April 15, 2006

The four subjects of whatever

My post on William Matthew's "Four Subjects of Poetry" and Roger Shuy's follow-up on "The Four Subjects of Linguistic Analysis" have led to some similar lists in other areas. (Well, some bloggers picked the meme up more directly from Scott Simon's interview with Edward Hirsch on Weekend Edition...)

Kerim Friedman at Savage Minds explained "The Four Subjects of Anthropological Research":

  1. These people are really, really, oppressed, but look! They have agency!
  2. Identity is political and transcends national boundaries.
  3. These people used to have a tradition, but they’ve adapted it to better fit with their current lifestyle and now it is a different tradition.
  4. There are no signifieds, only an endless chain of signifiers representing the illusion of self resulting from desire-as-lack.

Ann Bartow at Feminist Law Professors added (under the clever title "Petite Fours") the four subjects of law review articles:

  1. Congress passed a really dumb law.
  2. The courts are doing stupid things that Congress could fix with a really good law.
  3. Both legislatures and courts should start drafting and interpreting laws with an eye toward enhanced economic efficiency.
  4. I’m bored with law, except as it is described in literature.

And Jim Miles at Out of the Jungle described "The Four Topics of Law Library Scholarship":

  1. We surveyed one of our research classes and they want us to emphasize print sources.
  2. We surveyed one of our research classes and they want us to emphasize electronic sources.
  3. A current management theory, summarized in ten pages or less, applies to law libraries.
  4. Technology will change everything, but there will always be a need for law libraries.

Guinness (?) at Pimpgnosis contributed "The four subjects of sociological enquiry":

  1. It turns out that when you have money, that’s really great for you, and when you don’t have money? Dude, that like sucks. Just like it sucks to be black in America. Or a woman pretty much anywhere.
  2. Oh, and by the way? Being black is not the same as being poor. Or a woman. Or gay. Not the same thing at all — no way, no how. Every kind of oppression is like a snowflake, you know? Unique and shit.
  3. You know that after-school special that said you can be anything you want to be? Total fucking lie. Well, not _totally_ a lie. But pretty much. There’s like this thing called “structure,” see, and sometimes things happen to us whether we want them to or not.
  4. Bishop Berkeley totally didn’t get it. The world and everything about it — including point #3 — is inside your head. Dude! That’s like, hella trippy when you think about it.

From Aloysius at Catymology, "The four subjects of catblogging":

  1. I was feeling rotten today, and then I played with my cat, and it made me feel, you know, less rotten.
  2. I may be losing my (a) hair, (b) figure, or (c) mind, but my cat is cuter than your cat.
  3. Look at that cute cat (a) in a bag (b) in a sink, or (c) in, on top of, next to, or underneath any inanimate object not usually associated with a cat.
  4. The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and it's all the fault of (a) those snarky Republicans (b) those snotty liberals, or (c) reality TV, but I don’t care cause my cat loves me.

[Update: Matt at No-sword contributes "The four subjects of writing on Japan":

  1. Japanese people sure do bow and smile a lot, and their language is quite different from English. What are they hiding?
  2. Check out this mysterious cartoony sex toy I found! (Page translated by BabelFish.)
  3. My Japanese lover and I have come to stay at an onsen by a quiet, picturesque lake, but they have a face like a porcelain mask that prevents me from reading their emotions.
  4. Geisha were totally not prostitutes. Not.


Posted by Mark Liberman at April 15, 2006 11:55 AM