cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (crack)
I posted a critique of a highly dubious news headline on Tumblr here.

The headline that set me off was this tweet:


@pinknews: "STUDY: Straight women judge emotions and thoughts better than lesbian women"

In a nutshell, their sample was only 67 straight women and 43 lesbians. All the straight women were psychology undergrads from their university with a mean age of 19, while the gay test subjects were recruited via fliers in cafes/the internet and the top of their age range was over 30.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sproing)
There's board elections coming up for the OTW and some unfunny business emerging. I have seen comments to the effect that people *would* have considered involvement/not shunning the name of OTW and spreading malicious sniping about AO3 but now that they've seen how extra-wanky it supposedly is they should instead run away. But honestly, OTW's just a large volunteer organization having a periodic but by no means unprecedented flare-up of dysfunction and infighting due to conflicting views and growth/change, and that isn't so different from other such organizations. Every now and then everybody involved wants to rip their hair out and they try to work that shit out and the only way to do that is for members to continue to push for what they believe in. It's not a special evil unique to the OTW. ) The people I see posting meta about this are doing their best: honestly airing their thoughts and talking to each other and sometimes having large alcoholic or tannin-laden drinks, which looks like an exemplary handling of the situation.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (yum)
Looking at today's newspaper. Must be a slow day for news, because the lead image is extracts from the report on the country's highest wage earners. And, lol, Lauri Ylönen from The Rasmus is on the top 100 with his income of 400,000-something Euros per year! So, yes, Finland has less than 100 individuals who declare 1 million+ in income. That's so cute. (The Finnish population is around 5 million, I believe.) [ETA: In 2008, the US had about 5.1 million millionaire households and the state of Kansas alone had over 43,000 or 3.98% of the state population of ≈2.8 million.]

So. Anyway:

Last night I dreamed that there was a thriving industry in schmaltzy art and Hallmark cards, heavily featuring heart imagery, all produced by chimpanzees. When I woke, I was on the verge of saying, "But the question is whether chimps are innately twee or if they're socialized to be that way."

Chimp research + anthropology = OTP!, apparently.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (godlike)
I didn't check the syllabus before taking the 1-hr trip to suburb Pargas yesterday for the weekly meeting of my course for teacher's assistants, and so didn't realize that it was, in fact, Multiculturalism (aimed at Extremely White Non-Academic People from Finland AKA A Country That's 98% Insular and Racially and Ethnically Homogenous).

I immediately correctly guessed that I should have executively exempted myself, considering that I studied Sociology through all the Bachelor's level courses and quit only when it was time to write an undergraduate thesis, and that I was raised Unitarian Universalist on my English professor grandmother's considerable collections of world folklore (not to mention educated in America where in school I learned more about world religions than the Finns, which is hilarious considering Finland has the best secondary education in the world and America places 14th) (of course, that isn't universal in the US, where considerable latitude is given to state governments, city governments, and individual schools).

When I saw the first Powerpoint slide said "WHAT IS CULTURE?" I was like, Oh shit, and started ripping up my handout to make a series of progressively smaller origami cranes, which has been my habit whenever reading a novel through a boring class isn't possible, starting in 9th grade. (I had seven at the end of the class, four of which had small allover patterns drawn in ballpoint on both sides of the paper, and the smallest of which I folded using the tip of the pen when my pinky nail could no longer fit into the folds. I threw them all away on my way out.)

(LOL. This was entirely my own fault, by the way. Some of the class probably DID need the lecture and all of the lectures are optional.)

My dad, 3/4 Jew and 100% naturally and genetically irreligious, was raised in the Ethical Culture Society and UU congregations because his parents wanted people to have dinner parties and nature hikes with, and summer camps to send their children to. My mom was raised Catholic and didn't like it, and my parents were happily sleeping in on Sunday until they moved to Alabama when I turned 6 and I was plunged head-first into the Alabama public school system, and consequently exposed to Christianity enough to notice it for the first time.

