Monthly Archives: June 2014
Here is a random article. Notice how much history and political science this professor knows. Too many allegedly “interdisciplinary” people merely repeat clichés and have not two (or more) disciplines but none.
It has been said that since I am interested in law and justice related issues I should merely begin writing about them. But I think people need actual training in the fields they work in.
Student has gone on summer vacation to meet Mexico City. He is staying in an Air B and B.
Student to Professor Zero, by e-mail: There is a towel on the toaster and on the coffeemaker in this apartment. Does this mean I am not to use them? I was hoping to have toast and coffee on the patio.
Professor Zero: The towels are to keep off dust and look pretty. It is a Latin American kitchen thing. There will be towels on everything and the sugar bowl will be in the refrigerator to keep off ants. You may use the toaster and the coffeemaker.
“Crítica parasitaria, crítica autónoma. La primera prolonga de algún modo la noción pragmático-burguesa del arte, que en su versión más radical lo considera un artículo accesorio y complementario, valioso como fuente de disfrute y como adorno para el salón o la conversación “culta”. En esta perspectiva, la crítica es otra modalidad de esta conversación “culta”, que nos informa sobre el autor, nos ayuda a “entender” la obra y hasta puede –por qué no– ahorramos el trabajo de leer, sobre todo si se trata de obras muy largas o difíciles. La segunda, por el contrario, parte del principio de que el arte y la literatura son componentes básicos y necesarios del proceso de humanización del hombre, y que en ellos se registra su proyección más noble y autentificadora. De allí que la crítica no pueda quedarse en la glosa más o menos culta del texto, sino que busque un conocimiento comprensivo de la producción literaria, no aislándola sino reintegrándola al conjunto de la actividad del hombre, del hombre concreto, social e histórico.”
I feel better. It has to do with staying up as late as I want to and getting up as late, always working out, and having the right food. But mostly it has to do with remembering one is a person with rights.
But I am looking at some curriculum vitae that list activities I wish I had not cut myself out of the running for. That is one of the reasons it is so hard to have stayed in the profession: over and over I come face to face with the lists of adventures I renounced, and did not replace with other adventures.
One can note that if one is raised with the idea that one must not aspire, events do make their unfortunate sense. And someone said the other day, there a strength of character in you that many lack. I hope that, at least, can be true.
I was happy Monday, and not bored. I am just so used to going into a dissociative state to avoid pain or possible pain, and it is a hard habit to break. Today I seem to be happy again and it has to do with having an interesting collaboration at work.
How to escape all the painful associations I have with academic work? How to quell the longings for my other interests, which have, furthermore, no painful associations? They do not arise because of not having an interesting job or an interesting place to live, although I think one should not sacrifice both. The problem is working in painful atmospheres, laden with tedium and fraught with strife, stress over finances, and awareness that the usual ways to handle these kinds of things are insufficient.
I have decided that it is impossible to rise above all circumstances and that a complete, virtual atmosphere must be constructed each day. I am not actually tired of research or writing or even teaching, but I am tired of blatant obstruction and also of all exhortations to sacrifice and penitence.
I am quite interested in this comment, and will study it: I had a fear of engaging with MYSELF IN A DEPLETED STATE, because that is when I lose my sense of proportion and develop a tunnel vision and start to attack myself.
1. Now it is summer. I am still trying to relearn the self-care I renounced for Reeducation. I am trying to do this every day. I am also noticing how much more relaxing reading is than watching film, and how much more restful actual books are than anything one can read on a device.
2. Self-care involves not being required, and thence attempting to become another person for the sake of survival. It also means recognizing the toxicity of a certain environment and not allowing it to engage one in any of the many ways it can. Self-care means remembering one has rights and also might be right about some things. It means remembering to pay attention to the people who like one’s work. It means remembering that those who believe in pointless sacrifice have lost their power.
3. I would rather be going to this conference but I have to work. I would like to be pursuing cold cases from the civil rights movement or, if I had actually become the environmental lawyer I had wanted to be in high school, filing suit against the tar sands project. I wanted a high level career and if I could have had that in the arts and humanities, and if there were not so much other urgent work that needed doing, I would have been satisfied.
