We’ll read him next semester.
«Nuestro atraso cultural se evidencia cuando nos comparamos con otras naciones. Aún no se han impuesto aquí con toda fuerza el derecho, la libertad, el deber. La tierra clásica del honor es la tierra de la arbitrariedad: en política, en el caciquismo deshonroso; en literatura, el elogio interesado y la censura rencorosa.
Se duda de si la ley del progreso es una verdad en España. La apatía nos ata las manos: callamos ante la injusticia y confirmamos las palabras del ilustro arzobispo De Pradt: “La geografía ha cometido un error colocando a España en Europa, porque pertenece a África. Sangre, costumbres, lengua, manera de vivir y de luchar, todo en España es africano”. El militarismo nos ahoga, la marea de la reacción religiosa va subiendo. Espíritus enérgicos, que trabajaron siempre por la ciencia y el arte libres se rinden a un sentimentalismo religioso que antaño les hacía reír. Revolucionarios de toda la vida, vuelven su cara atrás y refunden su programa sobre las bases de la Iglesia y el Ejército.
Cuarenta millones se dedican a los gastos de culto y clero; seis a la enseñanza. Los catedráticos son separados arbitrariamente de sus cátedras. El Poder legislativo es una comedia; el judicial, un orden dependiente del ejecutivo; el ejecutivo, un servidos de la ambición. El obrero no espera nada del Estado.
Dejemos los entusiasmos exagerados y el lirismo del mal gusto. La época de las declamaciones ha pasado. Necesitamos ahora científicos. El triunfo de las nuevas ideas vendrá por la ciencia. Haga la iniciativa privada y particular lo que el Estado no hace: Fúndense instituciones para la enseñanza, laboratorios para científicos, escuelas donde el obrero aprenda a ser hombre y a hacer efectivos sus derechos. Que aprenda el obrero a desconfiar de los apóstoles del falso socialismo; que medite que el credo católico es incompatible con las aspiraciones del mundo que trabaja.» 
It is not what they do to you, it is what they can get you to do to yourself, is an important point for those of us who are dealing with misogyny or any kind of discrimination, really.
Another thing to remember is that although we are constantly told that most people can never admit they are in the wrong and that the sign of moral progress is to do so, even when you are in fact the wronged party, people lose respect for you when you apologize and you should consider not doing it. Do they? When they have in fact committed major crimes? They do not.
What I would like, though, for 2018 is to have more authority over the students, and therefore be in a position to be kinder to them or at least feel less wounded by them. In the old world, this authority existed in the structure of programs but now it does not. You have to be very, very solid in the bubble that is your courses, your world, and leave things at that.
I am on it.
How much do students know about you? It appears that they know (correctly) that I had two straight parents who did not divorce, and one brother. They do not know more although they guess (incorrectly) that I am (a) Mexican or Argentine, (b) from “Europe,” and (c) lesbian (reasons for this are wearing black, not wearing stilettos, having strong opinions, going to New Orleans a lot, and never discussing boyfriends or husbands in class). They change their opinion on sexuality and marital status a lot, depending upon which of my mother’s rings I have fancifully decided to wear. They say they feel they know less about me than they do the other professors. I feel they know much more than they would know if we lived elsewhere, because in this culture much more is revealed than would be at home–although at the same time I note that I am far more comfortable than it is said I should be with events such as running into students at the gym. Qu’est-ce que c’est?
In October, I am going to Morelia, Mexico for a week and it is excellent. I must remember to make these arrangements for ERIP. (And Washington/Baltimore in November, and California in December, but ERIP comes first.)
There are other things to remember, as well, including this inspiring article by Jacqueline Bixler on memory-theatre and Tlateloloco. Its bibliography and comments are enough to create a marvelous course and I would like to do this. And there are simple things I do not know, such that Paz’ Posdata was a posdata to Tlatelolco.
Filed under News, Teaching
From Austerlitz, I learned about this Resnais short obliquely based on Borges, Toute la mémore du monde. This article, about architecture in the Bibliothèque Nationale of France, complements the film and the novel very well. And here is a set of 13 films of works by Borges and Bioy Casares.
How do you see film “à la Alain Resnais”? There is a moment in Hiroshima mon amour where Emmanuelle Riva says “Bien regarder, je crois que ça s’apprend.” The entire film is about vision, and it is about war, so it is related to Austerlitz.
Related to both Borges and Resnais: Mon amour, reading films; another list of films on Bioy, in a book; another discussion of Bioy, Resnais, and film.
This would be an interesting course to give, by the way, and an interesting topic for a freshman seminar. There are all these people and materials I did not know about, like Francisco Boix the photographer of Mauthausen. There was an exposition on him, and there is a book. Another point of interest is Xavier Güell’s novel Los prisioneros del paraíso, on the many composers of Theresienstadt. One could read this book and listen to the music, which is widely recorded. Related is the propaganda film on Theresienstadt that one can see, and I am sure there are many more works of art and documents.
I found all of these and related things in part because various of my distant cousins, who I thought were Christian but were not, turned out to have died in camps, and also because I read W. G. Sebald’s novel Austerlitz and followed up. Then I rediscovered Viktor Frankl, whom you can observe here. Meaning, he says we need.
In research-related news, Nazi Germany used the segregated United States as its model. Race has to do with land and space; you need Lebensraum for the Aryans. And we, the United States, are on the road to tyranny.