Day 126: Almost Connected


I am on my way to having internet at home! After spending almost 6 hours with the AT&T people today I have a landline now. Apparently, the problem was that a disgruntled previous tenant actually cut the phone wires in the wall, which meant that they had to re-wire my apartment (including drilling holes into the basement and all). So, not only did I have the pleasure of looking at technician buttcracks all day but they also made the time enjoyable for me by attempting to include me in their debate regarding the physique of women in my neighborhood. Haven’t been in the presence of this much masculinity since I worked in the marketing department of Old Spice deodorant. Ok, that was a lie. That department is all female.

Let’s see…what else happened? Oh, we got paid today! Yay! I am able to buy food (well, if ramen counts as food, that is)! Last night was also quite enjoyable–Q101 broadcast the first reunion live apearance of Rage Against the Machine in its entirety. Yeah, yeah, people who do cultural studies and just read Adorno’s culture industry for the first time will say that this is nothing to get excited about, since they make money off their music and are thus a part of the capitalist system–hence there is no political potential in Marxist rock music. But that is a) not a very critically rigorous attitude (rather, it is a popular beginning-grad-student-form of political critique that is pure negativity without that actually interesting Hegelian touch) and b) not a very honest account of the nature of the political, which is, after all, firmly located within the cultural realm at this point. There’s no way around it (debate me on this–I dare you!). Hence, we need to formulate much more critically rigorous accounts of how politics and ideology actually function within culture. The idea of total capitalist co-optation is a pseudo-lefty copout that arises mainly out of the “tragically hip” influence of Foucault’s formulation of discursive power–i.e. it is not a valid and accurate historical materialist argument/analysis at all. This is just one of the few examples of how Foucault has severely damaged supposedly progressive scholarship (while admittedly providing us also with some very important and helpful theoretical frameworks). But without going into a rant about all of this I will just return to my initial point: I greatly enjoyed hearing RATM play again, which is in part due to the fact that I must honestly include them in the forces that shaped my early political education–that may not be a big thing but it is certainly not nothing.

In work-related news I broke down and decided that I should re-read Dos Passos’ USA. I really do not have time for this but I figure I owe it to the editors of the textbook. The problem is that I have to focus on my MLG presentation and the conference next week, which means that I will have to write this essay over the weekend. If I just devote Sunday to writing I would have only tonight and tomorrow to speed-read my way through roughly 1300 pages. The other problem is that I got paid today, which means that I will have to have a payday beer somewhere. I cannot really get around this–it is an integral part of the Ph.D.-student-underpaid-teacher codex. Maybe I’ll just go down to my dive bar around the corner, have a quick beer and then try to get more reading in afterwards. I had also planned to be all healthy and go running by the lake tonight. Seems like the health part of the day will once again turn into lots of coffee, reading and writing, followed by a beer and more reading. Man, I hope my future job (should I actually manage to convince a university that it is worth hiring an English professor instead of another mechanical engineer) comes with a good health care plan. Oh–I also got a pretty funny list of characteristics that help you identify if you are a real grad student. Pretty damn funny. I will post that tomorrow, so that I have a quick post ready and can concentrate more on reading.

Oh: does anyone have anything smart to say about Barthelme??? God, I hate this fucking PoMo aesthetic/formal experimentation stuff–so self indulgent and politically useless (well, actually I argue that it is a symptom of a specific socioeconomic condition, which makes it at least somewhat interesting to me–but still only as an heuristic). Can someone please tell me why I should be interested in Barthelme on a level other than the one I just described? Really–any suggestion will do.

Sorry–I did not mean to end on such a negative note. Let’s go for something more positive: I took a quick shower earlier today, wasn’t partially boiled and consequently my ass feels just fine today.



  1. that was a ver y funnypost, looking forward to your extremely funny grad student list!

  2. Not a bad pick of Dos. One of the advantages of USA is its formal encouragement for bar and bathroom breaks. Why else divide it into so many sections? The speech of the people is best when interrupted.

  3. Didn’t mean to make it seem like I didn’t like your last blog. Was only teasing. No rejection letters, yet. Need to update blog, soon. You like fragments?

    Life’s about to get interesting.

  4. anaj: I am still trying to format that list so that I can actually post it here. How is this so difficult?

    cabbage: seriously! It would make a great movie on FOX. 😉

    joanna: I know–I was just kidding. And, hey, no news from a publisher is often good news. What’s the latest on grad school?

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