“But of all this daily drama of the body there is no record.
People write always of the doings of the mind; the thoughts that come to it;
its noble plans; how the mind has civilized the universe. They show it ignoring
the body in the philosopher’s turret; or kicking the body, like an old leather
football, across leagues of snow and desert in the pursuit of conquest or
discovery. Those great wars which the body wages with the mind a slave to it,
in the solitude of the bedroom against the assault of fever or the oncome of melancholia,
are neglected. Nor is the reason far to seek. To look these things squarely in
the face would need the courage of a lion tamer; a robust philosophy; a reason
rooted in the bowels of the earth.” –Virginia Woolf, On Being Ill
things i do not love: 1. a brand new sore throat when it's still ass hot outside 2. people who hang out on the quad wearing little umbrella hats and who dance in front of you trying to get you to take a piece of paper (how wasteful!) and then mock you when you avoid eye contact 3. wobbly or creaky spinning bikes 4. the geometrically perfect correspondence between what i'm thinking and the look on my face
things i love: 1. 30 Rock (thank you, E!) 2. colleagues who tell it like it is 3. U of I's classics librarians 4. biking home from campus
A couple days ago I got a query from the person I sometimes refer to as "my first former student" (which means my first advisee to be released into jobdom). Anyway, she wrote me, one of my colleagues (her other advisor), and that colleague's former student to ask how we "take/keep/find notes."
Since I've spent the morning reading and taking notes for the penultimate section of my last chapter, perhaps this photo would have been the best reply:
But that would risk making it seem far less unwieldy than it is. The exchanges that followed made both me and the original question poser a little more interested in how others take notes.
I rarely do the same thing every time I sit down to read an article or a book. Does anyone? Either way, we'd love to hear about it.
A musical about 1960s counterculture set entirely to Beatles songs is somewhere between the worst and best idea in the world. JM and I went to see Across the Universe this afternoon. Visually, it's as tasty as the big peanut butter chocolate chip cookie I munched on through the previews, and this isn't just because the three main characters are exquisite (note to Roger Ebert: please, please, please show this film at your festival and get Jim Sturgess to visit C-U!). Anyway, it's downright kaleidoscopic at times.
The main main character (Sturgess) is named Jude, and toward the end I was frantically trying to recall the lyrics to "Hey Jude" so I could know if it would end happily or not. (I hate spoilers just as much as surprises, and so even musicals can be wrenching.) A scene in a bowling alley was definitely my favorite, though some of the other surreal stuff doesn't work so well (apologies to Eddie Izzard), and the trailer, which boils the movie down to all of its references to the Beatles, makes it seem a lot sillier than it is.
I'm afraid though that the world needs a bit more than love. In fact, on the walk back, we revised the lyrics. Mine were "Love is a good start," and JM's were "Love can't hurt." That's probably why I married a marxist.
In the past five days, I've gone to, let's see, thirteen talks, all at least 30 minutes a piece (two of the talks went nearly an hour). That's a lot of talks, and a lot of talking. And with the possible outside exception of last night's really great talk by Lauren Berlant about affect theory and comtemporary precarity, none of them had much to do with stuff I am currently writing about.
But if they all--or even if half of them--related to rhetoric or bodies or affect or Kenneth Burke, I probably would have gotten bored. Instead, they were about the universe, ecocriticism, vision, time; about color and math and god and mind. I also wrote down a number of standout phrases and sentences; those are scattered all about my little summative notes.
The best off-the-cuff quips came from Sarah Broadie, an Aristotelian from Oxford, who framed her comment that she can't be bothered with contradictions in Plato with the caveat that some might think what she's about to say a "moral deficiency." And also from Berlant, who in asking the audience members to email her with feedback noted that she might not write back very quickly because it is the beginning of the term, the time when, as she puts it, "I'm giving things I don't have to people I don't know." Ah yes, I know what that's about.
What sharp, funny women.
All this is to say that the next time you feel too busy to go to a talk, just go already. You'll get to think more broadly about stuff; you're likely to learn something (e.g., after this weekend, my knowledge of physics has increased by at least 60%); and if you do it enough, you'll have witnessed a whole range of performances. It's one of the pleasures of being part of a vibrant campus culture.
And as part of the same logic--of making sure I hear smart people talk about the things they know-- I've been toting around a new book, Phaedra Pezzullo's Toxic Tourism, which I heard through the telephone line just won the Winan-Wilchelns Award. Hooray Phaedra! It's really terrific, people. You should add it to the list of "smart books I should read," pronto.
As metaspencer points out, the MLA job list came out last week. I don't usually make it a practice to recommend a book I've never read, but I still feel qualified to recommend the book at left, because I lived it.
My best guess is that Kathryn Hume's book is a straight-shooting guide to a rather brutal process. Let's just say that Hume's placement ship was run a lot like Pat Head Summitt's pre-tourney practices: intense, thorough, and a little bit painful. Oh, and both enjoy a hard look at the practice videotape.
Those of you who have actually read the book are invited to share your thoughts in the comments.
This summer, MS, a colleague who does cool research on the formation of NGO networks, first called to our attention something I'd only vaguely heard about: Community Supported Agriculture or CSA. This is when community members buy shares in local farms and in turn reap the bounty. It's like food stock, and it's a small way to resist big corporate farming that has all but taken over. Each week, 'shareholders' go to a designated location to pick up that week's share. MS even offered us her week's share in a Champaign CSA program when she was out of town in early June. We stopped by a place on Union street and got gooseberries and snap peas and lovely young onions.
This morning, we bought a share in the Urbana CSA (Moore family farms) which means that next season we'll be picking up the weekly (organic) bounty only four blocks away. One of the reasons we like living in the midwest is that it has the potential for sustainable living with all the farm land, etc., and a CSA is, as far as we can tell, one of the most direct ways to support small farms. So without seeming either smug or overly optimistic, I'm excited for next year's planting.
When I checked blogos's stats this morning and noticed that my recent post on the Timaeus conference has already made a round or two on email, I thought to myself "yah, blogging and the classics probably don't mix."
And while lots of scholars who study the ancient world probably think blogs are silly, some of their own still do it. Maybe my search engines failed me, but here's what I came up with, and some are a little, ahem, out of date. If you know of other classics blogs, leave em in the comments.