The set of all-things-not-doctoral-dissertations, as a logician might say, has a vast and varied membership. Ocean liners, the square root of minus one, and pickled herring spring to mind.
August 10, 2007 7:50 AM   Subscribe

 
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posted by ND¢ at 7:57 AM on August 10, 2007 [4 favorites]


A good thesis will not argue that the Pope is Catholic or that liberation theologians are interested in social justice.

I wonder how hard this person had to work NOT to say "that a bear shits in the woods". I would not have been able to avoid it. Luckily, I am not a theologian.
posted by briank at 7:58 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh.
posted by DU at 7:58 AM on August 10, 2007


I think I'm in love with the "Style" section.
posted by scrump at 7:59 AM on August 10, 2007


Also, incomplete sentences.

Now I'm a believer.
posted by Haruspex at 8:00 AM on August 10, 2007


(this is good). Lots of old saws, such as....

"A thesis is much like a graduate student: it has a limited purpose and a small audience; it is often insecure and defensive, justifying itself with excessive documentation; it is too narrowly focused; and it has not yet developed a style of its own."

but also some other fun bits:

The set of all-things-not-doctoral-dissertations, as a logician might say, has a vast and varied membership. Ocean liners, the square root of minus one, and pickled herring spring to mind.

It is, of course, possible to write a dissertation involving the square root of minus one, ocean liners, or pickled herring.

The document is a mite bit too encouraging in some cases....

You may one day turn your dissertation into a book, during the many leisure hours you can expect to enjoy as a well-paid and pampered junior faculty member at the fortunate college or university that you select from the many that will vie for your services. You will then bask in the admiration of the theological world and the less critically grounded adulation of the general public, while living luxuriously on your vast royalties. Perhaps there will even be a lump sum for the movie rights.

Movie rights I can see. Well-paid Jr. Faculty job-- perhaps for some. But the admiration of the theological world? Good luck :-)
posted by honest knave at 8:00 AM on August 10, 2007


Someone's being cheeky!
posted by malaprohibita at 8:02 AM on August 10, 2007


That is a great description of a graduate thesis.
posted by caddis at 8:04 AM on August 10, 2007


The Final Word is good too:

One last bit of advice. The peculiar nature of a doctoral dissertation obviously puts constraints on its style, as well as its content, form, and method. However, the readers, for all that they are professional theologians, are also human beings (at least this is considered by moralists to be a probable opinion). Therefore, keep in mind the injunction found in the ethics of the Zoroastrians: "Strive not to bore your fellow creatures."
posted by patricio at 8:06 AM on August 10, 2007


Many students write run-on sentences, they join independent clauses with a comma or even with no punctuation at all they should instead use a conjunction between the clauses or separate them by a semicolon or a period. Also, incomplete sentences.
posted by smackfu at 8:07 AM on August 10, 2007 [6 favorites]


How did the school manage to get their guide accepted?
posted by Postroad at 8:08 AM on August 10, 2007


Do I love me some Catholic intellectuals? I certainly does.
posted by crepeMyrtle at 8:17 AM on August 10, 2007


How did the school manage to get their guide accepted?
Divine intervention is an obvious perk.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:20 AM on August 10, 2007 [3 favorites]


Accuracy, conciseness, and clarity are more important in a dissertation than elegant phraseology. This is not the place to wax poetic or--even worse--homiletic. Humor is of course totally out of place in the Grove of Academe.

Good thing they cleared that up.

This is hilarious - an excellent way to start the day.
posted by rtha at 8:21 AM on August 10, 2007


A good paper is like a good skirt: long enough to cover everything, short enough to keep it interesting.
posted by ColdChef at 8:23 AM on August 10, 2007 [33 favorites]


There is certainly a lace for humor in a doctoral dissertation. Specifically, the acknowledgments, and essentially nowhere else.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:32 AM on August 10, 2007


place, not lace. Damn.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:33 AM on August 10, 2007


Gotta love those Jesuits.
posted by Dagobert at 8:51 AM on August 10, 2007


MetaFilter: A lace for humor.
posted by The Bellman at 8:54 AM on August 10, 2007


This is pure win.
posted by Slothrup at 8:58 AM on August 10, 2007


This is a quite the example of Catholic self-pithy.
posted by srboisvert at 9:02 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish I had had such a specific guide to what was wanted in a thesis when I was in college and later in grad school. I think I would have done a better job of it. Does Fordham issue a different set of guidelines in the same vein to those who are majoring in secular subjects? If so, is anyone willing to post their copy?
posted by bunky at 9:16 AM on August 10, 2007


Hah! A dig at Schleiermacher!

