Monday, 24 April 2006

Communal Hatred, The FAQ Official Stamp O' Approval [.mp3] Like it or not, we have become a community. We may not like each other very much, but truth be told, we allocate time better spent sleeping to undermining the very foundation of each other's respective worldviews. Thing is, we do so in a way that may perplex outsiders. So I suggest we create an FAQ which new readers can consult when, for example, one of us indicts the other for "having a plane to catch" or "making some pasta." Starter entries include: Aeroplanes, the Boarding of v. An insidious tactic designed to allow the boardee more time to respond cleverly to entries posted in distant time zones. Holbo, John n. An analytic blowhard who puffs fish and butchers anyone who complains. Kaufman, Scott the Eric of n. Confused, narcissistic graduate student who sympathizes with all folks regardless of scholarly orientation, discovers strangers in his office, thinks too much about things evolutionary and feels really, really old. Kotsko, Adam n. Outrageously funny seminarian who loves Christ (conflictedly), refuses to smack, and defends Slovenian Lacanians from analytic blowhards. Pasta, the Boiling of v. A rhetorical strategy designed to fool one's opponent into believing that common human courtesy overrides online commitments to continued debate. Spivak v. The practice of failing to contribute to an event because of personal or professional obligations. For example, "Kaufman, Scott the Eric of totally spivaked the Spivak event!" Žižek, Slavoj n. Slovenian Lacanian whose hilarious and eminently engaging works are nonetheless savaged by those who hate to love the unpretentious sense of humor they share with him. (See Holbo, John) Methinks this the beginning of a collaborative FAQ. Consider this a draft of a document whose potential to be gratifyingly self-deprecatory is infinite. John and I encourage everyone to write their own entry, suggest changes to those sketched above, and offer other categories which belong on it. [X-posted]
The End of The Valve? [X-posted. FYI: This is written in the spirit of yesterday's "misogynistic" post.] The vibe around [The Valve] has been terrible of late. Dismissive. Drained, nay! desanguified. Why? An unhealthy percentage of our readership responds rigidly and unthinkingly to what we publish. Constitutionally incapable of actual research, this lot prefers to think intuitively. They are frequently hostile, with bitter and ill-tempered dispositions. They flap their corrosive tongues in an attempt to dominate conversation. You heard me, ladies, I'm calling you out. I learned all about you in an article I read today: Intellectual activities unsex a woman, and she pays a high price for her intellectual life. As a result, she is prone to all sorts of nervous disorders and may become severely maladjusted. There is little hope she will marry, and, in a few cases, her intellectual activities are said to make her frigid. In any case, intellectual activities seem to make some women cold and lacking in human warmth. Of course, that only applies to our unattractive female readership, as the rare "hottie" (as the kids say) isn't even "credible to many, and ingenious explanations are necessary to accont for her scholarly interests. Usually the explanation is some type of early psychological experience." "Unattractive women," however, "are perfectly credible as scholars and their interests in intellectual activities do not require any explanation." Better unspeakably traumatized than unattractive, as "no greater misfortune can befall a woman than to be physically unattractive, and this misfortune of physical unattractiveness warps her soul and makes her a spiteful creature." In the article in question, "Social Attitudes Toward the Professor in Novels" (1961), Michael V. Belok analyzed forty novels published since 1940 in which at least one significant character was a professor. Here are the common attitudes toward male professors, listed in order of their frequency: The college professor is unworldly, impractical, and simple when it comes to the real affairs of life. Intellectual life may make him timid, shy, nervous, and repressed or it appears to attract many men of this type. The college professor who is interested in the arts is unmanly and possibly, a little "queer." The college teacher is a second-rater, a man who could not "make a go of it" in the really important affairs of life. Belok then combines the aforementioned attitudes toward female professors with those of the male and produces a list of differences: Male college professors were usually depicted as married; the women were almost without exception, unmarried. There was a pronounced tendency in the novels fo the woman to be depicted as having some sort of emotional difficulty. It was significant that the unfavorable characterizations of women always had them as ugly women; whereas in the case of men, they might have been handsome and were still characterized in a very unfavorable manner. It was also significant that there was a suggestion that intellectual activities either made or attracted hostile and aggressive women; whereas intellectual activities were supposed to either make or attract nervous...

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