New Office

There is no new intellectual renewal challenge because I’m using my move to a new office for this purpose. I almost completed the move in just one day. Now I just have to wash the floor and move in the ancient hanging files that I never use but that have to follow me around for some unknown reason.

I came to this university before the digitalization, so I had a mountain of old paperwork to dispose of. It was so enjoyable to ditch all the merit folders and pre-tenure reports. Of course, everything has its positive and negative sides, and this move has them, too.

Positives:

  1. The new office has a window. We have no windows in the classrooms, and I didn’t love being deprived of natural light the entire time I was at work.
  2. Moving to a new office gives me a chance to go over my teaching materials and ditch everything I don’t need. I ended up disposing of 95% of my teaching materials because I love making up new stuff and I hate teaching the same thing all over and over again.
  3. The new office has a huge soft armchair that will help me read in the office.
  4. I got a chance to arrange everything in the new office to fit my new goals in my profession.
  5. The new office has many more bookshelves.
  6. The new office has no history of dead birds falling from the ceiling.

Negatives:

  1. The new office doesn’t have a closet with coat hangers for the coat, shoes, dresses, and blouses. Until mid-October, I will have to change at least once (and ideally twice) at work because I don’t lecture, I work with students who are talking in small groups. I have to come very close to them and, sorry for the TMI, but I don’t want to reek of sweat when I do that.
  2. I will now have neighbors. Not inside my office, of course, but in offices next to me. My former office was very isolated and I could blast my trashy Russian TV shows where people yell Russian obscenities at each other while I prepped and graded. Now I won’t be able to do that because it will disturb the neighbors. (I detest earphones).
  3. The colleagues will finally discover what a lazy layabout I am. But it’s too late because I already have tenure.

Tomorrow I will complete the move and post photos of the new office.

Jesus Stickers

When I see preachy, smug bumper stickers like “Jesus was a refugee”, I want to slap one saying “Jesus was also male. So what?” right under it. 

Links on and by Racists

What racists have to say about the Gilmore Girls sequel. Note the utter incapacity to notice the global economic crisis that occured between the two parts of the show. 

I found the curious review by clueless racists in this outlandishly bad piece from BuzzFeed. It’s all about flattering the vanity of some crazy old git but at least it led me all the way to the clueless racists. 

Book Notes: Fallada’s Little Man

Hans Fallada’s 1933 novel Little Man, What Now? was an immediate bestseller. It was turned into movies both in Germany and, unfortunately for the writer, in the US. Hitler didn’t appreciate the novel’s success in “Jew-owned Hollywood” and the novel’s humanization of Jews. 

Little Man is not a major work of art like Fallada’s Wolf Among Wolves. It’s a comforting, easy-to-read, deeply cute novel that was supposed to comfort the 6,000,000 unemployed in Germany of that time and all those people who feared becoming indigent. It’s very masterfully done, and it spoke to people who were about to start throwing their arms up in the Nazi salute and marching their neighbors into concentration camps. 

Fallada wrote obsessively about the rise of Hitler (without ever mentioning Hitler, of course) because what else was there to write about for a German author in the 1930s? In Little Man he points to capitalism as the culprit of Nazism swift rise. The characters of the novel vacillate between Nazism and Communism but, since Stalin had chosen to doom German Communism, Nazism prevailed. 

I dislike all parallels between the rise of German Nazism and what we are seeing today but Little Man is a document of its time that spoke to people and the parallels are eerie. If you were planning to read Snyder’s book on the rise of totalitarianism, read this novel instead.