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Clarissa's Blog

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

Archive for the month “July, 2017”

Iceland

Is it true that there are no mosquitoes in Iceland? Because if it’s true, I need to move. 

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Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin can’t play Tolstoy’s Pierre because he’s a Jew and not black enough. Or something

I think Patinkin is a great actor and could even play Natasha successfully. But he would be absolutely perfect as Pierre. He is Pierre 100%, and if you’ve seen him and read the novel, you’ll have to agree. 

What kind of crap is this?

Academic Boredom

The reason why academics like the one I linked in the previous post are so angry and resentful is that they intuit that something is really wrong with the way they organize their intellectual lives. They know that reciting all these intersectional, inclusive, peer-approved mantras can’t be the reason they got into academia. They shift between the extreme boredom of constantly toeing the narrow line of the permissible and the terror of failing to virtue-signal loudly enough at every opportunity.

​Intelligent people who have stopped developing intellectually either dedicate themselves to petty squabbles with colleagues or turn to ideological policing. 

My Opposite

And here is a long, overwrought and vacuous post from an academic who defends the suppression of free speech on campus because any speech that isn’t comprised 100% from the ideologically approved platitudes he can tolerate is necessarily HATE. The number of times the word hate is repeated in the linked post hints at the state of the author’s psyche. 

The linked fellow is my exact opposite. I have a serious issue with people who so easily put on the mantle of moral superiority and dismiss the slightest shade of disagreement as hatemongering. The life of the intellect is not possible if any hint at a disagreement makes you writhe in fury. 

I make an effort to expose myself to the thinking of people and groups whose ideas I detest. I actively seek out websites and discussion groups where they express themselves. It’s a million times more valuable to do that than to read, for the bizillionth time, the same ideas you have espoused for decades. 

Ultimately, we only have one life to achieve as much personal and intellectual growth as we can. Thwarting this crucial development out of fear that one’s worldview might crack if exposed to any influence is simply dumb. So you have successfully hidden from the threatening world behind a wall of your peer-approved mantras. What’s the point of such a stunted life?

Tough Guy

On the playground, a tiny little tot fell and started crying. His father picked him up with the obligatory “Don’t cry! Aren’t you a tough guy? You need to be tough!” 

The tough guy was maybe 2,5 years old, if that. He will grow into an adult whose only interaction with his own emotions will be to repress them and will die 6 years earlier than his time as a result (it would be 12 years earlier in my part of the world). And in between, he will saddle some hapless woman with the task of explaining his emotions for him and managing his emotional states. Because the only way to get really tough – as opposed to an emotionally stunted mental wreck – is to accept one’s feelings as fully legitimate.

By the way, teaching children to process and express their own emotions is one of the main tasks of parenting. And this task doesn’t get cancelled out by the child’s having a penis and not a vagina. 

Book Notes: Mexico and the Spanish Civil War

Hallelujah! Finally I have found a book by a Latin Americanist that was a pleasure to read. Mario Ojeda Revah is a professor in Mexico and he has no interest in turning his field of knowledge into a site for narcissistic self-flagellation by the bearers of delicious liberal guilt. In Ojeda Revah’s México and the Spanish Civil War, Mexicans are not silent and pathetic victims, like they always are in the work of American scholars, but people with agency and a mind of their own. And shockingly, some Mexicans suck, and not because the evil US forced them.

Of course, Ojeda Revah has ideology. Everybody does. But his ideology is one I like because it isn’t stale. Ojeda Revah clearly favors the idea that Spaniards and Latin Americans have a lot more in common than not. I also believe that it’s high time to drop the ancient animosities of the colonial times. When a country hasn’t invaded in a couple of centuries, it’s time to let it go and move on. Hell, I was ready to move on when Russians managed to stay away from Ukraine for two decades. But we know how that turned out.

In short, the book was very unpredictable because the author actually did research and communicated his findings in the book. Unlike so many scholars who don’t research anything and instead spout off SJW slogans for 300 pages.

By the way, this is the first book in exactly 15 years that I will be reviewing for an academic journal, so now I have to say all this but in polite language.

Embrace Chaos

Remember how we talked about fluid capital and the erosion of all solid institutions and practices by the unchecked capital flows?

This fluidity is chaotic in nature. It’s not a single stream that goes in a well-defined direction. It’s a million tiny flows and rivulets that erode solidity. Fighting the chaos is exhausting and pointless. The only way is to embrace it. 

Are you sure you are not wasting too much energy on trying to bring order to chaos? 

Subdued

I’ve been sick for a very short time but already missed the tragic news about two terror acts in Germany. It’s not easy to follow real news these days because everything is drowned out by the noise from purposefully scandalous outbursts aimed at keeping us subdued and compliant. Many crucially important things are happening but we are unaware of them because we are mesmerized by the con artists who are waving a flashy object in front of us. 

If each of us makes a list of what we considered news this past week, we’ll see how much of it was trivial and aimed at duping us into passivity. And it’s not only political passivity but the intellectual, too. 

I used to have a fairly decent news feed that I’d created manually out of the sources I picked myself. But since the election my news feed began to get infected by empty, tabloid-like stories that communicate nothing but infertile gossip.

I knew it was going to happen. I was well-aware that both politics and reporting would be emptied of all content in favor of hardcore entertainment. But I expected it to be a gradual process. Instead, it all happened within a single year. 
What I want to do is to start a Real News blog series where we can discuss important stories and not this goddamn fluff about stars’ hand-holdings, brawls, and divorces. 

Subservient

Some people have such pathetic, thwarted lives that being noticed on Twitter by Chelsea Clinton is an enormous big deal for them. You’d say, Chelsea Clinton? Who the hell cares about her? Well, apparently the linked fellow can’t get over her being A RICH PERSON who finally noticed him. 

If he’s over the age of 25, it’s very sad. If he’s older than 40, it’s simply tragic. 

Restaurants

I keep writing about restaurants because I’m very happy that after a short break between Klara’s infancy and right now we can start going out to restaurants again. We love eating out on weekends. 

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