Saturday, 8 October 2011

Academic archetypes

  Last month, I wanted to escape from the confines of the Fortress of Solitude, my home base and go to the I.A.S. annual conference for intellectual stimulation as well as the entertainment value. This was held at a designated military friendly college in northern ``fly over country`` which for reasons of anonymity I will call the University of Narnia, a state which like the fictional world of C.S. Lewis magic or in this case magical thinking is common and good (Jesus) battles evil (Liberals etc.). Originally I had thought that ``military friendly`` meant the faculty wore fatigues and the college cafeteria served MREs but it was more like the college ROTC re-enacting the Battle of Wounded Knee and a demonstration of an armed predator drone scouting the border and making incursions into the Great White North looking for targets of opportunity. I used the names of some of the characters in the Narnia series of books by C. S. Lewis to represent the various academic archetypes present at the conference.

Name: Aslan

Profile: Master of his realm. Talks in Old English. Has the rock star quality of Bernard-Henri Lévy in his prime, Camus’s instinct for justice and the courage of Malraux. Refers to the female members of the society in Pope John Paul’s litany of “little sisters``. Sees anchorites in terms of spirituality and hagiography. Makes keynote speech. Divorced. Only dates women under 25 like Hugh Hefner.

Writing sample:
Ther-efter anan-riht ure Leafdi uht-song - ant seggeth o this wise: yef hit is werc-dei, falleth to ther eorthe; yef hit is hali-dei, buhinde sum-deal dune-ward seggeth Paternoster ant Credo ba stille. Rihteth ow up th'refter ant seggeth, Domine, labia mea
aperies. Makieth on ower muth a creoiz with the thume. Ed Deus in adiutorium, a large creoiz with the thume ant with the twa fingres, from buve the forheaved dun to the breoste, ant falleth to the eorthe - yef hit is werc-dei with Gloria Patri, other buheth dune-ward, yef hit [is] hali-dei athet Sicut erat. Thus ed euch Gloria Patri anted te biginnunge of the Venite, ant i the Venite, ed Venite, adoremus, ant ed te Ave, Maria, ant hwer-se ye eaver hereth Maries nome i-nempnet, ant ed euch Pater noster thet falle to ower ures ant to the Credo ant to the collecte ed eaver-euch tide, ant ed te leate-meste vers of eaver-euch ymne, ant ed te leaste vers withuten an of the salm, Benedicite, omnia opera Domini, Domino. Ed alle thes ilke, yef hit is hali-dei, buheth
sum-del dune-wart. Yef hit is werc-dei, falleth to ther eorthe. Ed te biginnunge of eaver- euch tide, with Deus in adiutorium, makieth rode-taken as ich ear tahte. Ed Veni, Creator buheth other cneolith efter thet te dei is. With Memento, salutis auctor, falleth eaver adun, ant ed tis word, Nascendo formam sumpseris, cusseth the eorthe, ant alswa i the Te Deum laudamus, ed tis word: Non horruisti virginis uterum, ant ed te messe i the muchele Credo, ed ex Maria Virgine ant Homo factus est.(A. W.)

Habitat:  Fancy pants Ivy League school
Favourite activity: Giving ten point forced choice likert scale tests to reclusives.
Response to Why God never got tenure at any university:
“Sure he created the universe but what has he done lately?”

Name: White witch

Profile: Feminist. Founding member of the French feminist group, Chiennes de garde whose motto is “Contre les insultes sexists publiques”. Sees anchoress as proto feminists.  Has homicidal fantasies about Aslan. Makes introductory speech and almost chokes on compliments about the keynote speaker. Never Married.

Writing sample:

Nous, Chiennes de garde, nous montrons les crocs, pour impressionner  the macho, to make us respect, to protect women iles machos, pour nous faire respecter, pour défendre des femmes insultées.

