Free of essays- but still with a desire for keyboard exhibitionism and fulfilling my promise to Sutpen, or should I say Slutpod, that this was an English-speaking blog- back to a language without accents. Much more comfy. I am so drawn to english time and again, to its colloquialisms, to its imperialism. All the things I listen to are in English, all the poets, all the writers, all the singers. Tried it with spanish, found nothing. My youtube account says I've watched 3000 vids; I wouldn't be surprised if the ratio's 200:1 on the english lang side.
I do not belong to the impressive 150 page-an-hour club one of my friends belongs to. In academia we become experts in language; existence isn't our job. No, I'm not bitching about Wittgenstein and Oxford. I'm saying that's what we all do, nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's great fun. It is our existence and that's enough. I love academia, but I think I love youtube far more. It's always harder to love work more than it is to love free time, and that'll be enough if you're wondering why existence didn't seem like a priority. I do not, if you're wondering, get any money from academia. I get by with very little indeed, much to the envy of my mother.
When I refused to read El Quijote last term like some kind of round the bend Wittgenstein refusing to read Shakespeare, I was experimenting with existence.
Living in a suburban area, filled with trees, I had a walk this week through the neighbourhood, contemplated detached and semidetached housings that ranged from the slightly ugly to the drop-dead gorgeous and made my mind I'd write about these in my architecture and literature class. Like in my 100 mile bycicle lunges down or up the spanish coast, I was hit by the beauty of these and, if we are to be profound and pompous, the world.
One of my favourite programs on spanish TV, for years, has been Destino Europa; it consists of interviews with Spanish Erasmus students or emigrants who live in a number of European cities. For someone who doesn't like travelling, it seems to do the trick. Were it on another channel, with another inteviewer, we'd probably be talking about getting recycling bins installed in a train station; so there's a certain doability and serenity to the program.
Classes have finally found me on something I was lacking; scan-reading technique. Summarising an article in three pages has become enormously difficult. Sure I'm reading the same stuff over and over and I'm bored stiff, sure I'm furious at poststructuralism, sure I'm 'why should I summarise someone coherently when that someone talks utter crap on theory or the self?' My poor professionalism has hit too hard, though it has served to avoid lots of stuff and produce, guess, lots of stuff.
'Stuff' is a good word; it's nearly as good as 'brilliant', that word we were advised against in first year. Shouldn't start the house by the attic; and that's precisely what I did in my mini-thesis, agonised without notes for months, thought it out like crazy and dropped a huge 44,000 word block on the paper, and stopped only because it should have been 25,000. Quoted next to no one and wrote from memory, as always. I have no notebook, no books at home, no system. In fact, my technique is a huge waste of time. I still don't know how to divide or synthesise or elaborate from an introduction onwards. Now that's why we invented notes, summaries and such. So the work I'm doing in class these days will definitely help me to think in pieces and spend far less time on my thesis. Not the slightest doubt I'm the worst copy editor in the philology department. Let's just say I've been philandering in multiple directions.
I'm not describing academia; I'm playing with language. It isn't my task, nor my ability, to define academia, but rather to describe my love. When some of the best music vid clips in the last two decades have been Fiona Apple's Across the Universe, the traffic jam in Everybody Hurts or the run down streets in Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy, I'm talking as far as I've enjoyed this week's Fed defeat at the hands of Murray, and Murray's defeat to Davydenko. By no means is it the victory of modernism.
Of course you don't have to read Kuhn or Einstein to study physics or Darwin to study biology! This week I explored Peter Cook and discovered Essra Mohawk. Went right up to the remarkable Why Bother?, but the second excerpt from Behind the fridge on youtube, the one with the lecturer is, for understandable reasons, rain. Essra's It's Up to Me, Looking forward to the Dawn and Thunder in the Morning are flat-out blue skies. But I prefer to leave you with good old Streeb-Geebling.
So literary academia's like history, only invented. I find it odd why anyone would want to study history.
This Week on Firing Line . . . #15
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