Friday, July 30, 2010

Hypatia's Girl Goes to the Movies and Comes to Detest Smeyer

So, we went to see the new Twilight travesty.

First I need to acknowledge that the most depressing thing about this whole mess is that we went, what, a month or two after it came out, and watched it at an arty kind of theater that serves beer and has a bunch of movie posters in FRENCH in the lobby.  Clearly, thought I, this is a place where a girl like me can go watch this nightmare in the company of other grown adults and we’ll all treat it like a huge joke and bond over how superior our movie-going tastes actually are.

In which Hypatia's Girl tries to make the previous boring post meaningful PART 2

Part 1 is here

All right, where was I?
Ummm, emotional milestones, overwhelming sharing, undirected thoughts about life and love and shit, ghost-hunting analogies . . .

That's right - My Thoughts On How It Is Difficult To Be A Woman With Shit To Do Whilst Also Maintaining Productive, Grown-Up Interpersonal Relationships.

This will be interesting, because within the last week I've reentered the OkCupid trainwreck and so now have Lots of Interesting Thoughts about Awkward Dating and a Generalized Fear Of Strangers.

Onward and upward!

Monday, July 12, 2010

In which Hypatia's Girl tries to make up for being a navel-gazer

But only by being a self-obsessed blogger.  HA! FOOLED YOU!

But seriously - true fact #1 - People all over the internet find my post on Of Montreal's Aldhils Aborteum.  This is not my best post.  They should find a more fun one.

True fact #2 - Who the fuck do I know in Denver?

True fact #3 - I know who's in Honolulu!  HI THERE!

True fact #4 - I have taken multiple pictures of my cat like this, on multiple days.  WITHOUT SHAME

That is all.

In which Hypatia's Girl isn't smart enough to just delete the boring post. PART 1

There is literally no reason to read this post.  But I spent such a long time putting in pictures that I can't face not posting it.  I really like the pictures.

I should be doing grading, but, frankly, ugh, that sounds awful.  And the blog I'm currently obsessed with has LIED to me about updating soon, and so . . . instead I find myself alone in the apartment thinking.

I'm not even going to blog about Mel Gibson (judgment: dick) Roman Polanski (judgment: creepy child-rapist dick, AND YET PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO THINK GIVING HIM A PASS IS IN ANY WAY PROBLEMATIC) or anything interesting like that.  Instead, I'm thinking about marriage, loneliness and personal milestones.

And yes, I'm totally qualified to blog about marriage, I KNOW SEVERAL PEOPLE WHO HAVE ENTERED INTO THAT HALLOWED TRADITION, including my parents, SOME OF WHOM I AM LEGITIMATELY HAPPY FOR (particularly the last couple to have gotten engaged! Hooray for you and the disgustingly adorable children you will someday have.  I totally approve.).

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Listening Project - Amethyst Rock Star - Saul Williams

 Part 15 - Amethyst Rock Star - Saul Williams (2001, Universal Special Markets)

Dude. Dude.  Dude, seriously, one of my favorite ever albums of ALL TIME AND HISTORY.  I luffs it.  There isn't a lot of hip hop on the old iPod, but it is a genre I've come to enjoy (when it's good, it's very good).

I'm really not totally certain what else to say about this.  It's the sort of album that fits almost any mood or time of day or year.  In a lot of respects it's way easier to write about albums I'm not as certain about, because, really, what more can I say about this other than WHY ARE YOU NOT LISTENING TO IT RIGHT NOW?!!!!

Favorite Track: "Coded Language"
Least Favorite: "Our Father"

Next Up - Arm's Way - Islands (2008)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On leaving, arriving and assuming a life that suddenly becomes yours

I moved, down the country, to a new geographic block of states.

The vegetation is different down here, the squirrels are smaller, none of these people have heard my stories three thousand times yet.  Of course, my stories contain no relevance here, there are no architectural mnemonics here to trigger the subconscious into the mental fugue that can only be escaped by telling the story.

And this all happened almost three weeks ago, and still.  I don't feel it.  Instead I think about homes and houses, I think about selves and stories, I think about timelines interrupted, Derek Parfit might be on to something.

What was more meaningful was two days ago, when the remainder of Hypatia's Household packed up their shit into cars and trucks, turned in the keys and the internet box and rolled their separate directions off into some mythical sunset.

My own leaving was subsumed into the entrance into a life clearly already in progress.  This life has a fire escape and a pre-established harmony with a set of people I don't know yet.  This new life tangos and forgoes some of the ancient habits that built me up.

We have left Toledo.

I have arrived in Atlanta.

And my pre-ordered life unpacks itself around me.  Today, a day I have done nothing and spoken to almost no one, it occurs to me that I am already the person I will be.

But there is this tension - I am looking for it to be painful or meaningful or hard or something.  It isn't.  And that is terrifying.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hypatia's Girl Angrily Reads the Apology of Socrates

"Apology" in Five Dialogues 2e, trans. G.M.A. Grube, rev. John M. Cooper (Hackett, 2002)

I'm preparing for the Grand Move, and realized that this book is packed away, oops! So, you know, it might be a little short.

The trial of Socrates is one of my favorite stories in philosophy.  Which says something as I got into philosophy for the stories.  There is something enormously compelling about the image of this pug-nosed old geezer daring Athens to put him to death.

