Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Utter tripe!
March 17, 2008 12:56 AM   Subscribe

Hey nasreddin, maybe I even agree with some of your points, but you're coming across like an obnoxious sixteen-year old who wants everyone to know he's read Rousseau (and Voltaire) and lip-synchs to "Firing Line".

We get it, you're an erudite guy with a liberal arts education. Now stop being a prick, most Mefites went to university too.

And please, unless Lytton Strachey wrote a biography of you, prefixing your attacks with "this is utter tripe and foolishness" just suggest you're watching too many BBC comedies on PBS.
posted by orthogonality to Etiquette/Policy at 12:56 AM (155 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Er, "suggests".

Look, make your points, but lose the I-am-so-incredulous-my-debating-opponent-could-be-so-damnededly-ignorant shtick like: "As a historian, you should probably have moved a little past Macaulay in theoretical sophistication by now."
posted by orthogonality at 1:01 AM on March 17, 2008


Hey, your second and third link are to this thread. Is that what you intended?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:06 AM on March 17, 2008


Agreed. Please tone down the patronizing attitude.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:09 AM on March 17, 2008


Well the snark isn't new and unusual, so I guess the real problem here must be that the guy is bright.

So, we're calling people out for being clever now.
Cool. Just let me get my beer hat, and I'll be right with you.
posted by seanyboy at 1:12 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


God Damned smarties. With their big heads and glasses.
Hey Einstein, if a fist pounds into your face, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a noise.
LOL.
posted by seanyboy at 1:15 AM on March 17, 2008


Whoops, Brandon's right! Thanks Brandon.

I dunno how that happened, so here's what should be the post:
Hey nasreddin, maybe I even agree with some of your points, but you're coming across like an obnoxious sixteen-year old who wants everyone to know he's read Rousseau (and Voltaire) and lip-synchs to "Firing Line".
Ah, seems that if you mess up an href end tag, and then preview it, the comment text in the text-area on the preview page gets mangled, removing the href of the next comment.
posted by orthogonality at 1:15 AM on March 17, 2008


seanyboy writes "Well the snark isn't new and unusual, so I guess the real problem here must be that the guy is bright. "

It ain't the snark (I like snark) and it ain't the smarts (like that too). It's the personal attacks dripping with condescension.
posted by orthogonality at 1:17 AM on March 17, 2008


It sux that you stuffed up the links.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:20 AM on March 17, 2008


When Jefferson "cut out" the parts of the Bible did he have his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth as he concentrated I sure hope so.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:24 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


orthogonality - you aren't the first person to notice that his writing is a little embellished.

Your prose style is like a slow-motion cumshot video compilation which has titillating intentionality but just ends up being funny. Like costume jewelry.
posted by bigmusic at 2:17 AM on March 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


I read Rousseau and Voltaire too. IN THE BAR.

Can I have a cookie now?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:34 AM on March 17, 2008


This is a lame callout.

This post is made from the best pieces of the original metafilter thread, which I've cut and pasted.
posted by iamkimiam at 3:22 AM on March 17, 2008


I call 'em as I see 'em. Is there some less pretentious eighteenth-century atheist figure you would have liked me to cite instead of Hume and Voltaire? Given that the thread was about Jefferson's Bible, I would say bringing up atheism in the eighteenth century was not too out there in LOL NERD territory.

As I've said before, I think careful, reasoned debate gets pretty boring sometimes. So I like to combine my substantive comments with snark, which may or may not be successful or funny. In this case, I guess it wasn't. But I'm still pretty convinced that lame progress theories of history deserve nothing better than condescension, and I was frankly surprised that sotonohito wasn't more careful about tossing that around.

(Many people hate my writing style, others enjoy it. Occasionally I think things that I've written are laughably pompous. But I write the way I do because I love the way my favorite writers use language, and I want to train myself to do it as well as they. There's no way to do that without occasionally looking like a total fool)
posted by nasreddin at 3:46 AM on March 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


This is a lame callout.

I don't entirely degree. Surname-only intellectual posturing isn't, you know... good.
posted by StephenF at 3:49 AM on March 17, 2008


Err, agree. Though I don't degree either, it should be noted.
posted by StephenF at 3:50 AM on March 17, 2008


I wish BBC comedies were all utter tripe this and foolishness that.
posted by cillit bang at 3:53 AM on March 17, 2008


All those whose minds entitle themselves, and whose main entitle is themselves, shall feel the wrath of orthogonality's bombast!
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:05 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Borderline irritating, but not really that bad as far as arrogant asshat-ery goes. Though this call-out was worth it for this comment.
posted by Phire at 4:07 AM on March 17, 2008


Borderline irritating, but not really that bad as far as arrogant asshat-ery goes.

