26 September 2007

Semantics = Sick, Dead, Stoned

So, as you know, from my last blog, I'm a Master's student. I'm currently enrolled in a class called Semantics. What that is, doesn't really matter, what matters is that I've never had so much fun in a class! Whoever said that master's classes were hard, was lying! They're the best. You get to sit around with other nerds, like yourself and talk about really fun stuff. Trust me, it's fun stuff. :) One day while discussing signifiers and signfieds, my teacher started drawing little faces on the board to represent different emotions. He put up "angry," "sick," "dead," and so on. This exercise was a way to show that these emotions were linked in some way, but by minor differences they are completely different emotions. I don't quite remember how the "stoned" face got on the board, but it did. He then pointed out that the faces of "sick," "dead," and "stoned" were quite similar in depiction and the motto of "sick, dead, stoned" was born. We all decided we had to be one of these three things, to pick such a major as Linguistics and then subject ourselves to years more in school, just to beat our heads against a proverbial wall in order to get a thesis written. And, as Dr. Manning so kindly points out, there is no point...let me emphasize that...NO POINT to writing a thesis. Except to graduate. That's it. Period.

No one in the real world cares about this paper that we labor over with such diligence. We take abuse from our committees on the paper's flaws and we fix them, and then we just have to sit there and defend our work to them. If they don't like our thesis, we don't graduate. That's all there is to it. After our thesis is accepted and we get another piece of paper on our walls. And with any luck, we get the dream job, or another 3-5 years of research to add three little letters to the end of our names.

It's not all bad, I don't mind writing a "worthless" research paper. I really don't, not when I get to go to classes and learn about things that fascinate me. I love my Semantics class, and can't wait to go. The time flies when I'm there. It's great. In fact, Dr. Manning has even bought us all lunch. (Payback for our 20 minutes worth of tuition that he "stole" from us by being 20 minutes late to class one day.) And he's always willing to explain things to us. We've even discussed such shows as "M*A*S*H" and "Friends" in the pursuit of understanding the concepts. (Btw, analysis of the characters in such shows as "Friends" and "Will and Grace" will be the topic *hopefully* of an upcoming, publishable article by your's truly.)


Katya said...

Oh, I beg to differ. Part of my job is cataloging theses, and I think that some of them are pretty interesting. (Of course, I did have to type the word "benzodiazepines" about two dozen times today as I was transcribing an abstract. That gets old, fast.)

NAlton said...

Well, after reading the thesis of all theses, I have changed my opinion...slightly. Some exist only because they HAD to be written, others exist because people CHOSE to write them, and still others exist because others will WANT to read them. I'm opting for the third with mine. :) As I know most bb-ers will WANT to read it.