frenchpony (frenchpony) wrote,

  • Music:

Operation Butter Cookie Is Underway

Once again, it is Tuesday, otherwise known as Ethnobibliography Day. This is a required class for all ethnomusicology students. It is taught by The Insanely Nitpickety Professor of Doom. She will kick you to hell and back, make you pay all the tolls, and in the end, you will thank her, for she will have taught you how to squeeze libraries, journals, databases and archives so thoroughly that there will be no more blood left in those particular stones. The Insanely Nitpickety Professor of Doom is very smart and a great researcher (and, we all suspect, a wannabe librarian), but she seems curiously unwilling to teach. She prefers instead to give us long and incredibly detailed assignments (e.g. looking up a thousand Library of Congress call numbers, then providing citations and analyses of fifteen reference sources, in a single weekend) and then spend the class period tearing our work apart and mocking us for things we don't understand. It's kind of like the Socratic method on crack.

Last week, she nearly drove one of her thesis advisees to tears by haranguing her for ten minutes over the proper capitalization of book titles in Spanish. Apparently, she had told this advisee how to do it last year. The advisee foolishly followed the professor's instructions. It now seems that the professor gave the advisee the wrong advice. The professor a) wouldn't admit to having given the wrong instructions, b) implied that this was all the advisee's fault, c) sent me off to fetch a style guide to prove her point, and d) started grumbling when the style guide turned out not to have much useful to say on the subject of foreign title capitalization. The class is literally driving the students to drugs and alcohol.

So I have decided that it's time to do something drastic. To bring in the big guns. The secret weapon. Yes, folks, I have made my mother's butter cookies. Precisely at break time, whether or not the professor is in the middle of a tirade about how the guy who does Japanese music should translate all the Italian subtitles in a particular reference book (oh, you don't read Italian? What's wrong with you?), I will unleash these delicious little bombs of butter, sugar, eggs and chocolate chips on the seminar room, and then, with luck, we will have a few minutes of peace to calm down and gather our thoughts. Music may have charms to soothe most savage beasts, but for Ethnobibliography, you go straight to the butter cookies.
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