I aim to please.
posted by nasreddin at 4:10 AM on March 17, 2008


You know I love you.
posted by Phire at 4:12 AM on March 17, 2008


Anyway, ortho, thanks for the callout, I shouldn't have been so defensive earlier. It's helpful to know if I've gone over the top, and I'll try to watch out for being an asshole in future threads. Theories of history, believe it or not, are very close to my heart, and sometimes I get overexcited. (Imagine if someone were to show up in a computer-related thread and started arguing based on the premise that Real Programmers use FORTRAN. I bet someone here would at least be tempted to condescend).

But I ain't giving up my last-name citations, sorry. That's just how I roll.
posted by nasreddin at 4:34 AM on March 17, 2008


You surely know who else used last-name citations...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:43 AM on March 17, 2008


Goddamn it, I still want a cookie.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:49 AM on March 17, 2008


To paraphrase Freud, this callout tells us more about orthogonality than it does about nasreddin.
posted by Dave Faris at 4:49 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your prose style is like a slow-motion cumshot video compilation which has titillating intentionality but just ends up being funny. Like costume jewelry.

Best Comment Ever.
posted by farishta at 4:50 AM on March 17, 2008


This callout is utter tripe. The guy makes good points in every one of the 'offending' links, and he does so with well written, spelled and punctuated sentences. If that's arrogant, we need a lot more arrogance on MeFi.
I'll trade 1 reference to Voltaire for 1000 'eponysterical', 'I for one...', "you know who else..." injokes, or for all the bad puns that pass for debate around here.
The fact that the dude is well read and refrences actually substantial thinkers and texts instead of the Simpsons or Star Trek makes him an asset.
This thread seems to me to make more of a point about orthogonality's intellectual insecurities than about nasreddin.
posted by signal at 5:07 AM on March 17, 2008 [19 favorites]


Yet another bullshit callout. Not read Rousseau or Voltaire?

Maybe not your thing, but fairly accessible.

I think the most pretentious thing about nasreddin is his handle. Big shoes there.
posted by Wolof at 5:10 AM on March 17, 2008


Sorry, but this IS a great deal of metafilter: "We get it, you're an erudite guy with a liberal arts education. Now stop being a prick, most Mefites went to university [own a Mac, hate your favorite band, etc.] too." I don't understand calling out one single guy on this, when his name is legion. (see?? I've read the New Testament as literature!)
posted by availablelight at 5:49 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is a lame callout.

Or as one might say, were he seeking the mot juste, "the scurrility of this rebuke is matched only by its utter vacuity."
posted by octobersurprise at 5:52 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


This callout would've sucked if nasreddin hadn't acknowledged his tone might be off a little bit. If it helps make a good poster better, I can't help but think that's a good thing.
posted by scabrous at 5:55 AM on March 17, 2008


When I recently discovered that nasreddin is, in fact, 20 years old, my bewildered middle-aged mind was forced into a series of increasingly preposterous conjectures about how he's maybe a feral child who found shelter in the bowels of the British Museum and idiot-savantically memorized all of the books he wasn't burning for warmth, or a killer robot from 2127 programmed with sophisticated opinions about all of Western culture in a misguided roboty attempt to make him appear more human, so I'm deeply relieved to discover that he's just a pompous little nerd who deserves to be yelled at.
posted by dyoneo at 5:59 AM on March 17, 2008 [9 favorites]


I don't want to comment one way or the other on nasreddin's tone, but why would it be a bad thing to mention Hume, Voltaire, and La Mettrie in a thread about Jefferson?
posted by ssg at 6:01 AM on March 17, 2008


Wait, is sotonohito actually a historian?
posted by Greg Nog at 6:06 AM on March 17, 2008


But I write the way I do because I love the way my favorite writers use language, and I want to train myself to do it as well as they.

There's your cookie, stavros
posted by Neiltupper at 6:18 AM on March 17, 2008


I find the comparison of nasreddin's communicative embellishments to the languid-paced expostulation of William F. Buckley, Jr., on the Firing Line, as, ah, ah, I assume was meant by orthogonality's animadversion, well, to be a bit ignoratio elenchi, as it were.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:20 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mmm, tripe. But yeah, a little bit of a fedora-alert going on.
posted by desuetude at 6:38 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm disappointed nobody called me out for making a mockery of the bible-timeline, inventing facts or for slagging off the founding fathers.
I'm also appalled that so few people applauded my awesome comparison of hypostatic union to Dallas plotlines.
What's a guy got to do around here.
posted by seanyboy at 6:48 AM on March 17, 2008


This is a lame callout.

No kidding: nasreddin is smart, opinionated, and literate—ban him! I swear, this place is like kindergarten sometimes. "Teacher, Bobbie was mean to me!" "Did Bobbie hit you?" "No, he name-checked Voltaire and spoke in a supercilious tone! Why can't he just say LOL like everybody else??"

When someone takes potshots at you, nasreddin, just say « Monsieur, je commence mon nom pendant que vous finissez le vôtre ».
posted by languagehat at 6:49 AM on March 17, 2008 [13 favorites]


Can't get behind this one. It would be one thing if nasreddin were name-dropping from Who's Who in 18th Century Philosophy in a current events thread, but this was a thread about Thomas Jefferson. If referencing Rousseau or Voltaire isn't appropriate there, it isn't appropriate anywhere; if that's the case I think it says something rather poor about the intellectual depth of the community.