I find it amusing that a Catholic institution can't resist having a dig at a protestant theologian.

I find it a harrowing sign that I need to get out more that I recognized the dig as such.

Thankfully I have a standing invitation to pass out in a puddle of piss, bile and vomit on my friend's floor tomorrow. I think I'll take him up on that.

But first: More theological wit!
posted by Kattullus at 9:16 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


lolchristian in the best, non-pejorative sense. Very witty.
posted by McLir at 9:26 AM on August 10, 2007


But in a sea of mixed metaphors, their writing sometimes fails to bear fruit of ironclad perfection.

heh.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:32 AM on August 10, 2007


Some people do not seem to be getting the tongue-in-cheek style with which this document was written. Extreme sarcasm can often confused with sincerity.

Metafilter: Extreme sarcasm confused with sincerity
posted by spock at 9:33 AM on August 10, 2007


A good paper is like a good skirt: long enough to cover everything, short enough to keep it interesting.

I'm pretty sure that the quote is for "a good speech", not "a good paper". It's kinda funny, sorta, but can seem really weird. It was particularly disturbing to read it at the beginning of a speech given at some formal conference somewhere. Remember people, this stuff is being recorded for posterity. When I'm writing my thesis on third world development, I don't want to read about short skirts.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:40 AM on August 10, 2007


They sometimes fail to place a comma before conjunctions introducing dependent clauses for they are not well acquainted with the rules of grammar.

Nitpick: According to the rules of grammar, no comma goes before a conjunction introducing a dependent clause. The above sentence needs a comma because the second clause is independent.
posted by torticat at 9:40 AM on August 10, 2007


Extreme sarcasm can often confused with sincerity.

Case in point.
posted by smackfu at 9:45 AM on August 10, 2007


Hehe, this was a surprisingly chuckle - worthy read.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:04 AM on August 10, 2007


Extreme sarcasm can often confused with sincerity.

Metafilter: Extreme sarcasm confused with sincerity


Dude, there are rules. First, and most important: no self-taglining. Second, and nearly as critical, if only because it is so often ignored: taglines must be verbatim. Penalty for infraction can range from loss of posting privileges to a pants-enfishinating.
posted by gleuschk at 10:20 AM on August 10, 2007 [5 favorites]


There is certainly a lace for humor in a doctoral dissertation. Specifically, the acknowledgments, and essentially nowhere else.

Best example of this I ever heard of was by a candidate whose thesis advisor had been actively unhelpful. What to do? For the sake of the committee, the had to say something positive.

He finessed the problem by acknowledging the advisor's help, the specific value of which "only he and I can fully appreciate".
posted by IndigoJones at 10:46 AM on August 10, 2007


spock regrets the error(s)
posted by spock at 10:47 AM on August 10, 2007


Metafilter: pants-enfishinating.
posted by salishsea at 11:05 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Audience. You may one day turn your dissertation into a book, during the many leisure hours you can expect to enjoy as a well-paid and pampered junior faculty member at the fortunate college or university that you select from the many that will vie for your services. You will then bask in the admiration of the theological world and the less critically grounded adulation of the general public, while living luxuriously on your vast royalties. Perhaps there will even be a lump sum for the movie rights.

I never knew theologians had such a well-honed sense of sarcasm.

At the moment, however, your audience is more limited.

Yes. Consider yourself lucky if your parents get beyond page three.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 11:05 AM on August 10, 2007


Metafilter: long enough to cover everything, short enough to keep it interesting.
posted by jeanmari at 11:11 AM on August 10, 2007


shorter is better
posted by caddis at 11:45 AM on August 10, 2007


It is, of course, possible to write a dissertation involving the square root of minus one, ocean liners, or pickled herring.

It is unknown at this time whether it is possible to write a dissertation involving the square root of minus one, ocean liners, and pickled herring.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:17 PM on August 10, 2007


I think gleuschk wins Friday. Pants-enfishinating indeed.
posted by krakedhalo at 2:24 PM on August 10, 2007


Dude, there are rules. First, and most important: no self-taglining. Second, and nearly as critical, if only because it is so often ignored: taglines must be verbatim. Penalty for infraction can range from loss of posting privileges to a pants-enfishinating.

Rule #2 is especially relevant when the original is, say, missing a word.
posted by Many bubbles at 5:12 PM on August 10, 2007


MetaFilter: totally out of place in the Grove of Academe
posted by erniepan at 7:13 PM on August 10, 2007


Bit of a derail (plus I'm tipsy), but gotta ask: "conciseness"? Is that actually a word? Why not "concision"? Or does that sound like something that'd smart while it healed slowly?
posted by pax digita at 9:14 PM on August 10, 2007


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