Wednesday, 13 September 2006

The Very Best of Acephalous 2005 YES, I'M HUMORING YOU My Morning: A Play in One Uncomfortable Act Disadventure, Disaddendum, Dismoralized, & Disinsomnia: A Play (thus far) in Four Acts A Day in the Life of your Average Academic Acephalous' Index: Part I, Part II Fuck Act Theory: Part I, Part II An Undergraduate Honors Thesis Gone Terribly, Terribly Wrong (Now with Annotations) How to Open an Academic Essay: The Series Theory Comics: Freud, Derrida Lying at 30,000 ft. Course Descripton: Piracy Studies 100 Anatomy of a Troll Guidelines for the Proper Defacement of Other People's Stuff An Epistolary Romance Well, Who Would Conservatives Have Us Footnote? Lord Stanley and the Catapult Gambit Keith Herandez Up-Ends a Century of Feminist Progress A Lexigraphical Lament About Probationer Prosody Save Academic Freedom: Expel Hippies, Communists from UCLA "Running Amok, 368" Building Communities through Hate Graduate Students Love Fun Too Dude. Dude? Dude. Dude. (Annotated) Live-Blogging Super Bowl XXXX A Thanksgiving Prayer The Impossible James Bosoms & the Aesthetic Faculty (circa 1885) Life in the Kenning Factory Woe unto Ye Beetles of South America! NARCISSISM UNLEASHED How Acephalous Lost His Head Why He's the Last Person you oughta Respect How He Was Nearly Flattened Headless How He Fared Under the Knife Why He Puts the "der" in "Derridean" Why He's in Favor of Stumbling Why He "Did Theory" Why He Doesn't "Do Theory" Anymore Why Deaf Men Are Breast Men (& The Novelizaton) What the Five Year Rule Is Books He Lives With, Dies By His Day, In Haiku His Life as a John Hughes Film His Bookshelves, Described in Excrutiating Detail How He Coerces Congeniality How He Handles New Data, Old Certainties, & Familiar Places How the ANALOGICAL :: THE PERSONAL How the Personal is Etymological: appaumy bebaste loppard placula hymnicide neoconocon PEDANTIC, BUT EFFECTIVE I. GENERALLY The Theory of the Tyrrany of the Regime of Meaning Citational Difficulties & What They Say, Suggest, Identify or Aver No, You Weren't Thrown a Curve A Xenotheological Romance History of the Great American Novel Live-Blogging the MLA: The Prelude These Walls are Paper-Thin Lindsay Waters Count Contemporary Fiction & The Novel of Ideas The Random Example Who is that Guy? Book-Browsing & Bird Shit I Can't Believe I'm Telling You This Mistaken Assumptions With Nary a Whisper Blogging & Creature Comforts II. THEORETICALLY Ersatz Theoretical Ecumenicalism: Argument in the Age of Mechanical Interaction Historicisms Old & New New Historicism: A Reader's Guide My Hatred of Chiasmus and My Chiasmus of Hatred Useable vs. Historicial Pasts Père Foucault Stomps Fils, Gloats Theory & Literary Modernism III. POPULARLY Festivus and Literary Modernism Deadwood and to Whom its Dialogue is Beholden House as Bizarro-Quijote Teaching Melville in Madrasas Good Grief: Peanuts and Postwar Ennui Philip Roth, Sinclair Lewis & The Detail Hounds The Mirror of Flebotinum Rape in Science Fiction Comic Book Rape IV. DISSERTATIONALLY Stick it to the Historians Doubling London: History Is Become Narrative Grit for Future Gears! Super-Adequate Structural Homologies Historians, Start Your Engines The Consistency Fetish The Horatio...
The Macbeth Effect: Wipe that Conscience Squeaky Clean In the 8 September Science, Chen-Bo Zhong and Katie Liljenquist studied what they call the Macbeth Effect: that is, a threat to one's moral purity induces the need to cleanse oneself. This effect revealed itself through an increased mental accessibility of cleansing-related concepts, a greater desire for cleansing products, and a greater likelihood of taking antiseptic wipes. After a quick history of religiously-motivated cleansing rituals, the pair turn their attention to The Bard: Thus, Lady Macbeth's hope that a little bit of water would clear her of the treacherous murder of King Duncan might not have been a product of literary creativity, but of Shakespeare's acute understanding of the human psyche. If physical and moral purity are so psychologically intertwined, Lady Macbeth's desperate obsession with trying to wash away her bloodied conscience while crying, "Out, damned spot! Out, I say!" may not have been entirely in vain. Contemporary psychology may have disowned Freud, but it shares his penchant for literary appropriation. Like Freud, who found in the works of Sophocles and Shakespeare a complex examination of the entry of Man into Civilization, Zhong and Liljenquist saw a student production of Macbeth and discovered bathing: "Look at her! What is she doing with her hands?" A round of vigorous shushings later, the pair exit the theater and park themselves in front of their favorite frozen yogurt stand. "Do you think that Shakespeare fellow was onto something?" "Could be. Should we do a study?" "Sounds great! But how would we study that?" "First, we'll determine whether a threat to moral purity increases the mental accessibility of cleansing-related words." "Yeah! We'll ask participants to recall in detail either an ethical or unethical deed from their past and describe any feelings or emotions they experienced!" "Then we'll have them engage in a word completion task in which they convert word fragments into meaningful words!" "And of the six word fragments, three could be completed as cleansing-related words or as unrelated words!" "Like W_ _ H, SH_ _ ER, and S_ _P!" "Then we'll see whether those who recalled an unethical deed generated more cleansing-related words than those who recalled an ethical deed, suggesting that unethical behavior enhances the accessbility of cleasning-related concepts!" Or maybe they thought the Shakespeare brand would help them find an audience. Seriously though, I have more of a problem with the unexamined theory of the symbolic favored by contemporary psychology than its psychoanalytic equivalent. Not that depth or complexity necessarily mean anything, but the ease with which Zhong and Liljenquist place cleanliness next to turpitude disturbs me: Physical cleansing may wash away moral sins through symbolic self-completion; that is, people are motivated to complete their self-definitions (e.g., musicians) when indicators or symbols of this definition are lacking (e.g., skills) by engaging in activities that complete the symbols (e.g., training). Thus, when moral self-definition is at stake, such as when one has indulged in morally questionable activities, one should naturally be motivated to engage in activities that will restore moral integrity....

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