Thursday, July 27, 2006

See StyleyGeek be a bitch!

Here is a paraphrase of the emails I have been exchanging with a woman I met at the hostel in Brisbane:

Dear StyleyGeek,

I have an idea for a paper that borders on both your field and mine. The idea is [...] Would you like to collaborate with me?

Regards,
Crazy Girl.


Dear Crazy Girl,

This sounds like an interesting idea. It is really more in [subdiscipline of linguistics X] than my own area, but I might still be able to help out. The only problem is, I don't know how different it really is from what has been done before. I'll have a hunt in the literature and get back to you in a couple of days.

Regards,
StyleyGeek.


Dear StyleyGeek,

I attach an entire draft of the first half of the paper. Please write the missing sections.

Regards,
Crazy Girl.


Dear Crazy Girl,

It's a pity you did so much work already. I just found that this has not only already been done, but it is a huge sub-field of [branch of linguistics X] that I didn't know anything about. It was obviously a good idea, though -- otherwise so much wouldn't have already come of it.

All the best,
StyleyGeek.


Dear StyleyGeek,

Told ya it would never work. [Uh, when???] But it's okay. I have a new idea that is a bit similar but different enough that we could get it published still. Here's a new draft.

See ya,
Crazy Girl.


Dear Crazy Girl,

Since your new idea is still in [sub-field I just found out about] and there is such a huge body of literature there, I don't think I can commit myself to collaborating on this with you. To make sure that your idea was original and relevant, and in order to write my own part of the paper, I would need to do a huge amount of background reading and research in an area that, as I said, is not my own branch of linguistics.

I can't really afford to spend so much time and effort on a project that is not related to anything I do. I recommend you find someone in [X field] who is willing to collaborate with you.

Regards,
StyleyGeek.


Dear StyleyGeek,

You do not need to be ashamed of your ignorance. [<- direct quote!] I know more than enough in [X field] myself, since I used to do X [non-academically]. Did you forget this? It is still worthwhile to me to have you collaborate with me, since I was kicked out of my grad school program [<- big warning sign] and don't have access to any of the online journals or databases.

Here is a new draft. Please fill in the missing sections. I think Chinese is probably relevant to this because [insert hugely misguided notions about Chinese and language in general].

Crazy Girl.


Dear Crazy Girl,

I hadn't forgotten that you used to do X, but I was not aware you were up-to-date in the modern developments of the theory of X. Otherwise I would have expected you to have known that your first idea had already been published on.

I still don't want to work on this project, for the reasons outlined in my last mail. But if you actually have a reference to a journal article you don't have access to, I am happy to send it to you.

By the way, your idea about Chinese won't work because [...]

All the best,
StyleyGeek.


Dear StyleyGeek,

You are making me very unhappy. I thought I could seduce you back to our project by mentioning Chinese, but obviously you don't appreciate true scholarship. I was right about Chinese, by the way, because [more misguided ideas that hinge on the "spelling" of Mandarin words (in English transcription!)].

Also, I don't know anything about the theory of X, but I think we can write this paper from my field's perspective and publish in my field's journals, and then it doesn't matter if we get the theoretical details about X right or not.

I thought you were just starting out in research, but obviously you know everything better than everyone else and have no need of publications to prove it.

Crazy Girl.


Dear Crazy Girl,

There is no need to be sarcastic. If you look at the situation from my perspective, I think you will understand why I don't want to co-author your article. It may not matter to you whether you get the details about theory of X right or not, because your colleagues will judge you on the parts of your paper that relate to your field and they won't know about theory of X.

I, on the other hand, have plenty of colleagues who know far more than I do about theory of X, and would judge me on how the paper relates to this. I would not want them to think badly of me for publishing something outside my area without having done proper research on it. At the same time, I cannot afford to spend months learning about theory of X, as it is not part of the area of linguistics that my thesis is on, nor an area that I ever plan to work in.

StyleyGeek.


StyleyGeek,

If you were willing to do your best work, you would not be ashamed to have your name associated with it.

Crazy Girl.


Crazy Girl,

That is precisely right. I am NOT willing to do my best work.

StyleyGeek.


Dear StyleyGeek,

I am very angry with you. You are not cut out for research or an academic career. You do not have the passion for publications that I have. [She actually said 'passion for publications', not 'passion for research' or anything else!] You are a failure and will always be a failure.

Crazy Girl.


Now I know I should leave it at that. But I'm REALLY enjoying trading insults with her, now that she has opened up the floor. So I mailed back this morning to say:

Dear Crazy Girl,

I would be embarrassed to be associated with any project of yours. You are insane.

All the best for the future,
StyleyGeek.


I've never been deliberately rude to anyone before that I can remember. I've always been the 'nice girl'. But it seems like I had it in me all along. Who knew?

23 Comments:

Lucy said...

wow... I'm glad you at least got to the fun part where it was no longer necessary to be polite :)

luckybuzz said...

Oh. My. God.
Unbelievable. She is insane. I'm glad you got to tell her so.

Honeybee said...

Keep these emails, just in case. And run, run faaaaar away. The fact that she got 'kicked out' of her grad program does indeed bode very ill. (If she quit, that's not good either, but a different situation...)

Some people really need things stated bluntly.

StyleyGeek said...

No, she really got kicked out, honeybee. She is happy to admit to it, since she thinks she was in the right, and was unfairly persecuted. I felt bad for her until the emails showed me that she... let us say, isn't quite normal.

