Grad housing – no Ivory Tower here.

My house is a national disaster area, if that is possible.
In fact, it reminds me a lot of junior year and Buffy . . . the last night in our old room (the last night I was there, anyway) she slept on the floor because there was no room on the bed. A little backwards, perhaps, but she came from Breathitt county.

I made a disturbing discovery today about academia . . . okay, so it wasn’t really a newsflash so much as it was a startled remembrance: As academics, we are pompous. We like our big words and our inscrutable sentences and our ivory-towerness, as I was (wrongfully, in this case) accused of earlier this week while commenting on someone else’s blog.

But about today: I was reading some articles assigned for our department seminar, and one of my fellow newbies was snorting at the author’s imperious literary babble. The third newbie in the room, said something that implied that it was okay and normal to talk over everyone’s heads. The second newbie replied to the point that something worth saying was worth stating plainly, which I heartily seconded.

No offense to anyone, but doesn’t the very fact that we had an argument to this effect say something about us? That we were arguing about whether we had the right to be high and mighty seemed to me to be damning evidence in and of itself. Maybe you don’t see my train of thought, which is fine. I never make much coherent sense late on Fridays. I’m not in any way saying that the girls in the room didn’t have the right or whatnot to say what they did . . . it just scared me that we were even arguing along those lines.

Essentially, though, I realized I am not one of them. I am one of those who dissent, I guess. If what we’re studying is so vitally important, why aren’t any of these names being heard outside of our field? Wouldn’t you want to expand your horizons, reach out to other disciplines and embrace their knowledge as well? Surely you don’t think that what you love the most is by this token the most important field of study.

Part of this angst, understand, came out of the departmental seminar’s topic itself: Literary Theories and Literary Criticism. To be told first thing that no one way can be right because we have long since thrown out Truth with a capital T . . . and I’m not paraphrasing much, that’s what she actually said.

Why the crap are we studying this if there is no Truth?


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