Uncle 40 needs some help

Hi kiddies,

We have us a major ethical dilemma here at Going40. Some of you might be thinking, "Well that's great, because aren't you planning on spending much of the holiday break working on an ethics essay for a competition?" Yes, but I'm afraid this is not an award-winning problem. Here's the deal. I reallllllly want to take a literature class this semester, because I will feel lonely and sad without one. But, because of a) my schedule (including lame-ass science) and b) some piss-poor choices, I really don't have any options. Except one. And it brings up many painful things. Let me remind you first of three things I hate:

1. Literary theory
2. Night classes
3. Hairy feet

So there's this class, Literary Theory. Strike 1. It meets for three hours in the evening. Strike 2. The course will be using, as a way to try on all this theory, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Strike 3. Easy out, you say? Not. So. Fast. The teacher? The inimitable Prof K. All three of my English department classes have been well-taught, but the chance to have one more with the Queen of All Who Doth Teach seems like something not to pass up. But man, I just cringe at the thought of every other aspect of the class. Even though she'll probably find a way to make it interesting and all (except when we talked about theory in LitCrit last year, I mostly tuned out and thought about bubbles). And American Lit/Cultural Studies this semester was all theory all the time and it was d.e.a.d.l.y. And Lord of the Rings! Need I remind any of you from days of yore how much I despised that little Hobbit?

So, do I take the class? It's this or Contemporary Chinese History, which would be good because a) I know nothing; and b) I should know something.

Discuss. All of you; this is no time to let Sous Blogger Deb shoulder the burden alone. Lord knows she's been forced to often enough.


Eric M said...

3 strikes and you're out (and not in an Oct. 11th kind of way).

Do not take this class.

Anonymous said...

IMHO don't take the class. LitCrit-speak sucks (as Sean would confirm) and the LoTR books are too long and boring. Go Contemporary Chinese History!


Ann said...

Take the class.

However, I'm probably not the best person to advise you, dearest Almost-Going-41, as:

Strike 1: I loved night classes in grad school.

Strike 2: I spent last Sunday having my own mini-LOTR marathon, watching all three extended version DVD's back to back, I frequently invoke the hairy footed one's archetypal quest in class, and I have my own personal theory of structural rearrangement for maximum LOTR reading pleasure.

Strike 3: I hold a personal belief that the difference between a non-horrible (notice I didn't say "wonderful" or "fun" or even "decent," which don't apply to lit theory) and an insufferable Lit Theory class is the professor. With Prof K at the helm, you'd be in the least worst version of lit theory.

So you shouldn't listen to me.

But there are intriguing reasons to heed my "yes" vote despite the blatant biases admitted above.

Think how much fun it would be to apply queer theory to the various fellowship relationships or debate the influence of feminism on the film version, for example. (Yes, I actually think those would be fun to do.)

And it's probably better to tear a text apart (and down) WITHOUT liking it. The last time I read the trilogy was right after lit theory heavy grad school, and the racism of the text was BLARING. It was still a fun read, but much less... shiny.

Good luck with the decision.

Your favorite bad-sci-fi loving friend,

Now let me get back to my Torchwood DVD.

Stephanie said...

No, no, no!

Why would you risk ruining your love of this professor by taking a class with her that you're likely to hate? Especially given that the part of her class that you didn't like last year was the subject of this class.

And I'm only partially influenced here by my bitterness that you seem to have completely ignored the very nice course selections that K and I so lovingly picked out for you several weeks ago. Whatever happened to the Performing Arts Management class or whatever it was that we all agreed would be Good For You, and with a Good Prof, to boot?!

We J's don't like having our advice ignored, you know!

Meema said...

Is David Davies the prof for Contem Chinese History?

deb said...

We, the people, would like to have the course descriptions appended to the post to help with our recommendations.

Burt C said...

Take the history class. Mao was a fascinating character and China is a crazy place.

Plus, Chinese food is easier to access (as part of your immersion) than hobbit food.

Eric said...

A class filled with Dungeons & Dragons and other gamer types? No.

Tom said...

^^^ Amen on the nerdfest. Go with the Chinese class. This is what we in "the business" call a no-brainer.

If you don't believe me about the nerdfest, you really should check out the gummi orcs and Uruk-Hai:

Stephanie said...

I third what eWac and Tom are saying! A couple of years ago I was looking online for advice on dying a cotton damask bedspread (you're better off not hearing the whole story on that), and most of the info I found concerned how to dye cotton damask to make a coat exactly like whatever the main- female-character's-name-is in LOTR.

Apparently there are a lot of people out there trying to re-enact LOTR in WAY too much detail. It's beyond scary, and I don't want you exposed to that!

Sean said...

ALL, as in EVERY SINGLE ONE of my lit-crit classes at Princeton were three hours long. God I hated it there.

I despise night classes--always have, always will.

One of my favorite classes at Macalester was course on modern Chinese lit. Do the China one.

jwill said...

Although i'm all for taking courses with amazing profs, I could never ever take something about LOTR. Take the modern Chinese history class. I loved mine (maybe it was the amazing proletarian prof) and it was fascinating and relevant. Do it. Do it now.