If truth is pants, what are shoes?

April 24, 2007

This is a passage from a paper that I graded this morning:

Truth (can be likened) to a set of clothes, made to measure the man. In this way, man’s measurements would be his own personal truth, and the clothes would be a form of living this out. Thus, the pants would be corresponding to his reality, and this reality would be the pants.

And you thought that the life of a philosophy instructor was glamorous. In actual fact, it is a life in which one is constantly quaffing aspirin to ward off the pounding headaches induced by forced exposure to the nonsensical abstractions of the average inattentive undergraduate.

(Add to this life a hyperactive WonderBaby jacked up on Cheerios and apple juice and you have perfect conditions for spontaneous mental combustion.)

If truth is pants, and you lose your pants, have you fallen into a condition of untruth, or have you cast off the oppressive trousers of dogma?
I just discovered that I was nominated (by the lovely and delightfully promiscuous Ms. Oh The Joys) for The Blogitzer, over the Bloggers’ Choice Awards. Now, I don’t usually go in for blog awards, not least because I don’t like shilling for votes, but in this case I am going to have to be shameless and beg: I only have one vote, and it’s really kind of embarassing. So. Please go vote for me? I’d like to have at least, say, six votes.
Have you checked out MBT lately?

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    Glennia April 24, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    The pants metaphor reminded me of a guy I dated years ago. Only his truth was more like underpants, and he preferred to go commando much of the time.

    I voted for you! You rock!

    Mouse April 24, 2007 at 6:35 pm

    The teacher I am, I am trying hard, oh so hard, to make sense of that analogy, to somehow will the words to make perfect sense. But all I can think, “Why the pants specifically?” And then I start on things like, “If pants are reality, are all activities done without pants unreal? Or maybe surreal?”

    mel April 24, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    I voted for you. :) And I was wearing pants.

    doodaddy April 24, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Personally I always found students’ “creative metaphors” to be painfully entertaining… like watching junior high boys at a dance.

    Aw, I already voted, but I would’ve. I’ve been lounging for a week with five votes, so six sounds greedy.

    Blog Antagonist April 24, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Ummm, I’m kind of speechless, because that was a stupendously horrid, and confusingly incomplete metaphor. How do you do it??

    I have 3 votes (close friends, I bribed them), so I think you’re going to come out to the good on that one! And rightfully so. :? )

    slouching mom April 24, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    I voted for you! Now… (I am hanging my head in shame.) How would you feel about (gulp) voting for me?

    You know, tit for tat, the utilitarian philosophers, Hume, Bentham, John Stuart Mill, yadda yadda.

    And with that bald reference to philosophy, have I impressed you enough to vote for me? ;)

    My hubs taught an undergrad. football player a few years ago who refused to believe that all objects fall at the same rate.

    So hubs sat in his office, grabbed a book and a pen or some such, and dropped them. They hit the floor at the same time.

    And the guy stared at hubs as if he were JC himself and said, “Well whaddya know!”

    Her Bad Mother April 24, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    Slouching Mom – Kant’s the guy that you want to cite if you want to subtly tweak someone’s conscience in matters concerning reciprocal action. ;)

    And – of course I’ll vote for you.

    BA – how do I do it? Alcohol.

    gingajoy April 24, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    That’s my new favorite curse word. Didn’t The Young Ones use it?

    “This soup tastes like pants!” (or something?)

    Pants is Truth. Truth is Pants.


    ooooh lordy. cracking myself up here.

    Magpie April 24, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    this reality would be the pants? i’m so confused.

    but, heh, a BLOGITZER – you go, girl!

    eastcoastelle April 24, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Oh my oh my… I’m thoroughly confused. I must have read that paragraph 10 times and it hurt my brain trying to make it make sense.

    Oh… and I voted! :) Happy to do so!

    slouching mom April 24, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    No, HBM. Fair is fair, and I failed my Philosophy exam, so you are no longer under any obligation to reciprocate.


    Mimi April 24, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    pants. hm.

    Lisa b April 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Do they really give you headaches or do you laugh so hard you feel euphoric.
    Pants. An amazing analogy.
    You make me miss my job.

    TB April 24, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    And what of the type of pants? Say perhaps one person’s truth is a pair of flat front khacki’s from the Gap and another’s are gabardine trousers? Is one more or less truthful than the other?

    Lawyer Mama April 24, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    Pants? Oh, that’s a good one. How do you stand it? LOL!

    Blogitzer! I love the name of that one. I have no idea what it means, but I’ll go vote for you. Vote for me back!

    Oh, The Joys April 24, 2007 at 9:46 pm

    You see what I’ve started? It’s a love fest over here.

    Sugared Harpy April 24, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Oh my my, I’m an art history instructor and I had forgotten that we aren’t the only ones subjected to lovely and ah, inventive interpretations.

    Mary G April 24, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    The things I do for my friends! Like fight my way through the sign-up form, which I did wrong three times.
    I voted!

    Much More Than A Mom April 24, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Oh my. That’s perhaps the worst piece of writing ever written by an adult. Reminds me of my own philosophy courses, through which I completely bullshitted my way.

    Lady M April 24, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    Your undergraduates are probably still more coherent than that the marketing blather that I’m trying to corral into something exciting this week.

    Crunchy Carpets April 25, 2007 at 12:35 am

    If truth is pants….what does it mean when my kids don’t wear any?

