The kind of people I always envied are the ones like the characters in a novel I’m reading who go on a drive to a neighboring country (in our context, it would be another state) to look for a French translation of a book to compare it to the English and Spanish translations they already have. I have the desire and the resources but I never had this kind of mobility, not once. 

I ❤️❤️❤️ 🇩🇪🇩🇪🇩🇪

Via Mike’s blog:

‘You don’t seem to be mad at the people here. Shouldn’t you, as a leftist, despise AfD supporters?’ 
-You should never despise anyone. Many of them are protest voters. I can understand that. A number of things have taken a turn for the worse in recent years. At my polling station, the AfD received just three votes less than The Left during the last election. But regardless of how sad the reality is, I’m proud that the elections work in our country and aren’t influenced from the outside. And that everyone can express their opinion openly.

I love Germany for this. We need more of this kind of attitude over here. Sadly, a lot more people here are ready to give the benefit of the doubt to some stinking rich guy in a mansion than to a fellow worker down the street.

Just Say No

The problem is that people got so addicted to endless injections of fresh outrage that they need a new dose daily. Yesterday’s outrage, no matter how strong, is no good today. So new reasons to ooh and aah have to be invented constantly.

The problem, though, is that coming up with trivial causes of outrage cheapens all of the previous manifestations of the same emotion. Trump’s approval for the Charlottesville neo-Nazis who had “many good people” among them becomes a minor silly thing when placed alongside his wife’s shoes or his way of pronouncing Puerto Rico. It all just blends into the same tiresome mess of “ah, here go these freaks, nitpicking over nothing of any importance.” Being outraged daily is like not being outraged at all because it’s not an emotion for daily use. You can’t have the best or the worst meal of your life three times a day every day. And you can’t cry wolf every 15 minutes for four years without making everybody around you so jaded that they will never listen to you again.

So please, please, if you want this freak show to end in 2020, stop participating in the daily outrage fest and help your friends kick the habit. It’s going to be hard but it’s doable. 

Is Trump Perfect?

The only thing more offensive to my sensibilities than Trump are some of his detractors. Look at this completely invented and ridiculous cause for fake outrage. And from whom? Some dimwit who writes “Latinx people” without ever wondering how those “Latinx people” feel about the ridiculous designation.

Seriously, there’s nothing real to criticize about Trump? He’s so perfect that one has to invent this sort of bullshit? Is that the message that’s being transmitted here? 

With allies like these, who needs enemies?

FB Weirdness

What I hate about Facebook is that it keeps forcing me to read comments that my friends have left on threads where they are participating and that I know nothing about. It makes me feel like I’m spying on them. It also makes for very creepy experiences when I discover that a friend is talking about me on some thread and not in a good way. I always wonder if she knows I can see this because if that’s a weird way of communicating her unhappiness to me, I guess I have to respond. Probably by starting to badmouth her in a separate thread. Or better yet, here on the blog. It all gets very Borgesian.

English Lit Students

I love English lit students. I interviewed a group that is taking introductory courses in the program and next week I’ll talk to the graduating seniors. But even the students who are only just beginning the program are so amazingly articulate that talking to them was beyond fun. The colleague I was there with felt the same. Neither of us wanted to leave at the end of the interview because we are not sued to coming in and having students take over the room. They needed no prompts, no ice-breaking activities, no encouragement to speak. It was amazing.

My students might also be eloquent but I’ll never find out because there’s always the language barrier. Just as they get to the point where we can actually talk without feeling impeded by language, they graduate.