HE SAID, MARIE, MARIE, HOLD ON TIGHT
~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot
~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot
Thursday, November 20, 2008
justin is always intrigued when i talk about the american literature class i'm taking, because it's the epitome of the liberal arts american studies class that he never got to take. it's a big class, 30-40 people in a lecture hall, it's crosslisted with government studies and american studies. despite the lecture-ness of it, our professor knows all our names. it's always feels like what i would think a town hall meeting would feel like--plenty of conversation despite the size of the class. sometimes it feels like a high school class, chalkboard scribbing, getting in groups of three, writing exercises at the start of class, historical contextualizations of each novel. you also find a plethora of accents--southern accents, a range of new york accents, desi-accents, spanish accents--around the room--in the beginning when someone heard a voice that sounded different, 20 heads in the front would turn around to try to match a face to that voice. eventually that stopped, because if you are a careful listener, everyone sounds different, and it is very tiring having to turn your head around everytime a person speaks (ie, every 1/2 a minute during the more vibrant discussions). also, everyone eventually started getting comfortable with the differences around the room, and differences stopped being cool. it was obnoxious, not maliciously so. our teacher is a berkeleyite, thus the uber-liberal spin--we started on the staples like the jungle, a hazard of new fortunes, toni morrison's song of solomon--it's like going to the soap opera, talking about absent fathers, racism, immigration. today we are reading lynda barry's graphic novel, one! hundred! demons!--filled with tagalog expletives, and dysfunctional characters.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
break my hea-a-a-a-a-ar-t, break my heart
i have been spending the past few days in the library basement2, reading dusty manuscripts and studying production histories, learning about reformation typology and printing presses during the renaissance. it's almost become a kind of psychosis, my constant return to kroch library. i did feel at one point today, breathing in dalton's comus, 1738, like dying, when the dust got into my throat, like crap. i learnt two cool things today (for those already in the know, please be generous with me about dates, etc, cos i am typing these things at the top of my head)
1) drury lane and covent garden were the only licensed playhouses during the post-reformation under a 1730s law, aiming to prevent subversive theater. in the 1760s, licenses were given out to provincial playhouses, this caused a sudden interest amongst sailors, carpenters, farmers in theater, and royalty flocked over to the provincial playhouses. to prevent losing profits, drury lane and covent garden started expanding their audience to the vulgario. the provincial playhouses were only licensed to do burlesque, music, etc. yet the circumvented this law by creating an entire visual language to stage plays like hamlet, and turned the verses into "music" by forcing musical accompaniment. the rise of visuality in theater was linked to the increasing vulgarisation of theater
2) "In 1774, the House of Lords came together to hear arguments in the landmark case of Donaldson v. Becket. Donaldson maintained that once the twenty-eight year maximum term of copyright under the statute had expired a work was freely available. The works of Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton ….all the perennials of the book trade that the booksellers had been accustomed to treat as it they were private landed estates were suddenly declared open commons." mark rose, on copyrights, and a foucaultian analysis of what constitutes authorship.
last night i was on the phone with my parents. they're really excited about me and justin coming home. "what do you wanna do when you come home, you have to let us know what you want to eat! we're counting down the days!" i was really sad when i heard that. i sent an email, saying, "all i want is for us to be normal, because if i feel like a tourist in my own house, having unnecessarily large, special meals cooked for me, that will break my heart."
watched the wizard of oz in the gym, i love it. so old school, so excellent. also cooking with fernando tomorrow a sunday brunch. i called him, delirious from librarying, at 9pm. "have you had dinner? if you have, you are useless to me," i say.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I sat in the basement of Kroch reading a 1787 script of Comus by Milton. this manuscript contains all the stage directions and added on epilogues and prologues as well as the cast members for the coventry garden production of Comus, a Maske performed at Ludlow. i kept searching for fingerprints. like dimples, beautiful blemishes. they didn't allow me to bring anything that would contaminate the moisture of the room. they didnt even allow me to use my own note pad! instead they provided me with acid free green paper. then they put me in some room with walls of glass just to make sure i wouldnt tear up the pages. and made me read the text over a spongey desk which wouldnt damage the pages. holding a manuscript worth thousands of dollars makes you realise the value of reading, and makes you treat a text with lots of respect.
which makes me think about times when i have gotten mad when texts i check out are vandalised. not that i mind the scribbling (i do it too), i enjoy the chatter sometimes. reading as solitary and yet a dialogue with some unnamed person. but i take offense to stupid comments, racist comments, anti-psychoanalysis comments. why check out a freud text if you are going to spend the rest of your time scribbling "asshole! pervert! fuck you!"
which makes me realise, what if all the books we had became expensive relics by 3000? did you know that elephants are projected to go extinct by 2020? (according to my flaming greenpeace expert boss anyway) and that kindle prices are going to go down by the next 3 years. (i'm waiting for that). what shall i tell my kids then, about elephants? ("they had trunks, like dicks, like gardening hoses. it was awesome.") will someone be reading my texts, and feeling my handwriting, like beautiful blemishes?
on another note, I have a weird, rushedly written article published in the language pairing / translator-interpreter newsletter.
OBAMA IS BEAUTIFUL WORLD
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
on the verge of a trembling
got into an argument last night with j about why voting is important. it's been an ongoing upset between us, the fact that he ruined the chance to cast an absentee ballot, out of stupidity, and my realisation that it's not my right to tell him to vote. and it's new jersey, for christssakes, he says, bluer than blue, he says, i'm sorry but i am not driving 5 hours up and down. don't say sorry to me, i say, it's not my loss, it's your loss. to which he gets really angry and starts railing like an old man at me. living in uber-liberal ithaca, with pockets of republicans beside friends who make hussein their middle name, makes me realise ithaca isn't as blue as it is, and that makes me anxious. if ithaca--and ithaca is as hippy and pro-lgbt and intellectually demanding as it gets in a university town in upstate new york--has a quad full of screaming, "pallin is gorges" fanatics, what about anywhere else that is possibly less blue? on one hand, i am torn between the desire to believe that this country is on the brink, trembling, embracing a new. i want to believe that the face of america will be the face of someone who doesn't believe that america is world, but part of a larger world. on another hand, he says, rather cynically, that change is ultimately rhetorical. so i got angry, which inevitably leads to sexual frustration on my part, my desire to match a face and hand, to touch that face and hand, of that boy who makes me disturbed and yet i love so much.
[me] dawn, singapore, new york city, ithaca.
holding on tight -- vol ii
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