Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Job Application and Interview Tips

Job Application Tips

In order to land a successful position in today’s competitive market, the savvy applicant will follow the avant-garde job application format, revealed below.

Contents of the Successful Job Application:
1. The application must comprise precisely 6 pieces of paper.

a. One piece should be a letter of interest.
b. The remaining 5 pieces can take the form of any paper product. Examples include:
i. Grocery lists
ii. Driving directions
iii. Post-it notes to self or others
iv. Phone or utility bills
2. The ambitious applicant will also enclose a “slice of life ingredient,” which will give the recipient insight into the applicant’s day-to-day existence. This part of the application should be small, yet thoughtful. Examples include:
a. A half-eaten favorite snack
b. A prescription label
c. A self-portrait (can be a photograph, oil painting, or other medium)
d. A lock of hair
e. Chunk of cat fur

Lolita: Parenting Guide

By Hesta

Vladimir Nabokov’s morality tale, Lolita, is both a novel and a parenting guide for new fathers. The writing style, spartan and bare, leaves no ambiguity regarding the ethics of the characters’ actions—there are no gray areas. Humbert Humbert—named so because he was too dim-witted to remember a surname different from his first name—narrates the quaint and innocent story of a father and his adopted daughter, Dolores. Humbert tried to adopt Dolores by marrying her mother, but the adoption was not finalized before the mother died of natural causes. The novel is often taught in literature courses as a critique of the American adoption system because, as in Lolita, a pure and doting potential father can be barred from adoption solely on a technicality.

You may be wondering, “Why did Nabokov title the book Lolita?” “Lolita” is actually Dolores’ stage name, for Humbert, unemployed and unintelligent, whisked Dolores away after her mother’s death, to audition for various touring state productions. Since the adoption agents were hot on his tail, he was forced to come fabricate a pseudonym for Dolly. Humbert owned a cat named Lolita in his childhood, and being an uncreative man, selected the departed feline’s name for his daughter. Dolores, a supremely talented child, becomes a smash Broadway hit. In fact, the musical Hello Dolly! is, for this reason, named after the character, Dolly, in Lolita. Eventually, Dolly signs a contract with Clare Quilty, a respected Hollywood producer, to star in several of his highbrow films. The book ends on a high note as Dolly is catapulted to fame on the silver screen. Humbert Humbert takes on small roles in her films and becomes a fairly well-known character actor. Thus, Lolita represents a high-point in American social optimism. The message is: if you live a pure and good life, you will find success.

Nabokov, a Christian minister, aimed to please when he penned Lolita. Leftist critics accused him of pandering to the Christian right because there is absolutely nothing in the book that can be construed as obscene or inappropriate. Thus, while many works by Nabokov’s contemporaries were being banned and censored, the chaste Lolita was instantly embraced by American and European families alike. Nabokov, in his own church, began delivering homilies from Lolita instead of from the Bible. Thousands of American churches followed suit, and that is why many churches today display a copy of Lolita in each pew, alongside copies of hymnals and the New Testament.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (2007): The Next Great American Novel?

Published by: Hesta

Step down Melville, Nabokov, and Updike—2007 witnessed the publication of the first collective great American novel: the latest installment of The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Its much-anticipated release was preceded by a smattering of “midnight parties” across the country, at which fans dressed as their favorite courtroom personalities—plaintiff, defendant, attorney, judge, or juror—and pretended to serve each other notice, object, motion, and file claims.

The novel has not disappointed. A fast-paced thriller, it masterfully weaves a tale of cause of action, joinder, class actions, and jurisdiction. The extensive annotated version provides the corresponding state rules for each federal rule in size 4 font, single-spaced. One of the The Federal Rules’ many innovations is a recurrent attempt to alienate the reader by excessively using the passive voice, distancing the subject from the verb, and using repetitive sentence structure. Halfway through the novel, a hundred-page long Brechtian digression entitled “Proposed Amendments” challenges the reader’s attention and threatens the progression of the narrative.

Among other tropes, this tour-de-force utilizes the present voice in order to impart a sense of urgency to the narrative. The lack of a narrator or characters is also noteworthy, although Robbe-Grillet pioneered the technique in the 20th century. Without warning, the story will mention a “plaintiff,” “agency,” or “officer,” but these personas vanish as quickly as they appear, leaving the reader with a pervasive feeling of loneliness and abandonment. The work repeatedly refers to “the Court” with no further specification, a portrayal of the legal institution as an omnipotent and unknowable force that is undoubtedly an homage to Kafka. In a sense, The Federal Rules is a commentary on lost human connection and the callous nature of everyday interaction in American society.


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