Welcome to The Valve
Login
Register


Valve Links

The Front Page
Statement of Purpose

John Holbo - Editor
Scott Eric Kaufman - Editor
Aaron Bady
Adam Roberts
Amardeep Singh
Andrew Seal
Bill Benzon
Daniel Green
Jonathan Goodwin
Joseph Kugelmass
Lawrence LaRiviere White
Marc Bousquet
Matt Greenfield
Miriam Burstein
Ray Davis
Rohan Maitzen
Sean McCann
Guest Authors

Laura Carroll
Mark Bauerlein
Miriam Jones

Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

Event Archive

cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

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

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

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

Advanced Search

Articles
RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom

Comments
RSS 1.0 | RSS 2.0 | Atom

XHTML | CSS

Powered by Expression Engine
Logo by John Holbo

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

 


Blogroll

2blowhards
About Last Night
Academic Splat
Acephalous
Amardeep Singh
Beatrice
Bemsha Swing
Bitch. Ph.D.
Blogenspiel
Blogging the Renaissance
Bookslut
Booksquare
Butterflies & Wheels
Cahiers de Corey
Category D
Charlotte Street
Cheeky Prof
Chekhov’s Mistress
Chrononautic Log
Cliopatria
Cogito, ergo Zoom
Collected Miscellany
Completely Futile
Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
Conversational Reading
Critical Mass
Crooked Timber
Culture Cat
Culture Industry
CultureSpace
Early Modern Notes
Easily Distracted
fait accompi
Fernham
Ferule & Fescue
Ftrain
GalleyCat
Ghost in the Wire
Giornale Nuovo
God of the Machine
Golden Rule Jones
Grumpy Old Bookman
Ideas of Imperfection
Idiocentrism
Idiotprogrammer
if:book
In Favor of Thinking
In Medias Res
Inside Higher Ed
jane dark’s sugarhigh!
John & Belle Have A Blog
John Crowley
Jonathan Goodwin
Kathryn Cramer
Kitabkhana
Languagehat
Languor Management
Light Reading
Like Anna Karina’s Sweater
Lime Tree
Limited Inc.
Long Pauses
Long Story, Short Pier
Long Sunday
MadInkBeard
Making Light
Maud Newton
Michael Berube
Moo2
MoorishGirl
Motime Like the Present
Narrow Shore
Neil Gaiman
Old Hag
Open University
Pas au-delà
Philobiblion
Planned Obsolescence
Printculture
Pseudopodium
Quick Study
Rake’s Progress
Reader of depressing books
Reading Room
ReadySteadyBlog
Reassigned Time
Reeling and Writhing
Return of the Reluctant
S1ngularity::criticism
Say Something Wonderful
Scribblingwoman
Seventypes
Shaken & Stirred
Silliman’s Blog
Slaves of Academe
Sorrow at Sills Bend
Sounds & Fury
Splinters
Spurious
Stochastic Bookmark
Tenured Radical
the Diaries of Franz Kafka
The Elegant Variation
The Home and the World
The Intersection
The Litblog Co-Op
The Literary Saloon
The Literary Thug
The Little Professor
The Midnight Bell
The Mumpsimus
The Pinocchio Theory
The Reading Experience
The Salt-Box
The Weblog
This Public Address
This Space: The Fire’s Blog
Thoughts, Arguments & Rants
Tingle Alley
Uncomplicatedly
Unfogged
University Diaries
Unqualified Offerings
Waggish
What Now?
William Gibson
Wordherders

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Two Things

Posted by Jonathan Goodwin on 03/20/07 at 03:50 PM

The lowest (or highest, depending) ordinal to be used before “-rate” is third. I was reading one of the n+1 threads, and someone referred to someone else as a “tenth-rate Satie.” Could you really begin to distinguish between a ninth-rate and eight-rate Sartre, for example?

Also, my favorite entry at “The Rosewater Chronicles” is this selection of readers’ reports. If I may quote one:

You stupid fuck! How can you submit to us an article with this incredibly stupid footnote? You obviously have not learned anything. . . . Keep playing around with Walter Benjamin and you will have a brilliant career among assholes such as yourself.

