Herr H., by contrast, gave one of the least accessible presentations I've ever heard on "De Man, Media, and the Politics of Memory." Judging by his impressive list of publications, H. is no doubt a very smart man himself. Princeton hired him, after all. E. tells me that his book is outstanding. But he should know better than to take the already extremely difficult, but close reading-centered work of De Man and apply it to the amorphousness of new media studies. I'm sure he had a point to make, but I doubt whether ten people in the jam-packed room got it. H.'s prose was so full of coinings, so convoluted in syntax that it would serve as the perfect means of discrediting everything the MLA does. As I sat there cringing at each use of the "-esis" suffix, I was secretly hoping that G. had been delayed enough to miss H.'s talk. The worst part was that, after talking in incomprehensible blocks of jargon for 2/3 of the paper, H. then decided to illustrate his point, whatever it was, by providing a glorified plot summary of Christopher Nolan's Memento, which -- surprise, surprise! -- turns out to have the perfect structure for explaining new media. I'm starting to wonder whether it's possible to make it through an academic conference these days without someone referencing Memento.
Be still my burbling heart. I could die from so much anticipation.