Wednesday, May 14, 2008


you know i'm not one to rail on about politics, but. wow.

wonkette post of an AP story about west virginia voters.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

how i study

a somewhat banal post; please forgive.

i have realized at several points during my academic career that i don't exactly study the same way most students do, especially those in graduate school. i'm very lucky to have a wonderful memory, so i don't usually need to take notes on reading. i hate taking notes on the computer, i don't often make flash cards or outlines of chapters, and, until this past year, i had a very bitter relationship with drafting and revising. however, the biggest distinction in how i study is one that i think i have a really good reason for (other than laziness and a good memory).

i have never once underlined, highlighted, annotated, or otherwise marked any passage in any book ever (other than a language book where you were supposed to).

a professor teased me for this recently and suggested that i wasn't fully engaging the material. i defensively replied at first that it pains me to defile a manuscript in any way; i literally feel sick thinking about writing in a book. upon further reflection, though, i realized there's another reason that i refuse to mark up my books. it drives me CRAZY when reading a used book or a copy from a professor's book where certain bits are selected because i find myself paying more attention to/assigning greater meaning to the selected parts and giving less credit to the rest. now, you might think that this is precisely the point: annotation makes it easy to find the important parts. what if, however, i don't agree with what someone else thinks is the important part? no problem, you might say; just annotate your own books. you're not going to disagree with yourself, right? well, first, anyone who believes that seriously underestimates my ability to argue (and win) with myself on a regular basis. more importantly, however, i find that i often get a richer read of a material the second, third, or eighth time through. an already-bracketed version might alter how i interpret the original text in all its glory (and CONTEXT)...and that, i think would be tragic.

what do you think? do you write in your books? do you think the tradeoff of effectively altering the original material (or your perception of it) to create your own interpretation is worth it?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

questioning quoting

i can't believe that a quick google search didn't list a whole slew of results on this question...and my apple dictionary didn't mention it i'm turning to my trusty readership for help.

my mom recently asked for clarification on what i have long thought of as a basic, but commonly misunderstood, phrase: do you say "quote unquote" or "quote end quote"?

i swiftly replied "quote end quote" because, really, what is an "unquote"? i believed that "end quote" is both an indication of the action you are taking (ending the quote) and also a legitimate term to describe the closing quotation mark. of course, upon further searching, i couldn't really find any justification for this at all. i assumed, however, that "end quote" was proper, and over time the swift pronunciation (which sounds like "unquote") had morphed into the eggcorn "unquote".

now i find that my apple dictionary says "quote unquote" is the informal phrase to be used, and "quote end quote" (or "quote endquote") is nowhere to be found.

am i totally wrong on this?

a quick google search pulls up about 2 million "quote unquote" hits and 2.18 million "quote endquote" no help there ("quote end quote" gets 11 million, but that has a lot of spurious hits). new york times and the university of iowa use "quote end quote". it's a hard thing to find online, however, since most people just use the visual quote marks rather than saying the expression, which is usually reserved for verbal conversations with (obnoxious) air quote marks.

anyway. what do you think? any help would soothe my troubled mind.

bonus question: do you have strong feelings on the noun form of "quote" versus "quotation"? the forensics community has this weird mission to end the noun form of "quote" altogether and harass those who use it as being totally wrong...but the dictionary says it's there anything really fundamentally wrong about using quote as a noun, other than the lack of distinction now between the verb and noun form and the ultimate uselessness of the word "quotation"? although when put like that...maybe that is a bit sad...