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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

I’m Scaring Myself

The TV was on when one of those Timelife commercials for a country music CD collection came on. N and I were about to switch it off because we don’t get country music but somehow ended up watching the 30-minute ad until the end because. . . we loved the music. We are staring at each other in confusion because all of a sudden we both dig stuff like “Okie from Muscogee.”

Midwest is messing with our heads something major. 

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People I Hate

The woman in this comic is abusive and I hate her. I know she’s supposed to be some sort of a victim but I detest passive aggressive people of this sort. 

My blood pressure shot up like an angry squirrel when I saw the strip. Hate, hate, hate people who flip out on you because you didn’t read their fucking mind when and how they expected to.  It’s especially tough on a child who lives in permanent terror of mommy yelling at daddy for no reason that can be anticipated. 

Any child would much much rather live in a messy house and eat out of a can than have to be saddled with life-long anxiety because of mommy’s fucking mental loads!

I’m especially insulted that this vile piece of trash used the word “feminism.” 

Fuck these fuckers.

Wow, this really hit home.

Assange and Kushner

All of a sudden, Assange is defending Kushner

Hmm, I wonder what that means. Might they both even. . . perish the thought! . . serve the same master?

Macron Gossip

So is it true that Macron is married to an old pedophile or are Russians bulshitting, as usual?

Tiny Wounds

The reason why the genre of “I’m so wounded by this tiny little thing that I’m about to die” is so popular is the same why Hunger Games is a bestseller and many well to do people in this culture enjoy fantasies of an impending apocalypse. This is simply a way for an opulent society to signal its opulence. 

Who is more likely to exclaim in front of others, “Oh God, I have absolutely nothing to wear!”, a rich person with an overflowing wardrobe or a person who lives in poverty and truly has nothing to wear? Who is more likely to say publicly, “I’m so broke!”, a person who just declared personal bankruptcy or a person who didn’t? Who’s more likely to say to her friends, “I’m so fat, I don’t know what to do”, somebody skinny or somebody really fat? Come to think of it, who’s more likely to say, “I’m completely out of ideas and don’t know how I will get anything published”, a person who does or doesn’t have this problem?

Enacting extreme hurt over something trivial is a way of signaling how easy amd great one’s life really is. 

All in the Day’s Work

Klara brought me my shoes (that look huge like boats next to her) and repeated “sioux! sioux!” until I put them on. 

Then she brought her shoes and again repeated “sioux! sioux!” (that’s the closest to how she pronounces it)  until I put them on her. 

Then she brought me her jacket and got me to put it on her. 

Then she went to the front door and tugged at it until I opened it and let her out. 

Outside she went to the gate we have around our mimosa tree and shook it until I took off the look she kept pointing at and gave it to her. 

She clutched the lock in her little hand, smiled, and said “Appey.” (Which means “happy.”)

Then she walked around clutching the lock and repeating “appey” for 20 minutes. And then she fell asleep. 

Putin Is Worried

So Putin is up for reelection next year. He has a bunch of fake opponents, created to pretend that Russia is a democracy. You’ve got to playact democracy even if you hate it and go around telling the world how useless it is. 

He also has a real opponent. It’s Navalny, the Russian LePen. And gosh, it’s so funny that Putin, who feeds the LePens of the world, should have his own badgering him at home. If you don’t know who Navalny is, please look up my posts about him using the search function. 

Everything I observe (and I’ll spare you the details) tells me that Putin is seriously worried about Navalny. Why is a total mystery. Navalny is conducting a talented campaign but he can’t get on TV. And if you can’t get on TV in Russia, it means most voters will never hear about you. 

Besides, Putin will, of course, falsify away any percentage of votes that he doesn’t like. This will be accompanied by, “That’s what democracy is like. See, even Americans are investigating if their elections were falsified.” So I see no reason for him to worry. Yet he does. 

Authorities

You simply don’t cite Sheryl Sandberg and Naomi Klein as intellectual authorities and expect to be taken seriously. You’ve got to show that you are referring to them ironically. Or I begin to feel vicarious shame and curling my toes in embarrassment. 

Book Notes: Nation-building and Novels

Benito Perez Galdos is a 19th-century Spanish novelist who’s like Dickens or Balzac but better. And the reason you’ve never heard of him is Spain’s peculiar position vis-a-vis the “real” Europe. But please, please believe me: he is out of this world good.  

Galdos wrote a bunch of amazing (and very long) realist novels, and I read and loved them all. But aside from these novels, Galdos worked on an enormous life-long project of writing historical fiction. The project was called National Episodes, and it’s nation-building at its best. And to think that I had never had time to read any but the very first novel in the project.

There are 46 novels in the project, and the series begins with the battle of Trafalgar and then goes on to cover the entire 1st half of the 19th century, that is, precisely the time when nation-states were being consolidated. 

History is the most ideological of human sciences, and history textbooks are as fictional as any novel. Which is why it makes more sense to use Galdos’s novels to learn about Spain’s history than actual textbooks. 

The Court of Carlos IV is the second novel in the project. It’s not Galdos’s best writing but it’s still so good that I was reading maniacally, on every device in sight, unable to put the book down. The novel shows Spain on the eve of Napoleon’s invasion. It’s full of delightful 19th century gossip but the best part is watching the author manipulating history to suit his nation-building purposes. 

2 novels down, 44 more to go. I’m in paradise. 

Rich Bunnies Get a Consolation Prize

Hey, remember those two rich freaks at Yale who made a spectacle out of themselves wailing “You are hurting my fee-fees! You are fucking disgusting! I’m mortally wounded!” at a professor whose wife had written an email about Halloween costumes? 

This is the funniest news ever, so prepare yourselves. Yale responded by throwing the e-mail’s author off campus and giving the rich brats. . . an award! The award goes to two graduating seniors who, while maintaining high academic achievement, have provided exemplary leadership in enhancing race and/or ethnic relations at Yale College. 

Of course, if you don’t constantly praise every rich little bunny on that campus, the parents might get sore and not endow any more buildings but I wish the consolation prize given to these particular wounded darlings were at least worded differently. 

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