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How valuable is a english degree for someone who wants to be a writer?

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How valuable is a english degree for someone who wants to be a writer?
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>not becoming a great writer first and receiving an honorary phd
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>>7328589
>not being the first ever "legitimately illiterate" NY Times bestseller
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>spending ten to fifteen years learning to regurgitate one of a million different lexicons of jargon to three people who will ever listen, so that you can spend the rest of your life writing papers in that jargon or you will be fired and have to suck penises for money
>conducive to being a good writer

ALL academics are great writers, the constant grind to publish absolute horseshit in an ivory tower built of smaller ivory towers or die of AIDS really fills your soul with ideas for novels that speak to and from the zeitgeist
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>>7328621
You certainly are edgy enough, if that's any consolation.
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>>7328618
>i failed my honors thesis
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>>7328618
jesus, i havent read a post seeping with this much undergrad in a long time.
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>>7328618
actual grad student

>>7328634
>>7328636
actual undergraduates
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That totally depends on what type of writer you're trying to become.

In most cases, it is inessential at best.
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>>7328653
care to elaborate?
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>>7328803
Not really, since the OP was equally vague.
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>>7328810
I am not OP and i am interested.
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>>7328641
here's your (You)
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>>7328563
Doing english right now and it's completely unessential to becoming a writer. However having good profs who are great at lecturing and who also have office hours is a great benefit.

Basically OP don't do it if you wanna just be a writer, unless youre interested in criticism as well.
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>>7328867
Well look at it this way...

Should you get an English degree if you want to be a journalist or blogger? Probably not.

Should you get an English degree if you want to be a technical writer? Probably not.

Should you get an English degree if you want to be a science or sci-fi writer? Probably not.

Should you get an English degree if you want to be a creative writer? It wouldn't hurt, but none of your classes will involve creative writing.

Should you get an English degree if you want to write in academic journals about literature? Probably.
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>>7328563
>go on 4chan
>/pol/ shitposts and cries uncontrollably about how universities are filled with and controlled by jewish sjw gommies trying to destroy the murican white race
>yeah okay /pol/
>become English major
>take poetry class
>every time communism is mentioned (eg: "[poet being discussed] was a communist") he always qualifies it by going off on cringe-worthy rants about how terrible communism. Actual quotes:
>"Communism baaaaad, baaaaad."
>"Communism set China back 20 years."
>"The communists sent a dog into space but were surprised when the dog died, who would have thought?!"
>mffw prior to all of this, a student asked if he agreed with the Futurist ideals of violence and warfare were good things (a dumb as fuck question desu senpai yet it was asked) all he says is "I disagree but I respect their historical importance".
>mffw this bullshit but have never once encountered any openly or implied pro-Marxist teacher in my life

/pol/ is ALWAYS wrong
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Study on your own unless you want four years of vaginalit and disdicklit.

Or, here: firewaterlit
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>>7328910
>Should you get an English degree if you want to be a creative writer? It wouldn't hurt, but none of your classes will involve creative writing.
Is there a single English major that doesn't require creative writing somewhere in the curriculum? I don't understand why you people feel the need to shit on other people's degrees when you don't know shit about it.
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>>7328933
Not him, but at my college creative writing is not required for any of the Lit majors, to my knowledge. So really if you want to be writer you'd be better off with a creative writing major
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>>7328933
Creative writing could be done for electives or as a minor where I went to school, but wasn't required. An English degree is about analyzing literature, not about writing.

And I wasn't shitting on anything, I minored in English and got an even more "useless" degree. Calm down.
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>>7328563
I wanted to post this for a long time :^)
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>>7328563
the degree itself isn't all that important, the connections associated with it might help
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>>7329032
It was posted twice today.
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>>7328930

I'm pretty sure /pol/ is using their loose definition of Marxism and are referring to critical theory study of works predating civil rights movements.
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>>7328930
>not admitting they were completely correct about sjw worship of brown people
>every class somehow managed to rehash how slavery was bad over and over again
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Don't get one. Literature is something that one can learn on their own.
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3 years into an English Lit degree here

It's helped me read things I wouldn't have on my own and see things I have read in an entirely new light.