Also, supposing that someone was thrown by nasreddin's mention of Macaulay, enlightenment is only a right-click and a Wikipedia page away. Primary source materials are only one click beyond that. If there was ever a format that ought not require a lot of explanatory notes, it's the WWW as it currently exists. Name-dropping in casual conversation with a mixed audience is obnoxious, but on a messageboard or other asynchronous forum I don't think it's wrong to expect the reader to do a little work if they're not familiar with the subject matter and want to participate in a scholarly discussion.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:51 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was apparently unclear; it's not that mentioning of Voltaire I object to, it's the personal condescension, the implication that nasreddin is somehow unique among us in knowing about Voltaire:

"As a historian, you should probably have moved a little past Macaulay in theoretical sophistication by now."

"But you know this, and are just being willfully obtuse as usual."

"You'll never be a genius philosopher who changed the world and gave liberty and voice to millions of people, but at least you're not a racist. From the high perch of your computer chair you ... be smugly satisfied with your own righteousness."
posted by orthogonality at 6:53 AM on March 17, 2008


Sure, the comments you link to are a bit condescending and occasionally ad hominem, and would be improved by a bit of de-snarkification. But on balance, I'd rather hear a bit of his supercilious but well-argued snark than yet another round of your band sucks or I have a fish in my pants LOLZ.
posted by googly at 7:08 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


"No, he name-checked Voltaire and spoke in a supercilious tone!"

Y'know, here in Tokyo, just the other day, a fellow accused me of speaking in a supercilious tone. Then he said "You need to righten up!" And I had to admit, he was light.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:11 AM on March 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


You call that tripe? That ain't tripe. This is tripe.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:14 AM on March 17, 2008


Welcome to MetaTalk! You have been called out by another user. Please select from the following options:

(1) Accept the criticism with good humor and a dash of humility

(2) Flame out in spectacular fashion

*nasreddin presses button*

You have chosen option (1). Are you absolutely certain you want to do this?

*nasreddin presses button again*

We are very disappointed in you. In the future, please consider choosing option (2).
posted by brain_drain at 7:19 AM on March 17, 2008 [17 favorites]


¡Viva Menudo!
posted by breezeway at 7:21 AM on March 17, 2008


I swear it was just like watching that scene in Good Will Hunting.
posted by longbaugh at 7:28 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Keep your Latin boy-band obsession out of this, breezeway.*

Also, nasreddin can't help it. He reads a lot. He came into my store once.

*also, check your voicemail, dude. I'll be at the bar on 23rd ave & 27th Street this afternoon for the wearin' o' the green & the reinforcin' o' the stereotypes.
posted by jonmc at 7:28 AM on March 17, 2008


I'll never be a genius philosopher who changed the world and gave liberty and voice to millions of people, but at least I'm not a racist.
posted by 1 at 7:36 AM on March 17, 2008


Why is this thread even open?
posted by washburn at 7:40 AM on March 17, 2008


Why is this thread even open?

If we fight the terrorists here, we won't have fight them at home.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:47 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Look out! He's got some tripe!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:49 AM on March 17, 2008


So, to sum up:

- Name-checking 18th c. philosophers at every opportunity: pretentious and weird. Don't.
- Name-checking 18th c. philosophers in relevant threads: keen. Go for it.
- Being kind of a condescending dick about it: not so good. Don't.
- Doing so as a means of livening up "boring" reasonable debate: still kind of a dick move. Please don't.
- Acknowledging criticism in good humor when called out: pretty okay stuff. Hugs.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:51 AM on March 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


You're thinking about closing this thread, aren't you? DO IT
posted by brain_drain at 7:55 AM on March 17, 2008


I think the main question is - do you like apples?
posted by longbaugh at 8:02 AM on March 17, 2008


...do you like apples?

Do they go well with tripe?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:20 AM on March 17, 2008


Weak sauce. Nasreddin was responding to sonotohito, who's always fucking axe-grinding about atheism, and to three blind mice's cliched condemnation of Jefferson as racist, and doing so in a pretty sharp way.