To be honest, I'm slightly concerned that she knows where I am.

post-doc said...

My goodness. I gasped several times reading that. Impressive, really. I hope that's the end of it for you, but it was rather entertaining while it lasted, right? :)

ariberkana said...

Wow. Just....wow. It's a good thing the craziness showed through fairly early on!

shrinkykitten said...

Styleygeek,
I can't believe you posted my VERY private and VERY brilliant emails to your blog. You obviously are in love with me, otherwise why would you want to work with me so badly! I got admitted to your program in a very very special degree program that will honor my passion for publications. I have further been asked to take over as your advisor. Therefore I must insist that you WRITE YOUR DAMNED SECTIONS OF THE PAPER.

Oh, and by the way, I am moving in with you and geekman. He said it was ok.

See you tomorrow!

XXOO,
Crazy

StyleyGeek said...

Shrinky, I had a Turtlebella moment when reading your comment and spat my coffee all over my keyboard, I was laughing so hard.

That is EXACTLY the sort of thing I am expecting her to write next.

On another note, given how shocked you all are at how crazy this girl is, I was a little concerned I had unfairly represented her in my paraphrases of what she wrote (I changed identifying phrases, and deleted rambly unrelated sections about her life and tried to leave everything else the same, but I was worried that maybe I had unknowingly changed other things to make her sound crazier than she is.)

So I went back to the original emails, read them all through, then read what I have put up here, and you know what? If anything, her original emails are MORE crazy.

Just saying.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

okay, if the originals are even MORE crazy, then I'm just scared, because she is one hell of a lunatic! I love the "write these sections for me" bits. Eeeesh!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I think I know this one -- does she have an intellectual twin sister who was kind of on my debate team last year, has a crush on hubby, and thinks she should go to debate camp this summer???

I'm glad you had the good sense to run away -- she seriously doesn't get it and doing a project with her would have been a nightmare!

wolfa said...

Oh, come on. What could possibly go wrong if you research an entirely new, uninteresting to you, subfield, then wrote a paper based on misunderstandings of Chinese, with a person who has misplaced her sanity? (It's linguistics! Find a single person who speaks that way and you can claim anything you want. Alas.)

I disagree with the "it's not good" if you leave a grad program. It might be a bad thing, or a good choice, or a good choice from a bad situation.

psychgrad said...

Shrinky Kitten that is hilarious! It sounds to crazy to be true! Sound like you're in an interesting field (abnormal psych).

StyleyGeek said...

Wolfangel, you are giving us a bad name in front of all the others :)

Pink Cupcake said...

Aw, Shrinky, you're cracking me up so much that my breakfast cereal nearly went up my nose instead of being swallowed!

But, ick, Styley, she is totally insane! It's so admirable that you showed so much patience in this email correspondence, but I was secretly glad when it finally got to the point where you could let rip! :)

wolfa said...

I'm giving our field a bad name. We, on the other hand, are beacons of light and good scholarship, in comparison to the shameful people who, despite having been linguists for 20 or 30 years, still feel that their own intuitions have anything to do with actual English. (And who disagree with actual English when it doesn't work for their theories.)

I am so very curious which border of the field it is. (Luckily, all major borders are filled with people who have misconceptions about how language works and furthermore don't care.)

She didn't really give you two half-finished articles, did she?

betty said...

I'm having trouble believing someone would actually write those emails! Just when you think you couldn't do it, you always find someone who just crosses some line - in this case, the crazy, stalker, write my paper please line. Amazing.

I really loved your last email though! It's kind of fun once in a while to not have to be polite, eh?

sb said...

Wow! Funny, but not funny. Definitely save the emails. And change your phone number. Install a fence. Get a dog. :)

StyleyGeek said...

Let's try that again, without the typos.

Wolfangel, I totally agree with you. People like that annoy me too. That's one reason why I don't ever want to work on a language that I am close enough to being a native speaker in to start thinking I might have intuitions. It's too easy to fall into that trap.

I think by leaving out the details of fields and subfields, I maybe didn't make it clear that Crazy Girl isn't actually a linguist. When she said 'borders on your field and mine' she was talking cross-disciplinary. She's the thing that spelt backwards equals naicitamehtam, primarily interested in cigol lamrof.

(I'm worried about her googling combinations of her field and linguistics).

And yes, she did give me two half finished drafts, but they were so far from being usable articles that that frightened me off as well.

Betty -- I like the thought of there being that line. I can imagine young academics all over the world being taught they must never cross the crazy stalker write-my-paper line.

SB -- it's tempting.

wolfa said...

No, I understood that. That was one of the three fields I considered, though I'd've maybe put that in yhposolihp, it's probably just the depts I was in.

(The other fields I considered, full of people who deal with language but don't care how it works, were ygolohcysp and ecneics retupmoc. Typing backwards is hard!)

Somehow I am not surprised that the drafts weren't so great.

Lydia said...

Shit that's funny. I love your last remarks!

StyleyGeek said...

Hi, Lydia!

Thanks for stopping by. I just went to your blog, and I like it a lot.

One of these days I REALLY do plan to revamp my blogroll, and then I'll definitely add you to it.

Lydia said...

No worries, I have yours on mine because its easier for me to get to it that way, and I always enjoy your insights!

Morton T Fogg said...

"You do not need to be ashamed of your ignorance. ... It is still worthwhile to me to have you collaborate with me, since I was kicked out of my grad school program."

Awesome. The rest of the emails are great, too, but this bit really picked up my day. :)