Monday, August 13, 2007


Yesterday I was leafing through one or other of the tree-nemesis spectacular of supplementary components to the Sunday newspaper. I think I may have been trying to do an ickle-wee crossword which I can never do. This is probably because it is too difficult for my weakling sabbath cognitive skills, but I always feel like it is because the damn thing is too ickle and my mind can't think of words in that point-size.

Anyway the rest of the page was short reviews of mystery fiction. The critic liked the things on offer, because they worked with the genre creatively, and because they did that other apparently desirable thing, which is to say something perspicuous or new or otherwise not neuron-fryingly banal about the human condition.

I hate this phrase because of course it comes under the heading of neuron-fryingly banal itself. But sure, some insight is always good. Or some amusement, or the poignant thrill of recognition, or whatever else we traditionally get from some goodly observations about What It Is To Be Alive, or similar tasty cliché.

But sometimes it is a paradox, no? Ought the incisive reflection upon how boring and repetitive and pre-re-experienced being alive sometimes is actually reflect? Actually be as boring as the experience it is trying to invoke? My life involves serried ranks of hackneyed whines which already litter the blogosphere. It is hard to finish a dissertation. I worry about my value. I am lonely. I am sad. I am bored. Students are stupid. Academics are both baroque and petty in their intrigues in pursuit of meaningless indications of status. Or tenure. I am not sure what it is all for. I have issues with procrastination. I am distracted by heartbreak. I lack the ambition and ruthlessness which everyone else seems to have. I feel displaced. Blah blah. The next number in the sequence is ...

You could develop a little utility to write blog posts like this. And then you could take over the world by frying everyone's neurons with a dirty banality bomb. Perhaps this is the master plan.

The moral of the story is: graduate students are the enemy. Read mystery novels.


A Paperback Writer said...

Ah, and how I long to work with grad students! Be grateful you don't work with 13-year-olds!
Oh. and go ahead and read those mystery novels; they're good for the soul -- or at least the sanity.

Scrivener said...