While many MeFites have gone "to university" (which, if you're not British, deserves an ironic golf clap in a pretentiousness call-out), the folks in there were spouting the sort of simplistic shit which should be drummed out of their heads in undergrad.
posted by klangklangston at 8:24 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


While many MeFites have gone "to university" (which, if you're not British, deserves an ironic golf clap in a pretentiousness call-out),

True dat. That's right up there with referring to a tallboy of Bud as a 'pint.'
posted by jonmc at 8:29 AM on March 17, 2008


When I recently discovered that nasreddin is, in fact, 20 years old, my bewildered middle-aged mind was forced into a series of increasingly preposterous conjectures

Thank you for this--I thought so! He's a brilliant young person using Metafilter to help himself find his voice, and I am enjoying being present at the creation.
posted by jamjam at 8:47 AM on March 17, 2008


Metafilter: careful, reasoned debate gets pretty boring sometimes

(making no point here at all, just couldn't help that)
posted by Smedleyman at 8:49 AM on March 17, 2008


When I grow up, I'm going to go to Bovine University. </wiggim voice>
posted by quin at 8:55 AM on March 17, 2008


That's very mooving, quin.
posted by jonmc at 8:57 AM on March 17, 2008


Grrr: Wiggum voice
posted by quin at 8:57 AM on March 17, 2008


Metafilter: careful, reasoned debate gets pretty boring sometimes

(making no point here at all, just couldn't help that)
posted by Smedleyman 8 minutes ago [+]

When I grow up, I'm going to go to Bovine University.
posted by quin 2 minutes ago [+]


Thus reinforcing my point about moronic injokes and Simpsons references.
posted by signal at 9:00 AM on March 17, 2008


nasreddin and orthogonality are both good eggs, and I don't mind a good 18th century name-check. I will point out that one can refer to a comment or opinion as tripe, or more colloquially as "a load of horeshit," without implying that the commenter is similarly burdened with either tripe or equine excrement.

So, I interpret this callout as little more than one gentlemen pulling another aside at the the club for reminder on the importance of civility among our privileged and esteemed class. But as we all know, Fate is a vengeful bitch, and the first gentleman's friendly "advice" issued sallied at precisely the moment the conversation in the rest of the salon lulled. The rest of us, half-drunk on brandy and our collective loathing of the Belgians, have now overheard what was intended to be a private conversation. Embarrassing all around.

So, nasreddin and orthogonality, let's all shake hands and invite one other to our respective yachts. Oh, but not you, Vanderbilt, I'm afraid there isn't enough buoyancy in all the shipyards at Liverpool to accommodate your daughter. I joke! I joke! Truth be told, she's quite a prize-winner that one. If you can't marry her off, there's always the state fair!

Atta boy, gents, a handshake and back to normal. Have you met allkindsoftime? Spent some time in Africa, as it seems. Portnoy! Stop lurking in the shadows like traveling curiosity and pour my friends here a new glass. Yes, French is fine, we're not proud. Now, gentlemen let's get down the business at hand - those filthy socialists.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:06 AM on March 17, 2008 [20 favorites]


You know what's awesome? How apparently two wrongs make a right. I had no idea that it was cool to be kind of a dick to someone so long as you think they're kind of a dick themselves. I mean, shit, even if nasreddin acknowledges that his tone was a little off, it's fucking BULLSHIT to mention it, since the people he was being kind of a dick to are also dicks. FUCK, man. why can't everyone see that some people just deserve to be treated like dicks? this callout is BULLSHIT.
posted by shmegegge at 9:06 AM on March 17, 2008


This is a lamé callout.




Does it make me look fat?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:13 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Someone is complaining about referring to major intellectual figures by their last names only? Since we don't have a vast research library at our fingertips, where we can just type the last name into the search box and find out who it is?

I have students who, habituated by the newspaper-weekend-magazine tradition, will begin their papers about Descartes by saying "Philosopher Rene Descartes wrote about..." -- they don't feel comfortable that the reader will know who Descartes is without a bit of help.

Obviously, not good to be condescending, but referring to Voltaire without prelude -- and assuming your audience will be able to follow who you're talking about -- is the opposite of condescending.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:13 AM on March 17, 2008


The rest of us...have now overheard what was intended to be a private conversation.

If only there were some way to send private messages in this club. Some kind of, say, private messaging system, where you could send a message to someone else that other people wouldn't be able to read.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2008


Someone is complaining about referring to major intellectual figures by their last names only?

Rousseau is a major intellectual figure? I assumed he was a hockey player.
posted by jonmc at 9:19 AM on March 17, 2008


If only there were ...

Speaking of condescension and in-jokes. There's one I wouldn't mind seeing scurrying around here less often. (No offense, LobsterMitten.)
posted by danOstuporStar at 9:27 AM on March 17, 2008


While many MeFites have gone "to university" (which, if you're not British, deserves an ironic golf clap in a pretentiousness call-out),

What? Is this something you'd have to be U.S.-centric to understand?
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:51 AM on March 17, 2008


You know what's awesome? How apparently two wrongs make a right. I had no idea that it was cool to be kind of a dick to someone so long as you think they're kind of a dick themselves. I mean, shit, even if nasreddin acknowledges that his tone was a little off, it's fucking BULLSHIT to mention it, since the people he was being kind of a dick to are also dicks. FUCK, man. why can't everyone see that some people just deserve to be treated like dicks? this callout is BULLSHIT.

Three wrongs make a left.
posted by klangklangston at 9:53 AM on March 17, 2008


As a Brit, I'd say you could never watch too many BBC comedies on PBS!
posted by Blacksun at 9:58 AM on March 17, 2008


What? Is this something you'd have to be U.S.-centric to understand?

