Three Houses’ Worth of Wood – Preview


For several reasons, I’ve been going back to the choices I made coming out of college. Things aren’t at their best right now, and several friends are graduating law school, writing PhD theses, announcing marriages, while I flail around. It raises questions.

I did not want to go to school any more. I still don’t. There were economic reasons for this, and other issues. But right in the middle was a dread of writing bullshit.

The bullshit you have to write to get into MA programs. The bullshit you write because your professors want to hear so and so, and you need their letters. The bullshit you write because there’s a deadline. And Keirkegaard and Hayek may deserve better, but you need five more pages by Wednesday. Your "position" on Tort Reform is laughable, but confidence scans better, so you write from the pose you’ve been practicing since middle school. You Sound Sure and you, you know, deliver the goods.

You will never, ever say something original about Proust.

Besides, the technique was eating my brain. Making up causal links where there were none, twisting and bending every article to relate to a thesis I had no time to change. A thousand phrases and tricks you string together, so you can say "frogs cause carpentry" in a way that sounds dull, but not retarded. Anything can mean, cause or prove anything else. Or at least you can fill the pages.

My point? I’m broke, partially because I didn’t want to do this. So people who get rich doing it piss me off.

So Caitlan Flanagan’s piece in the Atlantic this week pissed me off. And Leon Wieseltier’s piece in The New Republic pissed me off.

And tomorrow, more on that.


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