26 April 2016a certain person has entered my life who feels the need to head every email with: "URGENT!"
my inbox has been deluged with urgencies. it is a veritable depot of urgencies. i go to my inbox and my first thought is OH NO!
it is like getting a phone call in the dead of night. you know something has happened. you assume someone has died. you know nothing good will come of this.
or else someone has dialed the wrong number.
seeing URGENT! in your inbox is like that. it could go either way. either there's $1 million waiting for you in turkmenistan if you only wire $500 to your long-lost cousin jimmye eaton's brother to pay his legal fees or some time-sensitive disaster in which you are directly affected is unfolding and responding to it is going to consume the rest of your afternoon.
except, no. not in this case. because every one of these urgencies is a question about literature. every one of these urgencies is, really- if we're being honest- not actually urgent.
to be "urgent" implies time sensitivity. it demands immediate attention. these urgencies are neither particularly time sensitive nor immediately demanding. they are, in reality, general inquiries conveyed as though they were pressing. questions misleadingly framed as though the stakes were life or death.
fyi, the enforced state of heightened emotional alarm prompted by repeatedly confronting situations characterized as "urgent!" brings out the absolute worst of my contrary streak- a personal characteristic in which i do not take pride, which i have worked hard to overcome (outside of its creative usefulness), and which academia seems dead set on worsening.
it has also forced a confrontation with my own understanding of literature. because all of the questions involved in these emails relate to literature. and, much as i love literature, i honestly do not think that i think there is any problem in all of literature that can be characterized as "urgent."