Monthly Archives: March 2014

Male violence

This is the other reason for my general fatigue and mental fog; I keep forgetting that we undergo all this bullying every day. In extremely clear instances of it I get flashes of insight, this is paradigmatically abusive behavior, but most of the time it is just how people are and I do not understand why I feel so drained.

That Reeducator was also from this area, and as I have said before, there is more male violence and micro-aggression than in Mexico, northern Brazil or Spain.


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Things wrong with me as FL teacher

— direct method or versions of it: not rule then application, but example then explanation then expansion

— emphasis on conversation, being able to converse; spontanaeity

— emphasis on writing whole sentences

— not fixated enough on accent marks, spelling, small grammar issues: yes, they irritate me, but no, not seriously

— too intolerant of translation; expect students to use and remember a variety of structures, to learn to vary and build upon these, and compose…

These are things our students are incapable of doing and that it is inappropriate to ask them to do, it is said.



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On the adjunct crisis

People do not realize that many decades ago at Berkeley they decided freshman composition should also be given by (many) departments other than English. They have it in Rhetoric, Dramatic Art, Comparative Literature, and now all of these departments.

This means that English is more immune to being asked to staff these courses with adjuncts, and other departments get TAships for their students.

Yes, it is possible to achieve sufficient “uniformity” across departments and disciplines.




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One of these is needed.


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Authoritarian manpulations…

In an institution long ago there was a full professor who called himself “Lalo,” as a result of which we nicknamed him “Teddy” so we could talk about him and not be understood. “Teddy” sounds nothing like his real name.

Cross-appointed, Teddy disapproved of my friendship with a professor in his other department. Walter F. Pitts might mislead me somehow, imprint misinformation about the Hispanic world on my tabula rasa mind. I should not be seen going to lunch with Walter F. Pitts because “people” “might think” that I thought the things he thought.

I knew instantly that by “people” Teddy meant himself. I do not always discern this manipulation when it is used, but I have discerned it lately. “Limit yourself and your capacities, so that you do not represent a threat to poor so-and-so, who has not had the chance to do your kind of Ph.D.” Poor so-and-so might actually be the speaker.

In this kind of case poor so-and-so is not being protected, but used.



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I will order books from Interlibrary Loan. I will finish my Peruvian abstract and make the plane reservation. I will work more on my vita. I have enough to say to fill several books.

I will go to the Home Depot and buy eight concrete blocks, each four inches high. I will repair shoes, and go to the cleaner. I will buy other shoes for formal work situations, I will have other formal work clothes ready, and I am a great bourgeoise.

I will visit two stores on Magazine Street and one on Chartres. I will apply to certain Fullbrights and the Stanford Humanities Center. The department cannot spare me, the university cannot supplement my stipend, the house cannot be rented, and I have bills these stipends will not pay.

I will apply nonetheless. I will discover the exact minimum supplement I need, and insist upon it, if I am actually awarded any of these things. I will stop thinking I cannot ask. I declined a Fulbright and a book contract years ago because I assumed I could not ask for what I needed.

I still wish I had gone to law school when I first came up with the idea.

In the meantime I will grade again, prepare classes and class websites massively, walk again, and call the Brazilian again. I will reserve a room in Houston and see what to do about that coat, which is separated from me but not lost. I have another plane ticket to think about.

It goes to France on a Turkish airline and I will spend two nights in Istanbul, then fly on to Paris in the middle of the day, get directly onto the TGV Chalon-sur-Saône. Later I will return the same way, spending another few nights in Istanbul. I have places to stay in these cities.

I want to buy that bed frame and that ticket but they seem like big jumps. I would like to wait, yet do not want these things to get away from me. And if I am going to buy clothes and move, I do not necessarily want to acquire the bed frame now.


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One more thing I disagree with

“You must take care of yourself (and not your work).”

Some fallacies inhere in this sentence (depending on how it is used).




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