An American would typically say "gone to college" or "gone to school". "Gone to university" sounds British to American ears.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:03 AM on March 17, 2008


I'll trade 1 reference to Voltaire for 1000 'eponysterical', 'I for one...', "you know who else..." injokes, or for all the bad puns that pass for debate around here.

Your favourite historiographer sucks.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:12 AM on March 17, 2008


Even the most rudimentary analysis of MetaFilter history should lead one to the inescapable conclusion that the social dynamics and group norms of its membership are non-homogenous, and that a certain elasticity of expression is to be expected and desired. As Haughey has implied, the use of MetaTalk for identification and approbation of individual stylistic modalities is to be avoided except in the most egregious of circumstances. And many years ago West settled the issue of surname citation by providing enthusiastic, if qualified, support for its efficacy in certain situations. While Millard has not been known to opine on any of the referenced controversies, one may extrapolate from his earlier enthusiastic defense of individualistic expression that he would permit a certain latitude for idiosyncratic (even if seemingly arcane) linguistic constructions. However, one must understand that such opinions were premised on the assumption of collegiality and mutual respect; should it be shown that the particular style of expression has been employed to belittle or intimidate, one may suppose that the prior expressions of tolerance will, having been balanced against the greater harm of disharmony among the group as a whole, give way, and an appropriate level of discipline imposed.

Or, you know, write however you want -- just don't be a dick to someone else.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:16 AM on March 17, 2008 [8 favorites]

Rousseau is a major intellectual figure? I assumed he was a hockey player.
I'll never understand why Anaheim traded him in the first round.
posted by scrump at 10:25 AM on March 17, 2008


An American would typically say "gone to college" or "gone to school". "Gone to university" sounds British to American ears.

Colleges and universities are very different institutions in Canada, as well. It makes for fun conversations with American relatives, who ask how college is treating me and are puzzled at my momentary scrutinizing (figuring out if they've got me confused for someone else again) before answering.
posted by heeeraldo at 10:27 AM on March 17, 2008


Generally, "university" here connotes a graduate-level school, which is usually connected to a larger educational-industrial complex. If something is just called a "college," it usually only offers undergrad degrees. But graduate programs within larger universities may also be called colleges.

What sounds "British" to American ears is the lack of an article. Americans would generally say that they went to "a university."
posted by klangklangston at 10:33 AM on March 17, 2008


"Americans would generally say that they went to 'a university.'"

Americans I know would generally say they "dropped out of high school".

We obviously run with different crowds.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:45 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]



No kidding: nasreddin is smart, opinionated, and literate

So what? There are many smart, opinionated and literate members of this community. Fortunately they're not all as pompous.
posted by Neiltupper at 10:47 AM on March 17, 2008


This furthers my theory that you can say anything at all, even something odious, and if you dress it up with Latin references, literary allusions, exquisite turns of phrase, and references to philosophy, people will become hypnotized by your manner of expression and assume there must be some value to your comments. It also helps to affect a mid-Atlantic accent and dress in Brooks Brothers suits.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:58 AM on March 17, 2008


"Of course that's your contention. You're a first year grad student. You just finished some Marxian historian, Pete Garrison probably, and so naturally that's what you believe until next month when you get to James Lemon and get convinced that Virginia and Pennsylvania were strongly entrepreneurial and capitalist back in 1740. That'll last until sometime in your second year, then you'll be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood about the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization."
posted by ALongDecember at 11:01 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Or if you're a normal college student, you'll be drinking keg beer and chasing co-eds.
posted by jonmc at 11:02 AM on March 17, 2008


Americans would generally say that they went to "a university."

I don't think they would. Consider the question:

What was your occupation in [year x]?

An American who was attending a University in year x would almost certainly answer this question with either "I was in college", "I was in school", or "I was a student". I think it would be very unusual for an American to answer this question with "I was in a university" or "I was at a university".

It would be similarly unusual for an American to say "I went to a university" instead of "I went to college".

If they went to Princeton, however, they would say "I was at Princeton".
posted by mr_roboto at 11:22 AM on March 17, 2008


This furthers my theory that [contumelious drivel elided]

The problem, ouroboric as it is, defines itself on a sort of palimpsestic recursion toward infinity. It follows naturally enough then, for any literate reader of Keirkegarde, that Astro Zombie's sister is ipso fatco* a totally yucko whalebeast.

*i.e. ipso fatso
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2008


It would be similarly unusual for an American to say "I went to a university" instead of "I went to college".

I'm not sure that'd be as unusual. "I went to a university" might be rare than "I went to college", but it's not an unreasonable formation to hear from someone whose school was, in fact, a university by title.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2008


Anyway, you know what is not satisfying to a hunger even if eaten in great overflowing handfuls?

Marshmallows.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:32 AM on March 17, 2008


Well, the difference between a college and a university is that a university is composed of multiple colleges, yes? It's an administrative distinction.

