Thank you all, Tony Couture, Jim Westrich, and Jerry Fresia, for your advice on how to proceed in my Marx course. Tony, my problem with your suggestion [which I take to be itself a complicated joke!] is that I would need to color code certain passages with all three colors, which would produce one godawful blur.
Jim, Value, Price, and Profit is essential to my story, because it proves that Marx could have written like Ricardo had he wanted to [contrary to what I have elsewhere called the Childhood Polio theory of his writing style, which has it that he contracted a nearly fatal case of Hegelism as a child and hence cannot be expected to write like an Englishman.] I am tempted to start with Smith and Ricardo [which I did in my book Understanding Marx] except that I would then be weeks into the course before the students read a word by Marx, which seems to me not a good idea. But NO idea is a good idea!
Jerry, in Moneybags Must Be So Lucky I actually introduce the idea of ironic discourse by talking about a Donne sonnet and then some analysis of the discourse of a lapsed Catholic, before I tackle Marx.
But I have made a perhaps fateful decision: For once in my entire sixty-year-long teaching career, I am not going to pander to the students and try to explain difficult concepts to them by making references to Lady Gaga and the Kardashians. God damn it, I am for once going to show them what a real intellectual sounds like. When I talk about the relation between language and reality, I will refer them to Auerbach's Mimesis, and on the very first day, when they can still drop the course, I am going to warn them that I am doing this, and ask them to decide whether they want the real thing for once rather than a watered down, warmed up, debased simulacrum of the real thing. If only one of them remains, then he or she will get the best course ever taught at UNC Chapel Hill, and the rest can eat their hearts out.
All of which reminds me of the old joke about the guy who has a flat tire out in the sticks and has to walk five miles to a gas station for a jack. As he walks, he has an increasingly angry interior dialogue with the station attendant who, he imagines, will not allow him to borrow the jack. By the time he actually gets to the gas station he is steaming. As he walks up to the pump, the smiling owner says, "Good evening, sir. May I help you?" to which the man responds, snarling, "You can keep your damned jack!"
I think I better go and have a glass of Cabernet.