At age five, I was impressed by Buddhism and used to tell people when asked that I was Buddhist based on children's books on the subject. But everyone (everyone vocal at least) in my new school was a Southern Baptist. They were all talking about Jesus all the time, as well as telling so many stories from Bubble Camp (their accents were very thick and it was several years before I realized that "Bubble Camp" was actually Bible Camp) that I wished to take part. When people asked, I said I was Baptist for a while. Even though it was clear I didn't know what it entailed, my parents decided I needed a positive influence, so they joined the local Unitarian Universalist group - today a Congregation, back then a Fellowship - which, at the time, was renting space from the local synagogue.

For the first few years, there were few volunteers to teach Children's Religious Education (CRE), which takes place during the service for UUs and thus denies those volunteers adult company. The debate raged on the CRE Committee over which UU CRE curriculum to use: the one based on Bible stories that we did my first year, or the World Religions one. For a while I think there was a time-share policy in place, but somehow I managed to almost completely miss any Bible-story learning. Most of my childhood Sundays were given over to World Religions. I also went to the adult services because I felt like clinging to my parents' arms a fair amount in the years my mom wasn't teaching, or whenever the topic of the sermon looked interesting. The adult "sermons" were usually not actually sermons; our group didn't hire a full-time minister until I was in high school. They were generally on current events, philosophy, science, civil rights, or history, and the last quarter to half hour or so would be given over to a congregation-wide open debate.

By the end of my third year in Alabama public schools (3rd grade, 1992), I had learned all the salient features of trying to argue about religion with crazy Christians (aka the futility of arguing with trolls, even though I didn't know the word 'troll'). This isn't to say that I completely stopped, but I put more effort into, for example, contradicting the Bush Sr propaganda perpetrated by Weekly Reader and the American History propaganda about Washington and Columbus perpetrated by our textbooks, and pro-choice arguments when my 4th grade teacher tried to preach anti-abortion during math lessons, and campaigning for Clinton on the playground.

There were gay couples, Hindus, practicing Jews and recovering Christians in the congregation when we joined. Over the years, my home congregation has had a handful of practicing Buddhists and Native Americans and provided a meeting place for the local university's pagan group (my mother took me to several meetings in middle school, but they weren't as exciting as fantasy novels had led me to expect, even if I did get to jump over a burning candle). None of these acquaintances were very much more than superficial, but at least they were there. Tokenism, privilege, Nice White Ladies: it's practically my native culture. True inclusivity often (usually?) starts with the well-meaning majority being accidentally insensitive (it took my parents and the practicing Canadian Jews several years to part the fellowship from its "Thanksgiving Seder" in favor of a truly multicultural Thanksgiving that made factually correct references to Sukkot and none to Passover, which is about freedom and fighting for it, and thanks for, you know, the plagues as opposed to for the HARVEST. Although this concept was not too difficult to get across to a congregation of college-educated former Christians, they still held onto it for several years because it was "fun" and "everybody liked it").

The guest lecturer was a MA in Psychology who teaches World Religions in secondary school (hilariously - or maybe it's just me - Wax's good friend Sofia is a Doctor of Religion who teaches Psychology in secondary school). She was highly animated, and included a number of anecdotes from her international travels, so the class wasn't mind-numbingly boring, even if the only new information I learned was that no other books may be placed on top of the Qur'an (but this applies only to the Arabic; translations aren't holy); Indians throw dead bodies into the Ganges; in the Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem high-rise elevators stop on each floor automatically on the Sabbath so residents don't have to push any buttons, and men can't go before the Wailing Wall with their heads uncovered; and that Hare Krishna used to be the Swedish government's #1 Threatening Religion because they encourage people to cut off all ties.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
I've had a hard time putting my finger on why some particular meta that I see from various incest-shipping communities perturbs me when I am, in fact, an incest shipper myself in some fandoms, both RPS and not. I mean, obviously the problem isn't the incest, then; so what, I thought, is it?