American say "went to college" or, more colloquially, "went to school."
posted by washburn at 11:32 AM on March 17, 2008


Marshmallows.Astro Zombie's sister
posted by danOstuporStar at 11:38 AM on March 17, 2008


I swear it was just like watching that scene in Good Will Hunting.
Quiet on the set.

Scene 26. Take 12.

Annnndddd, action ...
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on March 17, 2008


Don't forget the sequel:

Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season
posted by ALongDecember at 11:42 AM on March 17, 2008


Apple sauce, bitch!
posted by ericb at 11:45 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


That'll last until sometime in your second year, then you'll be in here regurgitating Gordon Wood about the Pre-revolutionary utopia and the capital-forming effects of military mobilization."

Well, as a matter of fact, I won't, because Wood drastically underestimates the impact of social distinctions predicated upon wealth, especially inherited wealth.
posted by inigo2 at 12:04 PM on March 17, 2008


The ironic thing is that Matt Damon actually gets Wood's argument wrong. Wood isn't talking about a pre-revolutionary utopia: he describes the colonies as a rigidly hierarchical society founded on deference to the privileged upper classes. (For Wood, the reason the Revolution could have happened at all was that the colonies were less rigid than Britain, due to the absence of an entrenched hereditary nobility--a "truncated society"). Wood celebrates the radicalism of the American Revolution precisely because it was able to overcome that oppressive social structure.
posted by nasreddin at 12:20 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Check out the book; it's so good no one will blame you for regurgitating from it. I still do. (it's possible that the reference might be to The Creation of the American Republic, but I haven't gotten to that one yet, so I can't say)
posted by nasreddin at 12:32 PM on March 17, 2008


Speaking of the pre-revolutionary utopia, there's this awesome quote I found by an exiled Loyalist New Yorker:
America will never see such happy days as in the past. They may be a great empire, and enjoy opulence; but that mediocrity between extreme poverty and luxurious riches made their condition substantially happy. There being but few offices, there was no scope for bribery, corruption, and the numerous train of evils which attend the venality in [Britain]. Henceforth, having an empire of their own, the numerous train of offices will produce like effects as the same causes do here.
(Peter Van Schaack, Nov. 1779)
Not a bad prediction, as it turns out.
posted by nasreddin at 12:51 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


And so yet another call-out thread peters out with the called-out earnestly and informatively discussing Revolutionary-era American history with himself.
posted by dyoneo at 1:00 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


If Gus van Sant had taken that scene as a pivot and turned the rest of the movie into an ongoing series of conversations between Will and Academic Guy, man, that would have been a great suckerpunch. Like Gerry with less sand.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:00 PM on March 17, 2008


This furthers my theory that you can say anything at all, even something odious, and if you dress it up with Latin references, literary allusions, exquisite turns of phrase, and references to philosophy, people will become hypnotized by your manner of expression and assume there must be some value to your comments. It also helps to affect a mid-Atlantic accent and dress in Brooks Brothers suits.

Please, we've already had the William Buckley obit.

And, as for universities, perhaps you'd be better served by thinking them as "hospital," since the same British/American grammar divide rules there.

(While it's rarer to hear kids say that they went to "a university" than "college," it's not at all rare to hear them call it "the university," especially if it's the main state U. Growing up in Ann Arbor, I heard this all the time.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:09 PM on March 17, 2008


Nasreddin vs. sotonohito?? Talk about bringing a knife to a gunfight. I'm sure it weren't pretty.
posted by vronsky at 1:19 PM on March 17, 2008


There are many smart, opinionated and literate members of this community.

Oh yeah? I'm curious about your definition of "many."

And just as a data point, I've gotten more from nasreddin's last three comments in this thread than from several entire courses I took in college. I'm glad he has a thick skin and a sense of humor, because if I ever go to his userpage and see "This account is disabled" I'm gonna hafta get medieval on somebody's ass.

And by "get medieval" I mean quote the Corpus Iuris Civilis in extenso. I don't mess around.
posted by languagehat at 1:46 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, to hell with you lot. You can shower the forgettable whoever that was who attention-whored his way to 500 favorites and closed his own account, but no cookie for the wonderchicken?

I'm taking my copy of Voltaire's Bastards and going home. *sniff*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:56 PM on March 17, 2008


“Thus reinforcing my point about moronic injokes and Simpsons references.”

Is there a better place to make moronic injokes or Simpsons references than in a thread, as you say, decrying substantive thought?
But I am a big Gordy Rousseau fan. Best hips in the league, eh?

“Americans would generally say that they went to "a university."”
I mention whenever I’m at table that there are folks who say “I went to U of I” instead of “the U of I.” Or attended U of I, without the ‘the.’ I used to do it m’self until I noticed I was doing it. Maybe it’s just in the midwest.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:58 PM on March 17, 2008


I almost sided with nasreddin until I saw he is from Brooklyn.

