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MLAgain - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
MLAgain
I'm so behind in posting -- the short entries of late are masking my failure to finish the longer ones pending from our trip -- that I haven't gotten around to explain that my strange days at the Modern Language Association's annual convention in December -- exhaustively and inelegantly detailed by me in an earlier entry -- have finally ripened into long clusters of semi-gloss fruit in the new issue of The Believer.

You should track down the magazine, if you don't already subscribe, for its artifactual value. But if you live far from an independent or at least pseudo-independent bookstore and want to read the piece sooner than later, the article in question, admirably penned by the Gideon Lewis-Kraus, is now available in its entirety on-line for an indeterminate period of time.

It's hard for me to be impartial, given my involvement with the piece, but I think it's pretty darned entertaining for an essay of 11, 527 words. When I gave it to my parents in Oakland, my father -- the master of reading out loud -- bravely performed the whole thing for my mother and me. They laughed a lot, in all the right places and some that perturbed me as well. The final tally, though, was squarely in the win column for English professors like myself.

I suppose I should confess that the politician in me is disturbingly proud to have facilitated in the publication on the MLA that doesn't add to the huge pile of articles making people in my line of work like fools, radicals or both.

I desperately wanted to do that even when I was a new graduate student attending my first MLA convention in my A.G.S.E. union cap, an experience referenced in another entry from the blog archives.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the piece from The Believer.

Mode: unverschämt
Muse: Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You - Engelbert Humperdinck - Romantic Favorites

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Comments
sub__rosa From: sub__rosa Date: July 13th, 2004 06:22 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

the believer.

I really enjoyed reading that piece.

The mystique of being a professor. Oh boy.

"the big dramatic answer to what the humanities are for, is they aren't for anything, at least not in the usual senses. Their use lies in the reminder that there is a certain grandeur in speculative withdrawal, that there are still refuges, and this sounds terribly corny, but it's true, and it's important where reflection trumps activity."

For some time I have tried to ignore this. It's something my Father first told me. But it's not so bad. Are you ever in your office during the summer? If so I'd like to stop by sometime just to talk...I'm on campus most days for work.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: July 13th, 2004 11:01 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: the believer.

Glad you read it. I can be on my office during the summer, but only if I have a scheduled appointment. Why don't you write me. My address is the same as my LJ name before the "at" sign and U-dot afterwards?
From: wondrousbeauty Date: July 16th, 2004 11:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I really enjoyed the article, and I see that we've crossed paths as commenters here. This isn't meant to be snarky at all, but I found it humorous that someone criticizing English professors didn't read your PAC-10 remark very carefully in The Believer article.

Way to go (though of course part of the credit is the author's); in this article, I think you make English professors come off as kind, intelligent, friendly people who are a lot of fun to be around, even though the MLA conference may have included some slightly more inaccessible types.

Sharleen Mondal
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