Pamphlets & Pedagogy


Books I’ve read
Research log: notes on everything

Cognitive Disobedience (and the right to be Lazy)

Fall 2023

Please contact me if you are interested in enrolling in this course.

(audio transcription of the syllabus read aloud by me accompanied with Ruby Bontrager laugh track)

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You may have noticed that I use a lot of “big” words. This could be because I am pretentious (do pretentious people know they are pretentious?), but it is not due to superior intellect. My mnemic functions disappoint me—if I look up a word, I will forget its definition before the end of the hour. My vocabulary is extensive because I make flashcards for all the words I don’t know, which I memorize during the leg and butt exercises in Jane Fonda’s Original Workout. Humans are writing more than ever, but using less words, and google instantly predicts our generic responses. I am compelled to preserve a variagated vocabulary, foregrounding the sensuous side of language, so unlike a google bromide or a perfunctory fuckboy text. By taking the time to learn these words, I am (to quote Nabakov) “forming a habit of searching with unflinching patience for the right word, the only right word which will convey with the utmost precision the exact shade and intensity of thought.”


I am infatuated by the grand tradition of great pamphleteers, streetcorner prophets, neighborhood philosophers and soapbox ranters. I like to have something free and weird and uncontrolled to pass out to friends and strangers, and to post on bulletin boards or bathroom stalls. The pamphlet is a one-rat show. The format allows complete freedom of expression, including the freedom to be scurrilous, abusive and scatalogically seditious; or, to be more detailed, dithyrambic, and cringy (in a highbrow way) than is ever possible in a newspaper or in most other publications.