounds and stand in line for, like, half an hour with every change of Socrates' hat. But apart from that, I think you've nailed it.

Karl Steel

Good god SEK. If I had your chops, I could write one of these myself (why? If you'll indulge me: because, to clear up a peculiar charge on my IRS 1098-T form--that's the tuition form, the last one I'll ever see--I called Columbia, and, after weeks of email, they realized that they had simply forgotten to charge me Summer 2007 tuition (as, of course, one has to be registered the semester one submits a dissertation): the $600 or so I thought had been for my Summer 2007 tuition had in fact just paid miscellaneous charges that had built up between 1999-2007. So, okay, pain in the ass, but once I pay this $1100 (ouch) that will REALLY be for Summer tuition, I'll finally be freed from that goddamn school. Except my account's been referred to a collection agency. Why? Because I'm 8 months late paying Summer 2007 tuition. And why am I late? Because Columbia forgot to bill me. And how does Columbia know this? More or less because I told them. Bastards. If I had time on my hands, which I don't, and if I had an extra $1100 (which I don't, anymore), I'd love to sue...).


hey Scott,

I'm not good at interpretation of literary works (it's why I'm moving from comp lit to history proper, cuz historical sources wear their meaning on their faces and need no interpretation) and I'm a worry-wart. So I ask: please clarify, is this dramatization of previously detailed institutional nonsense or is this dramatization of new nonsense happening right now?

Either way, all I can really say is "damn!" in empathetic exasperation, as well as cliches about truth being stranger etc.

In my head I picture your academic life as something along the lines of the Sam character in the movie Brazil, except without the guns and hoods and with more literary references.

take care,

John Emerson

I'm starting to wonder whether we're dealing wih a fictionalizing memoirist here. Too much shit happens to our boy Scott.

I anticipate a grand culmination when the girl who was having sex on his desk shows up working at the registrar's office AND turns out to be the second wife of the well-connected bastard in NOLA who was cheating on his first wife.

On the internet no one knows you're a dog.



The lines weren't that bad yesterday. It's almost like they've embraced some principle of organization or something.


While I appreciate the compliment, I've no doubt you could write this up better than I did. I mean, didn't you see the anachronism!?!


Yes, this is happening right now, and yes, I did turn over $4,500 yesterday, and was assured that most of it would be returned to me shortly. It's one of academic life's little indignities.


I'm not sure why you think there's anything extraordinary about this. As Karl's comment attests, I reference a common sort of screwing here. (Why else talk about its foundational moment? This is the sort of daily bureaucratic nonsense we deal with. Would that we could all be independent scholars in Elgin, living in houses that cost little more than I just outlayed UCI!)


Nate: historical sources wear their meaning on their faces and need no interpretation

Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee hee heee.......

Thanks, I needed the giggle.


Ahhh, I remember the first time I read this, back in ought-two. It's the Timaeus, right?

I must parrot the concerns of J. Emerson, despite your (rather coquettish) dismissal of them. Too much of this shit happens to you. It's almost like you're asking for it. Like one of those girls who gets roofied whilst showing a bra strap or two. Wait, that's not right...

I hope you get things cleared up. Motherfucking inner city bureaucracy (makes me want to holler).

John Emerson

He's definitely been asking for it. Probably his office had a sign on the front door saying "Please have sex on my desk".


What, like the "kick me" sign we put on his back lo these many years ago?

. . .

Scott, if you think those bastards are going to give back that money they said they'd "hold just for a minute," then I have bridge to sell you. Not that you'd be able to pay it, what with the bureaucrats having tricked you out of your life savings and all, but...

Where's THE LIBRARY's extortionist messages when you need them?


I would also like to chime in with a historical perspective - I can cite stuff like this (bad luck/karma/juju?) happening to Scott as far back as 1987. It's true that some of it he brings onto himself and those around him [*cough*cable bill*cough*], but some of it seemingly descends on him from the ether. The most salient example that comes to mind is the time a Hyundai he was riding in went off the road: the driver came away with a wrist sprain, the other passenger was uninjured. Scott's luck, though, meant that he would crack all/most of his ribs, and then endure the next ministrations of his sociopathic best friend, which largely consisted of trying to make him laugh as often as possible. In high school he seemed to be a peacetime Svejk, with a tad more self awareness.


Scott, $4500 as a little indignity is a little bit of an understatement. Best of luck. Your university sounds like it was written by Kafka or something. Have you considered the possibility that you may in fact be a fictional character? (No offense intended, some of my favorite people are fictional.) There's some documentary about this, "Stranger than Fiction" you might view it and see if it resonates with you at all.


RE: "The Good Soldier Svejk"

Make sure you get the new English translation of The Good Soldier Svejk available at

More information about the Svejk phenomenon at http://SvejkCentral.

Also, Svejk is on FaceBook now:

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