My New Blog Game: An Introduction

It's near the end of the term for many of us. And a lot of folks are freaking out about the job market, the holidays, the cost of gas and what not. It is clearly time for a break. And so I'm calling time out for a little brain candy. Tell your friends. It's practically Friday (or it will be by the time most of you read this). Come on over to Curmudgeon's 'cause he's got a new way to pass the time.

But first, some general theoretical buildup by way of a tease.

Recently, I was talking with my students about how interesting I find the study of genre. And I was surprised to see how much they seemed to loathe the topic. Active disinterest, sure, but to actually have to commit to a stance?

Shocking.

Naturally, I tried to explain to them that genre is so interesting to me because it manages at once to show us a formula that we culturally recognize even as we dispute that formula as universal. We know a Western, as they say, but we can't come up with an exclusive list of what movies count or what things make that genre happen (Is it the coloring of the film? Sometimes. Is it gunfights and the horses? Maybe. Is "Firefly" a Western? Depends on who you ask.).

Genre, I said, represents a moment of both cultural agreement and of cultural dispute. When a genre is born, it is almost immediately contested. When we're presented with a genre, we know what to expect and what is expected of us, in turn.

And, perhaps more importantly (and probably more amusingly), once a genre emerges, we can turn the genre on itself. Sometimes we do it to take advantage of particular features (the way "Blade Runner" exploits the film noir formula to do something different with a science fiction story and in talking about man's relationship with machines) or to point out the conceits of the form (the way "Hot Fuzz" does with the buddy cop film).

And some things that have happened on the interweb have had me thinking about genre as well. Just what had me thinking will be apparent tomorrow when I post the second part of the game. To help demonstrate how conceited and formulaic the item in question has become, I have constructed a sample text but removed certain central phrases from it. If I'm right, simply supplying new elements will yield perfectly acceptable results (or at least humorous ones). So be patient for the explanation and indulge me in a game of Mad Libs. In the comments, if you feel like playing, give me the following:
  • what your nemesis would title your biography
  • the name of a degree or achievement
  • a gift you wish you'd been given at graduation
  • something you're interested in that no one else is
  • a noun
  • an adjective
  • something you've lost (or at least never found)
Be warned, this is an experiment and may not work perfectly. If all goes well, I'll post your responses tomorrow, and we can vote for the best one (and possibly nominate it for publication).

Comments

10 Responses to “My New Blog Game: An Introduction”
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K said...

I'm usually kind of a lurker, but I like your game idea. I'm telling everyone about it on my blog, so maybe you'll get some folks from there too.


* what your nemesis would title your biography: The Destroyer of Sacred Idols
* the name of a degree or achievement: The latest cool one is a book chapter on....Firefly. Shall we discuss its western-ness?
* a gift you wish you'd been given at graduation: the ability to not need much sleep
* something you're interested in that no one else is: whether there's a link between speed-reading at high comprehension levels and sight-reading music at high performance levels....in the same person
* a noun: archive
* an adjective: creaky
* something you've lost (or at least never found): I've lost the ability to drink without getting drunk. Terrible shame for an academic. *sigh*

November 29, 2007 at 4:41 PM
Dr. Crazy said...

* what your nemesis would title your biography

Bright Gumdrop Unicorn, or Crazy and Not in a Good Way

* the name of a degree or achievement

Doctor of Philosophy

* a gift you wish you'd been given at graduation

The complete unabridged audio version of *Ulysses*

* something you're interested in that no one else is

Booknotes on C-Span. I could watch it for hours, and have.

* a noun

apple

* an adjective

luscious

* something you've lost (or at least never found)

Ok, the first thing that popped into my mind was "my virginity," the second thing was, "my mind," and the third thing was, "one of my gold hoop earrings." I think I'll let you choose between them.

It shall certainly be interesting to see where the game goes from here....

November 29, 2007 at 4:59 PM
Samantha said...

1. Sarcastic Missy Know-It-All
2. MVP
3. Trust fund
4. Dorothy Stratten
5. Christmas card
6. Sparkly
7. Keys

November 29, 2007 at 5:52 PM
kermitthefrog said...

K -- I have no idea if you're serious, but I am a speedy reader/sight-reader! Add me to your collection.

on to the game:

* what your nemesis would title your biography: She Smiles Until She Spits In Your Eye
* the name of a degree or achievement: Guitar Hero Champion
* a gift you wish you'd been given at graduation: Cuisinart food processor
* something you're interested in that no one else is: my leg hair
* a noun: chaise longue
* an adjective: spiky
* something you've lost (or at least never found): God

November 29, 2007 at 6:09 PM
adjunct whore said...

1. whore
2. clara in _the nutcracker_
3. a mac laptop
4. singing, dancing, playing
5. multitude
6. sordid
7. peace

November 29, 2007 at 6:31 PM
adjunct whore said...

i forgot to say how much i agree-my work is in genre theory. love genre.

November 29, 2007 at 7:29 PM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

We'll see how this goes - it'll either be funny-ha-ha or funny-ironic, I think, and either is good to me.

K - welcome; always nice to meet a lurker.

AW - I wish genre theory were my area; I get to dabble, having been stuck with various theory and method courses as I've jumped around.

November 29, 2007 at 8:44 PM
Rebecca said...

God hates a know-it-all
MBA
$5,000,000
Moonlight (the TV show)
Vampire
Sexy
50lbs (well, 75, but I found 25 of them again *grin*)

November 30, 2007 at 12:08 AM
Sisyphus said...

-what your nemesis would title your biography

The Boring Confessions of a Smartass

- the name of a degree or achievement

Best In Show

- a gift you wish you'd been given at graduation

super powers

-something you're interested in that no one else is

punctuation

- a noun

zebra


- an adjective

mellifluous

something you've lost (or at least never found)

- treasure

November 30, 2007 at 12:30 AM
ash said...

this is great! i'll play:

* what your nemesis would title your biography: She Uses Her Power for Evil
* the name of a degree or achievement: mother
* a gift you wish you'd been given at graduation: therapy
* something you're interested in that no one else is: frogs!
* a noun: hegemony
* an adjective: perky
* something you've lost (or at least never found: ability to suffer fools gladly

November 30, 2007 at 11:11 AM