[Unabashedly BROOKLYNIST]

I keed! I keed!
posted by slogger at 1:58 PM on March 17, 2008


*hands wonderchicken a very tasty Matt’s chocolate chip cookie*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:00 PM on March 17, 2008


*cookium oblatus*
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:00 PM on March 17, 2008


Now wait, wait, wait a second: who's the real victim here?!

I call out nasreddin for his unscrupulous abuse of poor Thomas Macaulay!
posted by washburn at 2:21 PM on March 17, 2008


Let's allow nasreddin to enjoy the tattered remains of his superior mind's utility before that final ribbon is at last stripped off and cast away onto the hot wind of his philosophical booklearnery, m'kay?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:27 PM on March 17, 2008


Wood celebrates the radicalism of the American Revolution precisely because it was able to overcome that oppressive social structure.

What'd I tell ya? You'd be back in here regurgitating Gordon Wood. But you forgot about Vickers.
posted by ALongDecember at 2:38 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The only thing I thought of when I read this was Tadpole, starring Lilith from Cheers, the Alien lady, and the guy from "The Hills Have Eyes" as a high school kid who quotes Voltaire.
posted by milkrate at 2:46 PM on March 17, 2008


I'm waiting for the Rousseau flashback on Lost.
posted by Lucinda at 2:51 PM on March 17, 2008


Obviously, not good to be condescending, but referring to Voltaire without prelude -- and assuming your audience will be able to follow who you're talking about -- is the opposite of condescending.

So as not not to be confused with Voltron.
posted by ericb at 2:57 PM on March 17, 2008


In Canada (and England and Australia AFAIK) there's basically no such institution as the standalone liberal arts college, as we have in the US -- or, there are a handful of exceptions, but colleges like Amherst, Williams, Oberlin, etc are basically a US-only thing.

In Canada the only place to get what Americans would call a "college degree" is at a large university. So that phrase of life is called "going to university", never "going to college". If you say that you "went to college" it means you went to what Americans would call a "community college".
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:06 PM on March 17, 2008


If I had a dime for every time I've confused Voltaire and Voltron...
posted by mr_roboto at 3:06 PM on March 17, 2008


danstuporstar - I didn't mean for it to be condescending, but jokey. I think Pastabagel's comment was really funny.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:08 PM on March 17, 2008


you guys are wikkit smaat.

*I just got back from the bar. Happy St. Paddy's*
posted by jonmc at 3:09 PM on March 17, 2008


Sorry I couldn't come, jon. I'm in France.
posted by nasreddin at 3:10 PM on March 17, 2008


whack fal my daddyo
there's whiskey in the jar-o

*passes out*
posted by jonmc at 3:18 PM on March 17, 2008


nasreddin,

You're OK with me, I don't care what all the other MeFites said about your prose.
posted by BigSky at 3:26 PM on March 17, 2008


you guys are wikkit smaat....I just got back from the bar

I'm weah'in bea'h goggles!
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on March 17, 2008


I'm weah'in bea'h goggles!

I must be, you look good. Now put on this wig or I'll deck ya...

*cranks Dropkick Murphys*
posted by jonmc at 3:35 PM on March 17, 2008


Glad you're back jon :)
posted by vronsky at 3:50 PM on March 17, 2008


You can shower the forgettable whoever that was who attention-whored his way to 500 favorites and closed his own account

BLASPHEMY, OFF WITH YOUR HEAD
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:06 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I write the way I do because I love the way my favorite writers use language, and I want to train myself to do it as well as they.
Cargo-cult prose styles rarely land the goods.
posted by bonaldi at 6:01 PM on March 17, 2008


Before this thread is closed, I just wanted to say that I'm really touched that some people think my contributions are valuable. Honestly, thanks! I'll try not to let you down by being a dickhead in the future.

Oh, and:

Stop calling me William F. Buckley, you queer, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face; you'll stay plastered.
posted by nasreddin at 6:39 PM on March 17, 2008


Tsk. Typical.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:50 PM on March 17, 2008


Your prose style is like a slow-motion cumshot video compilation which has titillating intentionality but just ends up being funny. Like costume jewelry.

Costume jewelry gets a bad rap. Much of it is beautiful and tasteful. Consider the skilled jeweler's who were immigrants to the US and not able to work with precious metals in their new country because of discrimination. They instead made costume jewelry.
posted by mlis at 8:12 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Mmm cookies.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:33 PM on March 17, 2008


stavrosthewonderchickencookie
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:59 PM on March 17, 2008


cookiez at midnite
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:05 PM on March 17, 2008


It's okay nasreddin. It's not your fault.

It's not your fault.


*hugs*
posted by longbaugh at 3:23 AM on March 18, 2008


Yeah, this dude sent me a hostile and obnoxious email when he didn't like my opinionated but civil contributions to a particular AskMe thread. When I read it, I thought, "get over yourself, kid" and had a laugh at a self-important child. For a while I was in disbelief that someone could get so personal and rude over differences of opinion that the would go to the trouble to MeMail me something insulting. Having read this thread I get it a little more now. Heh.
posted by sneakin at 5:06 AM on March 18, 2008


Passive-aggressively bringing up private conversations in MeTa? You are indeed a model of maturity.
posted by nasreddin at 5:55 AM on March 18, 2008


Haha, awesome. I'll expect an email from you shortly.
posted by sneakin at 6:46 AM on March 18, 2008


get over yourself, kid.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:29 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just wanted to pop in and say that nasreddin is a fantastic poster and that this was a really, really, lame callout.

