15 thoughts on “The Qualifying Exam Meets the Cult of Personality

  1. I still can’t get the whole page to load, but just what does “abysmally” mean? Half right? Five right? And don’t you think we should be able to manage some sort of serious/unserious grouping where the really serious scholars have no idea what the people they read look like?

  2. Five right, I think. Derrida (once there’s been a movie about a theorist, I guess I’ll know what he looks like), Stanley Fish, James Joyce, David Foster Wallace (one would hope), and Thomas Pynchon. Oh, wait — and Freud. So six.

    As to the serious/unserious grouping: I dunno. Yes, the truly bookish among us may have no clue what the authors of said books look like, and may, in fact, not care. On the other hand, the more successful (though of course whether that’s to be conflated with “serious” is a real question) the scholar, the more likely s/he’ll have served on a conference panel with the luminaries in question, and thus will recognize said authors from personal contact…

  3. Oh, and PS: Marcel reports that his server has been — and I quote — “kicked massively and repeatedly in the nuts” by recent traffic. My fault, for alerting the world.

  4. There we were, just me and Nietzsche, shooting the breeze long after the rest of the SPEP attendees had piled into the elevators…

    As soon as the page is up, I’ll let you know how many I can guess.

  5. Uh oh. I think this is one of those hoisted on my own petard situations. Including the Pillsbury Doughboy, I got 31 right. But that’s still just about 13%. A failing grade anywhere!

  6. So many beards and glasses.

    Wittgenstein, Noam Chomsky, Arthur C. Clarke, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Trotsky, Virginia Woolf, Marx, Freud, Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Edgar Allen Poe, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka… there were others I recognised but couldn’t place their names because the context was all wrong: Brian Eno, Stanley Kubrick, Jim Henson, Walter Cronkite. And others I recognised once I read their name. And others whose names I recognised. And then there were… others.

  7. [You had me going there, Kathleen… I was thinking “Wow, PO has really come along if a link from it can kick a server in the nuts!”… and then I saw you’d also posted it to MeFi.]

  8. Sigh. Yeah. It requires more than me to temporarily emasculate a server…

    But hey — you remind me: I also recognized Virginia Woolf, who counts, and the Pillsbury Doughboy, who ought to. So I’m up to eight, which is still pathetic, but better than six.

    Incidentally, Marcel tells me that in tribute for having screwed his server with such massive traffic, I’m now up there, too. Of course the “I’m feeling lucky” googling takes you to my deceased doppleganger in Australia, but the honor is appreciated nonetheless.

  9. Well, I just honestly have no idea how bad I should feel about not even recognizing a significant majority of the names, let alone the faces. I’m going to hope that your other posters, who claim to ignorance yet demonstrate a nearly infinite superiority of knowledge to my own, are themselves pros. If not, it might be time to be abandoned on my own patch of ice to meet death with an unwavering stare. Metaphorically.

  10. Only 9, sigh. But at least one of them was you, KF! That puts you in the company of Sedgwick, Woolf, Marx, Oates, Franzen, Wallace, Rorty, Spivak, and Kristeva.

    I did better with the living than with the dead, better with the chicks than with the boys. And hey, that’s not a bad way to live one’s life.

  11. Mariah! Long time, no read from. Thought you’d abandoned us.

    You know, I’m in some pretty rarified (sp?) company there. But Franzen? When did Franzen get added? Is it that pretty-boy pic of him? My access has become too slow to check for myself…

  12. Aha–the discerning will also have noticed that I claimed to have identified 9, but then I listed 10. Don’t know how Franzen snuck on there–the cheat sheet had already shown me that I had confused Marcel’s pic of Guido Van Rossum with this un-pretty boy shot of Mr. Correction (http://images.usatoday.com/life/enter/books/_photos/2001-10-24-jonathan-franzen.jpg). Can’t count, can’t identify post-positivist realists! Whatever shall become of me?

    And of course I still check in, KF. I’ve just been knee-deep in convention-program prep. Brace yourself for the panel on menstruation in children’s literature and its paper on menarche and the panopticon.

    Hope you’re having a ball in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *