I laughed out loud while reading an account of an innocent academic, thrust headlong into the sturm und drang of theoretical debate over Edgar Allan Poe‘s horror stories and whether they’re racist or not.  It’s a series of screenshots captured by an Imgur user, so I can’t transcribe them all here;  you’ll have to click over there to read it.  Here’s a brief sample.

so my professor sits down to watch this panel and within like five minutes a bunch of crusty academics get super heated about poe’s theoretical racism.  because it’s academia, though, this is limited to poorly concealed passive aggression and forceful tones of inside voice.  one professor is like “this isn’t even about race!” and another professor is like “this proves he’s a racist!”  people are interrupting each other.  tensions are rising.  a panelist starts saying that poe is like writing a critique of how racist society was, and the racist stuff is there to prove that racism is stupid, and that on a metaphorical level the racist philosophy always loses –

then my professor, perhaps in a bid to prove that he too is a smart literature person, loudly calls:  “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ORANGUTAN?”

There’s more at the link.  Click over there for a very amusing portrayal of “much ado about nothing” – academic version.



  1. I have read a lot of Poe, some of his stuff is really good and some is only OK. I have read The Murders at the Rue Morgue, I didn't really see it as racist, but of course I wasn't looking for racism, but for a detective story. Perhaps we find what we seek. As far as I can tell, it was about analytical reasoning, and paved the way for and probably inspired AC Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.

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