Monday, November 20, 2006

Borat and Philosophy

I just got the following e-mail:

hi there,

i'm about to write a paper on borat and philosophy for a college class here in NYC. do you think you might have any ideas to share?

If so, email me, (e-mail address deleted). Looking to create an interesting dialog.


I have a few responses...

1) I'm sorry, but I don't have time to get into an e-mail discussion about Borat and philosophy. I don't have these kinds of disccusions via e-mail with my own students, say nothing of a random student from NYC. I have about 125 students right now, if you want to know what I think on this topic, you'll have to enroll in my class at BNCC.

2) It seems to me that while there could be some connections between Borat and philosophy of language -- and those may be somewhat interesting --- most philosophy professors won't have seen the movie. They will also probably think poorly of you for having seen it, so step carefully with this one as the movie could be seen as offensive by many people.

3) Why don't you spend the time you took to e-mail me going to see your professor at your college? Take a draft of your paper and have a short discussion about your thesis. They probably have office hours and, like me, spend that time alone... give it a try.

4) Every e-mail should include capital letters to begin EVERY sentence. I'm not sure who suspended the basic rules for written communication for e-mail, but they were wrong.


Abbey said...

I concur with all of your responses. I also wonder where the all-or-nothing attitude towards capital letters came from.

StyleyGeek said...

Send a reply with all of that in. Except for the potentially helpful bit about the philosophy of language. You don't want the kid to learn that this sort of random academic spam approach works.

bungle said...

Here in Maryland there was some local 'borat' media interest as there's a car salesguy from here in there somewhere.

Whatever. May rent it down the road.

For the Seeker of Wisdom Thru Borat, I'd tell him, even without benefit of having watched it, that of course the movie is thematically connected in a significant way to Fraud Ontology and that it is noteworthy that he'd gravitate to that kind of study.

timna said...

the language part is interesting because we'll understand the parts that are supposed to be in a "foreign language" but are actually in Hebrew. one of the reasons we'll see it before almond joy and not with her.

and I do random capitals, I guess.

Breena Ronan said...

Maybe the capitalization thing started with people exploring philosophical reasons for not capitalizing things. I can remember people not capitalizing "i" as some sort of statement about themselves. It's probably just laziness and lack of grammatical training. I don't know how to use commas.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I know some people don't use any capital letters because of an argument by bell hooks about dominiation and feminism or something....

The Borat stuff I was thinking about in terms of language and meaning was something akin to Quine and his translation problems... although I don't recall what in Borat made me thing of Quine.