Thursday, June 28, 2007

Words! Actual Words! (and a note about footnotes)

Okay, so many of them are reworked from an earlier piece. And it still needs a bit of "thickening-up" with secondary sources. And I have no idea what the analytical throughline is going to be with this particular bit. But screw it: I GOT 941 WORDS TODAY! According to my handy-dandy word-count tracker, this brings me a full percentage point closer to my goal.

And now, the part of the post dedicated to my friend Not Nurse Ratched: One of the things that I did today was to pull 90% of the discursive footnotes up into the text. Now, unlike NNR, I do not believe that footnotes are a pernicious evil second only to pedophiles and people who text-message on their cell phones in movie theaters. I am a fan of discursive notes, which can allow an author to explore an interesting tangent without disrupting the flow of the argument at hand. However, I am bowing to the reality that, even among academic publishers, the trend is towards endnotes. As a reader, I find endnotes endlessly obnoxious -- all that flipping back and forth to find out where your author got any bit of information. But even worse is the reality that the reader is less likely ever to read your stunning-but-tangential insights, rendered in beautiful and sometimes witty prose** if your notes are at the back of the book, rather than at the bottom of the page. I hate to waste what wit I have. So it's into the text with as much of it as I can possibly manage.

**Think I'm kidding? Read the notes -- footnotes, mind you -- to David Nirenberg's Communities of Violence. His argument in the text is incisive and original, and he sticks to it throughout. Below the footnote line, however, lurk all those stories that don't necessarily fit, but that are just too damned good to leave out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm actually not bothered by people text-messaging in movie theaters. People who bump in to me because they're texting while walking around campus are, however, on my list, as are people who stand behind me in any line carrying on an inane conversation. I don't care, "like," what Carrie said to, "um, Kelly, who said, OMIGAWD, you know? I know! I know! I know! So then I was like...." (This happened to me at Target the other day, and I felt certain that Dante would incorporate it into a circle of hell were he alive today. Probably in a footnote.)