Day 394: White Folk

People have been talking about this blog quite a lot–even in academia, which is why this entry may be quite fitting:

There are some entries that are rather haphazardly put together, but a number of them are witty and entertaining. Enjoy.

Day 374: Depeche Mode

Yes, if you like them, you must have liked my blog recently (lame “Enjoy the Silence” reference).

Explanation: stuff is going on and I don’t want to jinx it. Also, chances for that stuff that’s going on to actually happen (i.e. produce results) are really slim, so I have to force myself not to think about it, which has the same effect as someone telling you not to think of an elephant (you think of an elephant–just in case that wasn’t clear). But: stuff may or may not be happening.

Other current projects that take up my time:

1. I am training for the first annual Summarizing Infinite Jest World Championship.

2. I am preparing the launch of my new line of merchandise–evidently you don’t have to be famous any more these days to release your own fashion/fragrance line (mine will include shirts with my confused faced as standard logo and a variety of lines that say things such as “Heisenberg may or may not have been here” — my current fragrance that will be released later this week is “Eau D’Espair for Men”–it will be part of a Humanities Ph.D. toiletry set).

3. I am advising a friend on the pros and cons of getting various Greimas-squares tattoos.

Just thought I’d bring you up to speed.

Day 347: It’s Bakhtin Time!

Yes, it is true: the dialogic imagination is in the house! (Maybe, if we’re all really lucky and keep our fingers crossed, the dialectic may even stop by–that is, as long as the dialogic does not deteriorate, as is common, into the logic of the carnivalesque).

Ok, enough pseudo-comedic references to weird Russians. The point of this post: the course blog for my Multiethnic U.S. literature class is off the ground (and, in case I have not yet mentioned this yet, my Intro to Multiethnic U.S. literature course this spring is now 25% more multi-ethnic–for the same price–what a great deal!). Students have posted their first response papers and now it is up to the online community to test their logic. What this means is, that I invite you to read some posts and comment on critical method, logic, ask further questions, or voice your criticism. This, of course, should not be competely devastating (remember: they are beginning literature students and this is a general education course), but, as you will see, there are problems with logic and underdeveloped arguments that need to be pointed out–i.e. students need to get into the habit of thinking through their arguments/analyses/logical frameworks in detail and more carefully before releasing them into the world. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. The next set of papers on Octavia Butler will be posted by Monday.

to visit the site, click this link:

http://multiethnicliterature.edublogs.org/

Day 341: Multiethnic Literature

This semester I am experimenting a bit with alternative teaching and writing formats in my course on Multiethnic Literatures of the U.S. I have created a course blog that will be (at some point–hopefully) pretty much completely student-run. Students are signed up as contributors/authors and will post short responses, as well as longer critical essays on novels. The point of the blog is to ensure that students don’t simply write each paper in one long all-nighter every four weeks. Instead, I want them to be responsible for taking care of and respond to outside comments on their writings (and to each others’ posts). This will hopefully get them into a regular writing routine, which, so I hope, will result in more carefully framed research questions and more complicated critical arguments.

I therefore invite all of you to visit this blog and participate in the discussions, since even very brief comments, ideas and, criticism will help them think through problems more critically. To that end, this blog will not only focus on literary and cultural issues, but also invites students and outside readers to discuss the social and political problems that are mediated by cultural production. The general topic of my course this semester is “race, diversity, neoliberalism.”

You can visit the blog here:

http://multiethnicliterature.edublogs.org/

Check back often for constantly updated student writing (the first batch of papers will be posted next Thursday)–we all greatly appreciate your feedback. Also, feel free to spread the word about this, send the url to people you know, or maybe even advertise the blidget (the blog is also available as a blog widget for your own blog, facebook, etc.)–this would help us a lot and hopefully ensure that we get some outside comments. Thanks–cj

Day 326: Back Again and Almost Sober

Yes, I have re-emerged from the swamp of self-pity and alcohol abuse I was caught in for about a month (which climaxed spectacularly over the course of Christmas, which I exclusively spent with myself, the movie theater, bars, beer, shots, and, for good measure, the occasional Irish car bomb) and have entered the (ironically quite Bruce Willis-ean “with a vengeance”) “fuck it, I’ll keep working my ass off and show you what you passed up” stage. The last I have to say about what transpired in the last two to three months is this: you thought 2 girls 1 cup was disturbing and emotionally scarring? Try 400 Ph.D.s 1 job! You can catch it annually at the MLA convention.

As far as blogging is concerned, this site will from now on return to its roots and accompany me in the next three to four months as I finish revising/writing the last two chapters of my dissertation (we are at the moment looking at 8 chapters, excluding intro and conclusion, of which about 6 1/2 exist in more or less completed stages). Concretely, this means that I will not be posting about whiny job market and personal life shite any more (part of the elaborate process of repression I have developed in order to replace perpetual inebriation–for practical reasons: it’s a lot cheaper) and will instead return to posts on (critical) theory and contemporary issues in literary/cultural studies.

hope everyone’s well out there and had a good start into the new year–cheers,

 cj

Day 299: I’m Sorry

I know I’ve been increasingly digitally (as well as physically) anti-social for the last, well, weeks and months, actually. My thoughts are just completely colonized by job market and writing issues and this to the extent that I am finding it hard to sleep at night. This week I’ve in fact been trying to contact Sam Elliott, asking him to read me Cormac McCarthy novels to help me fall asleep (which seems like one of the most effective forms of relaxation to me–it’s a voice thing). Alas, it seems as though this plan will not work out. He’s busy with some movie.

