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“Recontexualise”, said a hot-shot student


“Recontexualise”, said a hot-shot student, whilst all were forced to endure their never-ending monologue about T.S. Eliot

A University of Melbourne arts student has mastered using as many extravagant words possible in a sentence, until they re-evaluate the profound and demanding effect of the word ‘vamoose’. The speech, a meandering mish-mash through the works of T. S. Eliot, included words that would grant you instantaneous victory in any game of Scrabble, all pronounced as if they had never been spoken aloud before.

As each sentence grows and expands to bulbous proportions, so does the student’s head. It bloats much like Aunt Marge in Harry Potter, but the student doesn’t float away and allow the class a moment of peace. It is as if they are chained down, forced to listen to a James Joyce-esque littering of commas and thoughts. It becomes apparent that the meaning of all words in the English language are now superfluous, and as the sentences slowly slip away, their argument becomes redundant. Indeed, any politician would be proud to receive this type of doublespeak from their speechwriter, but it has no place in a 9am tute. The student’s thoughts trail on as if they’ve found themselves lost in a Virginia Woolf stream of consciousness which makes your head spin and spin. Their unspeakably long sentences are littered with Shakespearean language, and are structured and sequestered by semicolon after semicolon—the punctuation of choice for pretending to have any semblance of what they’re saying.

Now, were this all uttered in the name of learning and growth, it could almost be forgiven—after all, literature is filled with discussions of how all interpretations are valid. Yet, this overzealous, thesaurus-swallowing creature is reminiscent of the worst theoretical subject readings; when your highlighter hovers over the page unsure of what even begins to constitute importance. When you can’t comprehend where one sentence ends and the next begins; the type where you must control your fingers, preventing them from approaching the roots of your hair and pulling until there’s nothing left. But of course, it’s all in the name of academia. Endless yawns from the class do not deter the student from continuing for a further five minutes, because, as I said... it’s all in the name of academia.

Perhaps if we all include the word ‘recontextualise’ in our vocabularies (and slip it into any sentence possible), we too can find our IQs rising—just like this humble and grounded student.

Yet, the student smiles gleefully at their contribution in class. They’re either blissfully ignorant about halting the lesson for their spontaneous 20 minute monologue, or their verbal jargon is simply covering the fact that they know absolutely nothing about the topic. Of course, any student who managed to stay awake glares with hatred and shock at this self-proclaimed Aristotle. This waste-of-breath could just as easily be summed up in a single word.


Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Two 2023


We scream and sing, rejoice and mourn, dance and fight in the face of uncertain futures. Read all about it in the second edition of Farrago.

Read online