Phly Paper

Pronounce the “ph” as /f/: like “fly,” as in “fly paper”: with an analogous meaning: “ph” as in “Ph.D”: all those doctoral candidates, uselessly hanging around the universities, hung out to dry.

Remember fly paper? As a kid I visited my aunt’s cottage on the lake. The ceiling of the screen room was festooned with fly paper rolls: you tack up the free end, the things spools down, hangs twisting in a curl, immediately you’re attracting and catching flies.

fly paper
thanx jeremylaurenson

The fly lands on the flypaper, his feet stick, one less fly flying around. At my aunt’s every hanging twist was covered with flies. There were still flies not yet caught, but you could walk around the screen porch, enjoy the view, smell the lake, feel the woods around the house, and not be plastered with pests alighting near your eyes, on your eye lashes, in your ear …

That kid I was then never imagined that I and my friends would all one day hang as helpless as phlies, our feet stuck in academic glue.

perpetual students

See, if the barbarians had captured us for being intelligent, had disemboweled us for speaking our minds, for actually having a vivid idea or two about God or about politics or about what would make for a free market, that would be one thing: people with ideas, people able to imagine, to argue, to keep track, have always been crucified, always will be unless we’re talking about a different species; but in the case of my friends and I, we weren’t just skewered, we had to pay tuition to be skewered! Imaging charging the flies for hanging them on the fly paper?!

watch, this is gonna be cute
I’ll detail which of my friends’ brilliant doctoral theses never got unstalled in the university environment: Anton on Jonson, Phil on 19thC novels, Bruce on Robinson Cruso, me on Shakespeare, the Sonnets, the culture …

scrap: 1960s, Ivan Illich spoke at Yale: said that the Ph.D was a silly degree, should be abolished. The audience stood as a man and cheered!
The masters makes sense Illich said, the rest is just paper shuffling, and people pushing.

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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