But as of now, I can put my finger on it!

It's a particular culture-centrism in a particular argument that I sometimes see. The argument basically attempts to deduce logically the incestuous(/sexual) quality of a relationship as a direct consequence of its intensity, or scope, or, y'know, bigness. Of course, there is a subtle difference between the bigness as a foundation for speculation - which is generally the biggest motivator for incest fic I think - and the argument that the bigness itself is inherently and also canonically implicative of incest/sexualisation. So that argument - the difference between "profound love... let's speculate on making it sexual" and "profound love is always inherently sexual" - is always in the background, in any incest shipping situation.

The problem is that that basic premise, "The sibling love relationship is the most profound love and most profound relationship in these siblings' lives" does not inherently imply incest. Or at least, that's certainly taking for granted a proposition that is at best highly debatable. Romanticising brotherly love, or to put it another way, making sibling love really BIG, as big as sexualised romantic love conventionally is, is just the starting point. It doesn't have to be, "Any time you love someone THIS much or more it automatically is sexual/is not brotherly anymore". It can also be, "Brotherly love CAN BE just as big as sexual love."

The reason I call this automatic sexualisation of love based on its, er, bigness culture-centric is that I view that presumption as arising from a deeply embedded, sometimes unexamined moral norm of modern Western culture: the privileging of sexual and romantic life partnership, or the nuclear family unit, over other forms of love and family.

Life-partnership is privileged in modern Western society and culture: the "highest", most celebrated, most romanticised, most rewarded, most socially protected form of love, and defined exclusively as 1) sexual, 2) romantic, and 3) monogamous. Sexual-romantic-monogamous life partnership (hereafter SRM LP - if there's an existing term I don't know it) is so fundamental to our society and culture that it can be difficult to see it as a construction. In this culture the so-called "nuclear family" (SRM LP + children) has been called a "building block of society", and the prevalence of the SRM LP model is easy to see in the extremely low acceptance of asexuality, bisexuality, and polysexuality/polygamy compared with homosexuality, or the transfer of the nuclear family model, sometimes called "heteronormative" in this context, to contemporary constructions of gay romance.

This is culture-centric because in many other cultures, the nuclear family is not the most important form of family, and/or SRM LP is not the privileged or most important form of love.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
This week saw one of the loudest and wankiest outbreaks in the last year or two of the endless fight between people who support constructive criticism and people who think that if you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all.

This iteration was a bit more entertaining than usual, however, because the issue had gotten pretty thoroughly mixed up with the separate but related issue of reviews and recs. I don't mean that the issues were conflated by participants who failed to distinguish between them, but that the discussion, especially in [livejournal.com profile] lamardeuse's anti-concrit post, was divided between discussion of concrit and discussion of reviews, frequently explicitly separated by people on both sides of the argument, but then (apparently) conflated again just a few inches away, or even within the same comment - treated, although they were labelled as separate issues, as connected ones if not two sides of the same one. And I'd argue that that's not wrong.

Feedback and reviews are two separate things, but they are also two sides of the same issue: the interactions between the reader, the text, and the writer. (I put them in that order deliberately - fiction is at most a mediated interaction between reader and writer, and more properly an interaction between reader and text. The author doesn't have to be dead for that to be true. The author is simply irrelevant, at least until later when it's time to interact with her as two individual community members and not in your roles in relation to her story, because the author's not there in your head when you read.)

The conflation of feedback and reviews is a strange and fascinating issue for me in itself, something present in the comments of the post and something which I have encountered several times recently. There's a wavery line in fandom between the public (which recs and reviews by nature are) and the private (which feedback is generally considered to be, even though it is frequently performed in public, in which case it is often more a social ritual than a private communication).

i. the public and the private spheres

Most of us in lj-based media fandom generally regard as personal spaces the arenas where we interact with our personal friends which are frequently not, in fact, friendslocked. People also feel a natural sense of ownership of their own journals even when the contact is explicitly public, i.e. addressed to the public. Perhaps it is this and the journal-based fandom model's ability to fine-tune and filter privacy and participation for each individual user that causes this conflation?

