Two can play at that game

Tony is quoting Foucault’s Pendulum.

Well, then…

“Diotallevi and I are planning a reform in higher education. A School of Comparative Irrelevance, where useless or impossible courses are given. The school’s aim is to turn out scholars capable of endlessly increasing the number of unnecessary subjects.”…

“The Tetrapyloctomy* department has a preparatory function; its purpose is to inculcate a sense of irrelevance. Another important department is Adynata, or Impossibilia. Like Urban Planning for Gypsies. The essence of the discipline is the comprehension of the underlying reasons for a thing’s absurdity. We have courses in Morse syntax, the history of antarctic agriculture, the history of Easter Island painting, contemporary Sumerian literature, Montessori grading, Assyrio-Babylonian philately, the technology of the wheel in pre-Columbian empires, and the phonetics of the silent film.”

“How about crowd psychology in the Sahara?”

“Wonderful,” Belbo said.


* “The art of splitting a hair four ways.”

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3 Responses to Two can play at that game

  1. jr says:

    cool quote

  2. tony says:

    Oh, shame! I loved that bit too but was saving it for later. But which school do you want to have the chair of? I nodded a bit at that point and could only spot three out of the four he said there were: viz. Tetrapyloctomy, Adynata and Oxymoronics. What was the fourth?

  3. Sharon says:

    I think you’re right. I can only see three. Ah – the discussion got interrupted by Belbo and Diotallevi starting an argument and then they had to go to dinner. (Perhaps Eco couldn’t think of a fourth…) I think I would probably have to be a mere hair-splitter.

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