Kant’s (Revised) Critique of Judgement

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05/16/2014

Neighborhood: Featured, Greenwich Village

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I’m quite sure I could have killed the whole lot of them. I’ve drawn too many skull and crossbones on the margins of my handouts. It’s difficult for me to concentrate on the enthralling discourse on Lacan because I am too disturbed by that Babushka girl and her heinous turtle-neck (not artistic, just embarrassing). Does anyone really give a shit about her theory of how the split subject manifests itself in string theory? And how about the stringy-haired girl that looks like she just stepped out of Meth Addicts Anonymous, walks in twenty-minutes late and has the gusto – the nerve - to pop the top of a soda can so the eruption of effervescence disturbs the whole discourse (if she hadn’t disturbed everyone enough by her tardiness and her appearance). God, where did all of these homely girls come from? You’d think this was an all-girls liberal arts college in South Dakota, not an urban university located in the fashion Mecca of the world.

Then there’s the boy that always sits next to the professor. He likes to wear sandals and shorts all year round. And he takes off his sandals under the table. He is the type that should never take off his sandals, not even in the privacy of his own home. Worse than his feet is his face. If a rat turned into a human and wore glasses, that would be him. This is Danny. And when he’s not coughing up pretentious mucous (he is often sick), he’s spouting off about all of these wonderful articles he just happened to come across in the library and “You should really take a look at them because they have a lot to do with…blah blah blah.” First of all, I refuse to listen to anyone who is stupid enough to pronounce Rimbaud like Rimbod like the archetypal clumsy American oaf turned “intellectual” that is Danny. The first few days of class I sat next to him, then got so disturbed by his temperament that I was forced to sit next to the mousy wide-eyed Elle who passes notes.

On the other side of Elle is the somber beret-wearing poet boy with the emerald eyes. I don’t have anything to say about him.

Elle crafted a note to the poet while Danny was talking that said, “I just want to push him…” I couldn’t read the rest but imagined what it said. I was glad I wasn’t the only sadist in the class. Maybe I feel this way because I decided to pick up a copy of The Catcher in the Rye as a little gift to myself for managing to make it through the day, and I am a rather impressionable young person, as young persons usually are.
Professors have a tendency to give me A minuses. I’m convinced it’s because I don’t talk in class. If I were to have said something today it would be, “The moral of the story is we all want Danny to just shut the fuck up and go home.” And surely that would have been a problem. (I might have gotten applause, but at the risk of blowing my cover as a generally pleasant, quiet person with no opinions). Despite what people may think, I sometimes have a hard time keeping my feelings back, but usually resort to jotting them down to mull over later in my room while banging my head against the wall.»

Kant’s (Revised) Critique of Judgement
Photo by Alan Miller

But that A minus stings. I’m sorry but I just don’t see why all this philosophy is a useful pursuit. Does anyone even have the slightest idea as to what the fuck these assholes were talking about? They were all tripping on Medieval acid is what I think. “I think, therefore I am.” Come on, more like, “I trip, therefore I am.”

And the professor, all she does is name drop about how her great uncle was Carl Gustave Jung and about how she went on a date with Salvador Dali and how Freud’s mother used to call him Siggy. All laughable I think.

A reason I don’t talk in class is because I don’t feel extraordinarily comfortable sprouting off my every thought, like some people do too frequently because they are seduced by the sound of their own voice. Not all thoughts need to be spoken. I have many dumb thoughts that shouldn’t even be thought, much less spoken. And if I have anything to say, I’ll just write it down. But this poses a problem because I don’t know if the professor even knows my name. She wouldn’t even be able to recognize me if I passed her on the street. In the long run, alas, my silence screws me over. Hence, the A minus. I am listening though, however selectively. Some things that people say are just maddeningly stupid. I’m not saying that I am never victim to this stupidity (I am, all too often), but in a sober situation with a lot of people around that I don’t care about, I shouldn’t waste my time trying to explain to them my thoughts on the text. I wonder if other writers feel the same.


After class, Jess and I were discussing how terribly judgmental we both are. Although she lets people know to their faces whereas I prefer to write about them and tell others behind their backs. Maybe Jess is more of a sadist than I am but I’d say we both make pretty horrendous and immoral human beings. In the end, whether we admit to it or not, judgment is a quality that separates us from the animals.


Kaila Allison is a third-year student at NYU studying Creative Writing. She is a New Yorker and proud of it. She will be studying fiction writing in Paris this summer. Special shout out to Saïd Sayrafiezadeh.

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