Friday, May 28, 2010

Madcap Recap, Part 1: Semester's-End-Scribbles, Food For Thought, The I.D. Student, New Orleans, etc...

It's been far too long since I've posted here. This past semester's been rather hectic. Crazy, even. How crazy? This crazy-


(my paper-writing-process: scribbled on the living-room walls)

This entry, then, will be a sort of haphazard recap of the time since my last post, some lingering thought-fragments, etc, that I'd like to get out of the way before resuming "regular" postings. This will presumably end up being the first in a two-installment series on the topic, as there's quite a chunk of chaos I'd like to cover...

Some food for thought first, from Bruno Latour, inspired by an ongoing dialogue I've been having with another grad-student from a different University...

"Military experts constantly revise their strategic doctrines, their contingency plans, the size, direction, and technology of their projectiles, their smart bombs, their missiles; I wonder why we, we alone, would be saved from those sorts of revisions. It does not seem to me that we have been as quick, in academia, to prepare ourselves for new threats, new dangers, new tasks, new targets. Are we not like those mechanical toys that endlessly make the same gestures when everything else has changed around them? Would it not be rather terrible if we were still training young kids- yes, young recruits, young cadets- for wars that are no longer possible, fighting enemies long gone, conquering territories that no longer exist, leaving them ill-equipped in the face of threats we had not anticipated, for which we are so thoroughly unprepared."
"Is it really asking too much from our collective intellectual life to devise, at least once a century, some new critical tools?"

Just a thought. Ok, then... where to start with the recap? Since my last pre-hiatus entry was a plug for my column at The Interdisciplinary Student, this is probably a good time to point out that I've since added another entry to that site, a bit of a playful deconstruction of the idea of "comparativism" and my tenuous involvement with it, prior to traveling to present a paper at the American Comparative Literature Association's annual conference. (Which reminds me that I never followed up at that site either... sorry Michelle... that's about the point in the term when things got really crazy.)

Logically, that brings me to my next topic. This semester, I travelled to New Orleans for my first literary conference. I was hoping to compile either a photo- or video-blog of my experiences that weekend, but unfortunately my Blackberry decided to come down with an odd ailment halfway through the trip, making this more difficult than it should have otherwise been. Here's a selection of photos that I did happen to capture, however, with brief and scattered caption-commentary-



Yes, I'm a big enough geek to take a picture of my name-badge. It's my first one. So what?



Arrival. The famous Hotel Monteleone, primary venue of the conference, and my Easter-weekend residence.



Royal from Bourbon, in shadows.



The view from the window of my room.



Oh yeah, did I mention I'd never been to New Orleans before?



I have a soft-spot for trellises...



Bourbon Street, predictably blurry at night...



La Fie Verte.



Odd juxtaposition. Holy weekend, Catholic city, notorious street of sin...



The "Literary Traditions" of the Big Easy are, of course, far cooler than elsewhere...


OK, that's probably enough for today...  lost-time-recap to-be-continued. 

Oh, one last thing, though, a brief house-keeping note- I've been getting a lot of spam comments lately... like junk about cheap generic drugs, websites featuring taboo sex-acts, or links to help me spam others with promo-bot-software. Does this mean my blog's hit some sort of a web-traffic radar? (I doubt it, but that's the best positive-spin I could give it...) What it DOES mean, though, is that I've changed a few minor settings about the way that things are set up around here (as it was, I can't seem to figure out how to delete them.) Most noticeable change is that if you leave a comment now, it will say that it needs to be approved by the admin before it posts. I want to make it VERY clear that this ISN'T in any way an attempt to censor comments here, or because I don't want discussions or feedback. It's merely because I'm tired of checking my phone and seeing that there's more corporate junk littering unrelated threads on my page. My apologies, wish I didn't have to do this... hope you'll understand, dear reader... and continue to communicate with my posts on the comment-threads.