Monday, November 03, 2008


I've been busting my behind trying to explain formal terms of literary analysis to my second years lately. Stuff I've known for so long I can't remeber not knowing it. Stuff that's so foreign to them that it takes some truly inventive example-concocting and, occasionally (I'm not proud of this) me standing on the instructor desk flapping my arms and squawking. But I think I've got it now!

Juxtaposition: placing incongruous items adjacent to one another to create new meaning from the comparison that results.



Today, I got this email:

Dear Mimi,

I’m writing because I have still not received your completed Office of [Money] cover sheet for your [Big Ole Major Grant Application] that was submitted on October 7, 2008. Please fill out and submit your completed coversheet at your earliest opportunity.

Best regards,


Pynchon Lastname
Research Coordinator,
Grants and Government Research Contracts (Fancy Agency Names)

Office of [Administration]
[Triangular Building], Room XXXX via 1043
Phone: 519-555-5555 ext. 12345
Fax: 519-555-5555

Okaaaaayyyyy, sure, but I got it from this guy:

It's hard to take a form letter--from your husband!--too, too seriously, when you've just downloaded photos of him with your bra on his head. Caught in that position, naturally, he raised a glass of local microbrew. Of course!

Form letter: meh. Bra head: wtf? And yet? There's something about that combo that seems to exceed the sum of its parts, I think.

So. Juxtaposition. Any questions?


Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

He kind of looks like Piglet.

Beck said...

Whaaaaat? Why is he sending you cover sheet request letters?
Don't all husbands wear bras on their heads? I thought that and No PAnts was the at-home uniform.

Cheryl said...

I'm laughing, just laughing over here!

Jenifer said...

Obviously you will stop at nothing in the pursuit of teaching your students!

Mimi said...

Beck: Pynchon works at the same university as me now. And we have had some minor professional dealings--which obviously we haven't quite figured out how to navigate gracefully ...

ewe are here said...

A glass? Methinks it was more than 'a' glass!