Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rozencrantz & Guildenstern Are....TAs

This is a very old piece of writing I'm still rather unreasonably proud of.


ROZ: What are we doing again?

GUIL: (not looking up) Grading.

ROZ: Oh. (pause) Grading what?

GUIL: Student papers.

ROZ: Oh, these were....written by....human beings?

GUIL: Whom did you think they were written by, then?

ROZ: I thought they were failed Turing tests.


ROZ: Do you want to flip coins?


ROZ: Do you want to re-enact Waiting for Godot?


ROZ: Do you want to grade papers?


ROZ: I'm going mad.

GUIL: ....Going?

ROZ: All right, I've gone mad. What exactly does this mean? "From the dawn of time, there have been two contrasting society changes, one embodied forth in the Ten Commandments, the other shaped by the Hammurabi Code. One is a pillar, the other is a -- "

GUIL: (not looking up again) I told you, it's a student paper.

ROZ: But these are unintelligible! Incoherent! Barely legible! And I didn't say ninety percent of this stuff! And the ten percent I did say is so, so -- terribly garbled and distorted and misunderstood --

GUIL: What part of "student paper" didn't you understand when you signed up for the gig?

ROZ: I thought it was going to be like Stand and Deliver....or Goodbye Mr Chips....or To Sir, With Love.... or --

GUIL: You're not telling me you based a large part of your career, indeed your life, on....Hollywood versions of overly romanticized and absolutely unrealistic visions of pedagogy?

ROZ: Fine, all right, what was it for you then?


GUIL: Dead Poets Society.

ROZ: D'you think these'd get better if we played Beethoven at th --


ROZ: So where's Hamlet....?

GUIL: Teaching. "Strategies of Rhetoric in Late Lacan, Early Derrida and Middle Maimonides."

ROZ: And the O-girl?

GUIL: Departmental chair, Women's Studies.

ROZ: And Claudius is....

GUIL: Gertie got a chair in Tennessee, Feminist History, so they found a gig for him there in Poli Sci.

ROZ: Oh.


ROZ: Well, this certainly isn't heaven, and....I don't think hell would be quite so dull, --

GUIL: (not looking up) No.

ROZ: (piqued) Well how d'you know, then?

GUIL: (still not looking up) The souls in purgatory know they're going to be saved.