Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Schmoozie: Criteria Revealed!

Since the Schmoozie award for most egregious self-promotion at or near the AWP was awarded a week ago (see my post of March 12), there's been a huge (okay, a moderate) outpouring of interest. Among the various emails asking me to reveal the full name of the winner, and the others guessing (mostly correctly) his full identity, there were a few asking about the criteria for the award. Since we at the Academy of Literary Conference and Festival Arts and Sciences stand for full disclosure and transparency, I here reveal the scoring system of that venerable award, The Schmoozie.

Feel free to print up score cards to use at any MLA, MMLA, AWP, MSA, or other acronym-bearing conference. The system can also be used at poetry readings, such is its versatility.

Minor afftonts to decency have a low point value:

  • Conspicuous nodding during a presentation: 1 point

  • Laughing loudly to prove one is in on the joke: 1 point

  • Name-tag gawking: 1 point

  • Carrying around a copy of your own book: 1 point

  • Offering to sign your book when you have not been asked to so do: 2 points

The following phrases all have point value:

  • "Loved your book": 3 points

  • "I admire your work": 3 points

  • "I'm a big fan": 5 points

Name dropping also has point value:

  • Naming This Year's Theorist: 2 points (note: in 2006, Franco Moretti holds the title of This Year's Theorist)

  • Referring to Helen Vendler, Marjorie Perloff, or John Ashbery by first-name only: 2 points

  • Referring to Ron Silliman by first-name only: 1 point

Major affronts have point value appropriate to their egregiousness:

  • Hovering at the edge of a conversation where the famous have gathered: 3 points

  • Crashing a table at the hotel bar where the famous have gathered: 5 points

  • Giving your book to one of the luminous few, saying "I thought you should have one....": 10 points

  • Inviting yourself to dinner with the big dogs, when you have not been asked: 15 points

  • Inviting yourself onstage to read or speak when you are not in the program: 20 points

Finally, there is a variable point value to be awarded for anyone who rises, after a presentation, to ask a question that is not in fact a question, but rather a rambling speech, the primary purpose of which is to hear the melodious sound of one's own voice echoing through the hallowed air of the lecture hall.

  • 1 point per sentence.

The Academy of Literary Conference and Festival Arts and Sciences perpetually strives to improve its system of ratings, so please do not hesitate to add new categories based on observations of conference affrontery. We count on your field research!

Robert Archambeau
Provost and Dean of Affontery Studies
Academy of Literary Conference and Festival Arts and Sciences