Sunday, December 12, 2010

Don't wanna, don't wanna: Research Edition

A rant is coming on, I fear.  It's becoming clear to me that, despite my fervent wishes, I'll have to spend a lot of time reading and thinking about Someone Else's Subject.  I phrase it that way because that's kind of how I think of it, and why I wanted to avoid it.  I think my primary research is fascinating, thank you very much, and I'm not about to drop it or anything crazy like that.  But I'm finally admitting to myself that I cannot competently present a thorough analysis of Koshary's Favorite Subject without taking into account its many links subtle and obvious with SES.

This sucks because I find that SES is pretty much done to death.  A lot of very fine scholars have devoted serious attention to SES for years – decades, even – and that's bully for them.  Hell, some of my favorite books in my larger area of pseudology are on SES; the better ones have been instrumental in my thinking on KFS.  I'm glad those works are out there; I still refer to them often.

< rant>
But give it a fucking rest, people!  SES is well studied, well known, well understood, and yet people still trip over their own feet running to do yet another motherfucking study on that shit.  Seriously?  Do you think that if you turn that entire boatload of data on its side or look at it through the wrong end of a pair of binoculars or something, you're really going to reinvent some wheel or other?  Uh, no.  No.  It's not going to happen.  And if you're not an increasingly senior scholar pursuing follow-up research to the stuff you started doing a long time ago, you do not impress me.  Every scholar at the doctoral level who thinks that somehow they will magically create a piece of research worth having because "I take SES and examine it critically [they always inflect this word heavily in conversation, as if they're the motherfucking Star Child who has just invented critical thinking where every previous scholar in Earth's history has missed this concept] by using Body of Theory I Read About in Seminar Last Semester" makes me want to fling a hot cup of coffee in their faces.  It feels disturbingly to me like that Xtranormal video where the wannabe grad student says "I will write smart things about death in literature."  NO, YOU WON'T.
< /rant>

All of which to say, it's really burning my toast to admit to myself that my research on KFS will not only be stronger if I address SES directly – instead of just citing the good publications in the background lit review – but that my work might actually lack legitimacy without SES worked into it.  Fuck.  I will admit that there is a certain lazy attraction in some aspects of SES research; I mean, gee, would so many shallow idiots try (and, usually fail) to scrounge a project out of it if it didn't seem really, really easy on the surface?  But the stuff I'll need to do is neither easy nor interesting, at least not to me.  It's actually dead boring and tedious.  When I was a bit less thoroughly knowledgeable about KFS – one might even say a trifle ignorant – I occasionally positioned KFS to colleagues as at base distinct from and only analogously similar to SES, rather than essentially connected in a variety of ways.  On one memorable occasion, I made this argument to an assemblage of potential colleagues, whose shocked reaction, as I flattered myself, was due entirely to their being unable to process the awesomeness and critical perspicacity of my thinking.  Hmm.  Maybe that's why I didn't get that job.

So I'm steeling myself to leap into this SES portion of my research, since being set up in Research City and all gives me the perfect opportunity to do that.  It's just a colossal pain in the ass.  But, when I contemplate the kind of nasty, sarcastic opprobrium that I will genuinely deserve if I try to publish my work with no serious discussion of SES, I quail.  Once you admit to yourself that your work will be fundamentally bad without doing something, you have to do it.

Oh, and here is something trivial for me to whine about, after all: the weather has sucked lately in Research City.  Ugh.  The sky was the color of an early 1970s shag rug today.  Picture the sky being colored like the ugly-blond-wood half of the décor in the Brady Bunch house.  I am not pleased.  I think I need to go shopping for a few winterizing household items; I'm getting tired of wearing socks to bed.

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