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Do: On Getting Wasted

(09/27/18 6:05am)

 For the linguist J. L. Austin, an utterance can be constative and/or performative. That is, it can simply make a descriptive statement or it can actually perform the articulated action. Austin would judge the performative speech act by its degree of “felicity”: an utterance should be considered “happy” if the action actually takes place and “infelicitous” if not. At Dartmouth, it is hard to make felicitous utterances –– i.e. to make something happen just by saying it. For example, many would say “let’s have a meal soon” to others, without ever having one. Similarly, when one says “I will study with my friends on FFB,” one will not necessarily study while sitting there. But on this campus, when one announces to the world that “I’m going to get wasted hard tonight,” one will almost certainly manage to look wasted hard that evening. This felicitous speech act, once uttered, guarantees students a rare kind of happiness.




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