Tuesday, 31 July 2007

"When you've got them down on the mat...

... stand on their fingers". This was the instruction Supervisor gave me at our meeting yesterday. I had very politely suggested in a chapter of my thesis that an established critic had misquoted a text and this was what made his argument work.

Supervisor: What you're saying is, he's misrepresented the text to fit his argument, isn't it?

Autumn Song: [hesitantly] Yes, I suppose so.

Supervisor: Well just say that then. When you've got them down on the mat, stand on their fingers. He would do it to you.

Well, yes, I guess he probably would. But still, it makes me slightly uncomfortable to suggest such a thing about those better qualified than myself. Nevertheless, it seems to be true (see, there it is again, a reluctance to make this claim) - it is true - he misquoted, deliberately or not, and for that reason amongst others his interpretation is unsatisfactory and I disagree with his argument. And rather like the world at large, if we all agreed on everything, life would be very dull. Still, in all such situations, I'd suggest rational conversation rather than standing on fingers. That isn't nice.

1 comment:

ThePhDLitChick said...

This made me laugh! When I disagreed with a critic and suggested I could offer a counter argument, I was once advised by a former Supervisor, 'use her as your chopping block - I don't mind'. It all sounds so brutal...unnecessarily so!