Livejournal's multiple functions have done for that web 1.0 culture what the mobile phone did for our physical lives: erased the physical delineations for our spheres of interaction. )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (bored now)
You know, if you're seeing something that pisses you off in anonymous formats designed for letting off steam like memes and secrets communities, but not out in public, it's a good sign, not a bad one. Why? It's not showing that anonymous memes somehow bring out any depravity or unpleasantness that could have been harmlessly concealed forever; it's showing that the social conventions you evidently feel so emotionally invested in which make it socially unacceptable to say those things in public are in perfect and healthy working order, even against strong impulses. Try looking at it with a philosophical bent, give a cheer for social norms, move on... and ignore the anonymous fora in future.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
"No straight man would [wear that shirt, move his hips like that, cuddle a man like that, stand like that, like that music, wear that eyeliner]" is a lamentably common refrain in fandom. It's probably popular for all the right reasons, usually, because gay is a compliment from the fannish point of view.

It's also something I'll forever associate with tinhats (ie: slash fans who believe their RPS pairings are Really And Truly Real), because this was the favourite argument of the most famous tinhats of all - the Domlijah True Believers back in Lord of the Rings RPS fandom. The favourite arguments of the tinhats had to do with body language, despite the fact that they purported to have actual contact with a secret Source close to the happy couple who fed them messages of comradeship. Pictures of actors standing close together or looking at each other or standing in the same pose are purported to be incontrovertible proof of long-term coupleship, or sexual attraction: it's a So-Married pose, it's the kind of unconscious mirroring that grows up naturally after years of being Soulmates, etc.

But the argument in a more general sense usually has to do with gayness, and we see it a lot nowadays. But this statement is wrong.

A straight man could wear eyeliner, or a pink shirt, or stand like that. And would.

Because the only thing that no straight man would do is be in a sexual relationship with another man. That's it. They can cuddle, cry, talk about their feelings, dress how they want to, gesticulate, sound swishy, wear pink. These are all cultural prohibitions - they aren't naturally or genetically associated with sexual orientation at all. They're things that many men avoid in our culture (not, for example, in Japan) because they are frightened of being characterised as gay.

So if you're calling guys gay because they cuddle and kiss their friends, wear feather boas, cry, love shoes, talk with their hands, love showtunes - even if you're saying it because you LOVE them for it, because you love that they're that gay - you're reinforcing the very cultural norms and stereotypes which they're fighting against.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (distance)
1. Thoughtless rudeness is still just as rude as a racist conspiracy; the intent is different but the effect is just as harmful, and when you're a minority watching the majority culture reproduce the patterns that marginalise you, it doesn't matter to you in practise if they're doing it on purpose or not.

2. The last thing that any discussion of prejudice or offense needs is for minorities to be told to watch their tone. (It's the most frequent and most offensive demand I've seen in all these debates as they keep coming up again and again, and a persistent attachment to it is pretty much a permanent loss of my respect.) Unfortunately, they hear that so often that they're all well aware of its necessity if they wish to be listened to, and if they ever neglect to be polite it's no doubt in momentary frustration and with the full knowledge that they're going to be ignored by the people who need to listen to them as a result of their temporariy satisfaction.

3. Usually there's no reason to think there is a conspiracy, because no conspiracy is necessary to plausibly explain the widespread thoughtless behaviour, alas: culture-centrism is built into all cultures. To put it another way, the most fundamental characteristic of culture is its ability to make itself seem natural, logical, unchangeable, and taken for granted by its members. This is why raising the consciousness of the majority is a lot of work for other people even when the majority are trying to work at it too: it's impossible for most people to train their brains to question things which seem fundamental.

4. Because of #3, to members of the majority who are trying, or who consider themselves to be trying, intent is the most important element in every interaction. For a member of the majority, trying is the big challenge. This position is exactly the opposite of the minority's (see #1) and leads to even more conflict.

