The Younger Generation, Take II

It’s not all sun and roses in my interactions with students, however. Earlier in the day, a student came to be advised.

“I’m creating my Fall schedule,” she told me, “and I want to choose the easiest courses there are. I want courses that require absolutely no effort or hard work, you know? Like a complete breeze, you know? Like the kind of a course I could almost take in my sleep. So I’ve been thinking about your course on the culture of Spain. Is that really easy?”

“It’s full,” I said.

“And the other section. . .”

“Full!”

“And your Hispanic Civ course, how easy is that?”

“FULL!!” I barked.

(It’s all true, the courses are full, and I wasn’t about to make any exceptions for the Queen of Slackers.)

The student, however, did not relent.

“So who offers really easy courses at this department? I’ve taken courses with Professor C, and that was hard. There was, like, homework and stuff. And Professor M makes people read. Is there anybody who’s easy?”

By that time I was fuming.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said. Professors C and M are the easiest we have. The rest are even harder.”

“Huh,” the student said. “And I always thought this was an easy Major.”

The photo has nothing to do with the post. I took it at the Botanical Gardens and I placed it here because it's beautiful

P.S. My sister suggested that the next time students ask me about easy courses, I direct them to the kindergarten we have nearby.

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The Younger Generation

I wanted to go to an event which would have required that I let the students out 10 minutes early.

“Would you, guys, like me to let you go early today?” I asked.

“No!” they yelled. “We need to keep talking about these past tenses.”

“Every minute counts,” one student added, and everybody else nodded.

So they kept me in the classroom 10 minutes past the end of the class. I don’t even mind not making it to the event because it’s very gratifying to see this kind of enthusiasm at the end of the academic year.

Something To Look Forward To

I have almost finished reading Elisabeth Badinter’s book The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women that only appeared in English translation yesterday. I will publish a review very soon. I know that there are many people who want to read a review of that book, so this is a heads up that it’s coming. 🙂

All I can say for now that is that I stayed up until 4 am reading this book on a night when I had to get up at 7 am in the morning. It isn’t like it says anything particularly new (at least, to me) but it’s so refreshing to read a reasonable, non-hysterical and non-essentialist argument on the subject. I love a thinker who scoffs at the phrase “maternal instinct.”

Mississippi Sucks Even More Than Everybody Thought

Horrible news:

Mississippi isn’t a small state. It’s pretty big. And now it looks like it may be the first state in the country without a single abortion clinic. Mississippi is the state that rejected the highly touted personhood amendment 55% to 45% just last year. Failing to ban abortion that way, the governor has found another way: regulating abortion out of existence.

I’ve got to say, though, if the women of the state are not out in the streets massively right now, protesting being treated like cattle, then they deserve to be treated precisely like that. Then, of course, all the whining and moaning about how women are “objectified” and how they do the bulk of housework will ensue. Although it is pretty clear that if you allow yourself to be treated like a brainless object with no shred of humanity in one are of life, you have resigned yourself to being treated this way in every area of life.

I can’t say I really blame Mississippi’s governor Phil Bryant. He is defending his interests which consist in controlling and humiliating women. He is being very logical and productive in working towards this goal. The women of this state, however, are a mystery. It isn’t like they gain anything from being trampled on in this way (other than the dubious pleasure of feeling like good little girls who renounce the right to control their own bodies). Why do they just sit there like passive little dummies?

Women of Mississippi, what the fuck is wrong with you? You could destroy this governor’s career if you laid aside your stupid patriarchal brainwashing and discovered some sorry remains of human dignity. Don’t you see that the issue at stake is so much larger than abortion?

I haven’t had any abortions and I’m not planning to have them in the future. Neither should you have them if the idea doesn’t sit right with you. But aside from mine and yours gynecological history, there is the matter of whether the state where you live considers you to be brainless cows. Don’t get an abortion, if you don’t feel like it, but don’t allow yourself to be treated like a doormat just because you need to feel self-righteous about the kind of medical procedures you have or haven’t had. Stop being such stupid, brainwashed fools already and take to the streets to protest this kind of an appalling treatment.

And if you are a woman who doesn’t see anything appalling in Governor Bryant’s initiatives, then you are a brainless cow, and I apologize profusely for messing with such a huge part of your identity.

Female Libidinal Economy

You never fail to discover stunning revelations in the works of some literary critics:

If “the sexual pattern of arousal and release” characterizes only male libido, then what is female libido supposed to be like?

It would be great if literary critics left the study of libido to sexologists and did not share their own weird understanding of human sexuality in their articles. I’m now distracted from working on my manuscript by trying to figure out what this (normally very talented and insightful) critic was trying to say about female libidinal economy.

How I Was Taught to Do Literary Criticism

That’s the way I was taught to conduct literary criticism:

As feminists at odds with our culture, we are at odds also with its literary traditions and need often to talk about texts in terms that the author did not use, may not have been aware of, and might indeed abhor. The trouble is that this necessity goes counter not only to our personal and professional commitment to all serious literature but also to our training as gentlemen and scholars, let alone as Americans, taught to value, above all, value-free scholarship.

Forget about ideology, leave aside the actual meaning of the words, and concentrate on how nice they sound and how beautifully they are arranged into sentences.

I hated that approach.