Monday, November 15, 2010

yes we arrre, yes we arre

this was a long fucking weekend ! but guess what guys ! i actually got some work done. not as much as i should have, but it's a vast improvement over previous weeks.

on friday, i did some grocery shopping and read half of s.: a novel about the balkans by slavenka drakulic. it's not a long book, and i probably could've finished it, but i felt like i was having a fucking panic attack halfway through and i had to put it down.

okay, i understand that i'm writing a paper about genocide and rape and sexual violence, so this stuff isn't exactly avoidable, and i should steel myself for it. however, i don't necessarily see the merit of reading a super super in depth descriptive novel about how rape makes you feel. like, on the one hand, of course it's important to understand and appreciate the horror of what happens in these situations, but the book was pretty vague on facts and high on emotional response, and an unfortunately high number of women are already personally aware of these feelings. like, not comparing and weighting experiences against each other or anything (since systematic rape during war in camps set up for rape is obviously not the situation in which most women are assaulted), but i don't necessarily think that it's important to make undergrad students feel, experience, or relive rape and the trauma that follows rape in order to teach them about rapes that have occurred (especially since undergrad males across the country are doing such a great job of making sure college-age women are aware of them). at the very least, i think it was kind of irresponsible to assign the book without a disclaimer, as most of the other material we're reading is straight statistics or dry facts. i know it's a class about genocide, and that i'm going to have to read many, many, many horrific things, but i think rape is unique because it's so personally relatable and familiar to so many women, no matter the context it occurs in.*


it's sort of hard to switch to light-hearted stuff after this ! but i need to ! for my brain ! christina's friend chris stayed over that night, and in the morning we all met up with mouse (whose name, if you didn't know, is ALSO chris), and got ethiopian breakfast and got coffee at green line. jesse made me this beautiful mean latte:


and i got some reading done and eavesdropped on people ! on saturday night, mouse and i went up to his mom's so i could hang out with scottie the baby (his nephew). ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh god he is the cutest fucking baby ! daisy the dog (and rookie the dog) was also there, and she seemed... a little jealous of the attention the baby was getting.


we had a great time though. scottie just learned how to do that buhbuhbuhbuhbuhbuhbuh thing where you put your finger in front of your mouth and make your lips vibrate. also he just laughs randomly and it's really cool ! i also wore my hair down so he could pull it a little and he was psyched. after that, i came home and read more- i finished s., and i read part of the chapter about bosnia-herzegovina in our textbook.

sundayyyyy i went to trader joe's to get stuff for lunch (which i forgot to bring to work today !) and mostly chilled out with christina and the cats. christina cooked a bunch of delicious food and let me eat some of it, and i got sort of panicky about my writing class essays and only finished one. i really really need to get my shit together ASAP so i get an okay grade in this class. i just like... can't make myself care about it, and the instructions are all so muddled and weird. i think it speaks volumes that i'm getting As on every single paper in a 400 level history class but doing subpar work in a 100 level required writing class. i'm not trying to downplay my responsibility here, since i've been a pretty crappy student, but it's a pretty crappy program. even with a good instructor who's doing her best with the material she has to teach, it's incomprehensible. hateeee it.

um, what else? i got my eyebrows waxed on friday and they gave me a free nail polish because one time in the winter they were closing and couldn't do my eyebrows. they've already given me a free eyebrow wax, a discounted eyebrow wax, and a different nail polish for this same incident, but i'm not complaining. nail polish is my one stereotypically feminine vice- in middle and high school i painted my nails a different color every fucking day even though i didn't brush my hair and i wore old man's pants and t-shirts from the flea market. the color i got is um, lucerne-tainly look marvelous? which is like a gun metal with teeny glitter.


oh yeah. i possibly registered for spring classes? they aren't on my schedule now but christina thinks that they're off while they're working on registrations and crap. the classes i selected are:

Course title: Elementary German II
Course description: A continuation of GRMN 101. The student's expression and comprehension are expanded through the study of literature and social themes.

Course title: Creative Non-Fiction Writing: Perspectives in Race, Class, and Gender
Course description: A workshop course in the writing of expository prose. Assignments include informal as well as formal essays, covering such topics as autobiography, family history, review, interview, analysis of advertising and popular culture, travel, work, and satire.

imaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagine how fucking annoying that second class will be ! imagine ! i can't fucking wait. i think my plan is to see how the creative non-fiction classes are and then take a couple of them, because it will come in handy for history windbagging.

anyway, this was a pretty good weekend. my plan for this week is to get caught up with my writing class (like tonight, or tomorrow) and get more into my genocide research for my big paper. luckily these idiots are committed to helping me:


i swear this blog will get interesting again once school is over, and then become not-interesting again when school starts again.

* please note that i'm talking about teaching this material in a specific context- an american ivy league university, undergrad class, in 2010, with a specific student population. i know that there are many, many places and times in history where other factors of genocide besides rape would be familiar and palpable and real to people learning about them


  1. I think your feelings re: being assigned graphic/triggering readings are totally fair, and there has certainly been a lot of debate in genocide studies, particularly for people like me who work on the representation of atrocity, about "gore" and the ethics of how much we show and when and why. I highly recommend Susan Sontag's _On the Suffering of Others_, which is an amazing long essay on visual representations of violence, for example. I personally agree with you, and am very careful re: how much violence I describe in my writing and in my teaching. I tend to use very little myself, while acknowledging that yes, the graphic stuff is necessary for certain reasons and in certain contexts. So there is a literature backing you up on this! And as you have a good relationship with your prof, I would imagine she'd be really open to you bringing up your discomfort with her; I think these are hard subjects both to teach and to learn about, necessitating a pretty particular sensitivity in the classroom.

  2. anna, i will totally check that out ! thanks for being so awesome. i have a lot of trouble forming an opinion about how much is too much, or trying to sort out my own biases and experiences and how those factor into that opinion- like, i obviously don't love seeing piles of slaughtered bodies and rotting corpses, but since i'm so far removed from it, it doesn't seem as 'real' to me. so is it fair for me to ask that rape receive different treatment? but at the same time, the psychology and emotion involved in mass rapes really echoes the same type of of psychology and emotion of rape in general, and it is more likely that someone reading about rape will have experienced it closely and first hand. i don't know. but i definitely will check that out !

  3. i just want to say that i can't even fucking handle how cute the scottie/daisy combo is.