Friday, May 25, 2007

Crossed Wires

Whenever I try to write Maurice Merleau-Ponty, I write Marcel Merleau-Ponty. Why is that?

Friday, May 18, 2007

The side-effects of education

If I hadn't gone to my particular small liberal arts college of choice, I wouldn't have met these fabulous women.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Anyone who knows me knows that I find Freud deeply distasteful. I don't like what he says and I don't really like him. This has the effect of compounding my frustration when doing any kind of character analysis. I think I'm pretty good at character analyses, but I realize (and am frustrated by) the fact that everything I do as far as analyzing is based in Freud-style psychoanalysis.

Maybe this is why I've become obsessed with spatial stuff? (Not that that's entirely free of psychoanalysis either...)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lacan in the morning

“For example, a certain society might decide to make a certain activity, quality or distinguishing mark a characteristic of man or of woman, that is, a difference according to which men and women should be recognized. There will always be one woman, not incidentally lacking in supporters, to show that this difference is no difference: for instance, a woman learned in Greek, in a society which restricts the study of this language to young boys, as was indeed the case during the Renaissance. But the point of this effective demonstration is always missed, for instead of admitting that being a woman is no handicap for learning Greek – which after all has no need of demonstration – it is concluded that because she is learned in Greek, she must be a man.”

(From Lacan: "Feminine Sexuality in Psychoanalytic Doctrine," 1975, p. 125)

Saturday, May 5, 2007

On the creativity of Yiddish

From Max Weinreich's book, History of the Yiddish Language (translated from the Yiddish by Schlomo Noble, University of Chicago Press, 1973):
“Any Jewish community could partake of honey on the eve of the New Year to portend a sweet year. A similar custom could be found also among non-Jews. But the consumption on Rosh Hashanah of carrots (mern) in allusion to the verb zikh mern (to increase) and its combination with a prayer to the effect that “may our merits increase”—this could only be an invention of Ashkenazic Jews. Kol mevaser (a voice proclaiming) is recited by Jews on Hoshana Rabbah everywhere, but only speakers of western Yiddish have the custom of eating cabbage soup on that day in allusion to the German Kohl mit Wasser (cabbage and water). In a township near Rovna, Volhynia, water carriers used to celebrate on the Sabbath of the weekly lection of Emor (speak) in allusion to the emer (bucket, in Yiddish).” (p.5)
This makes me wonder if the creative and clever traditions that arise out of homophones (or near-homophones) are more effective or appealing when they have to do with food. Also, I think it's wonderful that Yiddish pronunciation is just far enough from the German that mehren and Möhren become the same, and that mevaser is just close enough that someone probably chuckled and said, "wouldn't it be funny if..." and then it became a tradition.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Nervous Conditions

Any energy that I had been saving up for extracurricular academizing has now been reassigned to the task of doing my end-of-semester work/keeping me from failing out of school. Random thoughts on those projects may be posted here occasionally, but are unlikely to be fleshy and/or interesting.

In other words, I'll be back full-force in a few weeks.

Until then, I leave you with a to-do list:

  1. For The Five Senses in the 18th Century: Annotated Bibliography on Sensory Perception of Space and Landscape. (hopefully by 5/18)
  2. For The History of the German Language: A paper on Yiddish. (by 5/18.) And an exam. (ugh.)
  3. For German Poetry: A paper on something having to do with Nature. And an exam (ugh.)
  4. For Gender Theory and Narrative Fiction (from last semester): A paper on Jelinek's Die Klavierspielerin. (ASAP)