Musings


Sometimes, there’s a man….I won’t say hero, because what’s a hero anyways….but sometimes, there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there.

I keep thinking that maybe it’s time to get back to writing, and then i let another week go by. I abide.

The problem i keep having is that I have no idea where to start anymore. It’s all a jumble in my head, of semi-wordless ranting directed at some of the usual suspects. Which, to be honest, makes me feel tired.

So here’s the post that has shaken me from my slumber…

Giving credit for a job done is pretty much what makes academic careers. Whole theories are built around the work of a single scholar (see Frued, Marx, Foucoult, Spivak etc). There are literally thousands of theorists world-wide who would not have jobs if it weren’t for the fact that they became expert translators of a major theorist. Similarly, there are thousands of scholars who would not have jobs if it weren’t for the fact that the translators of major theorists hadn’t done their jobs. Scholars need and are dependent upon each other, even as they fight for their independence and name recognition. Careers literally wouldn’t exist if names and work aren’t cited. For example, if all queer theorists used Judith Butler’s ideas, but didn’t cite her work, she would have long since been shoved out of academia–at the best, she’d be teaching at a community college some where.

From BFP…

What does it mean to be a translator…. What would it mean to break new ground?

I still go over and over again, in quasi-regret of a life that might have been. But I think most of my regret is simply nostalgia for a misconception, that somehow the study of religion was going to be a life of the mind.

The reality of the academic field is that it’s pretty damn difficult to get by, and certainly as an activist.

Really, what i do best…is I write summaries. I found this talent sometime in my senior year of college, and used it to wing my way through grad school with very few truly original thoughts. I write excellent book reviews, and i don’t mean the kind that just sum up everything that got said. I trace arguments, i offer cogent criticism, and analyze strengths. You know the kind…that show up as lit reviews in academic journals.

And it feels like that’s what I’ve been doing here. Parallel process, only with blogs. It’s more fun…i get to snark much more than I did, and people line up for snark. The highest hitting post I ever did was a merciless kneecapper on Hugo, who for the record deserved it and more. Tenured bloviators are about my favorite target.

Eh. I’m tired. I have so much to write, really…life has been really interesting, difficult and fun lately. The SO and I, working out the dynamics of the relationship, what I’ve learned about gender, depression, vocation, queerness…

I can’t write that stuff when all I’m stuck writing reviews. When i know…there are folks who are writing the truly original material on which I depend….

And people won’t even acknowledge that debt.

-sly

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i’ve got a whole lot of unfinished posts right now. i start them, based on outrage at somebody saying something wrongheaded and narrowminded…

And then my will to write evaporates.

You see, part of me is cheering on the bloggers who are taking yearlykos crowd to task for the Pale-larity* of the whole thing….and part of me is asking why smart and talented bloggers like them are wasting their breath. Maybe i’m not seeing the point…we knew that some of the big names have some nasty oversight issues when it comes to you know, recognizing that people who aren’t middle class white folks exist and have valid political claims that if we believe our own ideology, ought to be answered by liberal political systems.

We know this. We know this.

So why do we write as if it’s still newsworthy? Are we still collectively shocked at our own awakening to the crass betrayal of progressive politics by the established “liberal” institution? Stung by the pernicious and cancerous hold of racism on the American imagination?

Is it just plain difficult to render into words a political and social discourse that isn’t responding to the massive deployment of unearned privilege and generalized fuckwittery that passes for civilization these days?

I haven’t been writing much.

I wonder why.

-sly

* Pale-larity is the the awkward laugh that a White person makes upon recognition that the room is nearly entirely inhabited by White people. It is often accompanied by proffering an explanation for why the room is so White.

Well, damn. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately. A lot. In comments both blogular and otherwise, Sly and his author have been labeled hopeless cynics.

The above title is from the thread that I linked to in my last post…apparently, interrupting a expression of ablism is a cynical act. Perhaps I should have ignored the obvious? Or is expecting change somehow a cynical act? My gawd! I’ve become cynical again…right now!

I digress, for there is, however, a grain of truth to that. I am a cynic. Deeply suspicious of just about everything, especially myself, I will err on the side of doubt on many occasions. I just disagree about this being a personality flaw.

Sly just got some very serious news the other day, and to be honest, I still don’t know how to handle it. There’s a lot that’s just out of my hands, but…it still leaves me a bit numb. It hurts to see how senseless and cruel this world can be. It hurts to see the people I love get hurt.

