On Language Log

First, do you think Language Log is incredibly pedantic and literal minded to feel as they do about Orwell and about The elements of style, or am I simply not modern and/or not doctrinaire enough as a leftist? I really want to know.

Second, I submitted to Ibbetson Street but not Slipstream. And that is enough for now, I will look at journals in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Miami, perhaps even here in Maringouin. I have to subscribe to the places I have submitted because I cannot see them here easily, otherwise, and I always say do not submit where you do not read regularly. I keep liking, have always liked the poems in TriQuarterly, the tension in them, but I do not think I reach their quality and my ideal for professionalism at least, continues to be the Beloit Poetry Review because they are interested in the poem and not the author. And my opinions in these matters have not varied since college, which I find amusing. (I would like to just think about poetry at this moment. I would like to have so many lives.)

Third, I woke up this morning thinking that if my life were ideal it would not be very different from what it is. Certain major details and features would change but the only major change would be that the university would treat me like a valued colleague, not like a prisoner, abused dog, slave, resented poor relation, or the other McDonaldized ways they come up with to treat the three research faculty there are in my field and the myriad instructors.

In college and graduate school, and in the R1 places I worked, they did not act like this. I had impostor syndrome in college, of course, because my family (my mother) did not seem think I was qualified to be studying where I was and also (my father) did not seem to think my degree was valid becaue I had not paid for college entirely on my own. But the university did not seem to think like that until they started caring about me, which was when it became obvious I would finish the PhD. That was when they started in with the cant about how I was arrogant and my work was bad.

It becomes clear that I really, definitely, internalized all of these things and more and must really, definitely, react instead. I have been told I scare people and hurt them because they can tell I see through them and because I am psychologically so much freer than most, and because I am more intelligent, and because really intelligent people respond to me. I feel so guilty about those characteristics I have, the people they have hurt, when I had nothing against them.

These things are why it is important for me to be in good environments — environments where it is not considered arrogant or cruel  to be intellectually oriented, and where people are able to great each other with genuine respect. I have, it is clear, to treat my own self with more respect than I do but it is difficult in negative or deprived environments and any sociologist could confirm that: the academic advisors base what they say, I find, on wishful thinking in the same way as the self-help industry seems to do.

Nonetheless I do wonder whether it is possible to end the self-torture in which I obviously indulge … this at the very least. I woke up in the middle of the night last night, it was beautiful clear weather, and learned about this resident artists’ program which I have already discussed. Just thinking about it, thinking about being there and working like that, I felt like such a different person, but that identity seemed so close, almost within reach.




1 Comment

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One response to “On Language Log

  1. I agree 100% about Language Log and I detested that post about Orwell. I also used Strunk & White to learn to write, and it was enormously helpful. I recommend it to students all the time because it’s a great place to begin.

    This language snobbery annoys me a lot.

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