Friday, September 14, 2007

Dissertation stress

I've been incredibly irritated about pretty much everything over the last couple of weeks. For example, there was a commercial on TV the other night that said, '[some concept] means different things to different people.' Well, no shit. This is one statement that drives me absolutely crazy. Also, Allstate's new teen driving program, "Because Allstate believes that 6,000 teenage drivers killed each year is 6,000 too many." Oh really? Because I think it's just 5,995 too many. Utterly ridiculous.

I was mentioning these irritations, among many others, to my friend during our weekly dissertation lunch meeting and she told me that she remembered me saying nearly the same thing last year at this time when I was working to finish my proposal. She also said that she thinks the irritation makes me work harder.

How right is she? It's true -- I think I get so irritated by these small things because I am so engrossed in my work and obsessed with the subtle nuances of language that I automatically assume (incorrectly) that everyone else will be as well. If there is one thing that I've learned in grad school it is a write must use language purposefully and carefully.

I still remember one of the first lessons I received: I wrote that something was 'very little' and my professor asked how little is 'very' and what is the difference between 'little' and 'very little.' Good point . . . and lesson learned.

So here I am, immersed in carefully constructed sentences and agonizing over each word. Then you have idiot media people that give very little consideration to the language they use. As I told Big J last night, it's enough to make me feel as though I am surrounded by idiots. Present company and dear readers excepted.

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