Oh, the humanities.
Garden Statutory by Kyle Robertson
- In contemporary academia, tumblr posts suffice for paper proposals.
- Avoid inane in-class discussion. Distract yourself with self-mutilation.
- When discussing masturbation in literature, be sure to throw in something about body-as-text to sublimate accompanying academic anxieties for paper cuts.
- If called upon unexpectedly, speak metaphorically by borrowing jargon from unrelated domains. Science is a perennial favourite, and has the added bonus of legitimizing your discipline. Valence—not just for electrons!
- Be sure to throw in poorly-defined abstract terms featured in the ‘literature.’ Try ‘interpellation’, ‘the Symbolic’, or ‘aporia.’ If the literature can use them, so can you. Remember WWJD: When Wanting Jargon, Dialectic.
- Compensate for nervousness during presentations by popping a beta-blocker or five beforehand.
- Don’t hesitate to interrupt emotional blather disguised as analysis with a blunt ‘No one cares how you feel.’
- Frequent references to ‘us moderns’ & ‘modernity’ will suffice to make you appear self-aware.
- Avoid culpability in discussions by confessing to having not read the text, even if you have.
- If you need to bail midsentence, challenge the teleological expectations of your audience by sto—
- Keep seminars on track: consider making a sign that reads ‘This discussion is unproductive.’ Then hit people with it.
- Attribute doubtful ideas first to a continental philosopher in translation. If met with hostility, blame the translator. If not, boast your interpretive skills.
- If accused of having used a term incorrectly, claim to have used it ‘ironically.’
- A well-timed and emphatically vocalized expletive will throw even the most uninhibited off the trail leading to your defective thesis. NB: Not effective in writing. Shit.
- Put a swift end to troublesome discussions by accusing your interlocutor of sexism, racism, or if you want to do us all a favour, communism/fascism.
- Squeeze out of tight spots by waxing philosophical. Challenge others by questioning their use of language and then require of their defence infinite exactness.
- Avoid referring to the gaze in discussion. Prefer the adjective ‘homosexual.’
- To make every class feel like a slam session, invite discussion by asking if anyone would like to ‘speak to’ the topic.
- Help others better appreciate your privilege by emphasizing that intense student-teacher connection you have with your professors whenever possible. But try to be subtle.
- You are no longer required to yell when refuting an argument. People are trying to sleep.
- Kick-off every seminar on postmodernity with an equivocal line like ‘global citizens are not entirely resigned to living in and among dustbins.’ (Bonus points for Baudrillard, but who’s counting?)
- Stock up on amphetamines for exam season.
- In lieu of content, loop a peppy guitar track. (Freebie from the Terry Project.)
- You are of course entitled to free speech—but not to an audience.
Thanks to Lara, Jane, Manjeet, and Laura.