Tuesday, February 23, 2010


  • I'm into the two-week countdown until I need to email my defense draft to the committee.  Holy crap.  It's coming along, to be sure, but it sure as fuck ain't finished yet.  I fancy that I can already feel the long steel knife that Dr. Awesome is preparing to shove oh-so-deftly between my ribs, if I don't pull together this theoretical discussion business.
  • The school whose departmental faculty I completely misidentified sent me a rejection letter.  (I know, it's not exactly a shock.)  I'm pretty much over it now, although it was kind of a blow to get that letter the same weekend that I learned that my friend had scored the t-t job at another place.  That was my one quasi-realistic hope for a serious job.  All I can hope for now is a postdoc (odds are bad) or one of the few teaching jobs that hasn't already rejected me (odds are laughably bad).
  • I made myself re-read my old friend, Walter Benjamin, to see if I now agreed with anything that he said.  Nope.  And you know what hurts about that?  I feel like he could have accomplished so much more, had he really engaged with film instead of sniffing at it.  And yes, I know, it's hard to adjust to new art media when you're committing suicide rather than face the Nazis.  Doesn't mean I can't wish that he had treated the new form more seriously in life.
  • The truly awful follow-up to my latest joust with Benjamin, though, is that now I have to re-engage with his dreadful colleagues in the Frankfurt School.  Dude, reading Adorno raises my blood pressure!  Why do I have to do this crap, all for background theory that I regard as tangential?
  • Answer to that question: because, if I don't do it and then explain why it's tangential irritating crap in my dissertation, then my committee will pounce on me and try to rattle me by asking why I never dealt with Adorno.  Grrr.
  • I ended up spending much of yesterday evening comforting a colleague who was having a minor breakdown.  It's all a sad story, and relatively personal stuff, but I'll sum up for blog purposes by saying that zi was in the classic shitty grad-student position of having to choose between complying with the demands of an unreasonable martinet of an advisor, or going to a family funeral.  After some tears had been shed in frustration at the inhumanity of the scenario, zi eventually decided that zi would go to the funeral, work hugely overtime to keep the assignment grading on schedule, and leave hir family mourning early if it seemed like it would cut too deep into work time. 

    I know this makes the advisor sound like a complete monster, so I'll qualify a little: my colleague, who is a good person at heart, is self-admittedly awkward in some interpersonal situations, and has somewhat carelessly laid the groundwork for this scenario by giving the advisor the impression (over the course of years) that zi is lazy and overly entitled.  While there's a tiiiiiiiny bit of truth to that, the larger problem is that my colleague is a dumbass at communicating via phone or email, and is not that much better in person.  I wouldn't go so far as to suggest undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome, but zi is kind of dense about how other people receive information, and how they will think about hir in reaction.  That said, it's a family funeral!  How fucking important can it possibly be that the grading for an ordinary homework assignment is delayed by half a week?

    When we finally went our separate ways last evening, I went home and enjoyed two glasses of wine (heavy drinking for a week night, for me!) and breathed a sigh of relief that, as frustrating as my own academic career is at the moment, it's nowhere near the disaster it could be.  (My colleague has many more disastrous circumstances than this right now, but that's hardly fit material for the blog.  Just assume that there's more where this came from.)


  1. Hey! No fair dissing my theory boyfriend or I'll come over there and beat you up! You just don't understand his moody, emo-like genius, sniff! And if you don't stop slagging on Walt, I'm going to mail you my student papers I made them write on Adorno and force you to grade them!

    Now if that isn't enough to make you stop, I don't know what will.

  2. Moody and emo does not work for me. High school was a long time ago, Sis; you know this.

    But hey, if it makes you feel any better, I thought of you while I did my grocery shopping tonight! Look what I ran across in the beer section: