Lacan et al. By Dummies: For Students Who Couldn’t Care Less Whether They Pass The Exam Or Not

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Alan Poe contemplating literary theory

Just look at his face, not impressed is he?  That’s an expression that says “did Ẑiẑek just come into my house and crap on the parlour rug?”  I might be wrong, but I believe that this is where the expression “Poe faced” may have originated.

The night before my Crit Lit exam this week I had 39 comments in a Facebook thread as myself and other students tried to cram some exceedingly farcical literary high theory into our teeny tiny ‘leetle grey cells’.  The spark notes that evolved from these discussions were illuminating, for all the wrong reasons, and of no help whatsoever if you are indeed desperately revising for an exam.  So I’m posting them for fellow students, who, like us, gave up the will to live whilst studying these theorists.

The Purloined Letter:

“Merinda, someone steals a letter, someone else sees them but is too busy flirting with every man in the room to do anything about it; not so much a “Che vuoi?”, as a ‘we know what she desires’ the saucy little minx, some other dumbo sees nothing and says nothing, but that’s royalty for you; Lacan, or is it Derrida? thinks this is like a knot holding everything together, but the knot can slide along the rope (this is called crappy TV illusionists Merinda), there could be more than one knot or even a mole on the rope because Murphet is into multiples (more sex talk Jess), Auerbach is rather taken by Odysseus’s battle scar which I think is a bit of Homer-erotic….but don’t quote me on that, Freud thinks they are all delusional and love their mothers and hate their fathers, and should try not to dream on so much. You’re welcome”.

A short intermission followed as we tried to get our heads around such in depth concepts whilst trawling the T.V schedules for episodes of David Copperfield – Illusionist and Narcissist.

“Derrida also goes on to say that It’s going to be much more than a giant woman with a fire place between her legs (now that would be one seriously vajazzaled v-jay jay) because that’s the sort of crazy bat shit I need to know from a theory, and more like a big knotty mess of Octopi*, because as Martine McCutcheon’s Mum says in Love Actually, “Eight is a lot of legs David”.

Love Actually

“Ẑiẑek likes drawing flow charts because he realises that literary theory is just the sort of nonsense that gives Arts students such a bad name and he’s trying to bring a scientific air of authority to a piece that begins with a comparison between German, French and Anglo-Saxon toilet designs…..but we don’t need that sort of potty talk to pass this exam and we’ll leave his more excretable theory to plumbers”.

Early indications suggest that we either nailed this exam or should have taken Neuroscience instead.

EndNote: A plumbing fan rates Zizek on YouTube:

  • holy shit this guy actually sounds pretty reasonable

Spideysenses67 3 weeks ago 

*and it’s octopodes if you’re sitting an exam where you need to be etymologically correct :)