I'm going into teaching and just writing on the side (t b h I think anyone who wants to write these days needs an unrelated job (unless you're typing technical manuals 8 hours a day) and life experience is essential for any great writer) but I can honestly say that studying the greats and hearing people who have been studying this stuff for 15-50 years critically analysing them 5 days a week has improved my writing immeasurably.

Would I recommend it to everyone who wants to be a writer? No, I'm sure certain people can get just as much out of self-study and disciplined writing every day as they would out of an English degree. It has helped me though and I'd recommend it if you're genuinely interested in literature and the history of it.
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I'm doing engineering but it was pretty easy to find out when the creative writing/grammar/style etc lectures were on and attend them too.
From that, I'd say an entire degree is pretty useless. Diminishing returns - you're better off going to lectures when you can to expose yourself to stuff and use the extra time to write.
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>>7329258
How?
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>>7329240
Why admit to something that's never happened?
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If you want to write, just write, reading helps too, shakespeare didn't just get all his ideas from thin air :^)
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>>7329537
how do you know that? are you shakespeare?
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I'm in a lit class for my undergrad requirements, and the course is hijacked by a cool-aid drinking feminist. She teaches how Shakespeare is a homosexual pro-feminist and anti-colonialism writer and that Iago is a homosexual who is gay for Othello and took out his frustration of not being able to fuck him by ruining him. She'll even say that Shakespeare meant to be more progressive but couldn't because of the monarchy.

I have a keen sense of "this is wrong and revisionist," but then, I realize that she supports her work by exclusively using citations in the text whose lingual and etymological ambiguity she twists to support her agenda. And even though I dislike what she teaches, Shakespeare never wrote a manifesto about what he was really about, and since anything other than Tolstoy-esque explicitness of meaning can be twisted to mean all kinds of things, so how do english majors and professors validate it is what they say? And how can I know what it is they where really saying?

I understand that English is not an empirical science, but how can I as a vulnerable student every really know what the author really meant in occasions where they don't spell it out explicitly and all professors are equally talented at performing whatever mental gymnastics are necessary to say that it supports their agenda?

I'm not writing this to rhetorically shit on English, I genuinely want to know what it is I can do to learn the truth of what authors meant, because I want to read more literature and because right now I'm jaded by how any truth could really be just academic authority asserting its ulterior motives.
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Invaluable. Priceless. Worth $0.
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>>7328563
English MA-holder here.

It helps in that you'll read pretty widely and become exposed to a variety of ideas about literature and how it works/how we criticize it.

I wouldn't say it's at all essential, though, and at times it can even box you into certain perspectives and writer cliques, especially if you go the creative writing route.

I did it and don't regret it, but don't make the mistake I did in undergrad and attending an expensive school for a degree with lower financial returns.
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>>7329566
Point out how conservative his comedies are, always ending with HETERONORMATIVE marriages that REINFORCE THE PATRIARCHY and all current social systems.
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>>7329566
Shakespeare can be read a lot ways, and that's great, but some ways are better than others. Anytime you begin to read something as having an implicit meaning you need to make sure the reading can bare heavy scrutiny. Your professor's gay iago idea sounds interesting, but isnt it a way to reduce iago to a jealous lover, rather than a difficult to understand agent of chaos. The way your teacher is telling you to read othello is to follow a string of minor details that makes the play less insightful--she's taking one of the elements of othello where Shakespeare can bring us toward poetic infinity and thrashing all the meaning out of it while declaring how clever she is.

Tl;dr readings have to bear out the entire piece. If someone's theory takes an incredibly complex element and reduces it to something that could be wrapped in a bow, they're probably wrong.
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As useful as a bag of dicks in your ass.
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>>7328563
I dropped out of my English degree at Berkeley to study CS and Math at my local UC. Most of my favorite writers did not have degrees nor did some even attend university. It's not worth it, kiddos.
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>>7329609

To be fair, she points to a multitude of romantic implications and language and how various synonyms for sex and pregnancy are used in the common language to be subtext for homoerotic undertones.

