Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to Cook a Dissertation

(While working on the finishing stages of my dissertation I thought other people would like some advice on how to start, continue, or complete such a prodigious undertaking. However, you're certainly not going to get anything like that on this blog. So have a recipe instead.)

- You will need the materials from your Half-Baked Idea. (see Prospectus, the)

- FINELY CHOP logic. Keep separate from the garlic and onions for now.

- RE-HASH other peoples’ work on your topic. This will probably turn out overdone, but it can’t be helped.

- generously SEASON dissertation with Theory and some fresh rosemary to taste. You will be adding a lot of thyme later.

- BLANCH at the amount of quote-sorting and filing you’ll need to do. Cut it fine but don’t cut corners!

- SIMMER your key texts on the back burner for a long time, or perhaps longer. While waiting, your advisor will MAKE MINCEMEAT of your previous seminar papers for you.

- vigorously WHIP up the cream skimmed off the Half-Baked Idea until it forms stiff peaks and produces a fellowship. If no fellowship appears, repeat this step.

- STEW over the whole thing until the entire process seems pointless. Repeat.

- ADD a dash of BITTERS and stir. Those of you who are out of funding can skip from this step directly to the addition of bourbon instead.

- IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU NOT MESS UP STEP NUMBER 10. WE ARE NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT IT IS.

- CHILL out over the larger ramifications of the project, but don’t let the entire thing get cold.

- AGE all materials in a cool, dark place until the ideas start to gel. You’re aiming for a fine Gruyere here, not Limburger.

- CHURN the dissertation until long. taffy-like sentences form. Pull and pull and pull and pull and pull and pull at the sentences. Then re-knead them and pull them all again. If you start to feel like Brer Rabbit stuck to the Tar-Baby, don’t feel surprised.

- PRESSURE-COOK the last few chapters with a grain of salt. Don’t have a pressure cooker? Your advisor will apply pressure for you.

- TURN the finished mass onto an ornamental platter and serve. Don’t look at it too closely. GARNISH with heartfelt and not so heartfelt thanks and dedications. Then dump the entire thing in the trash and call out for Domino’s. You wouldn’t want to actually eat that shit, would you?

11 comments:

kfluff said...

I feel as if there's room for a caution that a watched pot never boils. But perhaps that's just from Fluff's handy book of cliches.

Dr. Brainiac said...

"Don't look at it too closely" - Amen.

Flavia said...

Oh no! I forgot Step 10!

Arbitrista said...

And don't worry, no matter what it will turn out inedible, tasteless, and of no nutritional value.

Belle said...

Beware of the entire process, which can cause weight gain and loss, interfere with sleep and relationships and requires much pulling out of hair.

Never, ever take it seriously once it's finished. No one will ever read it again.

Psycgirl said...

I love step 10. It's just so accurate.

Hermitage said...

It's like Sweeney Todd, those meat pies might be delicious, but do you really want to know what happens to make them? I think not.

Bionic-Woman said...

Brilliant!

Sisyphus said...

Sweeney Todd: The Grad School Version ---- ooh, I love it! I just may have to bust out some filk there!

PS I have plenty of leftovers if anybody's ready for them...

kim wells said...

ABSOLUTELY Brilliant. I adore this. I LOLd step 10. So true.

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