How Out of Touch Am I?

Today was one of those days, people. The computer refused to cooperate, the printer ignored my attempts to establish a dialogue with it, the IT guy got lost on the way to my office, I keep dropping things, getting confused, misplacing office keys, etc. I bought lunch and tried to take it to the office but it somehow got lost on the way to the office, which is quite a mystery in its own right. And to make things even more joyful, the movie DVD I brought to my Advanced Spanish course refused to work.

This is a completely new DVD that I bought specifically for this course. I played it twice at home and then did a trial run in the classroom where I was planning to show it. Everything worked great. Until today when I actually had to show it.

When I say I was going to play this movie for the students, it means that I’d prepared a huge number of activities on its basis. There are exercises to do before watching, during watching, after watching, the movie-based lab assignment, the movie-based set of homeworks, and a midterm that integrates the knowledge we will have gained from working with the movie. Creating and coordinating all of those activities is a lot of work. A crazy amount of work. So, obviously, I freaked out completely when the DVD refused to play.

A student saw me in the process of freaking out and took pity on me. “Professor, this movie is available on YouTube for free,” he said, looking at me with the kindness normally reserved for very old and frail people.

Now, the reason I have just bored you with this story is that I have a question. It never even occurs to me to see if a movie, a book or a song are available for free online. I always just buy them or order them at the library when I need them. It’s like the free online option is not even there for me. Does this mean I’m hopelessly old? Am I getting completely irrelevant to the new generation?

I’m completely exhausted, and that’s what causes these¬†existential¬†questions.

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“You Are Gay!”

Today was the first time ever that I heard anybody call another person gay as a form of insult. As you can imagine, I don’t hang out with homophobes, so it isn’t like I even know anybody capable of this. Of course, I was completely shocked.

In class, a student was doing a grammar exercise with her regular activity partner. She made a mistake and the partner responded with “You are so gay! You can never say anything right!”

As I stood there, reconsidering my position on whether corporal punishment is an acceptable teaching strategy, the rest of the students started turning to the offender and asking him, “Are you stupid, or something? Since when is there something wrong with being gay? What’s your problem?”

It’s good to see that most of the students don’t see such homophobic statements as something normal.

Elisabeth Badinter on Breastfeeding

I just discovered that the brilliant European feminist Elisabeth Badinter has published an essay titled “The Tyranny of Breast-feeding: New Mothers vs. La Leche League.” This sounds like something that I definitely need to read but the article is only available to subscribers of stupid Harper’s magazine.

Does anybody have access to it by any chance? Badinter is a real feminist, not the toothless American “choice feminism” kind, and I dig her. I can’t wait for the translation of her book on motherhood to come out.

Ask Clarissa

As we are preparing to celebrate this blog’s third Birthday on April 1, I wanted to give everybody an opportunity to ask their favorite blogger anything they want.

Don’t be shy, I know there are things you are curious to know.

I’m making this post sticky for a while, so scroll down for new posts.