Thursday, July 07, 2005

Dickens sucks Donkey-Dick

Perhaps I am a hypersensitive bastard, but there is something I find vaguely disgusting about the way my postcolonial studies class is handled. While I applaud my prof’s desire to expose the class to authors of backgrounds that have been traditionally marginalized, such as ZZ Packer and Pauline Johnson, the way he goes about teaching them seems to only do a further disservice. He will spend about an hour of the class audibly masturbating over the likes of Joyce, Faulkner and Dickens, without criticizing their work at all. He fails to mention that these are white upper-middle class men who are canonized in no small part because of who they are not NECESSARILY what they did.

Then he will take the remaining half-hour to discuss these marginalized female authors in comparison to their male-counterparts. He will make comments about various ‘inconsistencies’ he sees in their writing, and comment that perhaps such-and-such a passage would have been better had the author chosen to “show us” rather than “tell us”.

Essentially what he does is open up these ethnic “other” and female writers to criticism and debate, while male-canonized authors are made to seem beyond reproach. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t analyze and criticize an author’s writing because of their background, but I do think it’s irresponsible to create such a blatant and time-honored divide between who has something of value to say and who is open to debate. We should either criticize all or none, but this very blatant division only reinforces the idea that some people have a greater right to their opinion than others. And that sucks ass.

16 Comments:

Blogger Digby said...

What the eff kind of qualifications do you need to teach at a university level anymore?! Do what I plan on doing and start your own school...or drop out and live in a tree.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Rob Danger said...

I should point out that he does geniunly seem to like these authors he just criticizes them in a way he doesn't the male canonized authors.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous anapestic said...

You can certainly claim that the authors outside the canon have been excluded in large part because of who they are. But to claim that Dickens et al are not in the canon because of their work is ludicrous. Who they are gave them the possibility of joining the canon, but their writing got them in.

5:14 PM  
Blogger suz said...

*swoon*
sociological perspectives on literature analysis. loves it.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Ed Grow said...

Flesh-
One time, I read Bleak House until I killed myself. Not really, but pretty fucking close.

Due to this post, your "gheypunk literati" status was just upped in my book. Tell your prof to take his fucking white-patriarchy-mongering ways and jump off a cliff. Only, drag out this imperitive for 30 minutes, decribing in detail the history of the cliff, what he should wear for said clif-jumping, and his facial exppressions, and you have Dickens. Gah. Anyways, Love!

7:12 PM  
Blogger A. Estella Sassypants said...

Ugg. All the dead white guys are accepted and m'bated over without question, and one would think a prof could think outside the box and take equal shots. I had one for Brit. Lit. survey that did just that and I loved him dearly. Damn him for bein' gay. And joining the priesthood.

9:04 PM  
Blogger swirlogirl said...

are you sure it is indeed donkey dick and not at all mule dick?

1:52 PM  
Blogger Rob Danger said...

Dearest Anaplastic,
You may like DICKens, but I find him an utter hack, if he got a book deal, surely mine is just lost in the mail. He is a business man who changed endings to sell more books. I don't like him, but I'm glad you do, some has to sexpreciate that bastard.
*
Dearest Suz,
highfive indeed.
*

Dearest Ed,
try HARDTIMES, because they WERE.
*
Dearest AndI,
pass him on to me okay?
*
Dearest Swirl,
I'm sure he'd suck whose ever dick would get him the most money. Ick, I hate him.
He was such a woman-hater too.

3:20 PM  
Blogger sixshooter said...

My unmarried, female Shakespeare prof had a huge crush on Laurence Olivier (we watched umpteen clips of him) ... which struck me as odd because from her dress and demeanor we all kind of thoiught she would have preferred his sister (see, you can't judge a book ...) although I'm pretty sure Larry was bi so I guess it all works out in the end.

(OK when I started this comment it seemed like it applied to the topic, but now after reading it, maybe not so much ... oh well, I'm posting it anyways)

3:26 PM  
Blogger sixshooter said...

Flesh -- it's been awhile, but is your comment to swirl in iambic pentameter?

3:28 PM  
Blogger Rob Danger said...

Not intentionally sixshoot!

3:25 PM  
Blogger sixshooter said...

Well then ... bravo for the ironic twist!

8:05 AM  
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