And at a basic level, she isn't objectively wrong in that the words she points to do have synonymous sexual meanings in etymological sense. But then, words have multiple meanings, and whose to say whether every word with potentially sexual innuendo is meant to fuel some sort of gender politics motive?

For example, language and implication change with ages. In this age everything is hypersexual and literal. We wouldn't call anything gay or "attractive" because we could only be possibly talking about homosexual gayness, or sexual attractiveness. But in 17th century Europe the ideas implied by language where radically different. One might call a castle "impregnable" but I don't think they thought that the castle was literally impossible to penetrate with their penis. In Don Quixote, there is a passage where Rocinante and Sancho Panzo's donkey are described as great friends who "scratch each other's desires" in context of being close and scratching itches. I don't think anyone would actually think they meant that they fuck because that's absurdly out of tone with Don Quixote and its obvious they don't mean it the way we in the 21st century would take it.
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>>7329632
So, very useful?
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>>7328563

Spend the tuition cash on books and/or traveling and do it yourself.

The horror stories about the endless identity politics and indoctrination these days is enough to dissuade.
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>>7329703
>cash

Who pays their fucking tuition in cash?

Oh right, some of you aren't americafags. It's cool, I'll just hide over here under the big pile of debt I'm supposed to absorb for an education.
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>>7328930
>/pol/ is ALWAYS wrong

no shit, everyone already got this years ago
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>>7328618
kek
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>>7328563
Eh depends on the type of writer. I worked fulltime while earning my graduate degree. Unfortunately, I think that was a big misstep because I couldn't dedicate myself to publication as many people do. So now I just started teaching at the college level, planning to have the time to publish, and shit I'm just too busy (seriously I'm taking a break from grading essays right now.)

So In the end I'm planning to quit after Spring to dedicate myself to writing and may come back to college if I'm successful and can be offered more than just Freshman Comp to teach.

It all depends on what you want to do and how well you can handle a lot of shit. I think I honed my skills in graduate school, but at the same time, it was more of a case of me improving by merit of being forced to write for my grades.
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>>7329481
Read literature, read literary analysis, and write. Repeat until you're either a genius or you garner an unwarranted sense of superiority.
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>>7329912
Amerifag here. I earned money off scholarships as an undergrad, went to graduate school while working, so I paid cash. Fuck student loans, I have a mortgage already. Four years for graduate school, going parttime mostly, cost me around 20k.
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>>7328563
LOL. Whoever made this shit picked a terrible example. Holy shit, class conflict and commodity fetishism are rife in Disney flicks -- they almost demand Marxist analysis. How about the fact that Disney nowadays basically exists only to sell people Chinese-made shit?

>>7329566
Check out Barthes's "The Death of the Author." If you were an English major, you'd almost definitely have to read it. Basically every modern school of literary theory teaches the idea of the intentional fallacy, which says that whatever the author might have meant to do doesn't mean shit. Things are going to find their way into any literary work whether they were consciously "put" there or not. So, did Shakespeare intend for Iago to be gay? Who cares? But there is certainly plenty of textual evidence to support that theory. There's nothing revisionist about that. But if you sense that that's wrong, or that doesn't fit your interpretation of the play, then the whole idea is to dig into it and create your own interpretation. What do YOU think Iago's motives are? And more importantly, can you find evidence in the text to back it up? Any teacher who suggests that there is one acceptable interpretation for any given work is full of shit and is missing the entire point of the study of literature.