5. I parsed Merryish's admittedly defensive and confrontational statement as meaning it was offensive that Mama Deb (seemed to) imply a racist conspiracy was at work and not - as I see a lot of people interpreting it - as meaning that the act of stating her discomfort was inherently offensive. It's an understandable mistake since the latter is the position that many people take, but there is in fact a difference. In effect, it's a comment about her tone, and not a direct demand that she shut up. (As to whether the OP actually implied a racist conspiracy was at work, I think going only from the original post that's debatable. It read that way at first glance, but another look showed me the other interpretation.)

6. In this particular drama, while the discussion of racism is still very much relevant, the fact that the sign-ups were open for two weeks (and that such information is of course readily available to any interested parties at the community) renders the initial suspicion of conspiracy ludicrous. The long period of sign-ups is obviously intended to accomodate people who might be busy or absent for part or, indeed, most of the period; it's not like it's a week-long process.

<3

22 Apr 2007 11:40 am
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (sign)
That people look at one another and are jealous of one another; that they exchange letters or dine together; that irrespective of all tangible interests they strike one another as pleasant or unpleasant; that gratitude for altruistic acts makes for inseparable union; that one asks another man after a certain street, and that people dress and adorn themselves for one another - the whole gamut of relations that play from one person to another and that may be momentary or permanent, conscious or unconscious, ephemeral or of grave consequence (and from which these illustrations are quite casually chosen), all these incessantly tie men together. Here are the interactions among the atoms of society.

- The Sociology of Georg Simmel, ed. Kurt H. Wolff


He's like Durkheim only more emo! ♥
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
I'm reading badfic instead of sociology because reading in Swedish makes my brain itch. It's actually interesting! It's not like the stuff about Marx, which made me want to stab things - I actually want to know how it ends! (Okay, he lived in the 1800s, so I'm pretty sure he dies, but like - Which School of Sociology Will He Found? Will He Ever Give Some Awesome Burns To Those Damned Hermeneutics People? Why Did His Wife Stick Around If He Was Such A Momma's Boy?) (Although, granted, I already knew how Marx ended, having been forced to read about it ten times or something before, so to be fair that might have contributed to my exasperation.) But you know. Brain-itchy. It's probably the feeling of new neuron pathways forming or something and I shouldn't avoid it, but... itchy!

God, I'm so lame. I should. I don't know. Immerse myself or something. Read only Swedish for a while. ...Yes, and have horrible fanfic withdrawal. My life is so complex!
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (she wants revenge)
This textbook pre-digests the classics of sociology for us because the professors in the department don't agree with me and [livejournal.com profile] isilya that it's pretty ridiculous to allow someone to get a master's degree in sociology without making sure they've read [some of] the texts of the founding fathers of the discipline in an original non-pre-digested form. But I digress. /rant

So in the beginning of the section on Marx, it's all, "Marx's partner, Engels -" and, well, I know they were compadres and frequent co-authors and they worked out their theories together, but partner? I was like, what, was Marx gay and no one's ever mentioned that to me before...? But no, it's a linguistic nuance, a whimsy of expression, or a personal blip in my own brain.

However, if you were curious, there is one google hit for "Marx/Engels slash". But it's more like epistolary posthumous unrequited longing, so does that make it Marx/Engels gen?


PS. I hate reading about Marx. It's like I'm allergic: as soon as he comes up my brain starts itching with boredom and irritation. I'd probably be as annoyed if there were some slash stashed away in there.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (goldfish crackers)
I watched a couple more old episodes of The Professionals. I guess everyone always writes Doyle into tight jeans because they prefer him in them, because from my sample to date coloured velveteen trousers are beating them hands-down in relative frequency. (Of course we're dealing with sample size = 5 so I guess I've got a pretty gigantic confidence interval...).

