“Jante Law is just as normal as the law of gravity,” newspaper editor and anthropologist Anne Knudsen assured me. “You find it everywhere, especially in peasant societies, and back [in Sandemose’s day] there were peasants peasants peasants all over the place in Denmark. This kind of ideology became the State ideology when democracy was established in the country [in 1849] and it got a second life with Social Democracy, and all of this was transmitted from generation to generation by propaganda and by a unified school system.” She added, “But, you know, the envy part is not the important part. The important part is the inclusiveness: we want to include you, but that is only possible if you are equal. It’s what peasants do.”
The entire piece is really interesting.
…[W]hy is everyone so afraid to write what they want to write, to publish what they want to publish? Why, we ruminated together, whether we are seeking tenure-track jobs or have tenure already or simply want to get inside the covers of a book, are we besieged by so many anxieties and fears regarding what we think we are allowed to say, allowed to write, allowed to express? Might it be possible, we wondered out loud, to found a press that would specifically answer to the specific desires of singular individuals who might almost be dying (inside) to write something that they have convinced themselves in advance is unpublishable and for which no existing publisher would take the “risk”? And might a publisher then perform the (loving) function of a form of self-care that attends to these singular desires, that allows them to flourish and find their way into the world that would be sustaining of the spirit and dignity that gave birth to them?
It is the connection of desire to reality that possesses revolutionary force.
My student, an undergraduate, said:
I wish we could stay at the MLA forever! We would listen to panels, read new books, and talk to interesting people every day, in Austin! It would not be for just a few days, it would be our lives!
It was excellent, not least because we went to the subconference, which I really recommend. I want to start going to the MLA regularly again, and I would like to be a regular at JALLA (even moreso than LASA, really).
How shall I keep the “conference aura”–the feeling of being in a safe and positive place–around me this semester? How does one recognize and change an abusive relationship with the self? How does one resist the effects of abusive behavior of administration, as well as some colleagues and students?
I have at hand a few pages that summarize the sixth chapter of Herman’s Trauma and Recovery and discern that I still suffer from some alterations in self-perception. There is more to think about here.
I used to have one of these. It was a box with index cards on which I would note my excess ideas while writing. I would just throw them in there and then later, when stuck, choose one at random to start me going again, or on break, look at them all to see what sort of pattern they might make on their own. At some point I relinquished this habit.
“…I was losing…my ability to find an emotional center from which to write because I was constantly accommodating myself to other people’s emotional centers,” someone said.
XI) General Interference with Organizations and Production
(a) Organizations and Conferences
(1) Insist on doing everything through “channels.” Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
(2) Make “speeches,” Talk as frequently as possible and at great length., Illustrate your. “points” by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate “patriotic” comments.
(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for “further study and consideration.” Attempt to make the committees as large as possible never less than five.
(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
(7) Advocate “caution.” Be “reasonable” and urge your fellow-conferees to be “reasonable” and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.
Published 1944; declassified 2008; read the whole thing.
A student turned me onto John Greene and his videos are ideal music for grading.
For many Americans, education is about feeding students certain factual information, then testing them to make sure they retain it. The higher they climb on the educational ladder, the more specialized that information becomes as we train them for their eventual professions. That makes sense. When you’ve got surgeons hovering over you, ready to mess with your internal organs, you want them to remember where everything goes when they’re done, not thumb through Wikipedia on an iPhone.
The attack on education isn’t on training our youth for whatever careers they choose, it’s on teaching them to think logically in order to form opinions based on facts rather than on familial and social influences. This part of one’s education is about finding out who you are. It’s about becoming a happier person. It’s about being a responsible citizen. If you end up with all the same opinions you had before, then at least you can be confident that they are good ones because you’ve fairly examined all the options, not because you were too lazy or scared to question them. But you—all of us—need the process. Otherwise, you’re basically a zombie who wants to eat brains because you don’t want anyone else to think either.
That means this is a war on reason.
Read the whole thing.