I mean c'mon, people are getting shit for being smart?

Oh, and sneakin, you are foul.
posted by generalist at 9:35 AM on March 18, 2008


Had he quoted the email, that would have been extremely bad form. That he refers to it, just as if he had referred to a conversation or an encounter with nasreddin, that's reportage.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:43 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dave Faris, what you're describing isn't reportage, it's gossip. Which can be really fun. Or, as in this case, LAME.
posted by generalist at 9:59 AM on March 18, 2008


Would it be bad form for me to post the offending message in this thread? There was no reply.
posted by nasreddin at 10:04 AM on March 18, 2008


So, let's say you're walking down the street, minding your own business, when Bill Gates leaps out of the bushes, wagging his genitals, frothing at the mouth, and ranting like a banshee, then hightails it away as fast as possible. You're suggesting that it'd be lame gossip to tell anyone what you saw? An obnoxious email is pretty analogous, but due to social norms of web forums like this one, it'd be considered bad form for you to actually quote Bill's ravings, but should the fact that he did it be off limits, too?
posted by Dave Faris at 10:12 AM on March 18, 2008


I think it'd be better form to just drop it, nasreddin. I agree in parts with both Dave Faris and generalist, and in general talking around the subject of private correspondence is kind of weird stuff, regardless of whether there's a bright line of transgression we can refer to or not.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:13 AM on March 18, 2008


OK. There was nothing in it that I would be ashamed to see public, though; I only took it to MeMail to avoid shitting in AskMe.

Can we go back to talking about Astro Zombie's cetaceously voluminous sister?
posted by nasreddin at 10:20 AM on March 18, 2008


Well Dave Faris, if someone told me that story I'd ask for their dealer's number. But the analogy doesn't hold; no-one was walking down the street minding their own business; both parties are voluntary members of a community, both apparently concerned with its standards and the behavior of other members. I object to sneakin's drive-by turd-hurl mainly because nasreddin has no other defense than to violate the standards of this community. NO FAIR.
posted by generalist at 10:47 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like to say that I've communicated with nasreddin over MefiMail and he doesn't act pretentious or lame and avoids the name dropping/florid prose bullshit that is (unfortunately) rampant in his comments.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is he seems like an okay guy that just needs to stop taking his dick out in the Blue whenever he gets a chance because, quite frankly, it's gross, and none of us want to see it.
posted by nonmerci at 11:29 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


taking his dick out in the Blue
whuuuuuuh?
ok, I'm like the nasreddin fanclub here, but what are you talking about? I, and I think many others, appreciate greatly nasreddin's erudite, often witty, sometimes snarky contributions here. He's an asset to the site. And if his dick is his unwillingness to suffer fools, I for one wanna see it.
posted by generalist at 12:13 PM on March 18, 2008


whuuuuuuh?

Heh. I was worried for a second that someone had closed their account, until I realized that I'd know about it already.

posted by cortex (staff) at 12:22 PM on March 18, 2008


sorry cortex
posted by generalist at 12:42 PM on March 18, 2008


Sorry, it came off a little strong. I have a bit of a dirty mouth and drop language like that without a second thought, but I realize it seems like I mean it in an overtly negative way. I don't. A lot of shit boils down to being the equivalent of public masturbation--"name-dropping" and "florid prose" are, IMO, included. That isn't to say he has nothing to contribute. Quite on the contrary.
posted by nonmerci at 2:27 PM on March 18, 2008


A lot of shit boils down to being the equivalent of public masturbation--"name-dropping" and "florid prose" are, IMO, included

In other words, any attempt to talk as an adult to adults, anything beyond "LOL amirite??" Sorry, but I'll take nasreddin's style over the one you seem to advocate any day.
posted by languagehat at 3:26 PM on March 18, 2008


One would surely be obstreperously churlish to fail to agree with my noble and learned colleague's opinion, as stated immediately precedent to the words of your humble interlocutor. Why, if I am not mistaken, Wittgenstein himself opines frequently along not dissimilar lines. Verily, I guffaw volubly, and challenge all comers who dispute my veracity.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:22 PM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


*comers volubiluminously*
posted by danOstuporStar at 7:48 PM on March 18, 2008


* reaches for the Kleenex *
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:04 PM on March 18, 2008


So, uh...we still don’t want to see dicks out here, right?
posted by Smedleyman at 10:47 PM on March 18, 2008


[grimacing cheney jpeg]
posted by Sys Rq at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2008


« Older From time to time, after askin...  |  I offer an unqualified apology... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments