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John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
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Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
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Miriam Burstein
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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

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cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

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cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

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cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

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The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Little Professor in the House

Posted by Miriam Burstein on 11/24/06 at 04:20 PM

[Some holiday silliness, crossposted from The Little Professor by popular demand (OK, by Scott’s demand).  In case you’re wondering, lecturing on Walter Pater just before Thanksgiving break appears to be contraindicated.]

[As the episode begins, the PATIENT OF THE WEEK--a small Victorianist--is striding about the classroom, gesticulating as she goes.]

PoTW: What is a "hard, gemlike flame," exactly? Have any of you ever seen a hard flame? No?

[The STUDENTS, perhaps understandably unenthusiastic about Walter Pater at this late date in the semester, wearily shake their heads.]

PoTW: Well, let’s think about what Pater means.  [Gesticulating even more energetically.]  Can we connect the image to Pater’s earlier allusions to flames? [Moves about with greater determination.] What about his interest in energy and intensity?

[Suddenly, the PoTW stops moving.  As the bemused STUDENTS look on, her face, neck, and hands suddenly blaze out in what appear to be letters of fire.]

STUDENT 1: Damn.  I thought we were learning about Pater, not the One Ring.
STUDENT 2: Does this mean that she’s about to be reduced to a "tremulous wisp"?  Because if she is, then she probably won’t be able to grade our papers. 

[The PoTW collapses, screaming in agony.  CUT to a hospital in Princeton, NJ, although why a PoTW from upstate NY has been transported to Princeton is not immediately clear.]

[CAMERON and and FOREMAN are fighting over who will have the most lines this week; CHASE is nowhere to be seen.  HOUSE enters.]

HOUSE: If you kids don’t start playing nicely, I’m going to dose you with Kaopectate’s new formula for logorrhea. [Sudden silence.]  Fine.   Twist your tongues around this tasty treat.  English professor, female, 35, entirely covered with mysterious texts.  Thoughts? And where’s Chase?

CAMERON: Wow.  She’s been...inscribed? That’s so nineties.

HOUSE: We’re debating her symptoms, not her belatedness.  Unless she’s in Bloom, so to speak.  Where’s Chase?

FOREMAN: Remember, il n’y a pas dehors du texte.  It’s quite possibly an allergic reaction brought on by prolonged exposure to some literary theorist.  No way to tell which one without running the tests, though.

HOUSE: Since when are tests any use on this show? Just skip the tests, inject her with some Derrida, and send her packing back to upstate NY.  Where’s Chase?

CHASE: Behind you.  [Everyone stares.]  Sorry--I fell into a lacuna.

FOREMAN: Look on the bright side--at least the posters at Television Without Pity will have something to discuss now.

[Cut to the PoTW’s room.  CAMERON and FOREMAN are injecting her with Of Grammatology; Chase, once again, is nowhere to be seen.]

CAMERON: That’s funny...she doesn’t seem to be responding.  Her binary oppositions aren’t destabilizing at all. 

FOREMAN: No wonder! Her chart says that her BA is from UC Irvine; she must have developed a resistance to Derrida.  I knew we should have gone with Foucault.

CAMERON: You know, I’ve been reading Judith Butler lately, and I’m wondering if we’re seeing "regulative discourses" in action.  Maybe the cultural "scripts" through which we perform gendered identities have become somehow manifest on this woman’s body!

[FOREMAN stares at CAMERON, mouth agape.]

CAMERON: Or not.

[CUDDY runs into the room for her token appearance, screaming.]

CUDDY: LawsuitsmmmmNNNNNmmmmmproceduresmmmmNNNNmmmmNNNNmmmmHousemmmmNNNNmmmdead!

[CUDDY exits, still screaming.]

FOREMAN: Um, some logocentrism would have been mighty helpful there.

CHASE [apparently out of nowhere]: Why? It’s not as though we ever pay attention to anything she says. 

