Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Readings: Graduate Students, Beware!

The excerpt which follows is taken from a long footnote, on pp.97-98, of Junot Díaz’s great novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The footnote documents the sorry fate of one Jesús de Galíndez “a Columbia University grad student who had written a rather unsettling doctoral dissertation. The topic? Lamentably, unfortunately, sadly: the era of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina.”

Let this be fair warning to all you ABDs out there:

Long story short: upon learning of the dissertation, El Jefe first tried to buy the thing and when that failed he dispatched his chief Nazgul (the sepulchral Felix Bernardino) to NYC and within days Galíndez got gagged, bagged, and dragged to La Capital, and legend has it when he came out of his chloroform nap he found himself naked, dangling from his feet over a cauldron of boiling oil, El Jefe standing nearby with a copy of the offending dissertation in hand. (And you thought your committee was rough.)

Enough said?