Mamma Doesn’t Work

Klara is so used to hearing that papa is at work that now she calls him “Papa work.” Even when he’s sleeping, he’s “Papa work.”

Finally, the sheer injustice of it got to me. “Mamma works, too,” I informed her.

“Work?” she said. “Work papa.”

“Mamma works!” I said. “I just made tapta soup. And did laundry. And folded. And picked up this mountain of toys. Mamma work!”

“No,” Klara said. “Papa work. Work papa job.”

“I also have a job!” I hollered. “See this book? I wrote it! Mamma work!!! Mamma job!”

“Mama llama?”

“No! Klara’s mamma! Me! Work!”

“Papa? Papa work,” Klara concluded. “Mamma nose. Mamma eyes. Papa job.”

It feels like I lost this argument for the moment.

Book Notes: Cesar Rendueles’s Sociophobia

César Rendueles’s Sociophobia: Political Change in the Digital Utopia is one of the books I’ve read for my study of neoliberalism. It’s a really great book that I highly recommend. Rendueles mocks wide-eyed digital utopists with the brutality that they richly deserve. I want to offer a couple of quotes to illustrate:

“The Internet, I argue, is not a sophisticated laboratory in which delicate strains of the communities of the future are being developed but is instead a rundown zoo housing the decrepit forms of age-old problems that still haunt us, though we prefer not to see them” (26).

“Judging by its impact on the media, an update to Twitter’s timeline is received as a social change as fundamental as the Neolithic Revolution” (27).

“The Internet may be the embodiment of the public sphere, but in that case we would have to accept that the objective of civil society is amateur porn and cat videos. This is not anecdotal. Empirical studies systematically find that the Internet limits cooperation and political critique rather than stimulating it” (38).

The central idea of the book: Neoliberalism adopted sociophobia as a social norm, and smartphones, apps, Facebook and Twitter are helping spread sociophobic tendencies. 

This is in tune with Bauman’s ideas about the erosion of sociability and sociality in the service of liquid capital.

Great book, highly recommended.

First Name

I decided to stop introducing myself to students and signing off in emails with my first name. It never worked anyway. Students stubbornly prefer to use my very unpronounceable last name or, at the very least, address me as “Professor”. I think they sense how incompatible this false camaraderie with my standoffish and formal teaching persona.