I put a LOL-ed up version of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Maidens here. It’s even less exciting in the original!
Archive for May, 2009
Instead of just posting random links and insane rambling, this is just going to be a sort of state of the union-ish update.
1. I finished the semester having read all the Jane Austen catalogue except for the last few chapters of Persuasion (I was unpersuaded to finish it) and most of Sanditon. Also I finished teaching two great classes full of students who I already miss. It was a good semester overall, considering I managed to kick butt at ancient Greek, read a ton of Austen, and finish a personal writing project that I’ve been working on for a long time.
2. I went down for a week to visit my and John’s family and cleaned out my closet down there. It felt good. Now I basically have family heirlooms that I don’t have space for right now (dishes, mostly), a one-person hammock that you have to bolt into the ceiling, my yearbooks, my diaries from middle school, and all my baby stuff. Other than that I am moved out. I also had some revelations as regards my personal life which have been productive, and it has inspired me to try to work on some of the personality traits I am less proud of.
3. I have started the summer semester. I got completely and utterly overwhelmed within two weeks with the course of study/teaching I had set up for myself and actually had a bit of a breakdown yesterday. I emailed my professor and she kindly reduced my workload. That should be helpful. I am still going to have to work all day every day, but things are looking better. I have a lot of work instead of an impossible amount of work now, and on the upside my class this semester is awesome. They are reading and are either actually into the Iliad right now or they are excellent actors.
4. I have been very social of late, owing to the fact that I am going to be moving soon, and my dear friend Raechel is going out of town for about two months. This is contrary to every instinct I possess but I have been enjoying it for the most part. That said I am looking forward to going into my standard hibernation mode again.
Other than that, the usual– role playing, hanging with my two bad cats, and thinking about my next writing project. I think I’ve decided what I’m going to do next but I would be writing about a location I know nothing about, so research will be challenging!
Mr. Holmes? Is that you?
I realized I never linked my new blog on this one. I have a new project going, translating Plato’s Apology. I’ve decided to create a blog out of it, where I post both results of said efforts and commentary on my experience doing the translating. It’s been motivating me very much, and I hope to use it after I finish the Apology and move on to more, uh, scintillating material.
Today I received an incredibly bigoted email from a family member. It contained a re-hash of the whole Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed controversy that happened in 2005, and an incredibly racist, inappropriate email (warning: do not read if you are both easily offended and even mildly not-racist toward Muslims) that a professor named Indrek Wichman composed in response to a Muslim student protest at his university. The group had apparently committed sinister terrorist acts such as serving cocoa at a meetup and claiming that the cartoons constituted hate speech. Professor Wichman’s electronic letter contains many classy sentiments toward Muslims that you can read in the article, but the worst part is that this man is being used now as part of a whole crusade (yes, I am using that word intentionally) against so-called “political correctness,” an irritating bit of neo-con terminology that should have, along with endearing terms like “feminazi,” fallen out of common usage with the close of the 90s.
This should stir up an overwhelming “wtf?!” in the minds of all rational people. Apparently, according to the email sent to me this morning we are “in a war” and “this political correctness crap is killing us.” Excuse me? Apparently in the minds of my family-members and I assume whatever batshit-crazy conservative penned the original email “not being an asshole” and “having the decency and intelligence to not paint an entire group as being identical to their most vicious, vocal minority” is akin to “political correctness.” Whatever “political correctness” is. So OK.
I wrote a response regarding the wisdom of using this delightful piece of bile as a rallying point for anti-Muslim sentiment and how the ethics behind championing this man as some sort of hero are spurious at best. It’s long. I think it’s good. It’s sitting in my drafts box on my Hotmail account.
Why? Because I am a coward.
I am afraid of controversy. It’s the same part of my personality that makes me shy away from confrontations about veganism, politics, animal rights, etc. I hate “stirring the pot” as my mother would say, especially with close friends and family members. I can only recall one instance where I did so, and I kind of regret it even though it ended up being pretty OK.
Usually I justify my cowardice by saying “I’m being diplomatic” or repeating to myself that “It’s not worth it, you won’t change anyone’s mind.” But I can’t help but question that. I am a person who (at least this summer) goes into a classroom every damn day and tells people stuff they don’t like to hear. To wit: I used the words “penetrator” and “penetrated” several times in class much to my students’ evident dismay. So why am I afraid to stand up to my family (and, if I was truly daring, the entire email forward list)?
I don’t usually think of myself as someone who is afraid to speak her mind. But I guess I am. Maybe it’s the family thing– I have a vexed relationship with my family in that we differ wildly in our perception of the world, and typically we just agree to disagree. This leads more often than not to great silences on both our parts, but it works. Years ago I asked to be taken off the list for conservative email forwards and they’ve been pretty respectful of that. But this, today, was kind of a violation of that agreement– and I’m not sure what to do. Fire a warning shot over their bow by requesting again to not be sent crappy emails? Ignore it? Declare open warfare by sending my response?
I think my family would find it inappropriate of me if I were to respond to the entire listserve with my thoughts. I don’t think they would read my response if I sent it just to them. Or, if they did, it would just piss them off.
Argh. This is dumb. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m leaning toward just reiterating that I do not wish to receive such emails from them in the future. It seems easiest. But I’m not sure if it’s the most honest way of handling the situation.
For anyone curious about reading my response to the championing of Professor Bigot as a spokesperson for “values” in the “war against political correctness it’s behind the cut:
Right? Just, you know, celebrating the cultural quirks and linguistic nuances of racial minorities by using their unique heritage to create a distinctive cast of characters?