All entries for Thursday 07 February 2008

February 07, 2008


Okay, listen.  Yesterday evening, in the Graduate, I had a discussion with my friend Louise about what we were going to give up for Lent.  Bearing in mind that Lent began yesterday, it had to be something that I had not done already.  That immediately discounted swearing, snack foods, and automatic assumptions that I've missed the point.  What else?  Alcohol?  It's my birthday in two weeks and, besides, these days I don't drink all that much.  Moaning?  Potentially, although I should try to do that anyway - Lent or no Lent.  Social networking sites?  Let's not be ridiculous.  What, oh what, do I want to give up for Lent?

So I thought about this problem from another angle - perhaps I could take something up for Lent.  This has led me back to my old friend: blogging.  I love blogs; I think that - on the whole - they are brilliant.  I kept a livejournal between the age of 17-21ish, but it's too full of angst for me to bear now.  To try and put that behind me, I started another blog recently but never really wrote in it beyond introductory posts.  I thought that I rarely had anything to say, but I love to write and feel it's an important tool for keeping in touch with yourself.  Therefore - here we are.  A new start.  I'm aware that it's the day after Lent but, let's be honest, I'm not a religious person anyway so it was only ever going to be an exercise in self-motivation.  For 'Lent', I'll be striving to blog every day, and we'll see where we end up.

Here are some things about me that should give an impression of what I'll write about: I am a PhD student and teaching assistant in the Film & TV department at Warwick; I co-host and curate a weekly comedy show in Leamington called The Reckless Moment; I really like optimism, creativity and strength in people; I love cinema, DIY culture (not actual DIY, as in building furniture, I'm monumentally shit at that), stand-up comedy, comic books, music, gambling and sports (particularly American sports such as U.S football, baseball & ice hockey); I'm very interested in professional wrestling and mixed martial arts, and have recently begun to attend a Brazilian jiu-jitsu class. 

One thing that I am thinking about a lot right now is respecting and understanding what other people are saying and thinking; I'm unsure whether I've spent enough time and effort doing this in the past, and I'm now consciously trying harder.  I came across a quotation today by Jodi Dean, an American academic - I hope that it will suffice as an opening entry:

But, overall, it isn't easy to talk about ideas. Academia isn't what I imagined. Why? I want to exclude the issues of the workplace and of status anxiety, although those are real enough. There is more to the challenge of talking about books and ideas. It might be the otherness of others--other people's quirks, turns of phrase, habits of mind. One of my favorite images from graduate school: Akeel Bilgrami rubbing his eyebrows and looking pained as he explained that the phrase 'in itself' was pretentious bullshit. So, I have aversions to turns of phrase, to modes of expression (I prefer arguments to gestures; I am uncomfortable with 'index' and 'reference' as verbs; too much alterity, multiplicity, performativity, or citationality makes the hair turn up on the back of my neck; I hate papers that rely on questions). And, I think others have this, too. I expect that cites to Lacan and Zizek make them want to reach for their guns, that certain forms of argumentation stifle rather than invite thought. And so we have to get over these in order to have a conversation. We have to be more generous and tolerant than we are used to being, than we are trained to be.

Cool.  See you tomorrow, I hope.



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