Thursday, November 16, 2006

Being a Classicist

It seems to me that Classicists tend to gain one of two reputations:
1) Old, Stuffy, Too Serious, Pretentious (and/or Boring), and Living in the Past.
2) One Word: Crazy.

Sometimes, I think, when we get too bogged down in our texts or our studies or whatnot, we exude 1. We take ourselves too seriously, and we really come off as dickheads (or we study tragedy too long, take it too seriously, and have disturbingly strange dreams ;-)).

Seriousness is a good thing, particularly when it comes to studying, but I think sometimes we all need to take a step back and remember not to take ourselves and our work so seriously that we forget why we're doing it and why we love it--and I mean the real love we have of antiquity, not the love of pretentiously knowing more Latin and Greek than the rest of the world. Sometimes we just need to enjoy that Plato's Socrates really is a Funny Man (c'mon, he's talking about the bloody Laws actually talking to him!) and worry less about . . . the things we worry about.

Sometimes we need to make crazy musicals about Troy or dress up and play Roman or even just walk into our Classics departments wielding lightsabers.

Sometimes, we just need to take a moment to sit back and talk about something else and not worry so much about that strange use of the subjunctive in [Pick-a-Text].

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back when I was in Classics, before I ditched academia for a job in the "real world", I used to say that based on my experiences, all Classicists were either a) drunks, b) perverts, or c) both.

I was never quite sure if I fell more on the b or the c side of things.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Hah! You could make that distinction too, but I've run in to enough who were neither.

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, the crazy part is what i went into this field for in the first place. at least that's what my dog channels me to think.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what is it you went into the field for in the first place, Anon? The curiosity is nearly overwhelming.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Glaukopis.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

Thanks!

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Zibblsnrt said...

Most of the ones I knew were wedged firmly in The People's Republic of Crazy, and I don't exclude myself from that list. ;)

Granted, I also kinda think most academics in most departments also need to take a step back and stop taking themselves so seriously. (I also don't exclude myself from that list. ;) )

10:31 AM  
Blogger Glaukôpis said...

This is true, but most academics in general don't get this reaction to their subject matter from other academics: "Oh, you're Classicist? No wonder you're crazy."

I've had English lit people seriously have the nerve to tell me that. ::snerk::

Now, you tell any other academic you're an English major, they nod and smile and say, "How nice."

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Sildenafil said...

This is very interesting, I never really quite understood the point of view of a classicist person.

12:13 PM  

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