Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Random Five

1. Whenever I walk through a steam vent from the underground subways or the tunnels on campus, I can't help but hear the theme song to "Shaft" and strut a little. "Who's the man that would risk his neck for a brother man? Shaft! Can ya dig it?" Admit it. You do too. Just like if you were ever to wear white pants and white shoes you would strut, before you got beat up for being a fashion travesty, unless you're strutting on a golf course or something. Occasionally my assymmetrical bangs will lift and swoop like wings off my face when I absentmindedly brush them aside, but I always feel more like Pam Grier than Farah Fawcett, and I think "you go, Foxy Brown."

2. I will say it again: one exceedingly dramatic, miserable year of thesis hell combined with making all the wrong "friends"(psycho, backstabbing, using) in the heavily international LL.M program last year has made me, if anything, more xenophobic and stereotyping than I was ever in my life. Damn it, Coca Cola doesn't teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I am sure there are cognitive psych/sociological studies on how negative interactions with members of certain national groups create negative impressions of national identity, and in absence of such negative stimuli, the general impulse would tend either to be neutral or positive. In any case, this is all being rehabilitated slowly, if only because if left to my own devices I tend to go back to my intellectual cosmopolitanism of cultural relativism that predates the lived experience that French people are falsely superior. I used to like French language, literature and culture. Well, I still do, in the abstract.

But last year's experience with Le Freaks continued to weigh on my mind as I read the chapter on cultural differance as an explanation for the divergence in the attitudes and laws regarding sexual harassment between the U.S. and France. I kept thinking "man, the French are so fucked up," rather than "man, French laws on sexual harassment deriving from a model of interpersonal violence within the construct of non-consensual touching or rape as enforced by the penal code, which arises from differences in French political structure, civil law system, and cultural norms surrounding sex and gender are so fucked up."

3. Speaking of Coca Cola, whatever damage it it may do to my kidneys, after a lifetime of rarely drinking soda or carbonated beverages of any kind, it is my new best friend and current addiction. It is, in fact, a revelation. I keep asking people if they knew about the genius of htis. The coffee maker and tea kettle and tea and coffee are all packed up. I have been plowing through a 12 pack of Diet Coke as caffeine on tap, and it is delicious and stimulating. My kidneys definitely think so.

4. After my umpteenth time going over Marxist theories of law and economic class struggle, I must admit that I am just not that liberal, and I am so not a Marxist. I actually said "whatever, man, Communism sucks! My parents fled a Communist regime!" when the professor told me my critique of of the Marxist critique of relative autonomy and social constructivist theories of law and economics would be answered by Marxists as "you have false consciousness! In absence of law there would be a revolution!" Not that the professor believes in that either, but for the sake of argument, you know

I'm not a critical deconstructionist anymore either, but I've blogged on this extensively. I would say that I am growing closer to being a social constructionist. Hmmm.

5. It sucks when one of you has to work late and can't come home. It is understandable and not uncommon and in fact all too common, even on my end as a "no really, I mean a real job" graduate student, but there you go. It sucks nevertheless.