Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A page-forty-five test

The book is short: a four-page preface and just ninety pages of text, followed by acknowledgements, sources, and index. So instead of a page-ninety test, I chose to do a page-forty-five test:

Positive emotions in an academic context are linked, as we have seen, “to social relationships” (Beard et al. 638). Laughter can promote social harmony, as long as it is not derisive. Jaak Panksepp (who coined the term “affective neuroscience”) argues that the adult “taste for humor” originates in childhood: children love to be chased and tickled because it ”arouses the brain” and promotes bonding. Adult laughter “is most certainly infectious and may transmit moods of positive social solidarity, thereby promoting cooperative forms of social engagement” (184).
This paragraph reveals a tendency that runs through the book: the citing and quoting of sources to bolster commonplace, unobjectionable statements. Do we really need a source to confirm that laughter is infectious? Are “to social relationships” and “taste for humor” phrases distinctive enough to merit quotation? Ninety pages of text, and a Works Cited list with 151 entries: something is off. The paragraph I’ve quoted is fairly short; others in this book run more than a page; a few, more than two pages. (Thirty-seven lines per page.) I’m in complete sympathy with the writers’ argument (against the corporatization of academia), but this book is best borrowed from a library.

Related posts
Ford Madox Ford’s page-ninety test
My Salinger Year, a page-ninety test
Nature and music, a page-ninety test
A history of handwriting, a page-ninety test
A book about happiness, a page-ninety test

[The book is Maggie Berg and Barbara K. Seeber’s The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016).]

comments: 2

Geo-B said...

I guess we have to wait for Reality Winner to leak the title and author.

Michael Leddy said...

I just added that. With Against Happiness and this book, I was trying to be tactful. But yes, it’s appropriate to identify the book.