my favorite part

I will, perhaps, someday write a two-person play about arguments over literary studies. It will take place at a cocktail party. The opening scene will probably look something like this:

[Literary scholar (standing by the cheese plate); Inebriated guest (stumbling in suddenly).]

IG: Hey… Hey!…You know whadyer prollem is?
LS (startled): Do I know you?
IG: You spen’ too mush time acting like yer a hissorian or a sosh… a soss… a sosheologiss. You shud luuuuuuuv lidderacher! Why doncha luv it? I luv it.
LS: I’m sorry. Have we met?
IG: Yer allays talkin’ about race… or class… or genner. I mean… who really carez about that stuff?
LS: Well, a lot of people, actually.
IG: You shud luuuuuuuv lidderacher!
LS: Yeah, you said that. And actually, I do love it. That’s why I’ve devoted my life to studying it.
IG: Don’ allays try to be a hissorian or a sosheologiss. Why you do that?
LS: No. I don’t do that, actually.
IG: Yeah, you do! Don’ deny it.
LS: So you read literary scholarship?
IG (angry): Yer bein’ snobby now? You think I can’t unnerstand what you do?
LS: I didn’t say you can’t understand it. I asked if you were familiar with it.
IG: Misser Bigshot over here. Thinks he’z so smart!
LS: Are you an English professor?
IG: Wha..? You think I gotta be a profezzor to understand what you do?
LS: Well, weren’t you saying I’m not qualified to engage with history or sociology? How is that any different than me asking if you’re qualified to engage with the field of literary studies?
IG: Wha…? Hey, yer tryin’ ta trick me!
LS: No, I just…
IG: You think yer so smart, doncha! I oughta… (passes out)

Later…

IG: You know wha? I like you! Yer allright.
LS: Get your hand off my shoulder.
IG: You have to admit. Thiz kina exchange is prolly good for you stuffy academic types.
LS: Oh, yes. I feel so enlightened now.

[Inebriated guest # 2 stumbles in.]

IG2: Hey! You know whadyer prollem is?…

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11 thoughts on “my favorite part

  1. Well done. I’m in favour of the cheese plate too. And clearly the inebriated guest got inebriated somewhere else first. As alcohol is usually in short, or cash bar only, supply at most humanities receptions. Because we’re strapped for money, and because we’re concerned about this thing called professionalism.

  2. Our inebriated guests must be warned not to transgress the boundaries and make fools of themselves without doing some hard work first. To do that they must master a different vocabulary altogether, in which their foolishness will not be immediately obvious to outsiders. Perhaps a daily visit to the PostModernism generator, to be repeated until the aspirant literary critic can generate equally profound sentences, and pass a kind of reverse Turing Test, would be in order.

  3. Round and round we go, starting the conversation over again at the beginning.
    Welcome, IG3.
    As anyone knowledgable about the current state of literary studies knows, postmodern language used to discuss literature is unlikely to win many academic fans.
    And the Postmodernism Generator reveals about as much about literary studies as this piece of software reveals about computer science. Those who think that postmodernism is uniquely susceptible to being parodied by such software are perhaps ignorant of the capabilities of computers. Consider the Shakespeare Insult Generator.
    Interested readers are invited to see what I’ve had to say about the current state of literary studies by reading the last comment left here and comment 97 left here.
    In short, it would appear that it is necessary to remain ignorant about the field in order to nurture the greatest amount of hostility towards it. (See my short dramatic work above).
    And, yes, the cheese plate is what my high school English teacher would have called a symbol.

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