WARNING! ATTENTION ! Grrrrrrrrrrr ...! Grrrrrrrrrrr… ! We could hurt if we were very Nous pourrions faire mal si nous étions très  angry if we do conten colère, si nous ne nous contrôlions plus. Imagine that there are Imaginez qu'il existe  des  Rabid dogs, very dangerouChiennes enragées, très dangereuses. Imagine they are directed Imaginez qu'elles soient dirigées  by terrrrible head of the pack, who decides to tackle the macho criminals, those who fight, who rape, killing of women, lopar une terrrrible cheffe de meute, qui décide de s'attaquer aux machos criminels, ceux qui battent, qui violent, qui tuent des femmes, des faibles. Imagine it launches horrrrible battle cry: "Down with macho! Imaginez qu'elle lance son horrrrible cri de guerre : « Sus aux machos !  Unleash the do Lâchez les Chiennes ! Ksssss kssss! Ksssss kssss ! Bite them! Mordez-les ! No quarter! Pas de quartier ! " »  STOPSTOP ! It was a nightmare. C'était un cauchemar. Returning to the guard dogs, Revenons aux Chiennes de garde,  so peacefusi pacifiques ! Whew! Ouf ! We are not vicious dogs, Nous ne sommes pas des Chiennes méchantes,
but we are not brave many nice dogsmais nous ne sommes pas non plus de braves chiennes bien gentilles, we do go with the niche susucrequ'on fait rentrer à la niche avec un susucre. We say: Nous disons :  "I bark, therefore I am ... feminist solidarity« J'aboie, donc je suis… féministe et solidaire. " »  And attention, machoEt attention, les machos ! (website)
Habitat: Gingerbread house
Favourite activity: Eating students. (Preferably male)
Response to Why God never got tenure at any university:
He had only one major publication which was written in Hebrew, had no references and wasn’t published in a referred journal.”

Name: Shasta a.k.a Golden Boy

Profile: Like Shasta in C. S. Lewis’ Narnia kidnapped as a boy and raised as a fisherman’s son in a remote village but in reality royal heir to Aslan.  Uses Derrida’s “Sous rature” especially in articles refuting White Witch’s papers on Anchorites. Married to second wife who was a former student.
Writing sample:
White witch’s contention that anchorites were “promiscuous in female – female eroticism due to the privacy of the anchor hold which acted as a liminal space permitted by medieval theological constructs of the spiritual fallen nature of women in general” is another example of her extrapolations of the vague suppositions of medieval male writings acting as a mirror to the sexual insecurities and speculations of the clerical class and also White witch’s Eurocentric perceptions which are at odds with modern day inter disciplinary interpretations as well as the conclusions of any serious scholar of the anchorite field known to me. Positing a “lesbian void” based on the architecture of the anchor hold and the inferred permission granted by the Ancrene Wisse and other texts is laughable and unworthy of a noted scholar engaged in a form of historical revisionism and reconstruction of implied events. I defer to Aslan’s commonly accepted analysis of the phenomena which is at odds with White witch’s conjectures and creative reinterpretation of the facts. I grant that being private was an unusual circumstance in the communal housing arrangements of the medieval age but one cannot project social and sexual modifications of behaviour from mere opportunity.

Habitat: R-1 University
Favourite activity: Bragging about his tenured position, lack of service obligations and teaching requirements
Response to Why God never got tenure at any university:
“He rarely showed up in class and told his students to read the Book. ``

Name: Green witch a.k.a Iron Butterfly

Profile: Feminist. White witch’s adjunct during the conference and far Eastern member of society. Ghost writer of Soshokukei Danshi Ojo-man Ga Nippon wo Kaeru (The Herbivorous Ladylike Men Are Changing Japan). Goal to do yubi-tsume [(指詰め・ゆびつめ): The act of slicing off a part of the pinky finger to atone for an error.] on Golden Boy.

Writing sample:
In Japanese but also a screen writer for the Japanese TV series Otomen. The title, "Otomen" is a pun made of the Japanese word otome (乙女), meaning "young lady" or "mistress", and the English word "men". (正宗 飛鳥, Masamune Asuka) is the main character. See the video below:

Habitat: University of Tokyo

Favourite activity:  Carrying out giri (義理・ぎり): debt or obligation. A complex concept of duty unique to Japanese culture which demonstrates both the gratitude one has for an act of kindness and the obligation to carry out revenge. Always carries a can of mace [催涙スプレー (さいるいスプレー, sairui spray which translates directly as “tear spray”]

Response to Why God never got tenure at any university:
"Almost every one of His students failed His tests although there were only ten requirements."

Name: Nikabrik a.k.a Platinum kid

Profile: Up and comer. Entertains White witch in her homicidal fantasies about Aslan when the Master isn’t around. Always carries a worn copy of the MLA Style Guide. Goal to be the modern version of Gaius Maecenas. Knows how to suck up in eight languages. Single but hoping to hook up at the conference.
Writing sample:
This is another example of Aslan’s profound understanding of the nature of the theological and social implications of the anchorite calling….etc.

Habitat: Mid western remedial and custodial educational institute
Favourite activity: networking
Response to Why God never got tenure at any university:
"He expelled His initial two students for learning."

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