I have a BA in English with a minor in creative writing. Of course you don't need the degree to be a "writer," but then again, /lit/'s idea of being a writer is living a strictly NEET existence shitposting on /lit/ and doing NaNoWriMo while decrying the usefulness of an English degree. Anons like >>7328896 and >>7328910 and >>7328931 and >>7329054 and many others have these romantic ideas about "living the literary life" or winning the Nobel Prize without a high school diploma like Faulkner did. The thing is, in case you needed to ask, you are definitely not a Faulkner. And if you were, you would be writing and/or doing something dope, not lurking /lit/. The fact is, if you want to actually work as a writer and get paid to write features for an online publication or something, you're gonna lose out to the candidate with the degree every time. And if you instead want to grind at some waiter-tier job while you write things that are actually worth publishing, chances are you (these are all generic yous btw) are not talented enough to do this without having workshopped your stuff and intently studying and discussing the craft (in a classroom, not at your computer on /lit/).

TL;DR If you want to be a writer, i.e. if you can't picture yourself doing anything with your life aside from writing, get the degree, and if you're hesitant for whatever reason, then you probably aren't 100% sold on being a writer. Think on it some more.
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>>7329258
Fuck off, orpheus.
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>>7330081
yeah, go listen to classical music in your texan home.
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>>7330058
My god, the projection is real

Where did I ever say that I wanted to be Faulkner and write without a high school diploma?

Here's a healthy dose of reality. In today's climate, people go to university in order to get a job and connections. The entire point of having a degree today is to have physical proof that you went to university to present to employers. Dedicating yourself to an English degree might help you if you want to be involved in academia or if you want to teach, but many writers, save the ridiculously wealthy ones, had to work while writing in order to keep themselves alive, and for many people getting a degree in something other than English may be ideal in order to get a job. It's ridiculous to assume that 99% of the people interested in being writers can just get an English degree, go out in the job market and magically be able to support themselves for years while writing. It didn't work like that back then for most people, and it certainly doesn't work that way now.
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>>7328563
It's only for teachers
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>>7330058
>The thing is, in case you needed to ask, you are definitely not a Faulkner. And if you were, you would be writing and/or doing something dope, not lurking /lit/.

Faulkner would 100% browse /lit/ if he were alive today. He'd probably browse /pol/ too, on occasion.
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>>7330142
You'll notice that I said "Anons like," and not "Anons such as." Shake off the butthurt from thinking I was talking shit about you and then read what I wrote again, because I addressed in my post everything you just said. Take particular note of where I say "these are generic yous" to avoid getting irrationally offended and forgetting how to think.

I get annoyed by the fact that, on /lit/ of all places, people don't seem to understand the distinction between writing as a profession and writing as a hobby. OP asked "How valuable is a English degree for someone who wants to be a writer?" Look, I've played a few instruments for many years, but I never asked "How valuable is music school for someone who wants to be a musician?" because the answer to that question is fucking obvious. I knew that I didn't want to support myself by playing music, so I didn't go to music school; everyone I know who does did.

So, my question to OP is: Do you want to write, or do you want to be a writer? If you want to write, awesome, do it. If you want to be a writer, I suggest going to school for it, learning it as you would any other trade, and know and accept that artistic pursuits are sometimes fraught with failure and relative poverty and almost never result in you becoming your heroes. If that uncertainty scares you, then by all means, go to school for something that gives you a better shot at that job and connections. But if your dream is to be a writer, if you think going to school for accounting, becoming an accountant, and figuring you'll write in your free time and eventually be "discovered," know that you likely have less of a chance at that than you do at getting a job as an accountant with an English degree.
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>>7330299
He would probably post on /tv/ and /k/ on occasion too.
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>>7329032
This is on the wall of my office. English professor anon.
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>>7329263
>(t b h I think anyone who wants to write these days needs an unrelated job (unless you're typing technical manuals 8 hours a day)
This is so true. I'm about to quit English teaching because I can't write while teaching Freshman comp all semester. After reading 20 shitty essays in a day, I can't bring myself to look at a book let alone my own writing. It causes severe burnout. Probably why I see many of my previous professors taking off a semester or two just to focus on writing.
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>>7329579
You do realize that people still argue how to interpret the final scene of Taming of the Shrew, right? That said, I think >>7329566
is a crazy teacher as well.

