Esther’s Space- journey through my life

November 22, 2008

Whoa, now

Filed under: Australia, Rant — estherspace @ 9:07 pm

I can’t believe this.  Recently I submitted an abstract for consideration to the Re-Orienting Whiteness Conference at Monash University.  The abstract was not accepted, but, judging by the continued stream of e-mails from them, anyone who submits an abstract is added to the conference mailing list.  That’s fine.

What is not fine is having my name and e-mail address posted on a white pride forum under the “Anti-White Conference!” thread.  Besides the fact that the conference is NOT an anti-white conference (which anyone who reads should be able to recognize), I’m not sure about the ethics surrounding publishing personal information in this manner. 

Thanks but no thanks, let’s not post my name, considering that I’ve sent nothing for your consideration.

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November 19, 2008

If Sartre wasn’t dead…

Filed under: Rave — estherspace @ 1:14 pm

…I’d pray that he’d write an introduction to my book.

Not that that’s something he’d want to do.

So, thanks to VP, I’ve discovered Albert Memmi.  We read The Colonizer and the Colonized for Contemporary Lit. Theory, and I am a huge fan.  To be honest, it took me quite a while to get over the fact that this guy has an introduction by Sartre.  I’m not sure why it amazes me, but it does make me intensely jealous.

But, on to my point.  Where has Memmi been in my education?  He’s pre-Said, pre-everybody.  But nobody talks about him.  Why?  His ideas are clear, he’s easy to read, and is a great introduction to thinking about the ideology and construction of colonial/postcolonial identities.  So why is this the first I’ve read him?  Admittedly, his work is emerging from a very particular socio-cultural moment and place (I’ll get the quotation re: women when I have the book in front of me), but it does not at all detract from the overall value of his work.

I’m now officially a fan.  Perhaps I’ll have a chance to read Decolonization and the Decolonized over break.  ::crosses fingers:: Wow am I a cool person.

I had to say it, but now I must move on to real academic pursuits.

October 25, 2008

I have nothing useful to add

Filed under: Rant — estherspace @ 6:59 pm

::sigh:: This week, while not unproductive, did not produce all that it should have.  And, can this lack of energy for academic thinking come at a worse time?  There are papers to start!  Proposals to write!  Books to read!  Discussions to engage in!

But all I want to do is socialize, consume various entertainments, and dream about a life that I don’t have.  Any tips on how to re-organize, re-focus, and do it all in record time would be appreciated!

October 18, 2008

Kath & Kim

Filed under: Uncategorized — estherspace @ 9:30 am

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s something missing from the new U.S. version of Kath & Kim.  It’s missing something key.  The character’s aren’t toeing the line with ugly enough, the clothes are too close to being ‘okay’ and the whole thing is politically correct.  Seriously, what’s Kath & Kim without the hated, trampled, disrespected best friend?  And I love Molly Shannon!  And, if it’s going to be set in Florida, I want to see something that points towards the embarassing habits Floridians have lurking under the surface.  But, instead we are giving generic-city, featuring generic mall and boring issues, since it’s very hard to care at all for the characters.  I’m going to have to see something much better before I’m going to give this one the ‘go-ahead’ nod.

October 9, 2008

flashthink on previous post

Filed under: Uncategorized — estherspace @ 8:42 pm

can I use the problems i’m having to illustrate the fact that it is impossible to break free from ‘the system’?  But then, how do I put the blame on the Booker?  maybe the booker is simply a cog in the machine, a tool, not a powerful, active, entity of its own.  It’s not to blame– it’s just doing what it was designed to do. ?  maybe.  But, for now, back to work at the real job that pays me money for not thinking.

October 8, 2008

Perfectly

Filed under: Australia, Rant — Tags: , — estherspace @ 4:48 am

So, I’ve reached that point in my writing where mini-meltdown usually occurs.  In trying to articulate the argument clearly, I’ve come to the realization that my original thesis is either perfectly correct or perfectly asinine, but I can’t tell which is the case.

I’m trying to argue that the characters in O&L are consistently trying to find the agency to break free from/rebel against the system as it stands (be it gender, class, race…), but also while this is taking place, the selection system of the Booker is simply co-opting the novel in order to use it in the propegation of the system (whatever system it may be).

The parts that are complicating my reading:

  1. Lucinda’s lack of passionate dedication to anything.
  2. Oscar’s completely non-masculine  character never proving to be anything but trouble for him.
  3. Lucinda at the end of the novel- pickle factory/factory reformer

To deal with #1, Lucinda is obviously different from everyone surrounding her.  But there is nothing (outside of her mother?) to help her make sense of how/why/to what purpose she is different.  This understanding of the aims of her uniqueness would be key in allowing her to become an opinionated participant in her own life.  (and I don’t have the book, so I can’t reference it, but she makes several comments about how she didn’t really care about glass, and had no interest in owning a factory for any social/political reasons, but instead that she wanted to have people that could pass as friends, and gambling and an interest in glass was one way to do it)  But, everything remains confused and Lucinda is repeatedly (and to her, unexplicably) penalized for not fitting into her proper role, and this penalization continues until she does become ‘who she is supposed to be.’

#2- I haven’t spent as much time dwelling on this, but Oscar really doesn’t seem to win in this novel. His life is all a series of misunderstandings that repeatedly lead to bad situations for him.  And, he never seems to be intent upon breaking free from society’s bonds, because he doesn’t really feel held by them.  So where does this put him?  Is he the image of the body that cannot be made docile?  If so, I wouldn’t want any part of it.

And #3, I have such a problem trying to place anything because of the narrator!  He shows up every once in a while, and when he’s not there, I spend a lot of time trying to figure out who is telling the story, because it’s stuff Mr. Narrator could not know.  But, to relate it  to Lucinda, at the end of the novel proper, Lucinda has been reduced to working in a pickle factory.  But, earlier in the book, the narrator tells the reader that Lucinda will someday be famous as a factory reformer, much more famous than her relationship with Oscar would ever make her.

So, does it succeed?  Is Carey’s O&L a novel where agency is achieved (or at least consistently sought)?

It could be argued that Lucinda, while listless and unable to communicate for much of the novel, makes a breakthrough when she realizes how she and Oscar somehow missed realizing how much they loved each other and took this information to turn her life around.  The problem with this statement is that it relies upon a vast amount of speculation regarding events that take place outside of the novel and one statement from this (not wholly reliable) narrator.  What does the novel give me that I can use?

And, in Carey’s defense, he never seems to celebrate the fact that the ISAs and RSAs are successfully beating the characters into their proper roles in society (or, in Oscar’s case, killing off the untrainable).

ACK!  I still don’t know what I have.  We’ll see again in the morning.

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