Ok, I have to admit, I don’t know whether this is a parody or an actual rejected theme tune for Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan. The presence of Weird Al Yankovic and Taryn Southern suggest the former. Nevertheless, after Star Trek: Enterprise (the series) I think it could pass off quite comfortably as a theme tune. Anyway, I felt like sharing…
They say a picture (or a video) is worth a thousand words. So, after two intense months to produce a second draft of my PhD, I could only cite Thelma and Louise to describe the change in productivity.
Filed under Anecdotes, phd
If you reading this post, you’re probably expecting something on Frank Sinatra. I am sorry to disappoint. As I write, I have just finished the second draft of my PhD thesis (although it feels like a new first draft). Technically its not quite finished. I still have to put into the right format, tidy footnotes and get ok from my superviser but the hard bit is done. Of course I am way behind my own schedule. When I started, I was aiming for the end of my 3rd year in August 2012. This has kept being pushed back. First December 2012, then January, Easter, then i gave up on schedules.
I feel a lot happier about this draft than I did the previous one, which was more about getting it done. The irony is that I could have had a first draft sooner if I listened to orthodoxy.
Originally I had chapters of 15000-20000 words, which was normal. Then one of my contacts, whose area of research is the nature of doctorateness, suggested that I split my chapters into smaller chunks of 5000-8000 words to make them more readable to the examiner. This made sense to me. I spoke to my superviser, who did not object. So I could have had a first full draft in November. I decided to make smaller chapters. However I realised that splitting was not as simple as it sounded; each chapter needed its own introduction and conclusion something which I had already done before. So I ended up spending 2 months on restructuring before submitting to my superviser.
After receiving comments back, I ended up rewriting whole Phd and ended up back at the more orthodox-sized chapters I had originally. And I realised that, whilst there is nothing wrong with questioning tradition, it’s worth remembering that traditions don’t survive because they are inherently irrational. Indeed, following Hegel, one could argue that the negation of an orthodoxy that seems irrational is necessary in order to realise its rationlity.
So what’s my point? That there’s a time and place for doing it “my way” and its not when I am near the end.
Finally, for those of you who came to this blog post looking for Old Blue Eyes, here’s Frank Sinitra “My Way”
Filed under Hegel, phd, Research
Those buying “Ding Dong the Witch is dead” in response to Margaret Thatcher’s death are taking the song – and indeed – the 1939 film starring Judy Garland out of the context of the Wizard of Oz narrative.
In the film, when Dorothy (Garland)’s house fell on top of the witch of the East and killed her, the Munchkins were liberated from her rule. However, in real life, Thatcher has died, but we are still living under the neoliberal model that she advocated and those who agree with her policies are in the ascendancy
I would argue that, in light of Wicked, the 1939 film is just one version of the Wizard of Oz narrative. Wicked is essentially the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 film. In a blog post, to which I contributed, Dr Sarah-Louise Quinnel (@sarahthesheepu) points out that the witch of the West (Elphaba), the one who is ugly or different, is on the side of a group who is marginalised or oppressed by the good-looking people who look like humans – the Wizard of Oz, Emerald City, Glinda and so on. In the film, Dorothy has to go to the Emerald City to see the Wizard and then go to get the broom of the wicked with of the West so that she could be sent home. But why? She already had the ruby slippers in Munckinland. Furthermore, we already know that the Wizard was a bit of a fraud. In light of Wicked, it appears that the State – ruled by the Wizard of Oz – took up the cause of an innocent for its own political ends: to oppress a group of people by killing its leader.
If that is the case, then perhaps we should look again at the Wicked Witch of the East – was she really the evil ruler keeping the Munkins in chains? If not, then who was she? The point is, if the Wicked Witch of the West was the leader of a resistant group, why not the Wicked Witch of the East, whose life was cut short by accident. She may not be Margaret Thatcher but one of the leaders of the Opposition: Michael Foot, Neil Kinnock or Paddy Ashdown perhaps (obviously this is speculation).
Perhaps the rise of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” in the charts in response to Thatcher’s death says something more about what has happened to the Opposition to the Margaret Thatcher’s government. They still hate her but they have accepted that the model she put in place is here to stay. The witch that is died is not her but the leadership philosophy of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. But that happened quite some time ago.
I probably don’t have much to say on Margaret Thatcher. I was 2 when she became Prime Minister. During her premiership, beyond knowing she was Britain’s first female Prime Minister, I did not feel that she had any great impact on my life. Of course, this might be because I grew up in the South East – no doubt, if I lived anywhere else, I probably would have felt differently towards her even then. As a result, Thatcher was a faraway figurehead, like the Queen, and my life carried on. On hindsight, there were moments of intersection – I remember my parents voting in the 1983 and 1987 elections. Towards the late eighties, when I was in secondary school, I became aware of something called Communism, the Berlin Wall and Gorbachev. But the significance of the Wall coming down did not really really register in my mind; it was just another thing that happened in the world. It was her forced resignation – when I was 13-14 – that was probably the first time something happened where I thought, at the time, this is an important moment in history. I even remember where I was when I heard – having just left the Science Museum on a school trip and reading “Thatcher resigns” on an Evening Standard board. I have since become aware of her policies and I understand why she is divisive figure, but I guess my view of her is as the first female Prime Minister.
I was therefore incredibly surprised as to how shocked I was when I did hear about her death. (For the record, I was procrastinating on Twitter.) In a sense, her Premiership was like a “memory” in the womb and her resignation became a moment of birth (a sort of turning point between history and the present). But I think I agree that her death is an end of era – not just in history – but for me, it somehow feels like the end of adolescence. (Admittedly, a somewhat belated end of adolescence but still…). I knew this moment was coming when Michael Jackson died a few years ago, and other deaths of names from my childhood. But this one feels like the big one. On the other hand, she’s not the Queen… Anyway, I am close to submitting my PhD thesis and soon to become “Dr” and not just “Mr”, an expert in something supposedly. So maybe it’s time to move on to the next life stage.
Rod Pitcher's PhD research is interesting. I have previously blogged on the perceived similarity between my PhD and pregnancy and childbirth. It would be interesting to know what Rod thinks of that.