In Support of AOC

Ocasio is totally right in not wanting to share the money she got in donations with anybody not of her own choosing. She attracted that money, it is her effort, her appeal, her work. She shouldn’t be forced to use that money to prop any stray loser she doesn’t care about.

I only wish she let all of us do the same. Instead, she wants to force the whole country into the system she clearly opposes for herself.

A TMI Post

Folks, a really weird and probably TMI question. For years, I’ve been suffering during the cold-weather season from a very painful, itchy and ugly rash on my lower back. I’ve tried every cream and ointment, including prescription stuff, but nothing works.

But the moment I leave town and go elsewhere (like to Canada and then Seattle this winter), the rash goes away within a day. I go back home, and it’s back in two days. It’s got to have something to do with the local water, right? There’s no other common factor. I’ve changed detergents, moved house, but none of that works.

Does anybody have any suggestions on what to do?

Humanities Meet Marketing

So much of what we do in the Humanities is about normalizing the marketing slogan of “everything is fluid.”

What other purpose does the mindless celebration of fluidity serve if not to make the workings of neoliberal capitalism look commonsensical?

Let’s take “gender fluidity” as an example. Why are we so into it? What’s so good about it? It undermines gender roles, bla bla. OK, why is that so great? Is it the social taboo on wearing skirts that is oppressing you or is it a precarious job with non-existent benefits and an intolerable working environment? Is it the (utterly unenforceable) need to shave your armpits that oppresses you or the fact that your job is being fluidly outsourced to a contingent worker or an interdisciplinary colleague who is eagerly scabbing for the administration?

I’m obviously not in favor of forcing anybody into the clothes or gender roles they don’t want. That goes without saying. But I’d like for us to notice a connection between our truly obsessive celebration of “erasing boundaries” and the fact that erasing boundaries between academic departments and collapsing them all into one “global humanities” program is happening right now and it’s a great pretext for layoffs.

The job market in Spanish, by the way, is the worst it’s ever been. And there’s no economic crisis. To the contrary, the economy is booming like it hasn’t in forever.

So why are we doing so poorly?

This is why:

There is no need for Spanish, German, French, Italian, Russian, etc. because we have accepted that the only thing that is truly progressive and good is the US-inspired ‘culture’ of Instagram memes and Twitter ‘activism.’ Everything else is retrograde, boring, too nation-oriented, outdated, racistssexist, too boundaried up, and elitist. So as we sit among the ruins of destroyed “national literatures programs,” let’s ask ourselves how this situation is not the culmination of exactly the things we’ve been promoting.

Ferocious

I want my theoretical chapter for the volume on intersectionality and transnationalism to be absolutely ferocious. If we are now at the stage where the job of the feminist academics is to celebrate Instagram as an agent of feminist liberation, somebody has got to say something.

It’s scary because you mention surveillance capitalism to these young people, and they sincerely don’t understand what the big deal is. But I can share photos of my hair! they say. That’s liberating!

I mean, for real, that was the level of the discourse.

No, I’m still not over it.

Still Waiting

I ordered a bunch of colorful pens online to decorate my planner. I had no idea I was ordering from China but that’s what it was. The pens came from a Chinese address and every part of each pen was packaged separately in a ziploc-type plastic bag.

You can see a small part of the whole getup here:

Every ink chamber (and there are 40 altogether) has a plastic thingy on it that needs to be removed and discarded.

I know we are still waiting for our Thunbergian friends to notice China’s coal adventures. Now let’s wait for them notice China’s abuse of plastic.