Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Things I've Written, Entirely Out of Context: Academia Edition (2017-18)

It's time for another...

Academia Edition
(2017-18 Term)

A.K.A. all the times my personal writing style may have influenced my academic writing style a little too much, to the chagrin and occasional amusement of my professors. In this essay I will discuss:

  • Misapplied science!
  • Conspiracy theories about children's books!
  • Shade thrown at literary characters!
  • Puns!
  • Memes!
  • Whiny Heterosexual Men called out on their nonsense!
  • And, as is to be expected, a great deal of sarcasm!


“With Heaven above, and Faith below, I will yet stand firm against the devil!” [Young Goodman Brown] swears, lacking the self-awareness to note that standing firm is not exactly his strong suit.


I reject the premise that one can ascribe human physiology to the Kool-Aid Man, as obviously his internal fluid is not blood and the loss of that fluid not akin to blood loss, as the Kool-Aid Man encourages children to drink the fluid and does not appear to suffer any ill effects. Furthermore, given his unique design and materials, I doubt he requires any sort of homeostasis in order to function. He may be sentient, but he is neither made of cells nor (presumably) able to reproduce. He is not an animal - he is not even alive by scientific definition. The rules of animal anatomy simply don’t apply to a glass pitcher full of Kool-Aid that somehow achieved sentience.


In “The Sneetches,” the character of Sylvester McMonkey McBean symbolizes the capitalist exploitation of both marginalized groups and their oppressors. McBean initially appears to be working for the benefit of the oppressed Plain-Belly Sneetches, giving them stars to eliminate the physical difference between them and the Star-Bellies, but McBean soon promises the Star-Bellies that Sneetch society will return to its social stratification: “I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on the beaches,” he says (emphasis mine), playing to the Star-Bellies’ belief that they are inherently superior than the Plain-Bellies. McBean also addresses both groups as “friends” and manipulates them into believing the cost of his operation is minor when he says that his “prices are low” and that “all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.”


Devereux notes the similarities to common symptoms of an anxiety attack or dissociative episode and rather bizarrely concludes that this proves Sappho’s same-sex desire is linked to mental illness.


The English Grammar makes much of the dual nature of the letter C. Jonson himself merely notes that the letter is superfluous, explains the sounds it makes, and moves on, but one of the Latin commentators, the vociferous Smithus, calls C “an androgynous letter by nature, neither male nor female, but neuter. A monstrosity of the alphabet, not a letter: an example of ignorance, not of art. In our common use it has either too much or no force. For it may be either k or s . . . I do not know what monster or Empusa it may be, which appears now man, now woman” (Jonson 28-30, tr. Waite) . . . Cymbeline's ambiguous relationship with power and gender perfectly suits the Early Modern English perception of the letter that begins his name—or at least, the letter as perceived by Smithus.


[Octavio] Paz argues that a homosexual reading of these lines would be “excessive” and thus avoids the subject, conveniently choosing not to engage with a perfectly valid argument.


That being said, I am inordinately fond of this piece, as demonstrated by the five-hundred-word essay I have just written about it.


The moment I drew closer to examine the new plant life, my cynicism quickly gave way to 
fascination. For there was an eager, green budyoung, supple, dangling from his stem as if he hadn't a care in the world, though the way his head thrust out the forefront of the bush betrayed his yearning for the tender caress of the sun. It was a longing we both shared . . .

Saturday, April 21, and I went to see him once more, in somewhat more stable, if brisk, weatherHe had grown to 3/4 of an inch and smelled like fertilizer and irresistability. Unlike the other buds around him, his leaves were only slightly unfurled; he remained reluctant to open up to me. Slowly, tenderly, I reached out to touch his leaves. They had a waxy feel to themit's called cutin, I would later learn during a lonely night spent scouring the Internet for details about my bud's mysterious past . . . 

When I saw my bud again, he was flourishing, growing wildly and recklessly in this warm, newly temperate 60° weather. He was healthy, beautiful, perfectand yet I felt hollow. The attraction between us had withered even as he blossomed.

He doesn't need me anymore, I realized. He was no delicate flower, but a hardy bush-to-be. And unlike myself, he didn't have a heart—he would never know the heartbreak I felt when I realized I had to leaf him... 

Okay. That's it. I'm done anthropomorphizing plants to parody trashy romance cliches. I'm so, so sorry you had to read this. I promise I have absolutely no interest in dating any local flora. I just couldn't resist the opportunity to make terrible plant puns. But, honestly? It was worth it.


Anyway, that’s why I don’t like Game of Thrones. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

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