Thursday, February 23, 2006

Academia

Last week I presented a paper at my first academic conference. For some reason, in the academic world, this is a "big deal." The building itself was very imposing; lots of dark wood, chandeliers, and this:
I attended one session on advertising, which included one paper on alcohol print advertisements in Thailand, and another on teen fashion magazines. Who would have thought that the subject of semiotics would come up so often? Truly, when it came time for questions, I fell asleep with my eyes open under the giant moose. (This was right after I noticed that the fashion magazine girl was significantly shorter than I am.) The highlight of this particular session was when clearly American people started pronouncing "advertisements" with a British accent: ad-VERT-is-ments. Instead of making them sound more intelligent, it only made them sound like an American actor in a Shakespeare movie from the 1940s.

After eating a stale cookie, I went across the hall to my presentation room, which was considerably less impressive than the wood paneled room with the moose. So I decided to have my picture taken in the moose room instead. Its much more exciting.


I read my paper first, and then two other girls presented before questions were asked. My session had some ridiculous title like "Building's building /rebuilding." (That wasn't it, but it definately used the word "building" more than necessary and didn't make sense.) I didn't really understand the other papers, or how they related to mine. One was on surrealist collage novels and had something to do with a bullet and a phone book, and the other was on a frontispiece in a book about architecture. Unfortunatly for the reader, she printed her pages wrong and ended up reading only half her paper - I'll assume that's why I didn't understand. At the end of the session, people continued to think too hard and attempted to relate the surrealist bullet in the phone book to a cannon ball puncturing the 18th Century farm house I wrote about. That's sort of like saying that cows and cheetahs are actually related because they both start with a "C."

Anyway, in the end I considered myself a "winner" because I had at least 5 laughs during my reading. Wether those laughs were directed at me or my writing I do not know, but in either case I have won another battle against seriousness. Maybe next time I'll wear a funny hat.

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