Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ask the Experts

by King Richard III, special correspondent

Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer! 'Tis that wonderfully fraught time of year when English professors in search of recognition and graduate students in search of employment gather from around the globe to bathe in the sweat of their own anxiety at the annual Modern Language Association convention. I shall be reporting from there for the rest of the week as I seek to rattle the convention-goers' confidence and forge false alliances.

I confess I was both intrigued and enraged by the 6 items listed under "Policies"in the Convention Program. I take issue in particular with #5, "Reading in Absentia," a practice that is not encouraged. Some of my greatest victories have been won when other people served as my puppets. Clearly, this is a gesture meant to discriminate against those of us who prefer to manipulate appearances.

On the other hand, I am greatly pleased by policy #3, "Fragrance." Attendees must refrain "from using scented products." In this way, they will "ensure the comfort of everyone at the convention." Well done! All the better to smell the fear, disappointment, and loathing emanating from those insecure interpreters of literature and would-be shifters of paradigms. I intend to be the first one there Thursday morning at the Boston Sheraton and the last to leave on Sunday. My kingdom for a crowded room and a broken elevator!

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