Empty Days

Monday, June 28, 2004



The gnome and the chair.

I vaguely remember writing those college essays of many pages and many footnotes - and the ever-attending feeling of pulling a big joke on somebody: probably my very own self. I could also compare this to standing on your tip-toes to reach a high-shelf - the better method would have been to jump on a chair and save yourself some of those equilibrium problems and all that pathetic stretching of mental limbs.

This is also the feeling I experience every time I get to read some such essays (or articles, or papers) by others - the constraint and over-reaching are immediately apparent in the unnaturally objective over-assertive style, in the evidently laborious waving of ideas, in the overwhelming seriousness of purpose stated as the inevitable goal of the writing. This of course is peculiar to most academic essays - a mixture of self-effacing banality and a supposedly earnest effort to "reflect" or "comment" or "elucidate". But what for? For the seriousness of writing an academic paper first, for an effort of understanding last. The form that results is a murder of everything genuine and remotely valuable. For the writer of suchlike articles may indeed have something to say - except that under such premises he will never let himself quite say it.

Grab a chair already, dude...





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