Category Archives: Resources

Ce matin

Kristeva has that famous title Desire in Language but what about joy in language? Arguedas referred to himself as a “demonio feliz” speaking in Quechua and Castilian. Vallejo is a similarly happy demon, surfing seas of metaphor, watching the dance of words. Logopoeia.

This is fun to say but one cannot say it without looking into some things — reviewing Arguedas’ contexts, reviewing the possible value of reading Kristeva with Vallejo. (There are so many things I would like to study.)

Psychanalitique: there were two perceptions yesterday. One, on acquiescing to power, acquiescing to irrational power. Two and related, on the double identity. I have already talked about this and I can expand.

The third, and only apparently paradoxical point has to do with that comment upon myself as free spirit and challenging for that reason.


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Lundi encore

The days are bright. I do not remember winter light being so bright here and pale, or there being as much sun. It is colder now for longer, as well. I woke up this morning thinking that I would like to understand Adorno, now because he and Horkheimer (1972) say that “homeland is the state of having already escaped” and because this has to do with Odysseus and myth and demythologization.

I woke up this morning thinking of my old intuition that Vallejo is strange because he is partly non western, and his double location, in western civilization and outside of it, is not hybridity or mestizaje. Everyone else wants to think identity and so has to think it through Blackness or some form of Otherness to the West, but since Vallejo is not thinking identity and is not thinking from one place, his alleged mixtures work in a differerent way.

I woke up thinking about psychoanalysis, how it is fundamentally about relationships between people and those have to do with interactions. My Reeducative analyst thought I was too intellectual and therefore not a “feeling” enough person (he was basing his theories on several kinds of bad science) but interestingly, all the material he had to present was cerebral.

Do you fit this scale or that? Think about it, think about how to fit into one of these paradigms. The conundrums presented did require a great deal of thought (although at the same time they could not stand up to serious analysis). All the thought, all the effort to understand, drew attention away from the realer issue of the nature of the interaction.

Analysis like all other forms of investigation and learning is primarily kinesthetic and that is not a comment about their “style” but about their nature.


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Pour méditer cette semaine

It is easily possible to live yet better. To do so, one must remember not to torture oneself (I am so trained to that that I do it automatically unless I remind myself that I can be kinder, as I have in fact ben in some eras). One must also remember that one has rights and that one’s perceptions may be right. This things are very strengthening.

The weeks in which I get depressed and frustrated are those in which I do not have time for research and writing. It is the deprivation but it is also the shame at not being able to rise above circumstances. Shame is weakening and must be combatted.

I think I am spread too thin. I say I do not work hard enough but in reality it is only that I am spread too thin. I am not sure what to do about it in the current circumstance: the things asked of me are primarily out of field and out of range of interest, and my interests and commitments are already broad. Part of the shame I feel has to do with not having been able to transform myself into someone else; the anger I feel has to do with having been asked to do that.


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Cette semaine

There was something I heard from an unexpected quarter about nation and state as separate things, or things working separately, and that I would like to reencounter. I saw a film of an anti-MOOC symposium in which a literature professor talked about the large, live lecture as a way to model close reading and to do such reading collectively. A theatre professor talked about the large lecture as theatre and the benefits of this. A psychoanalyst talked about presence, the live presence of the professor, as important, and about the pedagogical exchange as an event over which neither teacher nor student has full control.

There was a dream I had, where my mother was sleeping on the floor in my room, as all the dead women before her in our line have long done from time to time. There is the fact I was also married in that dream, to someone I would not have thought of for this and who is also long dead and many states away. I was surprised but not displeased, I remember, thinking “Well, if we did this there must have been a good reason.” I was not surprised or disturbed that my mother was sleeping on the floor.

For psychoanalysis, there is my perception that I lack self-respect much more than most people. And that I live in this state of submerged terror all the time, some people in power will come to harm me, or some further block will be put in the way of career development (which means autonomy, liberation, freedom) and that I will be too crushed to fight back.

For academia, I have realized that we were exceptionally organized and focused as undergraduates and later, graduate students. I think the reason academic advice is as it is is that it is directed to a large group of people who really did go through school without getting all the skills and focus we did, even though they became more “professionalized” than we did in certain ways. It also came to me that the presupposition in the “take a job, any job” dictum is that the candidate is a man and he will be bringing an only partly employed wife to the said job, and that she will humanize the place for him.

Mostly though, I would like to call attention to academia as an unsafe space. Not college or graduate school, in my memory, but professordom. You have to live in dangerous parts of the country, and in dangerous neighborhoods — that first of all. More serious is to work with people who have destruction uppermost in their minds and first in their hearts. Every day the question is what the legislature will do to destroy your institution, what your university will do to impede the development of your career, and how they will work to convince you it is all your fault. The feeling of precarity and instability always.