I started teaching with a handful of other instructors and the women were all very much against teaching British lit primarily because dat white patriarchy. Meanwhile they preach about it to me because I'm also a female and I should agree with them, but I'm like fuck it I love British lit. I included a whopping four female writers at all this entire semester, don't even care. When a woman writes something as amazing as Paradise Lost, I'll include her.
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>>7330394
>English professor anon
I pity you, mate.
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>>7328933
>Is there a single English major that doesn't require creative writing somewhere in the curriculum?
Huh? Is this a Murrican thing? I've never heard of creative writing being required. But then, if you're in the Murrican system with its majors and minors and hilariously inflated fees, couldn't you just take a creative writing course whatever your major was?
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>>7330890
At the university I taught at last, students have to take business, writing, advanced comp, or creative writing.
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>>7329646
Who are your favorite writers?
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>>7329646
>Most of my favorite writers did not have degrees nor did some even attend university.
I always think about this. For a long-time I've been interested in the biographies of my personal pantheon of greats in a number of creative fields. There are just as many who were self-taught as those that had an academic education. There are pros and cons to each path. If by the end of your higher education, you are not able learn in a self-directed manner, then you have developed an ingrained dependency on an externalised system. You can avoid this by being an autodidact as early as possible.

It's difficult to avoid developing blind-spots this way, but what is more important to you: having a complete understanding of a field or developing a unique approach to the discipline?
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>>7329942
i wonder how many people think "/pol/ is always right" is unironic
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Think of it this way.

Mishima intended to major in literature at the university of Tokyo in order to fullfill his dream of becoming a writer, but following his fathers strong refusal he consequently had to major in Law and henceforth become a high-class bureaucrat.

He quit his gov job and turned a full time writer, but noted his decision to major in law instead of literature as "the greatest ever life decision I made, and one of the few things i can thank my father for"

Studying and practicing law made his writing logical, concise, and realistic. This, he would've never gained by majoring in literature.

Tldr: if your writing is ok, why not major in something else that gives depth and meaning to your writing idk
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>>7328930
then you go to a bad school.

desu, the only thing that a humanities degree is actually useful for is networking opportunities. Actually make use of your contacts, try to work closely with a prof, get a 'mentor,' etc., and you'll have gotten your time's worth -- not your money's worth though. Only do a humanities degree if you have a p decent scholarship.
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>>7331150
even more succinctly -- why not major in something useful, accrue money & life experience, and then write.

Nobody wants to read entitled college whining except entitled college whiners.
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>>7328930
As it should be. Marxism is fucking retarded
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>>7331150
>Mishima intended to major in literature at the university of Tokyo in order to fullfill his dream of becoming a writer, but following his fathers strong refusal he consequently had to major in Law and henceforth become a high-class bureaucrat.

Care to share the source?
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>>7331262
you'd be surprised just how much of a nerd he was before going /fit/ and /pol/
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>>7329703
Either you're smart enough to see through the bullshit, or you're just afraid to have your opinions challenged. I will say though that I know a Marxist-Feminist in grad school and she is annoyed with academia, so I feel like if there is a general trend it's just liberals. And pretty much everyone finds liberals annoying. Can't speak from experience, though. Long story short, I did one year of high school, a couple years of self-education, and I wasn't prepared for college so I didn't even do a full year before anxietying out.
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>>7331275
Mishima nearly married the woman who's now the wife of the Japanese Tenno - they were formerly introduced for a potential marriage, but for reasons unknown it didn't work out.
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>>7330400
FRY?
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>>7328563
I don't know any Marxist that discusses 'Marxist themes' in popular media. Its mostly just 'bourgeois themes' more so than 'Marxist' undercurrents. Even then, Literary Criticism isn't very Marxist to begin with,
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>>7331150
Good post. I majored in economics, and even though I never really learned anything, I feel like it helped my writing in a manner similar to Mishima's.
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