Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ah, the Literature Department!

Think this might be a touch cynical?

...Literature departments really are where bad ideas go to die — or, rather, to walk the earth as poorly reanimated zombies, eating the brains of heedless young people. Marxism, conceived as a philosophy grounded in economics, failed utterly, everywhere it was tried, to do the things it promised: to increase prosperity and eliminate inequality.... literature departments, the only empirical test of an intellectual construct is whether it can offer coherent readings of poems, novels, and plays: Let’s call this the Cleverness Standard. Can a clever person, using these premises (derived from very, very clever people such as Marx, Freud, and de Beauvoir) spin out an interpretation of Mansfield Park? Or, increasingly, action movies such as Thor, or video games like Second Life? If so, that person is on the track toward tenure. If I ever went to work at a “mainstream” college English department, I would drop my theological study of Walker Percy and write up instead a book-length Jungian reading of my favorite PC shoot-’em-up Medieval Total War. I’m sure I would meet and exceed the Cleverness Standard, and when the thing was published by the Lusitania State University Press (to be read by some 70 people), I’d be well on my way toward snagging that faculty Volvo I’ve always dreamed of.

Yah, well, and (stamp feet here) he ended that 'graf with a PREPOSITION, so it must be.........wrong.......or something.

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