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Author Topic: Academia does the Smiths
audra trower williams
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posted 21 April 2005 01:39 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
On one of the more recent rainy days in Manchester, a mixture of academics and civilians congregated in the atrium of a white-walled building at the Metropolitan University. From a distance this could have been a crowd at any academic conference, but a telling clue came from the state of the men’s hair. Amongst the styles were a suspicious number of quiffs in various states of elevation. (A quick definition: a quiff is “a man’s prominent forelock, worn elevated.” Quaff means drinking; quiff means hair like Elvis.)

These quiffs were meant to look like Morrissey, the lead singer of one of the most beloved bands of the 1980s, the Smiths. Some of the greying quiffs in the crowd looked ready to collapse, and were only standing thanks to a few stubborn upright hairs. The younger quiffs were sturdy. It was a hopeful sign. The hairstyle — like the Smiths’ music itself — had been passed with care from one generation to the next.

The crowd in the atrium had gathered from universities in Norway, Portugal and Germany to discuss the literary and cultural significance of the Smiths.


Oh man I would have loved to go to this!


From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 01:43 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I dunno. I can see the attraction. On the other hand, academic analysis of this kind of thing is a little like dissecting a frog. You can do it, but the frog tends to die in the process.

The Smiths' music is immortal, of course. But I wonder just how much fun something like this would be.

By coincidence, yesterday I was looking through pictures I took back in spring 1985. One of my friends had hair a little like Morrissey's. He's bald now (my friend, that is). The moving finger writes, and all like that there.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 21 April 2005 02:05 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
On one hand, I would totally have loved to be there. On another, its kind of sad. I agree that the Smiths, Morrisey, are really solitary pleasures. While I'd love to read some of the papers presented, some of the fan worship of the conference attendees and presenters seems a bit, well, again, the word I can think of (with 2 hours sleep) is sad. And, what's with the woman who claims Morrisey is a lesbian???

Besides, the article was poorly written at times.

quote:
Meat is Murder is the title of one of the Smiths’ best albums

Well, they didn't make that many (and I'm not sure I'd count a good number of their albums as full albums, considering the inclusion of previously released material, not even looking at the singles, best of albums). So, yeah, but, Meat is Murder isn't The Queen is Dead or the Smiths. So, pick a better sectional link.


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 21 April 2005 02:53 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Reminds me of the essays I've threatened to write over the years (if they actually exist, please don't tell me):

- "How was your day, dear?": A feminist critique of the Fox TV show 24

- "Eight days a week is not enough": The ironic Beatles, 1964-5

and my magnum opus...

- "That's not your mother, that's a MAN, baby!": Male mothering and the interrogation of gender stereotypes in AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 03:02 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

"'Now I Wanna Be Your Dog': Transgression and the Construction of Species Identity in Proto-Punk, 1969-1974."


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 April 2005 03:29 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"'Oh, Lord, woncha buy me a Mercedes Benz': Narrative Multiplicity and the Submateriality of the Neotext."
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 03:32 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Narrative Multiplicity and the Submateriality of the Neotext

Oy and vey. Why do I get this queasy feeling you didn't have to make that up?


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stephen Gordon
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posted 21 April 2005 03:42 PM      Profile for Stephen Gordon        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Nope. I even ran the last part of it through google without quotes, and it came up completely empty. As in *no* hits whatsoever. skdadl's just that good.

I like the fact that all these silly examples involve colons. I hate colons in titles.


From: . | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 03:47 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Nope. I even ran the last part of it through google without quotes, and it came up completely empty. As in *no* hits whatsoever. skdadl's just that good.

Yabbut skdadl, as we know, edits for an academic press. So I was wondering if she'd read that in a manuscript still unavailable (and, please God, forever unavailable) on the Web.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 April 2005 03:50 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

I will make a confession. I do know -- well, in a sort of way I know -- well, y'know, contingently, more or less -- like, not in any essential way, but as a bit of bricolage, you understand -- what all those words mean, or at least what they might mean in a postdialectical non-paradigmatic paradigm.

But I can never remember most of them unless I read some other nutbar who flings them about, so I went to the postmodernism generator and pillaged a bit.

I did put them together myself, though. And they make a curious sort of sense of Janis, no?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 April 2005 04:09 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
About the colons, the current fondness for longer and longer and more detailed subtitles, not just in scholarly books, where that has long been a fetish, but in general trade books as well:

The NYTimes Book Review ran an interesting column on the subject not long ago, very amusing, of course, with all the examples, but most provocative in its author's guess at the new reason for the long, detailed title/subtitle: Google.