I keep eating my own words while watching The Professionals, like so:
time: 0:30 "The funniest thing about this show is definitely the music."
time: 5:00 "You know, the funniest thing about this show is definitely the clothes. OMG, look, it's like a - black woollen motorcycle jacket with pale green velvet pants!"
time: 8:00 "Dude, the MUSIC. The music is the funniest thing about this show."
time: 15:00 "Everything about this show is hilarious."
time: 20:00 "The funniest thing about this show are the tiny little cars!"

etc.

Also, Bodie keeps wearing this thigh-length shiny pale grey leather jacket that's cut and styled like a shirt and it is one of the most hideous things I have ever seen. Then he finally got rid of it (well, changed out of it, anyway) in favour of a brown leather one... with a random, mysterious beige knit inset in the collar. It's almost enough to distract one from the parade of Doyle's velvet pants.

Of course, Doyle's velvet pants have nothing on the canary yellow pair worn by Dominic West in the first episode of Cambridge Spies. I think they emerged on the other side of "wtf" firmly in "omg" territory. Alas, [livejournal.com profile] wax_jism has been seized by the desire for cake, which may put a crimp in my intention to watch the second two episodes of the miniseries. She's abdicated to the kitchen for her usual two hours or so of waffling indecisively over her cookbook, I suspect. She doesn't bake very often. I was trying to tell her a highly significant anecdote in that it marked the only time Professor Surprise said something that made me want to cheer and was actually pretty witty:

cim: So Professor Surprise was like, what do you mean by ethnicity? And they were like, uhhhh, like race or something, and she was like, what do you mean by race.
wax: Do you want cake or not?
cim: I mean, in a discipline that has to problematise the concept of ethnicity you can't just ask "What does ethnicity do -"
wax: CAKE.
cim: In a scientific sense, it doesn't necessarily even exist.
wax: ETHNICITY OR CAKE???


So you probably had to be there, but I thought I'd record it for posterity anyway.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (bang)
there was a powersurge last night and when i woke up this morning, there was no electricity anywhere but the kitchen. i lit a candle and flipped the switch in the circuit box and then read thud! through breakfast and never even had time to turn on my computer, until now, after a leisurely lunch -

- it won't turn on. i made several attempts. Brother Windows confirms my conjecture that the problem is likely the powersource.

we were at the computer store (which is like 20 minutes' walk from here, and remember, there are snowdrifts to my knees out there right now and it's -10 C) the day before yesterday for [livejournal.com profile] wax_jism to buy 300 more gigs of harddrive that she doesn't need and she was all "are you SURE there's nothing you need?" and bought me a cheapass new keyboard and everything. also, i don't even know how to go about replacing the power source so there's definitely no point in going when she isn't home. but i mean. WHAT. WHAT.

aöslkdjföaskkdjföasdf.

to make the computer situation better, before the end of tomorrow i have to write about three pages in swedish of pointless rambling. that might as well have been the assignment word-for-word. why cim now hates Professor Surprise and hopes she will be visited in her nightmares by the vengeful ghosts of anthropology textbooks that prominently mention Jane Goodall. )
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (princess)
dude. snowing. the word is almost an understatement. seriously, seriously snowing, pouring snow, and it's above freezing. in other words, what it's really doing is slushing. i fucking hate slush.

Professor Surprise today expressed disdain for the popular (swedish) social sciences terms for the person you interview: "informant" and "respondent". the former, she feels, smacks of espionage, and the latter of - well, to me it smacks of gallup polls or just possibly lab experiments, but she hadn't thought of that; she had an incoherent babble that i didn't follow, there. she laments that the swedish language does not allow for the term "interviewee", and advocates for "intervjuperson". then she put me on the spot: what does "audacity" mean? i couldn't for the life of me express it in swedish. for my future reference, lexin says it's "fräckhet", which is also more directly "shamelessness".

this reminds me of how the direct translation to english of the preferred psychiatric healthcare jargon for psychiatric patients is "users", which the Norwegian stubbornly clung to as a translation for a long time, before being corrected to "clients" eventually by an international journal editor somewhere. "patients" is completely beyond the pale, and so is any language that sounds like you're talking about patients or medical procedures (such as "treatment"), even when you are, in fact, talking about medical procedures (eg hospitalisation or medication for psychosis).

