Comments on: Odd ducks http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:01:25 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23831 Wed, 11 Jun 2008 14:33:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23831 Indyanna–you really should read Lucky Jim. I think it would strike very close to home with you–the tale of a young war vet, a striver, at a Red Brick provincial university struggling against the stupidity and morbidity of his senior colleagues…

The only thing I don’t like about the novel is (of course!) the caricature of the woman academic. But, the novel is so hillarious and so timelessly relevant to academia that I’ll forgive Amis’s portrayal of Margaret.

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23816 Wed, 11 Jun 2008 13:36:52 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23816 Straight Man is the funniest novel of academic manners I’ve ever read, but I’ve also heard before that Lucky Jim is better, so maybe I should give it a try. Russo briefly practiced (and much later wrote) from the very edge of Transaltoonia, transformed into Railton in his book, so maybe that’s why it cut so close to “home” with me.

My two favorite parts: driving his hapless and failed son-in-law to the airport and breaking the news to him that he (the kid) is moving to Atlanta. And crawling through the dropped ceiling space above the seminar room in which the English Department is meeting and talking about him…

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23626 Wed, 11 Jun 2008 02:51:34 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23626 Kathie–that’s right! I forgot about the duck in Russo’s book. But, for my money no academic satire has ever beat the original, Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. By comparison, Russo’s book is warm and good-humored, as opposed to the almost unrelieved misanthropy of Jim Dixon, exacerbated by postwar rationing, no doubt.

I just got back from the the park, and there was no sign of the duck. Maybe ze found a soft-hearted person like Mary to take hir in–or maybe ze made it back to its nest safely. And Regis–if that duck has the avian flu, then my neighborhood is ground zero for the epidemic! There’s a whole island full of giant nesting birds in my park.

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By: regis de trobriand http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23614 Wed, 11 Jun 2008 02:26:46 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23614 It definitely has the bird flu. Run for your life.

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By: Kathie http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23585 Wed, 11 Jun 2008 00:59:26 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23585 Your duck sighting reminded me of Richard Russo’s wonderful academic satire, Straight Man. Some shenanigans with a duck play an important part in the story – the cover of some editions even shows a duck. The novel marvelously covers departmental meetings, mid-life crises, marriage, and family more generally. Among my favorite characters is a male faculty member who pipes up with “or she” every time other faculty members use the exclusive male pronoun – they take to calling him “Orshe.”

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By: mary http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23554 Wed, 11 Jun 2008 00:04:19 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23554 I am musing about little creatures today, historiann. My roommate agreed to adopt two kittens for a week before they make their way to a farm. And in nerdy effort to be gender neutral (we don’t know their sexes), we have named one Charlie and the other Salem. I really don’t want to give them up next week!

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23496 Tue, 10 Jun 2008 22:15:17 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23496 It turns out that a four-year old of my very close acquaintance played with this duck in the park yesterday, dubbing hir “the very gentle duck.”

Indyanna–now I understand why you always have found my houses to be “country houses,” when they seem very citifed to me. (We’ve got city water after all, with fluoride too, not well water!) I’m a little worried about this duck, since it doesn’t seem to be big on flying or swimming, and since the wildest things I’ve seen around here lately are foxes…they’re getting very bold, as I’ve had foxes cross the road right in front of me in daylight!

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By: Sisyphus http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23473 Tue, 10 Jun 2008 21:47:29 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23473 Quack!!!!

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2008/06/10/odd-ducks/comment-page-1/#comment-23422 Tue, 10 Jun 2008 19:09:54 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=372#comment-23422 Wow, all I’ve got is some gentrifier renovating a rowhouse about a hundred feet up Cypress St. (really a back service alley) from my open-windowed reading aerie, which must remain open in this heat. So it’s whining saws, clanging hammers, and the clatter of the occasional service truck. Closest “pond” is a muddy river a couple of blocks away. That duck looks like a wiry customer opting for more sophisticated company than you can get in Mallard City. Funny that it doesn’t want you to go back inside.

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