One can see that, can one not?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 04:29 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
The NYTimes Book Review ran an interesting column on the subject not long ago, very amusing, of course, with all the examples, but most provocative in its author's guess at the new reason for the long, detailed title/subtitle: Google.

One can see that, can one not?


One can, though of course it predates Google, and even the Web. At least in academia.

In my student days, I very quickly tired of reading theses with titles of the "'Faintly Relevant Quotation from Primary Source Material or Revered Authority, Quite Often Foucault': Phenomenon Barely Discernible in Incomplete and Ambiguous Source Material in Provincial Canadian or Other City, Exaggerated Range of Dates" format -- but, naturally, ended producing just such a title for my (sigh!) thesis.

At least I found a half-decent quotation. In Victoria newspapers of the 1920s and 1930s, there were occasional editorials about police reliance on jailhouse informants. The papers were generally against it -- one editorialist intoned, "This is not justice, and what is not justice is not the law."

I liked the ring of that and so adopted the "What is not justice..." part -- except that, Neil Armstrong-like, I flubbed the line when actually finishing the thesis, ending up with "'What Is Not Justice Is Not Law:'..." Oh, well.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 21 April 2005 04:44 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My pet peeves, in regards to titles:

On Whatever.

Beyond Whatever.

Towards Whatever.


I truly loathe those conventions.


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 April 2005 04:54 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'lance:

Ah, please please please, 'lance -- you have to tell us. I'm begging you.

What was the title of your thesis?

And Coyote, while I can agree with "beyond" and "towards" especially, I admit to a nostalgic fondness for the "of" or "on" titles -- such a long and noble history -- "De rerum natura," eg, or "Sur ma vieille robe de chambre."


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Igor the Miserable
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posted 21 April 2005 04:58 PM      Profile for Igor the Miserable   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Love the Smiths, but the CBC is starting to piss me off. It took them a month to scalp the story from the Guardian?

That shit's old mofo! I like my Moz served up fresh. and tasty!

(edit to fix link)

[ 21 April 2005: Message edited by: Igor the Miserable ]


From: STRIKE | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
The Hegemo
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posted 21 April 2005 05:01 PM      Profile for The Hegemo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My Ph.D. thesis defense involved an hour plus of arguing with one of the board members who faulted me for not proving an argument which was pretty much the opposite of what I was arguing. He was ultimately placated by my promise to change the title of my thesis.

I don't even remember what the title wound up being...I suspect it did include a colon, though.


From: The Persistent Vegetative States of America | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 05:01 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Ah, please please please, 'lance -- you have to tell us. I'm begging you.

What was the title of your thesis?


Sorry, skdadl. I fear I've already Said Too Much.

But check your PMs.

[ 21 April 2005: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 21 April 2005 05:35 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 'lance:
"'Now I Wanna Be Your Dog': Transgression and the Construction of Species Identity in Proto-Punk, 1969-1974."
I like that even better - and I realize now that I wasn't using the quotation marks properly (or "properly", as Derrida might say).

But to paraphrase Freud, sometimes hypnotizing chickens is just hypnotizing chickens.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 21 April 2005 05:50 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now, what would Freud make of either Morrissey or Iggy, that's what I'd like to know.

FREUD:
Und zen, you rolled in ze broken glass on ze stage, zen smeared yourzelf vith zis... "peanut butter" zubztance?

POP:
Uh, yeah, pretty much, yeah.

FREUD:
I zee. Can you articulate vy you might have felt zuch a... zuch a self-destructive or at least bizarre impulze?

POP:
Seems kinda stupid in retrospect, I agree, but I guess I just got caught up in the intensity of the moment, y'know?

FREUD:
Intenzity, I zee... Gott in Himmel, I'm out of my depth here... Perhaps if I communicate viz Vienna...

[ 21 April 2005: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 21 April 2005 06:03 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of my buddies is doing his master thesis on Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth! Ah, cultural studies...
From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 22 April 2005 10:29 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"towards" is really important for those of us in science&tech. You can begin a title with "towards" as an excuse for not actually having done any work. Like "Towards a Grubelfunk for Hogflosticating Peptides". That way you don't actually have to make a grubelfunk or show anything useful about it, you can just talk about what you might do with it and are thinking of showing about it, and pin the blame on someone else for not having developed technology to support it.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged

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