A little late night academic humor

So, I always like to post little things that make me laugh. I was looking up the phase “always already” which is a very hip poststructuralist sort of thing to say. Of course, I’ve heard it used a million times, but I didn’t know exactly who came up with it. I should have known. Of course, our old friend Martin Heidegger and then used liberally by Jacques Derrida. And I found this out at a hilarious posting How to talk like Jacques Derrida. I’m sure this must have been secretly circulated among many professors and students I know. Here is some of the advice:

Use the phrase “always already: Not only is the meaning of language always slipping out of our grasp, it has already moved on as we attempt to grasp it. What better phrase to express the urgency of this dynamic than to jam together two words which lesser minds would never have in the same room together? Thus, we are always already finding ourselves closer to the Derridean mode of expression.

Become a thesaurus: Why use one word, term, phrase, idiom, when you can use many, multiple, a plurality, two, maybe five words for the same concept, idea, meaning, signified?

Never finish a sentence too early: Always there will come an impulse, a wish, a directive to bring a sentence to a conclusion (a linguistic parole – Barthes’ parole applied to his lang? – time off for good behaviour, the sentence is brought to an end, the meaning is no longer a danger to society: but what could be more dangerous than meaning?), to bring the discourse to a terminus, which is after all merely another starting point, but this desire must be resisted (often through creating another subordinate clause, a subordinate which may grow to resist its subordinator, finally becoming the dominant term in the grammatical relationship, which is, after all, an essentially political one), although when one is quite certain (which is to say, one believes oneself to be certain) that the reader will have forgotten (or rather, neglected to remember) how the sentence began in the first place.

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4 Responses to A little late night academic humor

  1. In addition to “always already,” be sure to use:

    “problematize” (as in, “I want to problematize the notion that Oxford Spa has the best sandwiches. What about Petsi Pie?”)

    “put in conversation with” (as in “Let’s put this paper-writing in conversation with the fact that I want to go to sleep.”)

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Those are very good additions! :) They also made me laugh!

  3. You too are very funny. I’d forgotten that people talked this way. I took a class with Nabokov, the son, and he used to list synonyms after every other word. Very amusing.

  4. I was raised in a family where it was encouraged to say your bit in ten words, cause that’s about all you had if you wanted to not be interrupted. :-)

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