18 September 2006

16 the aftermaph


(and yes, this was just a shameless excuse to resurrect the shortie shorts photograph in homage to our beloved fallen comrades, the green and red shoes)

three years ago today (i think. because my mind is rusty and overmaphed i can't quite recall), an overwhelming majority of my readership (meaning 4 out of 7), first walked the hallowed halls of the university of chicago.

that's a lie actually. because we first walked the hallowed halls two weeks prior but that was more of a trial walking of the hallowed halls. we're commemorating the offical walking of the hallowed halls here. the point at which our reading of the hallowed texts and absorption of the hallowed meanings began to have hallowed consequences.

we've spent the past two weeks, in which new maphers were purchasing textbooks and dougo was regularly reporting back on how young and innocent they look, with our heads in our hands moaning i can't believe it's been three years. so a brief (written) revue seems warranted.

my first memory as a genuine mapher would be when jenny fair and i were walking across the quad to core class on a bright, beautiful, sunny, september morning and nearly ran smack into sir anthony hopkins. sir anthony in full make-up, wearing a track suit and drinking a frappacino from a bright pink straw. that really set the tone. distinguished but bizarre.

maph was kind of like going to war. or jail. we bonded. we bonded for life. because we sat in that stifling room, rustling papers, watching the jay and candice show. and some things will never be the same. eyebrows, for instance. not to mention social hours, ballerinas, freud, public intellectualism, the shedd aquarium, and jack black's body.

a lot of people complain about maph. it came with a hefty price-tag that we'll all be paying for some time to come. and the fact that the program's overlords publicly demean it's value doesn't help. but maph brought us many things, including nine months of reading, a year of affordable healthcare, and a lifetime subscription to the U of C alumni magazine, which is a source of endless dorktastic fun.

(and i'm not jesting on that last point. the months-long debate that raged over the removal of the alumni publications section from the print magazine to an online-only venue was the greatest literary smackdown of 2005.)

i think croftie, queen of the powerful summations, best summed up the maph experience, shortly after we, in formation and full grad-garb, ran the three blocks from the gym to the university gates. as the bagpipes stirred to life, croftie shifted her motarboard to a jaunty angle and, watching me stow a camera, wallet, program, and sunglasses in my sleeve, arched an eyebrow and said: so i guess this is kind of a big deal, huh?

16 comments:

oline said...

don't think it really came through here and am lazoline and don't want to restructure to find a place for it to- but a HUGE thank God for maph. can't imagine how i would write or what i would write or who i would know had it not been for maph. i would have no friends (of course said in the croftie voice that defies writtendownness).

nick said...

a nice revue for those of us on the outside of the maph window looking in. and i think it is an unwritten rule that all academic institutions must have a quad. or two. or seven.

makeup, track suit, pink straws, & frappuccinos. who knew the sir hop could easily be confused with j-lo?

Les Savy Ferd said...

*you have so MANY friends* *gollum! gollum!*

Meggie said...

Caro, I'm just happy to hear I'm not the only one that stashed stuff in those stupid sleeves! I believe I had a camera, cell phone, sunglasses, car keys, and a Coke in mine. *laughs* Western didn't really have a quad though... More like fifty feet of green space with a random building thrown in that you'd have to run around to continue along the sidewalk. *sighs* Grad school seems forever ago.

Osutein-sensei said...

A good revue, NostalgOline. I've spent the last three years in acronym-ed programs, first MAPH then JET (and I'd never have gone to Japan if not for MAPH). I'm immensely grateful that I did MAPH, not only for the great friends I made, but also all that I learned (and the alumni magazine dork wars). More than any other year of my life, I think the one I spent in MAPH set the stage for everything after. First Japan, now being back in Chicago, then whatever comes after this.

But while I would do it all again for the experiences and people, I also find myself disgruntled at the overlords (I feel the same way about JET... they demanded we act as professionals, then treated us like children). To sell MAPH with its hefty price tag to us as this presitigious academic program, to convince us to come, and then to openly talk shit about it (when you're in charge of it!!!) is infuriating. They can think it all they want, but to badmouth your own program is incredibly damaging to the prospects of any MAPHers applying for PhD's. It really angers me.

