A couple months ago, my girls and I were at Harry Potter World in Orlando. After hours of overstimulation, we were drunk on fun and heat and also maybe butterbeer-addled. So of course we cooked up this bit, which might only be funny to us.
School may be out for the summer, but the work continues—this time, just down the interstate. Welcome to grad school theme park.
- Hegemony and Counter-Hegemony: Dueling roller coasters. One goes forward, one goes backward. Both are overdetermined by an overarching structure that neither can fully escape.
- Enter the Diegesis: A haunted house. Was that piercing scream just now diegetic or non? How reliable is this narrator anyway…??!
- Diss. Talk: A drop tower. The very top of the ride is your dissertation presentation. You feel on top of the world, you’re looking out over a crowd of your professors, supporters, friends—even your mom is waving from a corner. Your work has been leading up to this for years (or, you know, the time it took the ride to slide to the top of the tower). But you know, at any moment, you could be plunged down into the job search. It’s not a good feeling.
- The Library Stacks: Tunnel of love. You enter a dark, slightly musty enclosed space. On every side are reminders of your love—for your craft, for books in general, for the THRILL OF RESEARCH. You could get lost just gazing at your lover all day. There are other people all around you, and it smells kind of weird, but you try not to think about it.
- Social Hour: The spinning teacups ride. You think you’re in control (doesn’t that thing in the middle of the cup look like a little plate?), and that you’re just here for the free brie and crackers, but this is a hard ride to disembark. Be prepared to feel dizzy for a while after.
- Park Map: You thought you’d get a map of this damn park but when you unfold it, it’s just a bunch of coupons luring you to summer institutes.
- Ice Cream Stand: There’s no joke here. It’s just ice cream. You deserve it for making your way through grad school.