A Battle of Wills

The Diary of an Unwilling PhD Student

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— Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans, LA. Charles Willard Moore, 1979.
I would hereby like to thank Henry Keazor (professor of Art History at the Uni Saarland here in Germany, apparently) for brightening my reading experience today with the following incredibly cute observation:
"The “Piazza” in its colourful, playful and vivid appearance can be understood as a critique of the dull and boring modernist skyscraper in the background that does not seem to ‘respect’ the architecture surrounding it. However, due to the visual connections Moore establishes between the “Piazza d’Italia” and the modernist building, the latter is included and welcomed into the new complex and thus aesthetically ‘redeemed’."
as well as with his translation/incorporation of the following brilliant statement by Jean Nouvel:
“A little bit of pop art, three symbols, two historical references, all this bound together by sociological sauce and sprinkled with irony[.] A very basic and redundant symbolism, a scenography made of cardboard, a farce of a kind of ‘commedia della architettura’, a scene for a musical comedy.”

— Piazza d’Italia in New Orleans, LA. Charles Willard Moore, 1979.

I would hereby like to thank Henry Keazor (professor of Art History at the Uni Saarland here in Germany, apparently) for brightening my reading experience today with the following incredibly cute observation:

"The “Piazza” in its colourful, playful and vivid appearance can be understood as a critique of the dull and boring modernist skyscraper in the background that does not seem to ‘respect’ the architecture surrounding it. However, due to the visual connections Moore establishes between the “Piazza d’Italia” and the modernist building, the latter is included and welcomed into the new complex and thus aesthetically ‘redeemed’."

as well as with his translation/incorporation of the following brilliant statement by Jean Nouvel:

“A little bit of pop art, three symbols, two historical references, all this bound together by sociological sauce and sprinkled with irony[.] A very basic and redundant symbolism, a scenography made of cardboard, a farce of a kind of ‘commedia della architettura’, a scene for a musical comedy.”

Filed under architecture postmodern Piazza d'Italia Charles Willard Moore Henry Keazor Jean Nouvel

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Credit where credit’s due: the source of my gorgeous profile pic. ♥ (you’ll have to click on it)
So let the battle begin… but let it never make me forget (again) that art & life are, actually, bloody amazing when not distorted by the articles of pompous bastards — errrr — scholars.

Credit where credit’s due: the source of my gorgeous profile pic. ♥ (you’ll have to click on it)

So let the battle begin… but let it never make me forget (again) that art & life are, actually, bloody amazing when not distorted by the articles of pompous bastards — errrr — scholars.

Filed under art eye rain tear rainbow beauty

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— “Maggie’s Farm”, Bob Dylan @ Newport Folk Festival, 1965

Today’s BIG thank you goes to Martin Butler, assistant professor of English and American Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, for proving that it is possible to write a paper on popular culture which is plainly written as well as convincing:

Butler, Martin (2009). “Forms and Functions of Metareference in Popular Music”. Werner Wolf, ed. Metareference across Media. Amsterdam, New York/NY: Rodopi. 299-316.

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

(Source: youtube.com)

Filed under meta music generic conventions industry criticism performance Bob Dylan Maggie's Farm Newport Folk Festival 1965 Martin Butler

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"Lord[s], save me from stupidity!"

Aaaaand the latest scholar to have his or her name moved to the top of my Black List because of his or her infinite stupidity is: Dr. Sonja Klimek, Assistant Lecturer in German at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland (at least that’s what/where she was in 2009, apparently).

I mean, it’s bad enough that she keeps contradicting herself half the time but then she goes and comes up with the following gem of a sentence:

"While the fantasy novels in the wake of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (often the results of hack writing) invite the reader to identify with the characters, parody renders such identification impossible." (173)

*noisy headdesk* Where to even begin?!

