Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Typicality, not Stereotypes

Everyone knows there are discernible comedic attributes about academic folks.  Here are the new ones I've uncovered:

Linguistics Professors:
Sociolinguists: Language is everywhere! Everything everywhere has languages and meaning and value and social relevance.  If you talk, gesticulate, grunt, smile, hit things, or do so much as move molecules, you're a lingual creature and I care.  You're great and if I write my paper about you, it'll be great too.
Semanticists: Don't talk about people, babies, or gorillas.  Don't talk about science, philosophy, psychology, or math that isn't Complete.  If it's not modeled or model-able, it's not linguistics.  If it pretends to be novel, it's not linguistics.  If it's old, new, from the West Coast, the 60's, the 19th century, or from anywhere but MIT, Brown, or guessed it, it's not linguistics.  I don't want anything to do with anything to do with anything but semantic models.  Got it?  It's not rocket science!  That wouldn't be linguistics.  In fact, all the linguists that couldn't cut it went into rocket science after doing shrooms at UC Berkeley.

Neuroscientists: Well, my fMRI clearly shows this red area is clearly red...and in this area over here...which is probably important.  I've done more statistical modeling than I can count, which is ironic, but there are still more holes in my paper, which has a paragraph of a title.  But besides that, I think we can all agree that a) these pictures are sweet, and b) this esoteric, small, weird-named piece of the brain gives rise the Veritable Human Condition.  If I could please just get another multimillion Euro grant, I could do, like, two more fMRI's and have this whole thing sorted out.  We're so close!

Cognitive Psychologist
: Ok...we got it wrong up until the 20's.  And yea, we had wrong in the 60's.  But Chomsky wrote that book...but kinda got it wrong until the 70's.  And that PDP group jumped the gun a little bit.  But now!  We think we're pretty sure we've got it wrong again...  But there are exciting prospects for such fields as [insert unrelated technical field].  There's also this new-wave, a second wind if you will, that's gaining don't forget about us!

Cognitive Scientists: I think we've got some really great pieces to the Big Puzzle That Everyone Has Been Working On Since The Beginning Of Time.  It's really just a matter putting it together.

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