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Friday, May 19, 2006

A query

Am I the only person who, when reading a journal article, writes in the margins things like, "so WHAT?" "this is totally bogus" and, "yeah, no shit"? Or is it just a sign of my immaturity and inability to respond in some more profound and scholarly way?*

Just wondering.

--------------------------

*Immature or not, I do take unkind satisfaction from the fact that this particular article is such bullshit, given that the woman who wrote it is apparently working on a book project that overlaps with my own.


link | posted by La Lecturess at 8:38 PM |


16 Comments:

Anonymous What Now? commented at 9:30 PM~  

Well, I don't write such comments, but I certainly think them sometimes. Mostly, I'll confess, I don't read journal articles that often, because I find most of them just not that good. (Sometimes I feel anxious that I write in a genre that I hate to read. Isn't there something wrong with this?) But I do always enjoy it when someone whose work overlaps with mine doesn't do a very good job -- more room for me!

Blogger Pantagruelle commented at 10:29 PM~  

A friend of mine writes comments *exactly* like that! After I saw them, I started writing snarky marginalia too. It's fun, it makes me feel smart, but mostly it's great for venting frustration at what is inevitably an argument that isn't nearly as complex as the one that I was intending to write before I even started reading the article. I mean, let's face it, don't we read articles mostly just to make sure that nobody else has already written the brillant piece that we've got in our heads just waiting to be written? :-)

Blogger Propter Doc commented at 10:42 PM~  

I have to read articles not directly related to my field for our grad students journal club. Among the many critical thinking skills I am honing in this, is the ability to write similar comments in the margins, and on bits of paper inserted between the pages (usually when I run out of room). All sounds so familier!

Blogger StyleyGeek commented at 10:54 PM~  

An article in a journal I got out of the library a few days ago had penciled-in speculations about what the author had been smoking all over the margins. My favourite was the comment at the end: "Note to self: this journal lets any piece of shit past the reviewers."

Have you been interloaning our library's journals by any chance, Lecturess?

Blogger Dr. Mon commented at 10:58 PM~  

My marginalia is generally not that insightful. I use the space to mark things to come back to or to express just how I feel about some piece of text. I think my most frequent "snarky comment" is--"are you serious??"

Blogger AAYOR commented at 11:25 PM~  

Ive been known to do this. Just be careful not to make that copy available for a grad seminar as I did once... no joke. Fortunately, the comments didnt actually contain profanity.

Blogger La Lecturess commented at 11:38 PM~  

Hee!

Styley--nope. I only do it on my own copies (whether photocopies or the hard copies of journals I actually subscribe to). But I do feel rather that way about this journal: it definitely publishes some good stuff, but I don't think its gatekeeping is very good.

AAYOR--so noted.

Blogger bdh commented at 5:18 AM~  

Can't say I do that regularly. I'm a serial underliner (only on my stuff or photocopies). I *hate* when people leave their own marks in library books.

The worst I've done is write "I was right, this guy IS a douchebag" in the margin of one of the books I own. If anyone ever borrows it, I'm happy to defend that statement ; )

Blogger Terminaldegree commented at 5:42 AM~  

Oh, yeah, I do that too. But mostly with books.

Blogger Weezy commented at 8:47 AM~  

I have a bad habit of doing that, and actually amused some of my undergrads by copying the article with my notes. (it was the only copy I could find on short notice) I always tell my students to take notes in a way they will remember and humor always helps!

Blogger Oso Raro commented at 1:15 PM~  

I do exactly that, because one needs some critical distance, hello! Just because it's in print, or you've been referred to something, doesn't mean it's the word of G-d. It's not like Moses or something. Recently, in this multicultural training seminar I'm doing (a total mess, but more on that later), we read this piece by Chandra Mohanty on teaching which I just thought was bollocks, and my group was like "Oh, so valuable!" and I responded, "Um, actually, no: look, it's tautological, gives no examples, repeats rhetoric, is actually only rhetoric, etc etc." Well, the looks I got were interesting, at the very least. Now, obviously there was a lot going on in this particular moment, but still. If you don't exercise your brain, it will just whither away and die.

Snarky comments RULE :-)

Blogger Quinn commented at 5:07 PM~  

All the time. And it's not a modern phenomenon. College Roommate inherited some books from her grandmother, who used to write in the margins comments like "HA!" all the time.

Anonymous wwwmama commented at 3:25 PM~  

I love to post marginalial but I hate coming across someone else's! Somehow I feel the need to record how irritating I find someone's published remarks (or how fabulous I find them), but I find it more irritating when others feel the need to record their irritation... Hmmm. Perhaps I'll stop the marginalia.
Do blog comments count? Ha!

Anonymous New Kid on the Hallway commented at 2:23 PM~  

I definitely do this! Although a lot of my "snarky" comments simply read "NO! NO! WRONG!" and stuff like that.

I never write in library copies - that's what I use post-its for. But I write all over my own books and any copies of articles - it's part of how I absorb the material as well as useful to look back at later. Though as AAYOR points out, it can be a problem when copying things for students! (My students are always excited to have the "important" bits underlined already... :-P)

Blogger Breena Ronan commented at 3:10 AM~  

How about, "Ha, ha, very funny?"

Anonymous lespinster commented at 11:59 AM~  

Oh, definitely. I've been known to drop a "pffft" or a "gah! shut up!" in some very distinguished margins.

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