Monday, January 23, 2006

A few words on being Quinn

You may be asking, who is this new me? For those of you new to me, you may not initially note the recycling of an old family name, a play on a classic episode of a classic (well, defunct) MTV cartoon, or why black is not just existential, but slenderizing.

Back in the day, MTV showed a highly-intelligent spin-off of -- wait for it -- Beavis and Butthead, entitled "Daria." This show was based on the smart girl who used to laugh at B&B's moronic antics. Well, that girl, Daria, moves to Lawndale with her parents and fashionista sister, Quinn. In one memorable episode, Quinn is under threat of flunking if she doesn't get an A on her next English paper. After unsuccessfully attempting to bribe Daria to write it for her, she produces an angry manifesto on the evils of school, and gets an A. She thus is deemed a "brain," and changes her wardrobe to reflect her new, deep persona, all the while feeling incredibly uncomfortable with her new identity.

While I don't share Quinn's fashion sense or bouncy hair -- truth be told, I have more in common with Daria -- there's something to the concept of being labeled a brain, for better or for worse.

This reflects a very real trend I've noticed among my fellow graduate students: fighting against the belief that somehow you're faking it. Despite the advanced degrees and educational frippery (hoodies?), you're not a brain. Maybe, like Quinn, you wrote one "good" paper somewhere along the way and now people expect you to do great things. Quinn feels your pain. Maybe you're terrified that somehow this fraud you're perpetuating will be discovered -- typically, the nightmare goes that it will be discovered at your dissertation defense, when all of a sudden your advisor and committee point at you and say, "You don't know what you're talking about! You've wasted your time and ours on this crap and you'll never amount to anything." This is the brain's equivalent of showing up to the final exam naked. Only it's far worse. And that's from someone with body image issues!!!

Let me assure you, we've all been there. The truth is, like Quinn, we're not as stupid as we think we are. We're getting degrees for a reason. And -- unlike Quinn -- we're intellectually curious and willing (usually) to do the work. Doesn't that count for something? Hopefully, it counts for more than bouncy hair.

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Blogger K-Lyn said...

Love the look. Love the quote. Love it all.

Jane: Well, you know, condition people to expect nothing and the least little something gets them all excited. Ask Pavlov.

Quinn: The Custodian?

11:59 AM  
Blogger Quinn said...

And don't forget:
Jane - She's cute. There's different standards for cute people.

Daria - You mean, no standards.

Jane - Right.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Yay, I found your blog. I always related to Jane more than Daria. Jane had a little optimism about her.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Sandi Griffin said...

Gee, Quinn, I didn't realize you would follow through on this web page, or, whatever.

Consider yourself on probation from the Fashion Club. You're becoming too much like that cousin person who lives with you.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Elle said...


did you write this for me? amazing!

11:10 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Maybe you're terrified that somehow this fraud you're perpetuating will be discovered That is exactly how I feel about my blog. Someday when I run for President on the Fabulous Party ticket, someone will find my old blog and that will be the end of my political career.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Stacy Rowe said...

There's a Fabulous Party? All this time I thought I had to choose between that donkey and the elephant. Hmm, maybe I should register.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Quinn said...

The Fabulous Party? Sign me up! I'm tired of the Democrats anyway.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Elle said...


and tired of the dems you should be! after all, (and i quote) : "the cornerstone of the Democrat Party is the right for women to have unprotected sex with men who they don't want to have children with."

got that from a conservative blog i visit. to be fair, it wasn't the blogger but a commenter. i wanted to type about the sexism inherent in the remark. i wanted to point out that this is exactly why people support the right to choice--because they don't see pregnancy as a "punishment" for having sex.

but elle, the coward, simply shok her head and scrolled on by.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, so this is a bit belated... but APL is Jane. So once again, she's you, but she drinks beer.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Brechi said...

Oh, that was so enjoyable to read, and well-written. You really are Quinn the Brain.

7:42 PM  
Blogger mom said...

You really capture that academic neurosis beautifully. It's rampant, and rarely discussed. And Quinn is my favorite girl's name of all time. So, yep, I'll be back.

5:15 PM  

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