4. But in fact I work at a lower level. For that to be interesting and worth sacrificing for, I would have to be working on one of the projects I consider urgent. Then I would not be frustrated or bored. I would not feel so much longing, and things would have meaning. I would not feel that I was “fiddling while Rome burns.” It would be easier to concentrate since I would be doing what want to do, as opposed to do something else while trying to suppress my actual interests.
5. Nonetheless l’appétit vient en mangeant. There is a lot else to do and even if I would rather do the things that seem actually urgent to me, we will all try to do the things we have to do with love.
6. Yesterday in the café an old man came up and said I should be a simultaneous interpreter, I had rare skills. Thinking about this I saw how true it was. I thought of pursuing that as a young person but it was not ambitious enough, I did not want to simply speak others’ words. I see now that it would be more like working magic, and that it fits me in more ways than I realized then. And I would live in a city, make enough to live on, see interesting people and discuss interesting things … and might have more time for political work as well.
7. So is my lack of pleasure in the work I do have — more interesting in itself, por cierto, than simultaneous interpretation — a lack of interest, as I claim it is? Or is it a symptom of disinvestment in self? Or is it an allergy to my working conditions? I think it has been all of these, but is primarily the first. I am not even very deeply interested in foreign languages. They are my superpower, as it were, something I can wield, but not my goal.
8. But once again, l’appétit vient en mangeant. There is a lot to do here and even if I would rather do the things that seem actually urgent to me, I will try to do all things we have to do with love.
9. A social worker asked me about my mother’s life while she was dying and her comment was that it sounded like a life not lived. I disagreed, but thought the statement applied more accurately to me. I renounced my life when I went to Reeducation, and I have never fully managed to step out of the grave.
10. I will use this as a mantra, I think: vos podés estar en el lugar que te proponés. It is what someone said. It is unrealistic but not as unrealistic as the dicta I bowed to, namely, you should not be this happy, or this successful.
It has been beautiful. The Atchafalaya River has green trees in blue water, Lake Pontchartrain is piercing blue, and the weather has been so good, most days–dry sunlight and water.
So I am ready, and going en ville, and I am awake.
Maringouin feels tomblike and I feel apologetic about noticing this. So many desire it and cannot wait to get home. I, too, am grateful for it after visiting yet more desolate places but the fact remains that for me, arrival here is like opening a vein. Stay too long and you bleed out.
I must remember that I have given up on adjusting further and have committed to Occupying this space. Breathing life into it. Just outside these nostalgic and artificially preserved parishes life runs on in a lively stream.
It is not just the oppressiveness of the institution, it is that the micro-region looks backward, and is interested in the embalmed corpse of a culture rather than historical research or living life.
And this job reminds me of my first one in many ways and what shocked me about the first one was that it appeared that so many people not quite 30 years old were already trying to lie down in their graves.
I am clearly not suited to be an academic because a true intellectual is immune to their surroundings. They create their great works in a vacuum. They are ethereal beings, seraphs. This is not true.
Am I interested in what I am doing, or not? I needed this as a starter job. Raised with the idea that I would be incompetent for everything, including jobs like receptionist and shop girl, I chose something I definitely knew I could do. My idea was that if I could make tenure at a good place that would be proof I was viable for something else.
What I discovered: working at a good place would be very interesting, entirely satisfying, and at the same time I was either not interested enough, or else too interested, to work in the field at a low level. Further: I was satisfied sooner than I expected. When I saw I could make tenure at a medium place if I kept on going, I was finished. I had gotten what I had come for and was ready to move on, and had furthermore figured out exactly where that would be.
That is all it was et je ne l’ai pas fait but I will wrangle with what I have and see how to make it interesting. Perhaps after this long hiatus, doing this because it was an obligation, doing this because I had been defeated by those who told me it would hurt them too much if I left, I should start doing it for a reason other than:
Stage 1: it was an interesting thing I knew I could do, and also the only thing I knew I could do, so it was an experiment in living
Stage 2: it was something I had done and was obliged to continue doing in the name of the fallen and to care for those who (“it is the best profession in the world, and the only non-materialistic one”) might cry if anyone did anything else
Stage 3: whether I lost interest in this, or in myself, is one question; another is whether I actually lost interest or lost interest in doing this in the negative way I had been taught to do it. I know I lost interest, or withdrew, because I could not tolerate the cruelty of the people around me, but it is the first two questions which interest me now.