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You know . . .
I really shouldn't have to write a comment on a graduate student's paper that suggests it might be a good idea to spell authors' names correctly.


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but lookit how cute your kittyboy avatar is.

yeah that chuck dikins, he's my very very favrite.

Yes, the kittyboy can salvage a whole lot of stuff! *pets*

The authors in question are "George Elliot" and "John Mills." sigh

Gah!! That is horrible.

So, yesterday, I got email from a smart but flakey honors thesis student who has done very little work (and none of it adequately) this semester saying that he hadn't done what I had required (and we are halfway through his thesis year here) because the topic (that he had chosen himself) wasn't "fun."
I hurled a sharpened email in his direction. At least my blue books are dead (except for the illegible one, but I have to get its person to read it to me because it has defeated my paleographic skills/patience).

OK, one more horror story -- student yesterday wanting to give a presentation on the Pirenne thesis -- the idea that the expansion of Islam was a necessary condition for the transformation of western Europe from the Roman into the medieval world and therefore for Charlemagne's empire.
Student: Pirenne says Charlemagne is inconceivable without Muhammed, but I want to know if Muhammed is conceivable without Charlemagne.
Me: Give me dates on those two.
[Student amazingly is more or less able to do this and puts Muhammed's rule about a century and a half before Charlemagne's.]
Me:[totally perplexed] ???? So, what's the problem with your argument?
Student: ??
Me: We are historians and not theoretical physicists and last I checked time was still only running forward. Therefore something that happened later cannot be the cause of something that happened earlier.
Student: It's like the question of whether good can exist without evil.
Me [greatly concerned that this good/evil paradigm might be applied along religious lines to the historical figures in question here]: No it's not. We are also not doing philosophy or theology.

I mean, how do you respond to such utter failures of the critical intellect? I can explain the problem this time, but what else is going on in minds like this? What is the point in trying to make arguments about cause and effect with someone for whom time is not functionally unidirectional? If he becomes a character in a Philip K. Dick novel or becomes a timelord, it will be easier for him to adapt (I know PKD is dead, but given the aforementioned discussion this shouldn't pose particular difficulties). Limited career options.

It's like the time one of my British survey students brought class to a standstill for ten minutes by insisting that Carlyle must have read Nietszche, because Carlyle was plagiarizing Nietzsche's ideas. Although that wasn't a quasi-postmodern "interrogation" of the "binary" of present/past . . . it was just uninformed stubbornness, and easily resolved by telling the student to look up the two writers in question and report back to the class next time.

I really do think that a scattershot, oversimplified application of poststructuralist theory to everything, at far too early a point in students' education, has a lot to answer for. The philosophical construct of history as, well, pure construct is fascinating, once you know what you're playing with. But it no more belongs in most undergraduate courses as a paradigm for scholarly inquiry than cars should be given to fifteen-year-olds without driver's ed or a license exam.

If I thought that they were actually attempting feats in postmodernism, I would feel better.

OK, so today I got this email from a student I barely know (an advisee, apparently, but he didn't identify himself). Here it is in its entirety (apologies for language, but really, it would lose something were I to edit):

so i majorly fucked up with one of my classes and i either need to get withdrawn
from it or i'll most likely fail, can you help me with that?

I am unconvinced that my assistance is required for the FAIL, but perhaps I misconstrue his meaning. Poetry like this is open to multiple interpretations.


Sonny-boy, if you only knew how happy I am to help you. Step one: practice asking, "Would you like fries with that?"

ah, but where's the fun in that?

Maybe they did it on purpose to see if you were paying close attention? Or they were slightly inebriated when they wrote it? Or that was their 398289745 paper to crank out that day?


Eh. Master's degree student here. Who also didn't show up to discuss his own paper, which he was supposed to present to the class today.

I'm still grrrrrrring. ;-)

that would be made of pure FAIL...

doomhammer time?

Pedagogical icon is, however, made of win. Does it work?

Pedagogical icon is totally made of win. alyxandriah is one of my lovely Anime Club peeps, thus still on the student end of life . . . but on the side of the angels, indeed and indeed.

Winry, where DID you get that icon???

really, I don't remember. I've had it for quite a while though. Here's another you might enjoy a bit^^


and people wonder why I have such disdain for grad students... Most are like that. They're ruining it for the few who belong there.

But EVERYONE deserves to have a master's degree! It's in the Bill of Rights!

This probably isn't a consolation, but when I was taking a "fun" German Romanticism class, I couldn't spell Hoffmann's name correctly. Too many double consonants! Apparently, neither could the rest of the ~7 or so people except for one person.

For my final paper, I made sure to spell it correctly! :B

Hee! Now, on exams, I'm not so picky, because we all transpose or leave out letters when we're writing fast . . . but when you're working on a paper with the book right there in front of you (obvious because you're QUOTING FROM IT)? *snarl*

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