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Clarissa's Blog

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

Join the Identity Game!

Hey, folks, let’s play a game. Let’s make a list of who is the Other for your national identity. Who is it very very important for you not to be like?

For, instance:

Ukraine obviously has Russia as its Other

For Russia the Other is the US (which is such a lazy choice)

For Canada, the Other is also the US but it’s also the only actual neighbor, so it’s not that lazy a choice

For Argentina, it’s the non-white Latin America (which means all of Latin America)

I have no idea who the Other is for India, for instance. Is it China? We obviously have no Chinese readers, so we can’t ask them who their Other is.

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Cognitive Dissonance 

Canadians love to say didactically, “In Canada we believe that everybody has the right to free healthcare” and immediately follow this statement with a horror story of barely surviving Canadian healthcare. 

Bad Ear

Wow, this ear infection is really bad. I thought Klara’s musical toy broke and tried to repair it. But it was playing perfectly well. I simply couldn’t hear it at a distance of 10 feet. 

Apple Mystery

Can anybody explain why when I give Klara a cored, skinned apple that I cut up into convenient little pieces, she pushes it away and tries to grab the huge apple that I’m eating and that she can barely hold on to? And when I relinquish it and bite into a second apple, she grabs the second one, too?

Funny Propaganda 

This is so true:

Joseph Stalin allowed the film The Grapes of Wrath to be shown in the Soviet Union, believing that to see an indictment of capitalism from within the beast itself would be salutary for the proletariat. The proletariat took another lesson from the film: The Joads, apparently the poorest people in America, had a Ford, a luxury no working man in the workers’ paradise could dream of.

Yes, Soviet propaganda had a tendency to fail in this really funny way.

More Good News from Ukraine 

The Ukrainian Post Office is trying to bring Amazon to Ukraine. Why did I even leave?

Good and Bad in Ukraine 

A Ukrainian tourist in Egypt stole toilet paper, light bulbs and spoons from his hotel. Mind you, this was not an act of desperation on the part of a tragically poor person because tragically poor people from Ukraine don’t stay at Egyptian resorts. 

He was caught because another Ukrainian tourist alerted the hotel personnel. This is a shocking – and a shockingly good – development because it’s great to see a Ukrainian ally himself with foreign hotel workers and not with a home-country thief.

Outside of the Money Exchange 

An anonymous reader brought a link to an interesting article about the struggle of European feminists against surrogacy

The issue is, of course, whether people should be able to purchase absolutely anything they want provided they have the cash. Is there anything that can stand above the sacred right to buy? 

In my book, I talk about the practice of European governments to cut welfare payments and direct the poor to sell their body parts to supplement the insufficient and disappearing welfare payments. With the advent of a post-work society, people who can no longer sell productive labor will be pushed towards selling reproductive labor and their very bodies that can no longer be used in paid employment. 

Sadly, American liberalism has so fully aligned itself with the consumerist agenda that Americans don’t even understand what it is that the European feminists are unhappy about. The idea that there can be anything of a greater importance than a consumer’s right to keep buying is incomprehensible to them.

I see the future of liberalism in stepping back from an unconditional celebration of neoliberalism and concentrating on freedoms that lie outside of the money exchange. 

Ear Infection

Turns out I have an ear infection. My first thought when I found out was “Thank God it’s me and not Klara.” 

The problem is that I have to teach today and I can’t hear anything. Of course, I could just lecture for 6 hours, but I hate this kind of teaching if we are talking about literature. 

I don’t think I’ve been as sick as often in my whole adult life as I’ve been in this one year. This is what giving birth at 39 does to you, folks. 

On the positive side, my doctor was very happy about my weight loss. Doctors tend to be very stuck on weight. She was like, “Yeah, you have a pretty bad ear infection. But I can see in the chart that you are losing weight! That’s fantastic! Congratulations!”

And I was like, “So about the ear infection. . .”

“I’ll give you an antibiotic. But how about that weight loss! That’s really good! You look amazing! Are you planning on losing more weight?”

Labor-destroying Strategies

It’s currently fashionable to exploit the labor of small kids or elderly people in retirement homes, paying them literally cents an hour and save enormously on labor costs this way. Here is one such sweatshop. Here is another

There’s nothing we can do to stop this because, as you know, it’s all about choice. If vulnerable 90-year-olds or clueless 9-year-olds “choose” to be exploited by some rancid piece of human garbage, then that’s to be celebrated because choice is the God of consumerism. But at least we can spit on these products and shame the freaks who buy them and support exploitative practices and erosion of labor market. 

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