Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Meta Is Coming For You

For everyone who uses the word "inter-textual" on a daily basis and thinks about potential papers they would write about every book from Anna Karenina to Clifford the Big Red Dog, this Onion article is for you. Because I bet you've thought about the literary value in a take-out menu, just like grad student Jon Rosenblatt. He just wanted a late night snack when he realized his mind couldn't stop:

"I just wanted to order some food from Burrito Bandito. Next thing I know, I'm analyzing the menu's content as a text, or 'text,' subjecting it to a rigorous critical reevaluation informed by Derrida, De Man, etc., as a construct, or 'construct,' made up of multi-varied and, in fact, often self-contradictory messages, or 'meanings,' derived from the cultural signifiers evoked by the menu, or 'menu,' and the resultant assumptions within not only the mind of the menu's 'authors' and 'readers,' but also within the larger context of our current postmodern media environment. Man, I've got to finish my dissertation before I end up in a rubber room."

And this wasn't the first time something like this has happened. Friend Karen Pilson said:

"The other day, we passed a bus stop with a poster for Disney's The Country Bears. I heard him mumble something about the incorporation of previously received notions concerning wildlife and our ecological environment into a reassuring, behavior-validating consumer commodity in the form of aggressively infantilized computer-animated pseudohumans that talk and play country music. Before I even had a chance to react, he went off the deep end and started throwing out terms like 'prenotional,' 'prolegomena,' 'gynocritical,' and 'logocentrism.' I was just stunned."

We're all stunned, Karen. At least Jon is considering taking some time off to move back in with his parents.

Ah, higher education!