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Only one rule: post only quotations from published material or amusing glosses - do not attempt to start fresh, UNPUBLISHED fights with each other in the comments while attempting to justify, explain, or temporize for, an attackademic in your field.

Seriously, don't. No point, on account of how anything that starts to look serious or pedantic will be deleted on the grounds that it will threaten to turn things deadly dull. WWF-style (or similar) rooting only. If you want to colloq, TAKE IT OUTSIDE OF THE THUNDERDOME.

Elizabeth A. R. Brown on Feudalism

From "The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and Historians of Medieval Europe," The American Historical Review, Vol. 79, No. 4 (Oct., 1974), pp. 1063-1088, at 1075-1076.

"The variety of definitions of feudalism and the limitations imposed on their relevance are confusing. Equally disconcerting is the pervasive tendency on the part of those who use the word to personify, reify, and to coin two words, occasionally "bacterialize," and even "lunarize" the abstraction. How often does one read that feudalism, like a virus, spread from one area to another, or that, later on, it slowly waned. In a single study, feudalism is assigned a dazzling array of roles. It is found giving birth, being extremely virile, having vitality, being strong, knowing a long tradition, being successfully transplanted, surviving, being replaced, teetering, being routed, declining and filling, and finally, dead and in its grave. Another author sees it destroying the Frankish Empire and making a clean sweep of outmoded institutions. For another it makes onslaughts on the power of the kings of France and England; 'les forces féudaux' end the confusion of spiritual and temporal authorities. Still another work reassuringly attributes a home to feudalism, which is said to have exercised, rather adventurously, 'paralyzing action' over 'many forms of royal activity,' and, more decorously, to have been 'introduced into England in its French form' by the Duke of Normandy. In concluding Seigneurie et féodalité Boutrouch in fact triumphantly proclaims it madness to consider feudalism an abstraction. 'In actuality it is a person... Feudalism is Medieval... It is the daughter of the West.'"


Actually, I think we could have a quoting party based on the snark in this article alone...
This article by Michael Drout on the state of Anglo-Saxon studies is full of snarkiness. Regardless of whether you think he's right or not:

...far too many of our colleagues (and even more of their students) really have very little idea of what we do because they are appallingly ignorant about language. This statement may seem deliberatively provocative, but I think it is true. Far too many English professors and graduate students don't really know much about how English works....My particular colleagues are good-hearted people, real intellectuals, who care about literature, English and the Liberal Arts. But they certainly do not like it when I rub their noses in the fact that I know stuff they don't know (but feel they should).

Student marginalia

John Fisher's The Importance of Chaucer opens with an assertion that everyone has heard of or read Chaucer. In my university's copy of this book, an offended student has written, "Yeah, sure, you elitist prick."

This annotation inspired a paper that I recently presented at a conference :)

Simone Weil on Marx

From Oppression and Liberty, p. 190

"Marx was incapable of any real effort of scientific thought, because that did not interest him. All this materialist was interested in was justice. He was obsessed by it. His admirably clear view of social necessity was of a kind to plunge him into despair, since it is a necessity powerful enough to prevent men, not only from obtaining, but even from conceiving justice. He did not want anything to do with despair. He felt in himself, irresistibly, that man's desire for justice is too deeply implanted to admit of a refusal. He took refuge in a dream wherein social matter itself takes charge of the two functions that it denies man, namely, not only to accomplish justice, but to conceive it.

He labelled this dream "dialectical materialism." This was sufficient to shroud it in mystery. Those two words are of an almost impenetrable emptiness. A very amusing game - though rather a cruel one - is to ask a Marxist what they mean."

Succinct Criticisms

I have here on my bookshelf (got it for three dollars at a booksale), a copy of Rousseau and Romanticism, by Irving Babbitt (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919, seventh impression 1935). It has the signature of C. S. Lewis on the flyleaf. Lewis does not seem at all impressed with Babbitt's work. Among other, more learned observations in English, Latin, and Greek, Lewis writes at the top of page 208:

The intolerable pretension

Later, at the top of page 212:

Babbit at his worst

Finally, at the top of page 286:

Ass!!!

and the top of the facing page (287):

Hee-haw!!
       So it was, in word or deed, with the Continental composers at Darmstadt in 1964. The music of the past, any past, was viewed only as a competitor of their music for places on concert programs. Discourse about music, like the compositions themselves, was a vehicle of polemic and propaganda; it was dogma eat dogma, with the discovery procedure that of attempting to discover what was to be the shape of musical things to come for the year ahead by discovering what Universal or Schott publications were to be heard around the world, so that one, as soon as possible, could follow in their wake. The metholodogical madness took such forms, at that time of ideological transition, as: “if you don’t know as much mathematics as I do, you aren’t a composer; if you know more, you aren’t an artist,” or “if you don’t know as much mathematics as I do, you’re naive; if you know more, you’re academic.” I was led constantly to remember the remark that the only difference between an American critic and a German critic was that the German critic began every review with a quotation from Goethe, for then, even as now, the only utterances that professed to be “analytical” were sentences from Adorno, characteristically unintelligible or unbelievable. I was obliged to recall the Wiesengrund-Adorno who lived on Sheridan Square in 1938, corresponding exactly to the description of him later supplied by Alfred Ayer in writing of Adorno’s stay in Oxford in 1934: “He seemed to me a comic figure, with his dandified manner and appearance and his anxiety to discover whether other refugees had been accorded the privilege, which he so far had not obtained, of dining at High Table.” After his variously documented stay in California, following his New York interval, Adorno returned in triumph to Frankfurt, not far from Darmstadt, where he surely dined high on the hog. And so was the professional disjunction between the Continent and us closely comparable with that between Continental and Anglo-American philosphy; in both domains there had been a few attempted and publicly successful crossovers, but the decisive differences in matters and manners remains.
       Almost all American composers act in accord with or react against a “thinking about” music, a “knowing that” whose diversity yet defines a common domain, while the Continental composers share common aspirations, shaped not by educational orientation and institutions, but by “real-world” political and public institutions. []

From Rashdall's Medieval Universities:

"Caesar Egassius BULAEUS (du Boulay), in his six enormous folio volumes, Historia Universitatisis Parisiensis a Corolo M. ad nostra tempora 1665-73, gathered together an immense mass of material for its history, but his own view of its origin is as completely mythical as anything in the first decade of Livy, while his inaccuracies and inconsistencies are only equalled by his tedious prolixity. He was perhaps the stupidest man that ever wrote a valuable book."

(From Rashdall's Medieval Universities, p. 269)

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attackademia
When Academics Attack! Quotes and marginalia.

One rule to ring them all.

Only one rule: post only quotations from published material or amusing glosses - do not attempt to start fresh, UNPUBLISHED fights with each other in the comments while attempting to justify, explain, or temporize for, an attackademic in your field.

Anything that starts to look serious or pedantic will be deleted on the grounds that it will threaten to turn things deadly dull. WWF-style (or similar) rooting only. If you want to colloq, TAKE IT OUTSIDE OF THE THUNDERDOME.

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