Thursday, October 02, 2008

New Kid on one difference b/t law and grad school

#1,004: You can wear bright pink polish unironically.

I totally gets what she means. At the graduate level in the humanities departments, you can only cop to liking mainsteam, plebeian amusements in an ironic way, or in a socially critiquing way. I suppose, if I liked watching shows about rich white people, I would say that I was ironically into Gossip Girl for a class analysis of the noblesse-sans-oblige and their Teutonic-sounding last names. Or whatever. NK brings up in the comments an example of a friend being "ironically" into Survivor, rather than admitting that s/he genuinely enjoyed Survivor. And Survivor supposedly has all of those class, racial, and political themes! Imagine admitting that you were into something as so gendered and imbued with patriarchy as pink nail polish, or heaven forbid, a Nicholas Sparks-based movie. (Admission: I sobbed during "The Notebook.")

There is much less irony in law school, perhaps either because of the less strident anti-majoritarian intellectualism in law school (we are all sellouts, of course), or because it's so damned miserable that you have to cling to such petty diversions much the way other bitter people cling to their guns and religion. Where I went to law school, the girls tried to imbue their sad days with a little glamour by wearing stilettos, very expensive jeans, and big ass earrings. As for myself, I recall embracing as an adult the pleasures of Sanrio school supplies. It sort of made it more cheerful to highlight my property law book with a Hello Kitty highlighter. I also wore a lot of pink and lots of shiny jewelry. I was kind of blingy back in the day. I am much more restrained now, and hardly wear jewelry. Perhaps because I'm happy. No matter how badly research is going, and it goes pretty badly, I am at least reading and writing what I want. So I don't need to be a magpie distracting myself with glitter and glam. I'm also filling in the emotional recesses by doing healthy, wholesome things like baking, knitting, hiking, being an awesome partner and friend, etc. awww, etc.

But yeah, I can totally understand how most law students (and most grad students too) cling to alcohol and simple pleasures. Of course, for law students, simple pleasures tend to be simple, whereas for pretentious literature grad student, it's reading Gaddis and Markson "for fun."


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