*facepalm*

8 Jan 2007 03:16 pm
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (all i do the whole day through)
a new course in folkloristics today.

Professor Surprise1: what do you think about when you hear the word "fieldwork"? anyone?
me: jane goodall.
[silence]
Professor Surprise: who?
me: you know, that woman - with the chimpanzees?
Professor Surprise: oh - i don't know, but i'll just write "chimpanzees", okay?

[Poll #902689]


1. Professor Surprise is wee and perky and seems nice. her name results from her very short and wide-set, rather high eyebrows. she looks perpetually surprised, or at least very, very intent.
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (Default)
missed yet another opportunity to come out when someone assumed wax was male in front of an entire roomful of people who were staring at me (you'd be surprised how often it happens). i lose at life.

also i suspect hell may be a party, but it could have been worse. all my translation about the importance of social networks for mental health may be getting to me. i'm feeling rather positive in general about all the people i failed to have good conversations with even though the experience itself was kind of like having my fingernails slowly bent back.

eta: oh but the REALLY funny thing is how all the staff boycotted the christmas party being run by the new student organisation and why. of which more later. oh my little department, how i love you and your tiny quaintness. ♥
cimorene: A black-and-white vintage photograph of 1920s singer Helen Kane in profile, with a dubious, side-eye expression (wtf?)
we saw casino royale on saturday night. i take back everything unflattering i ever said about daniel craig's hair colour. mads mikkelsen was exactly right: "they will shut up when they see this." it was really entertaining - exciting and funny, well-acted, pretty and generally awesome. i could totally see that again. it made me want to put up the poster, but we don't have any rooms where that much blue would be appropriate.

what was kind of disturbing - though i wouldn't say it actually ruined the experience - was that the guy behind me had an (epileptic?) seizure in the theatre which went on for probably twenty minutes at least. i realise it would have been a giant pain to get him out, especially a full-grown guy like that, it's not like you could just pick him up or anything, but still, there wasn't really room to have a seizure comfortably there - i mean, he was twitching constantly and hitting his feet, and he kept making these kinda scary choking noises - i think he vomited (wax says he did). although he didn't actually choke; after the seizure he did leave. i don't think i've ever seen a seizure in person before. well, it was memorable.

also, the department chair gave another lecture on swedish-speaking finns today; she was talking about the "language border", both geographical and societal. she's kind of old and evidently a staunch member of the swedish people's party and kind of conservative and paranoid about the language dying out - well, she's from åland besides being old, so i don't know. but she told us that you shouldn't go out and speak swedish on the streets late at night in places like turku/åbo because it isn't safe; that the swedish people's party has the support of almost all swedish-speaking finns but that the overly-liberal helsinki swedish-speakers are out of touch with the rest of the population which is why the chief swedish paper, hufvudstadsbladet, is so unreasonably supportive of bilingualism (because bilingualism is just the fast way to language death); that children with one finnish-speaking and one swedish-speaking parent speak "bad" swedish akin to the english learnt in school by non-native speakers because they "just put swedish words" into finnish expressions and even structures (i bit my tongue to keep from pointing out she'd just told us herself a few minutes ago how strongly swedish-influenced western and southern finnish is); that a language cannot survive if it is not officially protected and used in the society at large; and that the future basically looks really bleak for swedish in finland. her prognosis is radically different from that of the bilingualism specialist from helsinki who gave us a lecture a couple of weeks ago, but then, i guess she's one of those liberal helsinki bilinguals. she finished the lecture half an hour early and she was kind of desperate for people to talk, but, well... ahh, i'm an academic coward. if i were rodney mckay i'd've just picked a fight, but i like her; she's a quavery harmless grandmother type, with an earnest face and huge eyes.

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