December 01, 2004

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” First Annual

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” First Annual “Worst Academic Paper Title” Competition

If you, dear reader, are anything like us, you can’t get enough of academic articles. They’ve got everything you want—if you’re a chronic insomniac who has a weak spot for such phrases as “the dyadic mirror phase.”

As a result, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” decided to offer an Official First Annual “Worst Academic Paper Title” Competition. We figured that our manifold readers could come up with prime examples of the most gloriously inane titles in the history of the ivory tower.

We know what you are thinking, dear reader: This competition is riding on the coattails of Philosophy & Literature magazine’s annual contest that gives a prize for the worst crafted academic sentence. To which we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” respond: Yeah, that’s pretty much true.

But frankly, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” figured that hardly anything would rile up our tenured friends like an Official First Annual “Worst Academic Paper Title” Competition. After all, as we noted here, our pals in humanities departments can’t stand it when lowly journalists poke fun at the titles of their recondite studies.

In order to give you a sense of the kind of thing we are hoping to receive, dear reader, allow us to present an example.

Perhaps, like us, you are a subscriber to the Journal of Lesbian Studies. If not, you probably missed a recent article by one Debra Roth, which bears the jaw-droppingly wonderful title “Engorging the Lesbian Clitoris: Opposing the Phallic Cultural Unconscious.”

Aha! That’s the stuff we’re looking for. Not only is this moniker unintentionally porno-humorous, it’s utter gibberish.

In fact, the paper is so rebarbative that even the first sentence of its summary sounds stupid:

This paper argues that colloquial language that casually refers to the male genitals as signifcations of power and authority (i.e., “having balls,” “getting it up,” “strapping it on,” etc.) has a particularly injurious effect upon lesbian subjectivity because of the critical ways in which lesbians must reject the hegemony of the phallus in order to experience themselves as richly embodied.

We don’t want to have a particularly injurious effect upon lesbian subjectivity, but may we humbly suggest that Ms. Roth, the author of this fine piece, has some balls? After all, we’ve never heard anyone utter the colloquial phrase “strapping it on.” Perhaps we aren’t traveling in the right circles.

Naturally, dear reader, Ms. Roth’s piece is replete with jargon-laden piffle:

A phallogocentric (Derrida, in Evans, 1996) ideational framework works to severely circumscribe the ways in which lesbians can grapple with the experiences of embodiment and otherness because it asks us to reach too far outside our own intrapsychic experience of self as subject or object in order to engage and more fully know our own sexual potency and aliveness.

Savor, dear reader, the sublimely clunky phrase “ideational framework works to severely circumscribe.” Perhaps Ms. Roth should put down her Derrida for a second and pick up a grade school grammar textbook; she ought to check out its “split infinitives” section.

But we digress. We hope that you get some sense of the magnificently ridiculous titles we want you to send us. As such, we are pleased as peacocks to announce:

“The Hatemonger’s Quarterly” Official First Annual “Worst Academic Paper Title” Competition

We, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” exhort you, dear reader, to send us an inane title from an academic article (i.e., a piece penned by an academic and/or published in an academic journal).

As we do not, alas, have the resources to track down each article, entrants are required to submit e-documentation of this article’s title. Simply click the “Contact Us” link at the top right-hand corner of your computer screen and offer us your entry, complete with an e-citation of the article in question.

Entries must be submitted by 5:00 pm EST on December 20th, 2004 in order to be considered. Our Official Contest Judges will pour through the entries, and the lucky winner will have his/her title published on this humble “website,” along with copious praise for his/her genius.

Naturally, dear reader, the winner will be the envy of all and sundry. So find a ridiculous article and enter today!

Posted at December 1, 2004 01:01 AM | TrackBack