Title: Baboons and Mystery Cults
Warnings: Darwinian in the extreme
Notes: Professionals in the field of literary studies have always pissed me off, and I *am* an English major.
First and foremost, I have always been an intellectual. I like to read, to research, and to postulate. My goal in life is to breach the barrier between students and professionals, at least in literary studies, by altering the manner in which the essential texts are discussed and described. Professionals in the literary fields seem to feel that a great deal of textual posturing and four-syllable words are necessary to any discussion of "real literature", while the average student, who may very well have a genuine interest, will be put off by these very things. A student does not want to hear of "enforced gender stereotypes in sixteenth century literature", he wants to hear that Shakespeare wrote about sex and violence. Watching people read conference papers is like watching baboons show their asses — it’s a display of professional competence, and posturing, designed to prove the participant worthy of greater respect or more money. In some circles, posturing at conferences will actually win you a mate. I’d like to think more than that of both my profession and myself. Seriously, I’m unimpressed. Please stop your flag-waving, ass-displaying, prolix obscurities, and do what’s right for the next generation. Who is going to want to learn from someone who treats the knowledge of literary theory and analysis like a mystery cult, full of secret signs and languages, its mysteries hidden from the uninitiated?