Regardless, I'm sooooo glad I went to U of C and met all you fine people. As you said, thank God for MAPH.

oline said...

nOstalgia-sensei, the thing about the overlords is i think they've completely lost touch with reality. remember "i was sitting on a bench by the freeway reading marx..."? the eyebrows? they've been doing what they've been doing for so long that they've come to think it has no value. which is sad in a way and maddening when you've paid a small fortune to be a part of it. because clearly it was worth a whole lot.

meggO, you had a drink up your sleeve? this is why you are my hero.

dougO, i was borrowsoline and nabbed your mark helprin book. will return. promise, friend.

nichOlas, it frightens me that the j-lo influence is so pervasive. that it could cross the pond and stike a chord with one of her majesty's minions.

nick said...

he will now & forever me a-hop to me.

nick said...

or rather, be a-hop.

Osutein-sensei said...

Oline: Good point, it is sad that they've come so unglued from reality as to fail to see the value in something so worthwhile to so many of us.

oline said...

ah, the perils of the ivory tower!

Meggie said...

Hey, that damn grad ceremony was long! And when I was going through undergrad one, I left to go buy a drink (also stripped off my cap and gown during the ceremony due to the 95 degree weather). So, I figured the sleeves were made like that for a reason.

I promise I will use my 23 days of vacation to come see you (once I can gain access to them). Just don't forget, I got to save some 'cause I'm going to Greece next summer!

oline said...

hurumph (that was the best exasperated onomatopoeia i could muster). still fake mad that you're not taking me. as your soulmate, the matter of your leaving the country without me should have at least been discussed. i need to walk barefoot through the streets of athens, (just for a second and even though that's kind of germy and britney spears nowadays). just know, i'll be badmouthing you all over paris when the mother cupcake and i finally get there. and i h+med today. it was glorious. as 4-year-old sassoline would have said, na-na-ne-boo-boo!

Meggie said...

*sighs* I do want to do Paris and Rome but we can't feasibly fit it in. Istanbul would be interesting. We're actually scary close to the middle East (look and see where Cyprus is and you won't have any problem with not being invited) so we were thinking of going to Israel and/or Egypt.

One day I will make it to Paris and Rome.

Les Savy Ferd said...

Austin and Oline (and those who might share a morbid interest in ,

To play devil's (perhaps EyeBrow's) advocate, I don't really think the Overlords were badmouthing the quality of the program per se, merely the way the program currently is understood/fits in to the working model of the Academe. I think their point wasn't "Look at all these fools wasting their money on a program which is good for nothing" but "Look at all these poor things, the 'system' isn't set up to truly value and synthesize the program they are investing themselves within." They might have been insufferable human beings but the value of MAPH is very great, the academic world just has little regard for modern day renaissance men/women.

And for sensible reasons. They need cog 'a' to be able to focus on teaching 18th Century English Literature, to know everything Addison and Steele routinely ate for breakfast, to have absolute albeit specialized knowledge. After all cog 'a'is a commodity they have purchased and at the very least they want it to function correctly.

They have no need for cog '07f4@s' who can tell you why cyberpunk is cool but doesn't know its existential roots, has an interest in psychoanalysis but can't figure out if they're a Jungian or a Lacanian, likes contemporary rock music but doesn't know how/if it fits into the contemporary literary landscape, knows more about the myth of Orpheus from the graphic novel Sandman than from the myth's actual origins, and basically reads all novels and doesn't have the temerity to focus on a small subset.

oline said...

cog '07f4@s- you have hit upon a fundamental truth, my friend. wow.

Osutein-sensei said...

I agree with Oline, well said, Doug (tho from what I've heard, the overlords were more commenting on MAPH being a graveyard for those who can't hack it in the academy rather than a misunderstood program).

As I think we all agree, MAPH is a fantastic program no matter what the overlords or the rest of the academy thinks. And I think there's a brilliant book in your idea that the academy, despite its embrace of (cultural) Marxist theory, is ultimately another part of the capitalist system that turns people into narrow (and sometimes narrow-minded) cogs.