Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rods and Holes

Dear Mature Pea,

Wondering about what I did yesterday? Okay, I'll tell. I read a kind of embarrassing primer on Structuralism and Saussure called "Structuralism and Saussure." I knew it was the undergraduate lecture (from UC Boulder that I found while googling) for me when I got to the rods and holes. The professor is really invested in using tinkertoys to explain structuralist concepts. This is what it was like: "A structuralist analysis of tinkertoys wouldn't look at what you made (a building, a race car, a windmill, etc.) but would only look at the structure governing every possible combination of tinkertoy elements. And that structure is that rods go into holes." Of course the professor contends that no matter what, RODS GO INTO HOLES. That's it; there's no way around it. Doesn't matter what color, configuration, set of social circumstances or sexual orientation: RODS GO INTO HOLES.

So, yes, that's structuralism, but he probably could have chosen another toy. Legos? (That might be a little less homophobic, at least) Anyway, I did what any scholar would do and scanned the lecture for any mention of rods and holes because? It's nerd porn. And it's funny and I'm glad that when I was an undergraduate my professors didn't try to sell me some analogy about rods and holes because I would have been totally disruptive with the giggling and coughing. And you would have done the same thing. Don't lie.


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