Tuesday, June 3, 2008

In the Trenches

Well, after riding high for the past few days due to my awesome teaching experience, I am now back in the trenches after my fairy tales class last night.

I have tried to like this professor. Really, I have. Despite the fact that she began each class for probably the first half of the quarter by reading to us from some paper she wrote, I still hung in there, even though I had no idea what she was talking about or why she felt the need to read to us. Despite the fact that she assigned a 76-page story for us to read two days in advance (in addition to other reading), I still managed to complete the story (and the other reading). I even managed to read an entire novel while finishing a paper due on the same day, even while knowing that she had given us entirely too much work to do. Even though she's taken entirely too long getting most of our assignments back to us, I gave her a decent review on her evaluation form. After all, she's knowledgeable, nice, and even funny sometimes.

I'd like to redo my evaluation form now and tell everyone how much she sucks.

Last week I submitted an abstract for my term paper, a paper in which we are to focus on what really interests us (regarding fairy tales, naturally). I came up with the idea of exploring Sex and the City as a modern fairy tale and how the characters in the series do or do not fit the typical female fairy tale stereotype. It's the perfect paper topic for me, as I love exploring the unexplored.

But this paper obviously wasn't meant to be. Last night the professor handed back our abstracts, and I got a C and a veto of my paper topic. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Okay, first of all, I don't get Cs. Secondly, I have never had a professor veto a paper topic.

I spoke with her after class, and apparently, since Sex and the City is not a literary text, I can't use it. Also, she said that we haven't made the jump from texts to film yet. (Really?! So the whole quarter when we were talking about Walt Disney's bastardizations of the fairy tale, we weren't talking about film?!) And lastly, she's concerned that there's very little scholarly analysis on this topic.

I just don't understand. As controlling as she's being with this topic now, she placed very few parameters on the paper topics when she handed out the assignment. Also, one thing we've been taught in our program is that everything is a text, and everything has its own language and set of meanings that can be analyzed (including film/TV). And isn't it a good thing that I didn't pick an old, tired topic? Yes, my Sex and the City topic is a stretch, but all my best papers have been based on stretches! I like stretching!

I am really irritated about this (obviously). Yes, I will pick another topic, but I will do it resentfully - especially because it will require me to do even more hours of research. The research I did for my first topic is obviously worthless.

Here's hoping for a happily ever after to this situation.


A Walk In My Shoes said...

Your teacher is an idiot. And Sex and the City started out as a book and evolved into the TV series. Can't you argue that? Candace Bushnell is the author. Screw your controlling, own-paper-reading teacher! I would have liked to read your SATC paper. Some people!

Amy said...

Wow! That's crazy. I was thinking the same thing as the pp. Sex and the City started out as a book so your teacher is full of crap. I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.

Leslie said...

Guys, thanks for your comments. I should have mentioned that she said that I could use the SATC book series. The problem is I haven't read the books, and I'm not going to read them for this topic. I just don't have time. I guess my main point is why can't I analyze a TV series after we've spent much of the quarter talking about frickin' Walt Disney?

Anonymous said...

That is truly bizarre. I was assigned that topic last year for a paper and it appeared in multiple forms on our final. How frustrating to have a professor with such blinders on - esp. in a class like that!

Erika said...

UMMMMM......ACTUALLY Sex and the city IS a book: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_the_City_(novel)

The show was based off of it!!

Lastly, Walt Disney made the animated cartoons BEFORE he made them into books.

So therefore, your studying something off of MOVIES before they made into the book form.

ERRRR......I swear sometimes you wonder where these idiot professors got there degree from maybe ILOVETOTEACH.COM.

WeezerMonkey said...

How old is this professor?

10yearstogether said...

Lol ditto Weezermonkey! I personally love the idea of your satc paper, it would have been fun!

Discombobulated said...

I am sorry they are trying to hold you down, G.

I think the argument you expressed is valid, any chance she would hear it out?

I would would have loved to read your analysis.

Wade said...

First of all, as you point out, Roland Barthes has sufficiently proved that EVERYTHING is a text. You should tell your teacher she should read "Mythologies" and open up any literary studies journal that engages the fairy tale and see that scholars are working across media all the time.

Secondly, the fact that there is "very little scholarly analysis" on the topic should mean that this is a topic that you should explore, not one that you should avoid.

Wade said...

One more point (this is absolutely infuriating):

the fairy tale is, by strict definition, not a "literary" text either. Most (if not all) of them emerge from oral/folk tradition before they are written down. To treat them as a purely "literary text" is to do a great disservice to the form, to buy too much into the ideology of the author-function, and to take for granted the ideologies that attempt to reify them as "texts."

If the above is true, and it ABSOLUTELY IS, why should one privilege a "literary text"--not even the "original" form--over any other iteration? This smacks of aggrandizing literariness for its own sake as an ivory tower stalwart against some poorly conceived "death of literature" at the hands of popular culture. Your professor's position is not only old-fashioned, but it's dangerous for the future of literary studies.

Shit. This makes me mad.

Crazy Daisy said...

Ugh. I hate when profs stomp on ideas like that!

Good luck!

amber said...

unbelievable! i've never even seen an episode of SATC, but would still have been interested to read a paper like that. i'm really sorry she squashed the whole idea. i'd be beyond irritated too!