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With the Bialosky scandal I realize that my memoir of reading poetry is irremediably academic, in the sense that, much as she think of hers...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Film Theory Assignment (answer)

Here's my de-allegorizing interpretation of Travis's music video "Writing to Reach You" as a story about the peer review process. Watch the video and read along.

The whole process is a "front stage" activity in Goffman's sense. Backstage, [0:04] you touch up the manuscript before submitting it, you put on your best face. Then you submit it [0:20], the manuscript is now in process.

[0:37] You get the answer back from the journal. The reviewers have some hard words [0:55] to say about your work. But it sort of hurts them [1:16] as much as it hurts you to hurl criticism at your manuscript. After reading their report you pick yourself up. You keep going.

[1:25] Though their own projects are stuck in their own way, your colleagues are waiting and willing to help. They offer you support and you submit the paper again.

[1:55] You receive the answer from the second round of reviews. A senior editor is now taking an active interest. [2:05] You feel like you have to run for cover, but [2:35] when the dust settles and the smoke clears you can see he was only taking one of your reviewers out of the equation [2:50].

Still, you sort of like that reviewer's style, and you try it out for few paragraphs in your next rewrite. You incorporate one of his ideas as a sort of scalp [2:53]. The other reviewer is not impressed [2:56]. Fortunately, you've developed a thick skin. You absorb the new criticism and cast off the more outrageous arrows [3:02]. That idea you took from the discarded reviewer's comments wasn't really you anyway [3:17].

You get ready to resubmit another version [3:21]. There's a brief moment of hesitation [3:29], but you do it anyway. When you get the letter saying your paper has been accepted it's like coming home. [3:35] Your colleagues and your peers are in the same room, so to speak. In fact, one of your anonymous reviewers reveals who she is and congratulates you [3:40]. She loves your paper now, and she's going to run with a few of your ideas. [3:43]

You're backstage again. [3:45] Your inside is outside.

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