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One, and two

Everything she does is deniable. There is always a facile excuse or an explanation. Cruelties are couched in loving terms. Aggressive and hostile acts are paraded as thoughtfulness. Selfish manipulations are presented as gifts. Criticism and slander is slyly disguised as concern. She only wants what is best for you. She only wants to help you.

Any attempt at autonomy on your part is strongly resisted. Normal rites of passage (learning to shave, wearing makeup, dating) are grudgingly allowed only if you insist, and you’re punished for your insistence (“Since you’re old enough to date, I think you’re old enough to pay for your own clothes!”) If you demand age-appropriate clothing, grooming, control over your own life, or rights, you are difficult and she ridicules your “independence.”


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Des nouvelles

I am in the mood never to break or lose anything out of carelessness due to feeling distraught again. Those things only started happening to me when I started putting Reeducation’s life ahead of my own. I am in the mood never to miss a deadline again, or to miss fewer of them. I am in the mood for calm and stability.

About needs: some of our professors said we were complaining, spoiled, and entitled and we internalized this, but they were speaking for themselves. They were the ones with the hystrionics. Should you really work against your own professional needs and the needs of your field? Should you really expect yourself, unrealistically, to flourish where no plants bloom … do people who say you can do anything, anywhere, really believe their own words? I need stability and a non-undermining atmosphere, if not a nurturing atmosphere then one where development is not systematically impeded, and I need peace of mind. I do not think these things are so much to ask.

A friend who called me said I was amazing because I never complain, and I have a very positive and balanced attitude, and I try again and again. This is a perceptive person who knows me well.

Someone told me one should never review a book with a chip on one’s shoulder and I thought this was a brilliant comment that should be extended to everything — never do ANYTHING with a chip on your shoulder. Certain projects I have failed to complete: how could one, on shifting ground and with scolding and recrimination of different kinds, dissonant with each other, coming in from every side?

These attacks of panic that I have come to experience are in part the breaking after taking the last blow I could tolerate. They are about exhaustion from handling and putting up with more than any one person can. They are about trying to handle, or tolerate, or resist boundary invasions that threaten to finish me off.

I am in the mood not to allow any of these things any more.


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The snake-oil standard, and on giving

Read this, which explains many things including Reeducation — it as snake oil, its anti-intellectualism — and also the current academia. Key in the piece is that snake oil is widely preferred over science, and people who would side with science are a minority. It is clear that I should stop believing I am insane or inferior or hurtful to others, and realize I am merely in the minority that sides with science.

The reason I do not like the current academia, or the fact that there is a separate world called “academia,” is that it is so often not an intellectual or scholarly venue, but pretends to be one. I dislike manipulation generally, and I dislike that manipulation in particular. One of my friends on Facebook is being excoriated by academics and leftists because he is enjoying being home in Brooklyn after a harrowing semester in the rural outpost where he works. If he were a good academic, they are telling him, he would prefer that place, and if he were a real leftist, he would not be as enamored of urban life as he is: the true American people, with whom he should identify, are at suburban Wal*Marts and he should “respect” that. This is ludicrous: “respect” as a substitute for analysis or action.

I am trying to be a good Maringouin person but I had a full blown anxiety attack today about being here and I have been exhausted from it since. The issue, once again, is that I was not cut out to be a nurse, and academia is like nursing: you tend to impaired patients and you are patient with the delusional, and you serve, and serve, and serve. I did not know this. I was warned I would have to do research, but if I had been told I would be a nurse in the service of a corporation and its bottom line then yes, I would have done something else. I do have a great deal of respect for the kind of education that is social work and the people who do it. Had I wanted to do that I would have done so at home and with an organization of my choice, not move around the country in search of an alleged research job.

This has to do with the post I lost a few weeks ago, on giving. If you are going to give, and give, and give again, you must have steady sources of nourishment as well as a great store of resources. I have always been told I had an unfair amount of personal resources, good genes, high energy. I should give and give and give and give because that was my duty and role. But the fact is that I never was Maecenas, and my blood is thin now from having been donated so much and so often. I am afraid of being in Maringouin because here is where they lay me on a table, stick needles into me and take whatever plasma I have almost before it is produced.

In sum, I am so traumatized by this institution and by another purveyor of snake oil I worked for that I am having great difficulty today not just running away or running into traffic; I fear the upcoming term very greatly. I keep trying to remember that I have more power than I believe, and that I should take authority. I should tell the university that things are going to be as I say, and that they must be quiet.



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