I love this stuff, really. Absolutely LOOOOOVVEEE it. The part of the blogosphere that is, for lack of a better term, Academic blogging. I'm on record with my affection for free availability of most of the benefits of those distribution/GenEd/elective courses I took in the humanities departments, lo, many a year ago. This is what absolutely addicted me to Adventures in Ethics and Science which I think was the original Sb hook set in me as a reader. Do you know how much those liberal arts college classes cost you these days? Did I mention it was for FREE? I love it.
There's more. You know those little threads that emerge every time I talk about cannabis or MDMA? It is just exactly like the student comments in drug classes and my fading memory of a bunch of dorm-room BS sessions. Love it.
Academic nitwittery. Sure, it can become repetitive and pedantic. Sure, it can get comically hostile in a way that has you looking around frantically for the head of the pin. (Not pin-head, pin. head.) But it is just plain entertaining. For the weenie geeks anyway, and if you are reading ScienceBlogs I think you probably qualify Dear Reader.
This brings me to today's example. In the midst of another popular recurring Academic argument (honestly, this one isn't that boring for those who hate Academic mewling, it has breasts!) I found the following gem.
It has to do with the deeper meaning of, well, quotations. I love it.
Occasional DM visitor Stephanie Z lays it down:
PP, if the comment Zuska linked to is so incomprehensible, why has it been in the quote rotator at DrugMonkey? Is that just where you put pieces of prose that "no one ever understands"?
and a comment or two later:
Actually, I'd originally assumed that the quote was there because you understood and agreed with it and because you were grown up enough to recognize a good point even when it comes from someone you've disagreed with in the past.
Damn, we're into Literary Criticism already! Zero to Sixty baby...
The guy watching The Simpsons on the couch pipes up:
Will this be Drug Monkey and PP's first fight?
Serious Discussants are permitted to ignore such blatant trollery. It's in the guidelines.
Occasional DM visitor and all-around Sb'er picador Becca:
if you really want to know why that line got put in the quote rotator, I suspect it's because DM agreed with it (in general)....The fact that PP disagreed with it (or at least, what he thought it meant in the context of Zuska's discussion) is not necessarily relevant.
Meaning. Very important. As is Intent. I think anyway, it has been awhile. Maybe I am writing this so someone will inform me? I don't know perhaps that is the meta Meaning or Intent or something? If you are confused, as I am, you are doing it Right!
Wait, there's more:
That said, the quote rotator may truly be a repository for prose "no one understands"- don't those lines seem a little random? Actually, I think it functions as a way of manipulating people into feeling they are part of DM's personal "sprawling, continuous scientists' party" (complete with injokes). Or possibly those quotes are just things that struck DM as particularly valuable for one reason or another (point of interest- the source code calls them "moneyquotes").
Did I say "Sixty"? More like Eleventy!!!.
Naturally, as with any good Academic critique, what the author or creator thinks doesn't mean a damn thing. So I won't venture an amateur opinion as to what I was about. (Don't you wish your favorite musicians would just STFU when asked what their lyrics really mean? I often do.)