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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 day “October 2, 2017”

Shame

Turned on the TV, heard “thoughts and prayers! Let’s not politicize!”, spit on the screen, and turned it off. 

People should be ashamed of themselves. 

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1,038

I detest it when interlibrary loan gives me a 1,038-page book for 5 days with no renewals. What am I supposed to do with it in 5 days? Celebrate its existence?

I could read 1,038 pages in 5 days but only if I did absolutely nothing else.

Deserving

Now that I’ve passed my citizenship test and submitted my grant application, do I deserve to stay on the couch for an hour reading a book? I think I do. Yes, I think I definitely do. And I won’t feel guilty. I hope. 

This was addressed to myself more than anybody else. 

What other extravagance am I entitled to? Ah, I know. I’ll eat potatoes. 

I wish I could become a citizen every day. 

Passed

I just passed my citizenship test!

And guess what? The very first question was the one I posted about Africans. 

I also got the “no taxation without representation”, Mike Pence, Supreme Court, the number of amendments, and one other I don’t remember right now. 

The whole thing took under 15 minutes. Which makes sense because I’m totally a model prospective citizen. 

Boring Thought Leaders

And the prize for the most meaningless sentence of the day goes to the MIT that is posting the following gem:

 Access knowledge from industry thought leaders and learn to lead the implementation of sustainable improvement strategies to solve organizational issues in your unique business context.

Is there anybody who hasn’t died of boredom after reading it? These thought leaders definitely have a great future in curing insomnia.

Cross Purposes

I have two projects I’m working on that are mutually exclusive. If I get funding for one, I can’t do the other, and vice versa. Given that I’m not one of the fortunate folks who can hold two contradicting thoughts in their minds at the same time, the whole process confuses and disheartens me. It’s smart to apply for both at once because I maximize my chance of getting something. But I’m a very one-dimensional, obsessive person. If I get invested into one thing, it’s super hard to break the concentration and switch my attention to a parallel project.

Democracy

Back in the early nineties, Russia’s newly minted parliament started passing an assload of bills. Most of them were about transferring all of the power in the country to the parliament itself. In the end, that parliament was more powerful than most old-time monarchs. 

So of course, Yeltsin (it was still Yeltsin back then) got fed up, brought in the troops, and whooped the MPs’ asses. And then invested himself with all the power that the parliament had tried to usurp. Eventually, Putin came and completed the process. 

The moral of the story is that democracy is not about voting. Russians got voting up the wazoo. They vote constantly, so what? They still got no democracy.

Democracy is all about procedure, bureaucracy, the rules, checks and balances, if you will. It’s about everything having to go through a slow, frustrating process of being approved by a ton of different entities in a predetermined order. It’s total shit, yet it’s still better than any known alternative. The power of the people is not that everybody can go and vote. It’s that everybody is ruled by the painful and drawn-out procedure.

This is why the “referendum” in Catalonia has fuck all to do with democracy. Anybody can organize a referendum, rile up millions through the social media, and bring them out to vote because they are upset over being oppressed by Lope de Vega whom they haven’t heard about until you denounced him on Facebook yesterday. 

There is an inherent conflict between consumer mentality and democracy because there is no instant gratification in the painfully slow bureaucratic quagmire of a truly democratic process. Consumerism won in Catalonia yesterday. There’s nothing to celebrate here unless you are a fanatical adept of neoliberalism.

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