I am a cynic for a reason. It’s because I do have a heart. And I don’t know how to care about the people I love in a world like this if i don’t have a side of myself that can be terrible and harsh. I may not yet believe in cold blooded murder, but without some capacity to deal with evil… What is it exactly that the perfectly sincere person says to the world?

I believe in the worst of human kind because I’ve seen it. I don’t think that dark cynicism is the only authentic response to knowing the truth of the world. But it has been a part of mine. To me…hope is that which my cynicism protects.

-sc

Kip Hawley is an idiot.

After dodging the unreliable, false positive giving puffer machines, simply by self-selecting a different line, I got through security without issue. As I’m heading home, I simply did not take toothpaste, deodorant (other than what was already on my person), or other personal products. Whoever thought up the 3.4 oz limit has to have an in with the travel size industry. Proctor and Gamble must have creamed their pants when they heard this one. Ziploc too. A person with 2 items in a non-standard bag had to toss away makeup and dramamine, both known to be dangerous substances.

Kip Hawley is an idiot. We’re no more secure than we were on 9/11. We’re just more hassled.

Annoyance gives the illusion of safety, folks.

-sly

PS: Kudos to BDL for having free wifi, so that I can post about how stupid their security is.

The other night, I’m across the river from the boy’s place, talking with a good friend. She mentions that my entries have a tendancy to throw her head for loops.

I said to her, and i want to say here…they’re entries precisely because they’ve thrown my head for one.

Some of them are thought through a little, and come to more of a conclusion. Most of them aren’t. I blog my theoretical exploration, and the process of trying to concieve of new ways of looking at this world. If it starts to hurt, set it down.

So. I guess i wanted to put this caution up, that I’m not looking out for you like authors usually ought to. Writing is supposed to be something that organizes the world, but I’ve gotten so tired of working like that. I chafe everytime i see it, and try to break things back out of the pre-packaged structures. And i’d rather treat my reader as a co-conspirator than a subject. The payoff can be freedom to explore and organic collaboration. But the risk is that these posts can be a headache to deal with.

As my theoryparentfigureofgreatrespect Homi Bhabha has said, he knows his writing is difficult and often hard to parse. But without spoon feeding the reader, there are few other ways to address complex subject matter. With what i imagine is less confidence in my ideas, I try to work on a similar model.

I hope that uneasy feeling does strike every now and again. I also hope it isn’t overwhelming…after all, this is supposed to be fun. Deconstructing without a net is only really scary if you don’t enjoy the fall.

-sly

Blog Forcast: Next up will be a conversation about the difference between creating and surfacing tension. It’s kind of a random 101 piece, but I think it’s going to be useful to write before I head back to Yale. Academic conversations about “diversity” seem to have a bad habit of making category errors with those two on a regular basis.

A long day of travel, so i’m going to keep the post brief, and then go read up all the blogs i’m a week behind on.

Or sleep.

Anyhow, a few things of note as i bummed around manhattan today on my way back:

On the M60 bus, a mother let her child wander, only to be seriously cussed out by another passenger. Choice excerpts include, “you can’t just fucking stop watching your kid, this is goddamn New York City! You should feel lucky motherfucking ACS isn’t on your ass…welcome to motherfucking New York, bitch!” The funny thing is, the anger wasn’t about the child being a bother, which she was, but rather that it’s a dumbass thing to do, and endangers a kid who doesn’t know any better.

White boys who have dreds should not dye them green. You can either imitate the Lucky Charms leprachaun, or Bob Marley. Not both.

Someone spray painted a birthday party annoucement on a store front, about 32nd and 6th Ave. If you’re looking for a good party to attend, or simply enjoy low-fi graffiti, check it out.

Every kiosk south of 15th Street sells Tragedy. Literally, it’s this little booklet thing for 9/11….and the fact that Tragedy is for sale makes a very important point about the American people. We will buy anything.

There’s a “living statue” of the Statue of Liberty in Battery Park. See above.

The beer carts in Grand Central Terminal are the best idea ever. Trains can even make a Budwieser taste pretty decent at the end of a long day.

-sly


browsing around, i saw an ad for this…

which i like, but it’s assuming a gender binary.

so can we get a shirt made up with a traffic circle as the sign?

maybe something about all directions?

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