The sense of an end­ing

THE (Times Higher Education) - - THE POPPLETONIAN -

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent Times Higher Ed­u­ca­tion ar­ti­cle by Terri Apter, a re­tired fel­low of Newn­ham Col­lege, Cam­bridge, schol­ars are no­tably re­luc­tant to praise each other. The writer refers to hear­ing a re­tired pro­fes­sor be­moan the cur­rent eti­quette of thank­ing a speaker for a “fas­ci­nat­ing” or “won­der­ful” talk on the grounds that such praise “di­luted the in­tel­lec­tual at­mos­phere”.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Ted Odgers, of our Depart­ment of Me­dia and Cul­tural Stud­ies, this ob­ser­va­tion fails to sug­gest al­ter­na­tive ways in which any­one chair­ing such an aca­demic talk might choose to in­di­cate that the speaker had con­cluded their pre­sen­ta­tion. In what Odgers de­scribed as “a con­tri­bu­tion to thick­en­ing the in­tel­lec­tual at­mos­phere”, he of­fered the fol­low­ing sug­ges­tions:

“There we are then. Some­body else’s turn to speak. Thought we’d never make it.”

“Now then, who’d like to kick off the crit­i­cism? One at a time, please.”

“I think we can all agree that our speaker now needs to catch an early train.”

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