Saturday, January 17, 2009

high school and college

I remember how Ms. Klein once expressed her frustration about Allison Krauss's song "Ironic" and the triteness of the examples Allison used. And to top it off "the situations aren't even ironic!" She threw up her hands and meaningfully nodded as we all disgustedly nodded back. I should have asked her, "so, what is ironic?" I guess back then, as a self-important junior in high school, I knew what ironic was. Well, I didn't, and I still don't. 
Don't get me wrong. You can point me to a situation and I will tell you if it's ironic or not. I might even condescendingly refute your proposal of an ironic situation quite convincingly. But put a pen and paper in front of me and tell me to define ironic, and I won't be able to do it. The pages and pages I could think up of ironic situations would fall out of my ears and land in a pile of useless dust right next to my collarbone. 
How ironic. 
This brings me to an interesting (and ironic? okay, I killed it) point. We are so competent in giving examples and showing and doing, but we cannot define. Is it fear? I don't want to place my flag down and defend my grounds! Is it ambivalence? I don't care, just use the word, and as long as we're on the subject, stop brooding over Ms. Sarles' use of the word ironical. Is it just pure snobbery? Oh, we're post post-modern; we've killed the author and thrown away the dictionary, don't dare trying to define anything! Ah, relativity? 
Or maybe it's just that my ancient computer won't let me use a mozilla firefox browser so I am stuck with this google browser that won't let me use my university proxy to access the Oxford English Dictionary (the authority on words and etymology and everything else that's savory or sweet). Wow, this made me sound technologically ept! Well, now I sound inept. 

Do you know what else bugs? Not just the fact that everything I learned about essays in high school, my college instructors chucked out the window, but how in high school... 
let me try to say it again. 
Return to my old vomit. 

Okay. so. In high school, if I supported my feeble arguments in an essay with comments that I assumed about humanity, I would be marked down. Or it would be easily refuted because "how do I know humanity feels this way?" Yet NOW, in college, suddenly, one year makes a huge difference and I'm allowed to represent humanity in my essays with overarching statements. 
Now I'm allowed to assume generalizations, I'm allowed to present what I think Romeo was thinking, when really, nothing has changed since high school, how come suddenly now I'm allowed to project my opinions from his head? 

This doesn't make sense. 
Language is so hard. 
Too bad I don't have evidence. I don't want to look through my old essays for examples. 
But I just think it's unfair. 

Life is unfair. 
That's just rot. 

I mean, I'm here fighting for justice, and I guess I am very conditional about which points of justice I undertake... but still. 

The end for now.

1 comment: