Joey Comeau (of the online comic A Softer World) composes strange cover letters for jobs he’s seen advertised; this one is

To: Human resources, The University of Victoria
Re: Linguistics Professor

I am applying to the position for university linguistics professor with your university, because while my love is language, it is also worth noting that language’s love is me, for real, and it isn’t as strange as it sounds because I think you will agree that while the verb love requires an agent of a living nature, language fills that requirement nicely – living as it does in the hearts and souls of every man, woman, child, and seeing eye dog that wanders this earth with a song in masculine, feminine, or neuter’s possessive pronoun’s heart and mind, and I feel that working in your university program, teaching undergrads and graduate students would not be the hell that this description evokes, but instead an opportunity to teach a love of language to a world that has decided to hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate, and hey, have you ever stopped to think that explicity is a much nicer word than explicitness on all fronts, at every border, in every way I feel this is true, and because I sat down to write them out, about a dozen times each, I feel I can speak with authority, using definiteness, definity, and seriously –it’s just nicer I think, spiritually, though I’m still working on this study to try and prove it through polling of students at my current university, even though they just sort of stare at me all slack jawed, drool making the mad dash for a pavement that couldn’t help but offer more in the way of intellectual stimulation than the chasm that is the modern undergraduate mind, that couldn’t help but challenge the drool in a way that no English composition course could hope to, not in a world where universities are just as willing to hire professors who prescribe standard grammars as truer languages as they are to grant doctorates to such nincompoops with nonsense in their heads, no hearts in their chests, making me wonder about, well, don’t think I haven’t noticed that explicity has that little red underline in my word processor, my computer’s way of endorsing those effers and their effing prescriptions, their nasal voices preaching “no prepositions at the ends of sentences, unless you have to, no split infinitives, no run on whatever, no this, no that,” and I sincerely believe that they’ve cheated on their significant others, like I bet they’ve heard someone say something hateful toward the speech patterns of foreigners just learning English, and laughed, like I bet they’ve used the word “ebonics” knowing full well the condescending, racist nature of the word itself, relishing that root, “ebony”, smiling at their coworkers from the African studies department in the hall, all the while having to consciously refrain from asking “what is it that be the up?” in perfect imitation of the phonetic transcripts they’ve been reading about in little journals, hate rags, and maybe they’ve picked up on the careful lexical selections in my anonymous letters, in the casual threats I leave on their answering machines, and no I can’t promise that I won’t physically attack these people if you hire me, but I can promise you this, I will be the best linguistics professor you’ve ever had, the professor that students recommend to one another, the new hotness, the rad, and in dark corners my colleagues over in the department of “Standard English is the one true lord,” will fear the truth I bring to their students, my anger, my explicity.

Joey Comeau

(Via anastasiav‘s MetaFilter post.)


  1. Remarkable. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I think that it’s unfair to expect new hires not to physically attack people just because they have seniority. That’s pushing seniority way too far.

  3. Don’t you mean it’s pushing seniorness way too far? Heh.

  4. …And I thought Griffin could create one heck of a run-on sentence! That was pretty amazing.

  5. What an inspiring find! I think I’ll open up the classifieds and type out a few cover letters myself. This is a breath of fresh air to any job applicant who’s been so caught up with trying to fit in the mold so much that she or he fears to write the wrong thing. |; )

  6. Mind you, if the guy was applying for the job at a University which specialized in Finnegan’s Wake, he’s probably a shoe-in for the job.

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