Friday, 05 May 2006

The Wayback Machine: May 4, 2006 [Because many of my readers are of recent vintage—not to mention the fact that your Irvine Derridevils have a double-header tonight—I present to you this blast from the past. Originally posted on May 4, 2005, "How Not to Open, Close or Anything In-Between an Academic Essay" marked my entry into big-time blogging. No, not the sort of "big-time" that would unleash the hoards of boingboing on my (limited) bandwidth—but a more modest "big-time." My readership spiked from 25 to about 70 after this post, so I have a spot for it as soft as the one I have for its subject is sore. Note the reference to the fictional "A. Cephalous" which pepper it. Also note the overwrought prose of someone who tries far too hard. Ain't the fact that I don't have to do the former no more grand? Of the latter, the less said the better.] The discussion at The Valve keeps spurring memories of my erstwhile conversion to Church of Theory and Latter Day Feints in the Spring of '98. [Ugh.] The Critical Tradition clutched to my chest, I would speak to anyone willing to listen about "Butler's fascinating essay," presumably "Imitation and Gender Subordination," which at the time I felt "the most eye-opening thing I'd read all semester, in that the perspective it offered me [was] so different from what I assumed the 'gay' perspective to be that I [had] a distinct urge to round up everyone I know who's gay and interrogate them." [Maybe I should've mentioned that those quotations came from the statement of purpose that landed me this swank position at UCI. And this paragraph—did it really need to be this long? No.] [And now it isn't.] Very impolitic, I know, but at the time I only knew two verbs and "intervene" didn't work either. Also, I had spent the previous paragraph "intervening in Irigaray's critique of male-dominated hegemonic practices," and too much intervention left the young A. Cephalous feeling less effective than a Clintonian Democrat. (His phrase, not mine.) [Don't you love how I complain about tediously overwritten prose in tediously overwritten prose? I'm so ironic. And intentionally, no less.] And so when it came time to write an Honors thesis, I chose the topic closest to my heart: "a Wittgensteinian critique of the discursive function of the feminine and the cyborg in schlemihlhood in Thomas Pynchon's V. and Gravity's Rainbow." According to my abstract, By utilizing Donna Harraway's all-inclusive conception of cyborg identity I will investigate the realities Pynchon imposes on his characters' bodies without limiting the factual information provided about those realities to the demands on a system I impose on the text. Instead I will work with the epistemological boundaries present in the text itself, provided by the interaction of the historical details, literary allusions, and philosophical and scientific arguments. This will allow me to explicate the text's complexity without reducing it to a more palatable but less accurate representation of itself. [Why didn't I take the opportunity to...
A Day in the Life of a College Student, Circa 1928 Jim: Andy was lit up like a church last night! Jim #2: Was he? I can't remember. I'd wet my goozle with some hard knockout drops soon as the sun dropped. Andy: (stumbling in) So I drank some corn juice, I remember that much . . . Sam: 'Pifflicated, you were! Andy: I was at that. I was seeing snakes for sure. What happened to Mary? All: Let's not talk about the after-date. Andy: Why not? She was strong for lovin' last I recall. (a confuzzled look crosses his face) I was . . . Sam #2: You're no big butter and egg man from out West anymore. Andy: What's your insinnuendo? I showed some mean stuff and now she just gives me air? Jim: You shouldn't have told her 'bout your surety. She thinks you a chicken duster now. Andy: I'm no . . . I suppose it's not worth discussing. I'm not sloptimist enough to think I can open her gate now. Jim #2: Plus Jim over there told her you were a chest-pounder. Andy: Why'd you go and do that? Drift, brother, and close the door behind you. (Jim leaves. Andy turns to the Sams) What happened last night? Which slicker brought panther-sweat to our private tunk? Sam: You did. Andy: I did? Sam #2: You came blustering in about not cookie-pushing for any more high higs and how you were coming to this and every future rub stag. Andy: She was a knock-out and a darb, but my father isn't paying this grill four thousand a year for me to be some rare lady's tea hound. I mean, she knows her oil . . . Jim #2: She is full of vinegar. Sam #2: And she never breaks a wing. Andy: But she gives a lot of house. Sam #2: That's not what I heard tell. Andy: Where's your muffler? Sam #2: Sorry. I can be such a sock. You want to join our cram tonight? Jim #2: You should. You're on the mat and Sam really knows his onions. Andy: I should. I don't want to get a letter from His Highness. Sam: You're next invite to the Dean's formal will be your last. Andy: (slumps) This Jewish engineering has me down on all fours. Don't get me wrong. The professor's pretty hot. When we chum he has the oil and keeps cramming. But I thought his would be a pipe and now it's all whip and over. Sam #2: Just be sure to bone and you won't get a footing. Jim: (runs in) C'mon, peaches, here's your can! (Jim #2, Sam, Sam #2 and Andy give chase. Homosocial hilarity ensues.)

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