Some Late Night Humor

I don’t know how I turned into a person who quotes tweets but this one is pretty good:

February: I’m not an impeachment scholar, but
March: I’m not an epidemiologist, but
April: I’m not a labor economist, but
May: I’m not a macroeconomist, but
June: I’m not a hunter-gatherer, but

On an even more confusing note, N didn’t like Trump’s joke about models. And I think the joke is brilliant. N says it’s vulgar, and I’m like, “Dude, have you met me?”

Hanging Out

I have finally managed to explain to my husband the organizing principle of my parenting strategy: it’s crucial for a kid to spend as much time as possible not doing anything in particular and just hanging out, thinking, staring at the sky, contemplating the world, and not doing anything useful, scheduled, planned, or educational.

He tried it today and liked it.

The Real Polarization

The people who suffer economically in the lockdown – the waiters, the store assistants, the cleaners, the Uber drivers, everybody, that is, who can’t work online – are the same people who can’t get themselves heard in the digital economy.

And the ones who can get themselves heard don’t see any economic damage from the lockdown. The 10 million (not counting the gig workers) who have lost their jobs in the lockdown don’t shape the narrative and live in a different reality than people who use expressions like “shape the narrative.”

This is the only real polarization in this country.

Has anybody you are listening to about the usefulness of the lockdown lost their job? Or is about to lose their job? Wouldn’t that skew their perspective a bit?

No Library

We aren’t allowed to request library books anymore, which makes my work very difficult.

The administration responded to the difficulty by canceling the so-called “research requirement.” This means that we aren’t required to do any research this semester. (Not that we ever were but whatever*).

The concept of canceling the research requirement is ludicrous. For people who do research, interrupting our work is impossible. I’m part of several ongoing projects in different stages of completion. I have people who depend on my going on with the work. I can’t just take a pause. Nor do I want to because I love this stuff.

And people who can take a pause are the ones who never publish anyway.

I really miss being able to just request books and have them here in a couple of days.

* For those of you not in academia, “publish or perish” is a total myth. I wish it weren’t but it is.

Virus Schedule

It’s not myself I’m worrying about in this quarantine. I’m having a really grand time here. But it’s very clear to me that the shelter in place order for my region has been a massive mistake. The virus hasn’t reached us yet. And when it will, the people of our region will be out of savings, resources, patience and trust to keep staying in.

We have already cratered the local economy because of New York and to a smaller extent Chicago. Once the virus reaches us, NYC will be in recovery, and we will have to deal with the arrival of the virus from an already extremely weakened place.

And what bothers me is that nobody is saying these things. New York is killing us right now. It’s creating an illusion that the whole country is doing as poorly as one of the most mismanaged and densely populated cities in the country. But it’s not true. We are following their schedule and that will make it so much harder for us to deal with the virus once it reaches us.

Want to bet that once the virus comes here, New Yorkers in the media (which is 95% of all visible people in the media) will mock and vilify us, the stupid countryside hicks, for “still” being sick long after they’ve recovered? We’ll hear all about how strong, resourceful and efficient they are and how bumbling, incompetent, and deserving of death we are.

You just wait and see.

Can’t Keep Up

Being a Latin Americanist is really hard because – and here’s a fresh and deeply original thought for the day – Latin America is so much larger than Spain and there are consequently so many great writers. It’s impossible to follow them all.

At first*, I thought I should specialize just in the Northern Triangle of Central America. But then I realized that I’m already following 5 great writers from Mexico, two from Peru, two Colombians, 3 Cubans, and 1 Venezuelan. (Of course, almost all of them live in Spain anyway but still.) I can’t keep up!

It’s really weird that I went through two graduate programs in Hispanic Studies and came across nothing whatsoever that I would find exciting in Latin American literature (and a mountain of fascinating stuff in Spain).

This might mean I’m not a real Latin Americanist because I have no feel for the field and don’t get the things everybody sees as interesting. In Peninsular literature, I never had this problem.

I know I keep saying this but I discovered yet another great writer yesterday. That’s too much pleasure! I can’t stand this any more!

* For new readers: I’m a specialist in Peninsular Spanish literature who suddenly became a Latin Americanist last year.