Update: In Ultimate Po-Mo Move, Unhinged Dartmouth Prof Drops Lawsuit, Pick Lawsuit Up Again, Leaves Everyone Unsure of Everything
Breaking news: it looks as though unhinged post-modernist and writing professor Priya Venkatesan will or will not be pursuing legal action against Dartmouth College. Trying to stay in the news despite her rapidly fading 15 minutes, Venkatesan contacted Dartblog and The D yesterday to say that she was dropping the suit. Never mind, though. Within 24 hours she re-contacted them to say that she will indeed be pursuing legal action. What seems most likely, however, is that Venkatesan, despite her claims to the contrary, has not seen a lawyer.
The D has one pithy student’s take on the whole matter:
If Venkatesan followed through with her lawsuit the same way she followed through with grading our papers, no one would have had anything to worry about,”
Meanwhile, the Dartmouth Administration seems more bemused than angry, exasperated that Dartmouth’s spam-blockers can’t shoo Venkatesan away. Here Gail M. Zimmerman, the Dean of First-Year students, pretends to care about Venkatesan’s legal action:
Robert Donin, Dartmouth’s General Counsel, was present at yesterday’s meeting. He advises that we do not believe there is any merit to a potential lawsuit and he does not feel it necessary for students to retain their own legal counsel at this time…
Questions arose as to our ability to block Prof. Venkatesan’s emails. Whether that ability exists or not, it would not likely stop her emails from reaching your inbox given the dearth and ready availability of other free email systems such as hotmail, gmail, and yahoo. If these emails are distressing, please don’t hesitate to forward them to me unopened. I would request you to forward any emails to me regardless of whether you read them or not so that I can be apprised of and assess how best to respond and support you.
After the jump: we analyze Venkatesan’s academic work.
The Amazon.com summary of Venkatesan’s “book,” no doubt written by the loony-toon herself:
Molecular Biology in Narrative Form is a groundbreaking, interdisciplinary study that shows a connection between molecular biology and French narrative theory, and, from a unique perspective, bridges the gap between two disciplines that seem mutually exclusive. With many new insights on the link between science (in the form of DNA, a set of codes) and literature (in the form of language, another set of codes), this book looks at modern experimental science within the framework of semiotics. Priya Venkatesan reveals the extraordinary parallel between the work of scientists and the work of narratologists who develop narrative paradigms and analyze literary texts. Molecular Biology in Narrative Form will be a useful resource for scientists and literary theorists interested in the epistemological workings of science, as well as, anyone that desires to explore the linkages between scientific theory and literary analysis.
Insisting on some sort of connection between DNA and literary theory – because, as we know, literary theory saves lives, just like DNA – is tenuous at best. My dream is to someday become a “narratologist” (because narrator is like so, yesterday!) who produces “linkages” (because links are like so, yesterday) so that I can become a better blogger and understand, truly, the semiotics of what I write and the social forces – like Venkatesan’s idiocy – that drive me to do what I do.
My bet is that Venkatesan has read a bit too much Foucault and wants to retread “Madness and Civilization” from a first-person perspective. Imagine the postmodern possibilities in a lawsuit about the rejection of postmodernism that may or may not actually be happening! It would revolutionize the field! Really, that would be the only excuse. Now it’s time for Northwestern to fire her. Michel is turning over in his grave.