    Leah April 25, 2007 at 1:45 am

    Well, I want lots of shoes and expensive ones, ones that are hot and hurt my feet, so what does that tell you. The problem is after my babies any pants at all that fit nice would be good, I’ll take that. Plus the only thing that looks good with yoga pants are runners. I’m beat.

    Lara April 25, 2007 at 1:50 am

    wow, i’m honored to be in the same category as you. also, if you think your kids’ stuff is funny, you should go check out my post from today. my kids use strange comparisons to define “success”…

    also, wonderbaby looks like a tiny superhero in that picture. :)

    mo-wo April 25, 2007 at 2:17 am

    Gotta love a good Young Ones reference GJ. We used to tag and pants on to lots of comments. Cheers, to your health.. and pants!

    And, now I am off to the ballot box…. Don’t you just feel like Ségolène Royal?

    jchevais April 25, 2007 at 4:05 am

    If truth is pants, what happens if the fly is open?

    I, of course, am referring to that lecture you gave with a gaper. :-)

    Isn’t philosophy fun?

    Ruth Dynamite April 25, 2007 at 9:06 am

    And on that note, what happens when your karma runs over your dogma?

    Laural April 25, 2007 at 9:16 am

    Truthfully, when I was an undergrad I took great joy in making random statements like that in essays. I KNEW it made no sense, but I thought if I tried hard enough …
    My psychology teacher once told me that she whenever she got to my paper she went and made a fresh cup of tea!!!
    I’ll go vote for you.

    crazymumma April 25, 2007 at 9:38 am

    damn…my jeans are too tight…take a spin on that one oh inattentive average undergrad…

    and no I have not been over to MBT lately. skulking off to do so right about. now.

    Jenifer April 25, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Oh you do need Advil. I have to go and set up an account, so I can vote…will do.

    Good luck with the pants.

    amy April 25, 2007 at 10:56 am

    I’m sorry for your headache, but I do feel a little relieved that I’m not the only one in that hell. I teach Freshman Comp and just last week I had the joy of reading this sentence: “It is time something happens so no more children become the reason smoking begins at a young age.”

    God bless you, HBM, our future is in those heads. And pants.

    BOSSY April 25, 2007 at 11:34 am

    If reality is the pants, then what are capris?

    Her Bad Mother April 25, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Capris are little white lies. Half-truths. And devastating to anyone with fat ankles.

    kittenpie April 25, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Wow. I never knew the depth of how much a good meal could change your life if it can alter the whole shape of your truth…

    Anonymous April 25, 2007 at 2:09 pm

    hi catherine well you have 25 votes as of now…good luck and the pants metaphor poor you.no wonder you have a headache.LAVENDULA

    Ms. B April 25, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    “Spontaneous Mental Combustion”
    I love love that!!!

    I was an undergrad student only 4 years ago! So I have to admit, we wrote pretty shitty essays for the professors!

    And of course, been there, done that, I always knew I couldn’t be a professor!

    Julie Pippert April 25, 2007 at 5:07 pm

    Okay I officially think this needs to be philosophy week.

    You can come to my blog and beat me with a wet noodle re. my Aristotle impersonation, thumbs-up Jen for her Plato, and swing by Alice’s for some Monty Python.

    Wait, what else were you saying?

    Or losing pants? it depends whether it was a conscious choice or beyond your posession of control. ;)

    mek April 25, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    Oh, what a relief to know it is not just English profesors like me that have to deal with fabulous student writing on “truly abdominal” characters and “poems that revile the truth”!

    jen April 25, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    Shoes are the sole our truths rest on.

    Lizzy April 25, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Okay–the pants metaphor, coupled with the photo and caption…WOOT!

    Dude, I want a Blogitzer! But since I’m not nominated, you’ll get my vote! :-)

    Jaelithe April 26, 2007 at 12:13 am

    I think that “Thus, the pants would be corresponding to reality, and this reality would be the pants,” needs to be my new motto.

    (I took out the “his.” Wanted to make it more universal.)

    Anonymous April 26, 2007 at 8:40 am

    I voted for you! But I was wearing shorts, does that still count as pants?

    teeth whitener

    pkzcass April 26, 2007 at 10:21 am

    I signed up and voted for you. I’d only do this for YOU, and I don’t even know you. But I love, love, love your blogs.

    kittenpie April 26, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    Come to think of it, “truth” IS pants. Total pants.

    And, isn’t it made manifestly obvious that pants are truth since if your pants are being destroyed by a conflagration, you are said to be a liar? Ha. The proof is in the proverb. Or something like that.

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Kittenpie, DUDE. You are so right. pants on fire; truth aflame.

    I wish that I could retitle this post.

    nomotherearth April 26, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Yeah..I have no idea what that guy was trying to say, and I often think nonsensically.

    And I agree with you about capris. Everyone’s talking about “wearing capris again”, and I never can. Damn fat ankles.

    sweatpantsmom April 26, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    WHAT??!1 Well, of COURSE truth is pants.

    Of course, I may be a little partial.


    Fairly Odd Mother April 26, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    See, that is why I couldn’t teach philosophy. I’d be so confused by that passage, I wouldn’t know if it was profound or drivel.

    And, yes, I voted for you—you deserve way more than 6 votes!

    Her Bad Mother April 26, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Trust me, FOM. It’s drivel.

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