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Archive for March 8th, 2012

found titles

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As I’m in a bit of one of those self-improvement-via-OCD-meets-CBT type places right now, am tempted to write a fiction daily, however short, that takes its title from one of the Google searches, that according to my stats, led someone (or many ones) to this site.

As with most blogs, I imagine, these are largely searches after pornography.

I’m not going to write pornography.

But still, even those searches / titles could work. So… how about for tomorrow (if there’s time):”the thing girls find pleasurable but shameful.”

Feels right to me….


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March 8, 2012 at 3:45 am

Posted in fiction, google

the satire of our betters

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Not that one should really go in for such things, but I just saw a Gawker post that makes a point pertinent to other things that I’ve been thinking about lately. Only going to name one name here, as it’s a name attached to a current piece, but I’m starting to notice a bit of a trend or a trope that is persistently appearing in a certain, well, caste of writing:

1) one writes an article / piece / novel that is a bit or a lot tone deaf when it comes to the social positionality of the dramas, humorousness, or both invoked

2) perhaps one thus delights / edifies / entertains those readers / viewers how happen to share the social position involved but then

3) one is criticised for the naive / un-reflexive / bizarre / grating (attempts at) drama or humor, perhaps by those who don’t share the same social position, and so

4) one explains / argues that said piece was meant in jest / as satire.

For instance, see this piece by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian in The New Inquiry, this response to the piece, and the original writer’s response to the response.

The trick  – and this runs parallel to what the Harvard kids in the video on Gawker don’t get either – is that the ultimate purpose of one’s piece, the final message, may well undercut any semi-satiric posturing that comes in the middle. That is to say, if in the New Inquiry piece, in the words of the author,

the ‘woe is columbia’ attitude was intended to be self-mocking (um, i guess i failed?) and the main point i was trying to make is that going to fancy liberal arts college actually makes you less competent for the kinds of jobs you get right after college…

it’d probably be better for the penultimate (or is it ultimate?) point not to be that the problem with humanities degrees is that just about anyone – not just the tenderly cultivated products of international schools who end up at Columbia – can get one. As she says in the initial essay linked above:

The reason for the bachelor’s degree’s impending obsolescence has a lot to do with the high costs, and now publicly-recognized flaws of American four-year colleges. It is also an inevitable consequence of just how available higher education has become. With limitless student loans and free-for-all admissions to for-profit colleges, education is no longer a surefire indicator of class or race—a valuable function for the reproduction of both hierarchies—or even intelligence or ability—the supposed backbone of the information economy.

Anyway, it is one example of many, this… But you see how it works, right? Someone calls you on your snobbery or silliness, and you in turn call them, implicitly or explicitly, on their stupidity for not getting the in-joke, the ironic jargon of the quad, the argot of the ivied.

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March 8, 2012 at 2:46 am