FOREMAN: You know, we’d feel more confident of your abilities if you could just keep yourself from falling into random lacunae.

CHASE [shrugging]: The writer left the hole in the bloody plot, not me.

[CUT to HOUSE, standing on a balcony and looking pensive.  WILSON--like CUDDY, making his token appearance--enters from an elevator.]

WILSON [looking puzzled]: That’s funny--I could have sworn this balcony used to be somewhere else.

HOUSE: Thanks to the clods supposedly in charge of continuity, we’re in the only self-deconstructing hospital known to mankind.  Next thing you know, my office will be in the women’s locker room.

WILSON: And I’m sure you’re just so depressed about that possibility.

HOUSE: No, I’m depressed about the moral pablum you’re about to spew. Can’t you make yourself entertaining during any of your token appearances? Do your best Bette Davis imitation, perform a five-minute version of Fiddler on the Roof, juggle flaming clubs...Heck, you could even, I dunno, practice some medicine. 

WILSON: Actually, the script says I’m supposed to contribute some gratuitous homoeroticism at this point in the plot.  Although it isn’t clear if the writers are trying to appeal to fanfic writers or queer theorists...

HOUSE: I can see it now--"Wils(on)House: Dialogue and the Construction of Eroticized Professional Masculinities in Twenty-first Century Popular Entertainment."

[He pauses.  Wilson stares at him, mouth agape.]

HOUSE: That’s it! It’s elementary, my dear Wilson!

WILSON [looking hopeful]: You mean...we’re about to make fanfic writers everywhere overjoyed?

HOUSE: No, that will have to wait for the next sweeps period.  Dialogue, you fool, dialogue! [He rushes off to the elevator, but can’t find it.]  Where’s the damn elevator?!

WILSON: Uh...I think the continuity demon got it.

[We’re back in the PoTW’s room, where things are looking bleak.  CAMERON and FOREMAN hover over the bed; CHASE, predictably, is invisibleHOUSE bursts in, out of breath from racing down the stairs.]

HOUSE: How many minutes before the episode is over?

CAMERON: About eleven.  Why?

HOUSE: Great! That means it’s time for the correct answer, now that we’ve spent the last hour making random guesses.  Since all of us forget basic diagnostic procedures whenever the writers think it’s necessary, we neglected a vital clue.  What’s actually written on the patient’s body?

CAMERON: A novel by Jeanette Winterson?

FOREMAN: Nah.  It looks like...poetry?

HOUSE: They’re dramatic monologues! [In his best plummy English accent]  I see Robert Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lord Tennyson...

CAMERON: It’s so cute when you try to do an English accent, but I’ve got to say that it always sounds fake.

[HOUSE rolls his eyes at the camera.]

HOUSE: She’s suffering from monologism, you no-good New Critics! Once she’s pumped full of Mikhail Bakhtin, she’ll be up and around in no time.

CHASE [from somewhere near the ceiling]: I don’t suppose we could inject a little more dialogism into the writing of our scripts? I’d love to have some actual lines...

ALL: Damn it, Chase...!

[Fade to black.]

*Mobile balcony originally pointed out at TWoP. 


Comments

There really is only one word for this: genius.

By Adam Roberts on 11/24/06 at 06:01 PM | Permanent link to this comment

You know, I’ve read TWoP (Television Without Pity) before, but not their stuff on House, so I hadn’t realized that they use PoTW as an abbreviation for Patient of the Week—an anagram for TWoP.  So if this is a piece about someone being Tired of Walter Pater, and it is a Witty Type of Parody, then the whole is a ToWP PoTW TWoP WToP.

By on 11/24/06 at 08:46 PM | Permanent link to this comment

(OK, by Scott’s demand)

I am a cruel mistress, you know, demanding all brilliant things be disseminated widely.  Down with me!  Up with mediocrity!

By Scott Eric Kaufman on 11/24/06 at 10:45 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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