Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Sometimes Hate Theorists of All Factions

 Here are five laws of literary criticism:

Guaranteed to Cause Some Frustration

1. There is an inverse relationship between the amount of time a literary theorist spends using any one theory to describe any one topic and the understandability of that topic to the reader.

2. As the theorist’s ideas become more and more esoteric and ridiculous, our language will rapidly run out of words and concepts sufficient to satisfy him. The theorist will respond by making up new words, borrowing them from other languages, stringing words together to create new concepts, and generally doing everything within his power to make the text completely impenetrable to its readers.

3. Whether in criticism or fiction, an author has strong incentives to make its text as incomprehensible and long as possible, since critical acclaim usually follows.

There is a positive relationship between how dense the text gets and how frustrated the reader gets in trying to grok whatever idea the author is trying to get across.

5. The more frustrated the reader gets, the more likely s/he is to give up and set the offending book on fire. (Corollary: When asked why the hell they did that, the embarrassed book-burner will generally try to excuse themselves by saying that the book promoted heresy.)

Pictured: The birthplace of post-structuralist theory.

No comments:

Post a Comment