Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The key to all mythologies

You know what I need to see fewer of?

Journal articles that claim that all previous readings of Pretty Famous Works of Literature are hopelessly wrong and misguided, but that the author has right here in his pocket the key--heretofore unknown, unrecognized, and untried!--that will unlock all the work's mysteries, explain its apparent inconsistencies, and bring into the brilliant light of day the true motives for its composition.

Now, it's not like I haven't made my share of embarrassingly brash rhetorical moves (I have, in print, dismissed the work of "most twentieth-century literary critics" on a certain topic), and I'll even plead guilty to a mild form of intentionalism. . . but I like to think that I've never a) failed to define the single term that my entire argument depends on; b) neglected to establish how the work's author could possibly have known or why he would have followed a particular tradition or model in writing the work in question; and c) after saying that my argument explained all of a work's inconsistencies, gone on and happily ignored most of them.

Seriously, dudes. Cut that shit out.

7 comments:

Hieronimo said...

Oh no, you read my article! I thought I had managed to tone it down a bit, but it's hard when, you know, everyone else is so damn stupid.

Flavia said...

H: well, now I'm embarrassed. I thought for sure you wouldn't recognize yourself in that post. . .

Sisyphus said...

Heh heh.

jb said...

Yikes. That article I'm revising? Evidently it needs a whole lot more revision.

undine said...

And here I thought that using a term no one had ever heard of and then refusing to define it was the sine qua non of having an article published.

You forgot the other one, though: the strategy of describing a very well-known phenomenon for which a perfectly good word exists and saying "this phenomenon, which I will call [insert made-up and less comprehensible term here]."

Another Damned Medievalist said...

*is ded from the laughing*

Seriously, it's nice to be reminded of these things. I always find myself saying, "now, this isn't entirely new, but what if we were to look at this information through a new lens ... see? different picture!"

Breena Ronan said...

Heh, heh, heh, very funny. Does anyone really say anything new? I keep hoping that someone will say something original. Of course I don't have any original ideas either.