It would be fair to say that I was never really cut out to an academic.
Don't get me wrong I got good grades at school but that was because school was easy. When I came off to university I just assumed I could carry on writing the stuff in my noggin without really backing it up with anything - turns out that isn't how you get good grades at University.
I recently came across a pen drive in a drawer, one I hadn't seen for a couple of years. Being the curious man that I am I plugged it in to check it's contents.
In my mind I was imaging that it contained government secrets and that this would be the start of a great movie-like episode of my life where I am on the run from Mi5 and having sex with beautiful Russians in showers.
Unfortunately it contained pretty much all my old essays I had done for university and a couple of scripts I had written for when I had been in GUST. Now I have read that when serial killers are apprehended the Police will go round to their residence and examine their belongings and will commonly find notebooks full of ramblings and theories so bizarre and incomprehensible they often get an extra life-sentence thrown on-top as punishment. I'd imagine the theories posited in some of my university essays would be akin to such works. I'd like to share a few of my favourites with you now but please remember, I studied an arts degree and this is what happens when you realised what you are studying doesn't matter and that those who are lecturing you in it are about as relevant as those who ramble on in Speakers Corner of Hyde Park every Sunday.
Film & TV
The Film & TV department was what brought me to Glasgow University so I can't completely condemn the department, however some of the theories they put across to some of this countries greatest minds are mental.
The below example comes from an essay I had to write which ran something along the lines of explaining how The Wizard of Oz was a homosexual film. I wrote the following:
"To get home Dorothy has to tap the heels of her red shoes together three times. The fact that these shoes are ruby red is clear nod to menstruation and the fact that Dorothy has 'come-of' age' and no longer feels lost and is at home within her self and her body".
To say that this classic kids film is a manifesto for the pink mafia is bad enough but to suggest that Judy Garlands feet suggest that she is finally on the rag is just weird and sick. Ironically the Hollywood studio that owned Judy Garland had her so drugged up in an attempt to keep her young she probably never menstruated until she was 26....
In another essay about the male-gaze (basically the way men are portrayed in films), we watched The Terminator II and I subsequently wrote:
"As a fully naked Terminator walks into the bar he is something to be admired by both men and women. He is there as an object of lust for the women and has a body to be desired by the men. His raw power is something mere mortal man could only dream of and he is therefore seen as 'above-man' an iconic imagine that man will lust for himself to become...."
It scares (and sickens) me that I ever wrote this and I think the least I say about this the better.
Finally in the world of Film & Television I undertook a study on how ethnic minorities were represented in Hollywood films. For empirical evidence I obviously watched Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Looking at the role of the hero during one paragraph I posited:
"It is the western world's job to send a hero to defend these 'poor brown people' against a tyranny they obviously lack the intelligence and bravery to battle themselves."
Now even without reading the previous sentence you should have it in your head that this sentence here proceeds one in which I mocked the simplistic set-up of Hollywood films and their portrayal of foreigners as being defenseless and in need of saving by Americans. Well not my lecturer who marked this. I remember she wrote in the margin next to this paragraph:
"Chris this is racist and it worries me that you don't acknowledge this. This isn't what you really think is it?"
First of all; no this isn't what I think. Secondly; read the proceeding sentence you sanctimonious bitch. Thirdly; this is an essay on how ethnic minorities are portrayed in Hollywood films, you are obviously wanting these loaded answers.
I remember in a few tutorials with said lecturer after the marking of this essay I tried to make comments that hinted towards my obvious racist upbringing, I even considered shaving my head and getting some White-Pride tattoos as well.
I was asked to leave the Film & Television department after second year.
Philosophy was much more fun. They encouraged my creative side and moronic ramblings. As a result I tried to develop a theme for when I was writing essays. I tried to draw comparison with any philosophical theory and or character with those in the TV series I was currently watching. Whilst I had never been particularly good at writing Film & TV essays this tact ironically worked very well in Philosophy. Probably not so much down to it's content but because markers would no doubt get bored of reading the same old shit over and over again.
One example of this is when I was deconstructing David Hume's theory of Causation I wrote:
"....take for example Tony Soprano (from HBO's critically acclaimed The Sopranos). He is used to people acting to his threats of violence in a certain way. Whenever he has employed such threats in the past people have always been scared and have done what he has demanded. This tactic has worked so many times he has no reason to doubt it wont work any time he employs it. So when it doesn't work in episode 5 of series 3 he doesn't understand and can't comprehend it's failure as he is conditioned himself to believe it to be a tactic that works undoubtedly".
Turns out professor Brownsey was a fan of the Sopranos. I got a B+ in that essay.
There are many more examples of my sheer bullshitness. Others include when, in an essay on the anthropology of dance, I stated it would be unlikely to find the Earl of Wessex dancing on the podium of the Hive on a Thursday nights or when, in my dissertation on online communities and their commercial influences, I suggested that Sandi Thom was the anti-christ (though I still maintain that theory).