I gathered that there was a backstory. I have some that I’d like to quote from, but a combination of cowardice and discretion prevents me. Nothing as piquant as the above, however. But by all means feel free to share.


Comments

Unless, of course, you are discussing the Royal Navy in the Age of Sail, in which you can go as far as sixth rate.

Pedantically yours,

By on 03/20/07 at 06:22 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Figuratively, though. Etymologically, “tier” has nothing do with “third,” though for a long time I thought it did.

By Jonathan Goodwin on 03/20/07 at 06:28 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I’m convinced that if you’re trying to sort out authors for easy description to people who haven’t read much of a genre, “fourth-rate” is a valuable term.  The first-rate authors in a genre write literary classics that you think are going to survive the test of time, second-rate write works of literary interest, third-rate write (sometimes) entertaining pop reading, fourth-rate really shouldn’t have been published.  Or, in SF for instance, going from first to fourth rate might be: John Crowley, Michael Moorcock, Michael Crichton, Charles Runyon.  It’s important to give the third-rate writers some pride of place; being able to do a workmanlike job is more than many writers can do.  Plus the fourth-rate ones sometimes have the MST3K “so bad they’re good” effect, and the third-rate ones generally don’t.

Fifth-rate, then, might be thought of (in a way similar to the Arabic invention of the zero) as those writers who are theoretically capable of writing something, but who have not yet actually done so.

But below that, yes, I think you’re into the realm of purely imaginary numbers.

By on 03/20/07 at 06:56 PM | Permanent link to this comment

I’ve said for a long time that there is no priority lower than third. I’ve seen people prioritize as far down as maybe tenth, but they were manic, obsessive bureaucratic ideologues who needed to be locked up.

And “third priority” means somewhere between “maybe, if we get around to it” and “never, if I have anything to do with it.”

By John Emerson on 03/20/07 at 07:28 PM | Permanent link to this comment

In rating colleges I’ve vacillated between three and five ranks. Probably it should be four ranks, but an odd number seems best.

My alma mater is at the top of the third rank or bottom of the second in a system of three, and at the top of the fourth rank in a system of five.

By John Emerson on 03/20/07 at 07:35 PM | Permanent link to this comment

The ‘tenth-rate’ combinative form merits lexicographic treatment (OED cites: 1824 Tait’s Magazine, 1889 Spectator); Swinburne got down to seventh-rate, and Harold Bloom to ninth. But the n-plus-oneth is a new low.

By nnyhav on 03/21/07 at 09:05 AM | Permanent link to this comment

I used to do this Russell’s hierarchies of logical types too. As I remember, you have individuals, classes, classes of classes, etc. You can pretty easily get up to Type Four or Type Five, but do you ever get up to Type Seventeen or Type Thirty-Two? Do the different types start feuding with one another, with maybe the Thirteenth Type and the Seventeeth Type ganging up on the Eighth Type?

I never returned to this research after I sobered up. For all I know, high-level math and programing do need the higher types.

By John Emerson on 03/21/07 at 09:15 AM | Permanent link to this comment

nnyhav, that same Bloom interview that you link to contains “fiftieth rate poem”, though without the dash.

By on 03/21/07 at 09:28 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Rich—yes, and concluding that interview with Gnosticism would indicate that it’s unbounded.

By nnyhav on 03/21/07 at 09:38 AM | Permanent link to this comment

My reviews so far have been non-sociopathic, but I’m sure I’ll have a “whopper” to share soon.

By Adam Kotsko on 03/22/07 at 11:52 AM | Permanent link to this comment

Adam, there’s a relevant Frost poem.

By Jonathan Goodwin on 03/22/07 at 12:34 PM | Permanent link to this comment

There was one New Yorker cartoonist, perhaps one of many that felt the same way, who yelled at Ross one day during the thirties, “Why do you reject drawings of mine, and print stuff by that fifth-rate artist Thurber?”

“Third-rate”, said Ross, coming bravely and promptly to the defense of my stature as a cartoonist and his own reputation as an editor.

--James Thurber, The Years With Ross

By John Cowan on 06/09/07 at 12:58 PM | Permanent link to this comment

Add a comment:

Name:
Email:
Location:
URL:

 

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: