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28 January 2006

Wall of Shame 1

In searching for a good literary analysis of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice for the last of my three term papers, I came across a couple difficult sites. Not difficult to understand, not difficult to navigate, just difficult. I was then inspired to start a new periodic series (and no, I haven't forgotten about the last one). Introducing the Wall of Shame, a place where I can vent about websites I simply don't like.

Wall of Shame 1: Proud and Prejudiced

Take, for instance the following, which I found at preceding a list of links to the full text of each chapter:

Chapter descriptions are designed to be very vague and cryptic. They are for people who are familiar with the book to help them find the chapter they want, and they are not designed for the student who might be looking for a quick way to get out of reading the novel.

Okay, fine. I had only gotten through about three-fourths of the novel, and I would have liked to have found a quick summary of the twelve or thirteen chapters I hadn't had time to read, but that wasn't why I went there. I simply wanted some searchable text for the novel so that I wouldn't be asking myself whether something happened in Chapter 5 or in Chapter 12 or anywhere in between.

Even though that comment wasn't very nice, I found an entire statement on "Homework Policy" at the Republic of Pemberley website. Here's an excerpt:

Are you here because you choose to spend your free time reading Jane Austen -- or because you need something? It makes a difference to us.

The interactive parts of this web site are for recreational talk about Jane Austen. We really don't want to see your questions on our bulletin boards if you are here because you need to get information rather than having a desire to join a community of like minds*.

And of course, they tried to be funny by adding the little footnote:

* Don't pretend you want to be friends. We can tell. The people who run this site are an eerily exact cross between your mother and your English teacher.

This made me wonder what kinds of crazy people put this site together. Then I read on:

Students are often astonished (and even put out!) to learn that this friendly group who loves to talk should not be willing to open its arms to any and every seeker of Austen information, but that is not our charter; it's much narrower and more specific. This web site is run by volunteers obsessed with Austen for others who are similarly afflicted.

Duh. As if it wasn't already obvious these people were "afflicted" with their obsession. Nevertheless, I did find a few good literary analyses on their site (just a few). They continued justifying their stance:

A secondary reason for taking a hard line on homework help is that once a discussion site becomes known for allowing requests for help, it attracts more of the same inquiries. No offense to the Campfire Chat board -- some awfully good discussion goes on there, but it is a textbook example of how a recreational book forum can become choked with weeds before you know it.

If you are not just a weekend tourist in the Republic merely because you have a paper due, please check out the newcomer's page.

"Weeds"? "A weekend tourist"? I am offended. These two sites are the first two inductees into my Wall of Shame. And to add insult to injury, the bottom of every page at the Republic of Pemberley website says, "No, you've not lost your way. You remain safe within the borders of The Republic of Pemberley." I don't think so.


Lexi Elizabeth said...

...and i thought i had no life.

Lexi Elizabeth said...

news: TJ WAS ONLINE LAST NIGHT AT 10:30!!!! :-P

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