Category Archives: Banes

Rezar y rezar

Una piedra en el camino / me enseñó que mi destino / era rodar y rodar / rodar y rodar / rodar y rodar…

That is from the most hilariously machista and probably gun-slinging song that could exist, but look what a beautiful voice Vicente Fernández had when he was young.

The song comes to me because, dateline Maringouin, the metropolis across the Atchafalaya is praying and praying, hay que rezar y rezar. We will pray and we will decry the excesses of the Westboro Baptist Church but at a certain level we are not different from them if we take the shootings as an “act of God” and not an effect of the power of the arms industry.

Nuestro destino es rezar y rezar.


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Foucault, encore

Our present age of austerity requires of us resilience as a psychological characteristic. University counseling centers now have resilience training, and psychology professors receive major grants to study resilience. But “resilience” studies are not science. We have here, then, one of the examples of commercial activity replacing research in the entrepreneurial university. Foucault appears to have something to say about this.

We also inherit a secular tradition which respects external law as the basis for morality. How then can respect for the self be the basis for morality? We are the inheritors of a social morality which seeks the rules for acceptable behavior in relations with others. Since the sixteenth century, criticism of established morality has been undertaken in the name of the importance of recognizing and knowing the self. Therefore, it is difficult to see concern with oneself as compatible with morality. “Know thyself” has obscured “Take care of yourself” because our morality, a morality of asceticism, insists that the self is that which one can reject.

That is from Technologies of the Self. Here are a few sentences from the introduction.

The association of prohibition and strong incitations to speak is a constant feature of our culture.

How have certain kinds of interdictions required the price of certain kinds of knowledge about oneself? What must one know about oneself in order to be willing to renounce anything?

I conceived of a rather odd project: not the evolution of sexual behavior but the projection of a history of the link between the obligation to tell the truth and the prohibitions against sexuality. I asked: How had the subject been compelled to decipher himself in regard to what was forbidden? It is a question of the relation between asceticism and truth.

The hermeneutics of the self has been confused with theologies of the soul–concupiscence, sin, and the fall from grace.

A hermeneutics of the self has been diffused across Western culture through numerous channels and integrated with various types of attitudes and experience so that it is difficult to isolate and separate it from our own spontaneous experiences.

(This book is brilliant and I must get it in a paper edition so I can read it for relaxation.)



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Des signes

About this post, from over two weeks ago: it is difficult for me to recognize mistreatment. But my reaction to is a kind of hallucination: I jump to thinking that if I can only calm my mother down and placate her, the pain will stop and I will be released from my cage.

This indicates that if I have that reaction, someone has acted in a very low fashion and wants to me to think it is my fault — and I should try to see what has happened rather than think I am just flashing back randomly.


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It would be, do not allow the way the university treats you to affect your own professional identity. Do not let them undermine your stability or sense of self-worth. This, however, is easier said than done … how does it not mean “rise above it, dear?”

I have always admired the skill of some people, who know they are being mistreated and remain proud, rather than wonder if it is something they have done or that they deserve or that the are overreacting to — or not notice it is mistreatment, since it is the only treatment they know.

But I have always admired the skill of some people.




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Des théories

Continuing, I miss Puerto Rico and Louisville and everywhere, but mostly Puerto Rico and the things I did not get to do there (which would have involved piercing that touristy surface). I guess we can say this summer is exciting and eventful so far but I need it to be restorative.

I went to campus to try to resolve these funding issues and ran into a colleague who said he had funding issues as well and was angry. I thought yes, I am angry, and this is the prohibited emotion since one is only allowed to be angry at oneself.

Depression and anxiety are repressed anger; self-destruction is anger turned upon oneself. These are clichés, but does that matter?



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Je suis arrivée / Sobre la tristeza

I woke up this morning at home. I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom. I woke up telling myself that just because I was home did not mean I had to suffer. I woke up saying just because I was now so close to my university and so far from the things I love and need, I still did not have to be complicit in my own oppression. I woke up promising myself to treat myself well.

I had been, first, at LASA in Puerto Rico, an expensive conference where logistics were so poor that it was hard to get to see panels. I got some things out of it but not really enough. Puerto Rico was interesting but hard to be in since it is so expensive. It was also sad because it is a colony. I had never been to an outright colony before, and I now appreciate writers like Maryse Condé in a way I never did.

Next I went to the AP reading in Louisville, which was interesting but again an experience which took energy. This is not the easiest town to get to know, and although ETS provides food, the food was of poor enough quality that we were all ill at ease when not ill outright. We spent money we had not planned on spending, to buy cleaner and more nutritious food. We thus underwent more stress, and profited less than we had expected to do.

These voyages, then, were tiring and a little less pleasant and useful than I had counted on their being, but they were distracting and interesting, and I was away from home. Now here, the university informs me that it will not, after all, reimburse me for the Puerto Rico conference. So I feel it is not true, I may keep my mind stayed on freedom but I am NOT the master of my fate. I am not one of those who cries but I have been having trouble not, so I have not yet been into the university to fight this situation in person, and I am not in good enough shape to call my aged father today.


I feel I am sinking. I took this job because I had nowhere else to go without help and because it was what my mother wanted. I hurt my mother so much in life just by being who I was. I always tried to do the things she wanted if I could, so as to mitigate the pain I was causing to the extent that might be possible. But I did think I would be able to make the best of it, and get away again. I promised myself I would be in a position to leave as soon as my mother died (I would not take any risks sooner, so as not to upset her further).

But it is late, and I am not in a position to leave, and if I am not reimbursed for this conference my debt burden will increase such that it will become even harder to leave … and even more fundamentally, being treated this way by the university really gets me down.

Estoy tan triste. And I do note that I keep saying “I am so sorry, Mom, I am so sorry, please do not hurt me.” I keep saying this as if to save my life. That is why I cannot leave the house; it would not be appropriate to say it in public. And I note that every time I think this, I am taking a wrong road. I should never have allowed my mother so much power, and I should not allow it to her now.

Nor should I make her so responsible. This last point is not for her sake but for mine: when I think this, I sabotage the power I do have. And the university’s decision is based on a clerical error someone made, and I may be able to have it reversed. If not it only means taking on an additional thousand dollars in debt and there are worse things. I have never filed for bankruptcy, so this is still an option in a worst case scenario (as in, if there are additional disasters).



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Not-writing is like a bath running

Not-writing is like a bath running.

In other words: I am not entirely happy about certain offers to come here and give workshops, because the Herculean amount of planning and organization it would take to fund and publicize these events would impede my own research and writing. I must find a way to keep this situation under control, as having the workshops would be lovely.

I had said I would no longer put effort toward creating ephemeral events the university would not thank me for creating, when I could put the same effort toward my own work. Yet at the same time, I need to populate this wasteland. How can the workshops be conceived such that they are more than a flash in the pan? That is the question.


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