Apart from harassing actors, I am currently trying to write an article on 9/11, the desiring structures the event produced and their effect on contemporary cultural production. I also gave my first finals this week and have to grade them along with my first stack of final papers (I’ll be getting more next week–those that are still in preparation will probably be sent to me in draft form over the weekend for comments and suggestions, so I’ll have to do a round of pre-grading as well). Additionally, I have to start working on two other writing projects, which I may initially have to put on the back burner for a while, since I have my departmental mock job interview on Thursday. Our department sets these up to prepare us for the real thing. They assemble a committee that will simulate real conditions (or ideally, conditions that are tougher than that). Fun fact about my committee: one of the members will be Gerald Graff. Despite the fact that this scares me somewhat, I figure if I am able to do half way well in the eyes of the actual PRESIDENT of the MLA,  the actual MLA interviews should not freak me out too much any more, right?

Ok, that’s about it for now. I’ll try to be better about posting in the future–the overall pace of my life surely has to slow down sometime and leave me room for posting etc. again, no?

Day 216: Know Your Enemy…

… is a fantastic song. However, it has nothing to do with what follows. Or does it? No, no. Not really. I am a very friendly person. That is, if you are not…

ok, this may take too long 🙂

I have been tagged by anaj to answer 19 questions. Apparently, this is some new thing going around the blogosphere. I wonder: why 19? And who cares? (Do we actually care to find out something of substance about the people whose blog we read? Is this really an attempt to build a social community that has depth? Or is this purely an exercise in narcissism? I suspect it may be the latter. Seriously, Hardt and Negri aside, isn’t the social component of the internet less about finding and connecting with someone you find interesting than doing things so that lots of people will find you interesting–the desire to connect seems less democratic than purely flowing into one single direction [i.e. the enjoyment arising from building a community of virtual stalkers who stalk an ideally, digitally projected version of yourself?–i.e. is the the consentual, collective creation of social simulacra?]) In this spirit, here are my answers:

1. Pick out a scar you have, and explain how you got it.
I have LOTS of scars. I used to be both a very stupid child and a rather self-destructive teenager. There are also lots of weird medical or embarassing stories to tell here. Ask me if you really want to hear more. (Ok–one quick, harmless one: I have a big scar on my upper lip that is the result of a toilet door splitting my lip completely in the middle (vertically)–was hard to get back together but now it is not too noticeable) 

2. What does your phone look like? List your reasons to buy it?
It is black and silver. It is scratched and banged up. It allows me to communicate with people who are otherwise not visually or audibly accessible to me.

3. What is on the walls of your bedroom?
A Che flag and a painting/collection of quotes of Sacco and Vanzetti. Oh, and a Metropolis poster and prints of van Gogh’s Guernica and Man with Guitar.

4. What is your current desktop picture?
Yves Tanguy, Indefinite Divisibility

5. Do you believe in gay marriage?
I don’t believe in marriage, period. However, I also believe that craziness is not specific to gender or sexual orientation, so if a gay person is really crazy enough to want to get married, he/she should be allowed to express his/her craziness in the same way heterosexual people are allowed to do.

6. What do you want more than anything right now?
I want to be done with my dissertation and have a job lined up so I can concentrate on drinking and hiking through the desert/mountains by myself for a few months.

7 . What time were you born?
no idea

8. Are your parents still together?
nope

9. Last person who made you cry?
Don’t want to say.

10. What is your favorite perfume / cologne?
Cool Water (that is what I use most frequently, at least)

11. What kind of hair/eye color do you like in the opposite sex?
Every combination, really (well, red and white is a little freaky but who am I to judge–I had a bunny once who could make that shit work!). I have to admit, however, that I do have a serious fetish for black hair and bright blue eyes.

12. What are you listening to? Why?
Wind in trees. My window is open.

13. Do you get scared of the dark?
If I do, I pretend to be Chuck Norris and then the dark gets scared of me. 

14. Do you like painkillers?
Muchly.

15. Are you too shy to ask someone out?
Yes. In fact, I have never done so.

16. If you could eat anything right now, what would it be?
Anything that would require outdoor fire/barbecue to be prepared, which in turn would require me drinking beer while preparing it, which would mean that I am done with writing for the next few days, because otherwise I would not have time to do this.

17. Who was the last person who made you mad?
Myself.

18. List one habit you have that has the potential to annoy people?
I tend to isolate myself for long periods of time and unintentionally alienate people when I write (it is apparently quite annoying, bordering on the cruel).

19. Who was the last person who made you smile?
Someone in the street who gave me what seemed to be a really big, uninhibited and honest smile and said: “hi!” this morning when I got back from buying coffee. Isn’t that just the best beginning for a day?

I guess I also have to tag other people. Let’s see. I hereby tag: Joanna, Shannon, Red Crochet, Dejan, caveblogem and ELECTRA.