Friday, February 20, 2009

Festive Friday: Spout a Gnome

by J J Cohen

It's Friday. Your neurons are not firing with the precision they possessed earlier in the week. Your "To Do" list hovers at the same number of items that clogged Monday. That essay which is two weeks past deadline is moving towards three. Your fez needs cleaning.

We know how you feel. But we also want to say: snap out of it! Stop loving yourself so much! Why is it always about you, you, you?

For this Festive Friday, we invite you to spout a gnome. No, not "a legendary creature resembling a tiny old man." Keep that kind of gnome to yourself. By gnome we mean "a short pithy saying expressing a general truth": we're talking wise, not wizened. A kind of Old English-y gnome. Given that aphorisms tend to be highly conventional, we propose the following rule for its articulation: your gnostic utterance must follow the formula "Medieval Studies needs less X and more Y." Example: "Medieval Studies needs less Charlotte Allen and more Tiny Shriner."* You may then follow up with another maxim that is sillier. Mine: "A Tiny Shriner belongs on a bar stool, old and proud of his martini." Got it? And bonus points if you can identify the actual medieval proverb that I warped to create that last one.

Oh, and you are not allowed to think too much before you spout your gnomes. They must spout quickly or they must not spout at all.

*a scholar of proverbial utterances would know that this formulation equates to "Medieval Studies needs less delight in policing its enjoyments, and more creativity in its enjoyment."


Eileen Joy said...

Medieval studies needs less Deleuze and Guattari and more Dolce and Gabbana.

Like an eagle swooping over the ocean, snatching after his prey, so comes Tiny into court, looking for Kate Moss.

Eileen Joy said...

If Fridays are festive [and frivolous], are Saturdays serious, and Sundays seriouser? Are Mondays moodily mundane, Tuesdays titillating, Wednesdays westerly, and Thursdays thorazine-like? How and when, then, do we squeeze in hilarity, ennui, nervousness, and small acts of [benign] rage [where no one really gets hurt while we storm around the stage, fretting the hour, etc.]? I would try to answer these questions myself but Tiny and I are trying to wake up Kate so that she can buy us frivolous trinkets and Birkin bags.

prehensel said...

Medieval Studies needs less thinkin' and more drinkin'.*

Both, if immoderate, lead to paralysis; know well when to drink and when to think.

*Only on Fridays.

Eileen Joy said...

Marcus: I have never become paralyzed by immoderate drinking, although immoderate thinking has often led me to catatonia [not to be confused with Patagonia where the sheep are going blind, but not because they think or drink too much].

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Medieval studies needs less conspiracy theory and more conspiracies.

A lost plot never boils.

prehensel said...

EJ: I'm counting comatose or near-comatose states.

Anonymous said...

Medieval Studies needs less ball-peen tapping and more SLEDGEHAMMER HULK SMASH **GAAHH***

As the dust settles I shall buy the first round of drinks.

Bill Layher
Greetings from St. Louis

Mary Kate Hurley said...

You're kidding. I get back from an awesome conference at the University of Connecticut (on which I have much to say, and will say it tomorrow), where all neurons were firing on full for the duration of a fabulous day -- and no one has claimed the bonus points? A pithy gnomic utterance tomorrow morning -- for the wise earl never speaks before she clearly knows -- but for tonight: JJC, your answer is the dragon, who belongs on his treasure, old and proud of his hoard. From the Old English Maxims.

I'm sure that's not verbatim -- then again, I also didn't look it up at

Mary Kate Hurley said...

...1.47 AM in the morning.

(to MKH belongs the unfinished comment, woefully completed in a second attempt)