Sunday, August 22, 2004

Welcome to the Journal of Pissing and Moaning

Dear History graduate students,

Do you like to piss and moan and bitch? And rant? Do you ever want to express extreme opinions, go off the deep end about some topic, or give rein to your dark, sub-rational side? Perhaps you enjoy making up scurrilous verses or writing prose lampoons about your pet targets. And perhaps you would really enjoy illustrating your screeds with devastatingly appropriate (or inappropriate) pictures pirated off the Internet. It goes without saying that the Editors and contributors of the Journal of Pissing and Moaning have a serious and professional interest in academic history. However, one’s “serious” faculties get a good workout from all the papers that the various luminaries of the History Department compel one to write. Moreover, one generally decides (out of prudence or out of cowardice) to tone down most of one’s more vigorously biased opinions, to delete the unsubstantiated judgments that one nevertheless KNOWS to be correct, and to suppress all the hilarious or even slightly unserious but apposite observations that pop into one’s head while writing about . We have to edit this stuff out, or else some academic Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, is certain to circle it in red and scrawl that it is inappropriate, unbecoming, unseemly, and indicative of insufficient maturity in the writer. “Yes, yes, we know all about that,” you bloviate. “We know the drill, we support our arguments sedulously, we were broken on the wheel of writing seriously and impersonally as undergraduates, we were cured of sophomore levity once and for all by a stinging crimson rebuke, and now a high, dry, and bloodless style has become SECOND NATURE to us.”

No it hasn’t. You lying fakers. You don’t fool THE JOURNAL OF PISSING AND MOANING one bit. The JPM knows better, and is here to intervene between you and your fatal self-delusions before you morph into the hideous mummified carcass of Professor G. Llewellyn Windhorst! So save all the funny stuff that you edit out of your papers, and all your extracurricular observations on ivory tower life viewed from from the graduate gutter. Save it and post it here, at the BLOG of the prestigious Pissing and Moaning Institute (Rush Rhees Library, fourth floor), where it will mingle and mesh with the rest of the Brain Trust’s intellectual effluvia. Here it will find asylum. In more ways than one.

S. Dougherty, editor