F**K Patois — blogging and the Academy


Drunken sailors don’t cuss this much. No, you have to be an academic to really sling the slang.

In I Am Charlotte Simmons, Tom Wolfe writes about elite college life. He outlines the popularity of the f-word in its usage as any part of speech. F**K patois. I felt embarrassed for academia when George Bush read the book.


The recent issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education included the tale of blogging gone bad in the Academy.

In “Academic Flame Wars,” the author recounts a pitched battle in his department played out online. (Aside: lest anyone doubt the climate of fear on today’s campuses, just watch how often The Chronicle prints articles using pseudonyms. “Alan Mendelsohn is the pseudonym of a doctoral student at a major research university on the West Coast.”)

It’s meant to be an oh-so-serious examination of the perils of posting. But you just have to laugh. In the midst of quoting posts laced with “f**king” and the a-word, we come to this:

Dave had attacked the way in which Marsha’s rhetoric had been “interpellated” by racist discursive formations, not Marsha herself.

It was during the follow-up responses that the term “postmodern wanker” was first used . . .

Now, if Truth be known, or Laid Bear, I have never seen a drunken sailor or heard a co-ed cussing. It might be that my military friends and my students know that such a salty modern language association would make Your Gentle Blogger blush.

But postmodern wanker?? That one might be a keeper.

* * *

UPDATE 11:48 PM: So my Brilliant Brother emails me (at the end of the day!) to ask if I know, exactly, what the term I’ve called a “keeper” really means. . . “Just wanted to make sure …” he says. (Yeah, he knows me.) As it turns out, my understanding of the phrase in question was, a little, shall we say, imprecise. oops.

Thanks to muddy boots and clean language at Mudville Gazette Open Post

Required reading at Daniel Drezner where his wit and research deserve multiple citations.

More good jammin’ at Traffic Jam on Outside The Beltway

See more more colorful language in class and the professor’s blog at Bull by the Horns


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