  • With the fact that “in the wake” technically suggests that LotR wasn’t inviting readers to identify with the characters/to be drawn into the world (since according to the sentence only the novels that followed its release did that)? Yyyyeah, right.
  • Or with the fact that before this particular sentence she isn’t talking about fantasy literature at all - so that the sudden introduction of the genre here sounds as if it is only this specific genre (unlike everything discussed before) which invites the described reader response? *takes a loooong John Cagean moment*
  • And what’s with the hack writing comment? There’s nothing academic about this normative aside. It doesn’t even relate to any of her arguments before or after! Unless, of course, one bends the sentence in a desperate effort to make sense of it and interprets the whole first bit as: LotR was still different and ‘proper’ literature but everything after, since mainly written by hacks, invites the reader to identify with the characters… Did I mention *headdesk*? I admit, this is probably too stupid a position even for her to entertain, so I’m quite sure this is not what she means - but it is pretty much what she’s written…
  • Oh, and parody makes identification with characters impossible? Seriously?! Yes, parody breaks down many of the illusionary aspects of the world created, it draws our attention to certain conventions, makes it more difficult to immerse ourselves fully into the fictional universe because we’re constantly thrown out of it again by metareferential comments. Yet all that doesn’t have to have anything to do with our ability to identify with the characters. Anything. At. All. Since she makes the final big mistake of actually referring to my beloved Pratchett a bit later on, amidst all her mess, let me use him as an example, too, in an attempt to wash him clean of her: when reading Guards! Guards!’, I certainly can’t be too emotionally invested and immersed in the dragon-fighting scenes because the whole trope is so clearly ridiculed. However, I can totally identify with Sam Vimes! So yes, while once again I can guess what she’s trying to say, her actual statement is imprecise at best and outright embarrassing at worst.

*end of rant*

For the record, the offending article is:

Klimek, Sonja (2009). “Metalepsis and Its (Anti-)Illusionist Effects”. Werner Wolf, ed. Metareference across Media. Amsterdam, New York/NY: Rodopi. 169-187.

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

Filed under stupidity Sonja Klimek metalepsis

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Moral Disorder

Me and my private pupil had our first session on Margaret Atwood’s “Moral Disorder” today - and she said some amazing things! Normally those discussions are just opportunities for her to practice her English but this time she actually came up with some wonderful, heart-felt and at the same time highly analytical ideas! So I just sat there, and listened, and thought:

Wow. So that's what it feels like when you witness someone unbiased (she's an “old pensioner”, no scholarly background whatsoever) uncover the mysteries of a well-crafted text…

In my now nearly 10 years of experience, whenever academics(-in-training) have been involved, such conversations have tended to get extremely dry and formulaic, with everyone just going through the motions, working through their lists of features that need to be analysed and terms that need to be mentioned.

But this, today? This was kind of brilliant. ♥

So I guess the question is, where do you get to teach literature to non-academics? Do I have to go and drill teenagers after all?

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

Filed under teaching Ilovemypupil

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Sometimes the only cure for an overworked brain is some good ol’ honest escapism: emotionally engaging, trashy and set in an interesting world… Bite me, Academia!

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

Sometimes the only cure for an overworked brain is some good ol’ honest escapism: emotionally engaging, trashy and set in an interesting world… Bite me, Academia!

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

Filed under escapism Grimspace Ann Aguirre vaginal fantasy

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— “Metareference across Media”, Werner Wolf (ed.), 2009.
— cover: “Escapando de la crítica” (Escaping Criticism), Pere Borrell del Caso, 1874.

The foundation for all there is to come…
Not that I consider every word of Werner Wolf’s (professor of English and General Literature at the University of Graz, Austria) gospel - but as far as starting points go, the theoretical framework he lays out in the introduction to this publication is pretty damn brilliant.

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

Metareference across Media”, Werner Wolf (ed.), 2009.

cover: “Escapando de la crítica” (Escaping Criticism), Pere Borrell del Caso, 1874.

The foundation for all there is to come…

Not that I consider every word of Werner Wolf’s (professor of English and General Literature at the University of Graz, Austria) gospel - but as far as starting points go, the theoretical framework he lays out in the introduction to this publication is pretty damn brilliant.

[This post has been back-dated since The Battle technically began on May 1st]

Filed under meta theory Werner Wolf painting art Escapando de la crítica Escaping Criticism Pere Borrell del Caso