Monday, September 18, 2006

Dear SSHRC: please give me money and then leave me alone

To the nice people at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada:

Well, it’s that time of year again where I ask you for money, and you say no. But this year I suggest a novel idea: instead of not giving me money? Give me money! I think you’ll find that to be much more rewarding. Besides which, I have done my research and now know your addresses. So if you’d like to have a case of scotch show up on your doorstep as opposed to something far less pleasant (if you get my drift), then you’ll want to give serious consideration to funding my research project.

Synopsis of My Project

And what am I working on, you ask? Well frankly, I have no fricking clue. But that really shouldn’t prevent you from giving me money. There is an awful lot of well-funded research in the humanities that no one understands, so let me get mine too, eh?

Don’t worry: I do have a seriously kick-ass title. “Delving into Derogation: Antimonies of Desire in the Post-Freudian Landscape.” Isn’t that great? Don’t worry if you don’t know what it means … I can promise you I don’t either. No one will. That’s the beauty!


I will need at least two research assistants, one to get me coffee and do my filing, and the other to clean my apartment on a weekly basis. The scholarly process, I find, is better facilitated in a clean apartment, but because I am such a busy professor, I rarely find time to do it myself. Ideally, I would also hire a third to regrout my bathroom floor, but in my experience, graduate students who can perform such manual labour tend to be scarce.

As much of my thinking is done in pubs, bars and strip clubs, I will need several thousand dollars to fund my time there. Also, an alcohol allowance for the liquor and wine I keep at home is necessary (along with a secure locker in which to put it—I don’t trust the grad student cleaning the place to keep out of the booze): at least a few thousand dollars, more should my mental processes prove to require single-malt. (Also, the aforementioned case of scotch on your doorsteps will be coming out of whatever money you give me, so be certain to factor that cost in as well).

I am intending to attend numerous conferences over the next few years in Hawaii, Australia, Acapulco, Florida and Cancun. I have no idea what the subject matter being considered at these conferences will be, but I’m sure I can come up with suitable titles for my papers.

Previous Scholarship

The committee should be aware that I am extremely well-published, having two books to my name, both of which have received critical acclaim. The first, “The Hungry Duckie,” is an existential exploration of desire and loss. It did not receive as great acclaim as it deserved however, as Mrs. Dibblethorpe, my Grade Two teacher, did not understand that the spelling “mistakes” in my book were deliberate critiques of normative discursive practices. Quoting James Joyce, I informed her that a man of genius makes no mistakes, but that his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. She proceeded to give me a cookie and milk and made me take a nap.

My mother thought that the book was very nice, however. She said that it was sad that the duckie was always so hungry, but that the pictures were “very cute.”

My second book, “Bitter Longing (for Elaine),” was a poetic discourse on love, jealousy and heartbreak. The titular Elaine did not offer a critique, but returned my manuscript with a restraining order stapled to the title page. Her opinion should not be considered one way or another however, given her closeness to the project. Mr. Steinberg, my Grade Nine English teacher, was sophisticated enough to refuse to assign “Bitter Longing (for Elaine)” a grade, as simple numerical evaluation has no place in the creation of great literature. This at least was what I gleaned from his sole cryptic comment, “Fifteen-year-olds shouldn’t write,” which was scrawled in the column on page forty-two.

My mother thought that “Bitter Longing (for Elaine)” was a very nice poem, and she further added that Elaine was obviously a silly girl who didn’t know a good thing when she saw it, that I was a handsome boy and that there are more fish in the sea.

External Assessors

Given my mother’s previous work evaluating my past scholarship, I will grant that she might not be an appropriate assessor for my present project. The committee should feel free however to contact any of my aunts on either side of my family, as well as my parents’ next door neighbours for whom I used to babysit.

You may also contact my cousins on my mother’s side, though their assistance would be best facilitated with a case of Canadian Club and several bottle of Coke.

I hope the committee sees fit to fund my current project, and I remind you that I have you addresses and access to various combustibles.


Lesley said...

"the other to clean my apartment on a weekly basis"

DUDE! AT least get a fourth to do your laundry. I have to teach you everything???

FanglyFish said...

This sounds about right. I have been through the budgeting process in the past. Hopefully the dart lands on your name this year.

Also I have seen you room. There is no grant big enough.

Anonymous said...

thanks for reminding me that I should probably do some of that stuff soon...

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