What we have in this dialogue is the "transcript" of Socrates' defense at his trial.  Before a 500 man jury, Socrates is expected to defend himself against the fairly serious charges of corrupting the youth and atheism/worshiping false gods.  It is also in this dialogue that we see the formulation of the idea that Socrates is the wisest man because he knows that he knows nothing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Listening Project - All Hands on the Bad One - Sleater Kinney

Part 14 - All Hands on the Bad One - Sleater Kinney (2000, Kill Rock Stars)

I love this album.  I'm totally surprised that I hadn't originally put it on the old iPod, which means that I hadn't listened to it outside of my car in . . . 3 years? 4 years?  Weird.

I want to say that I got this CD way back in the back day when I listened to a lot of dyke rock (a little acoustic Ani, a little Melissa Ferrick, some . . . you know . . . Indigo Girls) but it's also totally possible that I picked it up from Hypatia's Ex (a person you can blame for most of my music) (not the Indigo Girls tho).  Who knows.  I do know that I saw them on their last tour and that was pretty great.

So - they're fun.  A little gritty.  13 tracks wrap up in just over 36 minutes.  You get in, you get out.  You have a fun time while you're there.  It's kind of great.

I've been packing all day.  I got nothing.

Favorite Track - "You're No Rock and Roll Fun" - totally awesome
Least Favorite - "The Swimmer" - the only really slow song on the album. Kinda boring.

Next up - Amethyst Rock Star - Saul Williams (2001) (and then we're all caught up and can go back to strict alphabetical listening!)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Herculaneum at Sunrise

Part I.
the invited chemicals have been
      rearranging the furniture of my mind 

- Deck chairs,
                        you know 
the Titanic, you know -

They pull up comfy armchairs to the fireplace,
         and I
                  get to have tea

with my demons.

Part II.
This town and I have lived uncomfortably together.  Like a parent of a missing child, 12 years later.  There are landmarks to memories become meaningless, and yet. . . And yet.  I've not changed the locks, but I have lost the key.

My time in this town is coming to a close.  The tick-tock of calendars and hours winding down.  Two years, and this still doesn't feel like home.  I pack and find a cathedral of papers and pens, a full skeleton of a decade past, more than that.  I give away books like a future suicide.

Two years, and these two years are like a palindrome.  Inverted mobius strip, to begin and end in similar ways but on the one hand, dragons; on the other, St. George.  I don't know which I would prefer.

Could I breathe fire and sterilize the land, lay waste to the countryside, allow the charred remains to stand as witness to this heart.  They say the heat, the light, radiation of the bombs we dropped left shadows in their wake.  And I don't know if this is true, but I know what it is like to burn with such a heat, the past is burned in bas relief.  You tip your hat to shadows on the street, you pause to let the ghosts come through.  The lost remains of Pompeii, the living past, struck down and replaced by muted statues.

Or, could I live as St. George.  The gore and flesh still on my hands, the heart-taste still fresh on my tongue.  The dragon was never vanquished, you know.  The heart torn out, the fire turned to embers.  If George could eat that heart, could stand the heat, could climb back into the gaping maw of sinew and bone, the dragon would find her wings again.

This town and I won't part as friends.  The streets will not miss me.  The empty windows will not weep.  I am accustomed to endings that are final.  He accuses me of burning bridges.  And I do.  Two years and I have to struggle to remember.  The order of things.  The passage of time.

My dreams, still, though, my dreams are of a missing.  I fret that I am sleeping while awake.

Part III

I will

one day

go into that desert, head held high
     to lose my skin to brighter suns

I want to dance this on its edge

(and he held me in his coffee gaze, the words were other hands to soothe my brow, you know, you know how the muscles of my eyes become so tight, the world too clear, too sharply defined that i cut myself against the edges, there was a softness that i needed, that i had, that i soon must trade for wool)

but as for now, I won't

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hypatia's Girl Angrily Reads the Presocratics

A Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments and Testimonia, ed. Patricia Curd, Trans. Richard D. McKirahan (Hackett, 1996)

This one's a little difficult to blog, because it covers a good 300 years and 19 disparate thinkers.  All in, you know, 106 pages.

It's been longer than I like to admit since I've really done any work with the old ancient philosophers, at least 2 years since that Aristotle class, and heavens knows when before that class that I would have done much work on the ancients.  Which is not to say that I don't think the history of philosophy is important, it's mostly that I kind of always thought that I found the ancients kind of boring. Well, except for Heraclitus, who is clearly the most bad-ass of bad-asses.  (And also, in the interest of scrupulous honesty, "kind of boring" can be wielded against a lot of philosophy, particularly if you're not used to reading it, or its A.J. Ayer.  Just saying.)

As I was pleasantly surprised to discover, a good ten years of philosophy education and general growing up can make reading the pre-Socratics much more fun.

The Listening Project - Apple O' - Deerhoof

Part 13 - Apple O' - Deerhoof (2003, Kill Rock Stars)

You know, I have absolutely no idea what I think about this one.  (To be truthful, another album I listened to while pretending to get back in shape, so, there you go)

On the one hand, it seems totally listenable, really fun (well, a little more laid-back than that) and maybe a little quirky.  On the other hand, I can't shake the sense that it's the sort of album that takes a lot of effort to listen to.  There are like melodies and harmonies and shit.  Weird.

I don't know if I've really talked about my musical laziness yet, but, I've got lazy ears.  Like, some of my favorite music ever is French Polyphony. It's just that touch more complex than chant, but without a. the douchiness and b. difficult instruments.  Also mid-nineties rock.  I am willing to bet you a dollar that absolutely no one ever broke a sweat over Inside Out, and yet, I love it.  Lazy ears.  Lazy, lazy ears.

So I think that's part of my ambivalence.  I also have never been a fan of high register voices, and the singer's voice has that high, kind of nasally quality that must make indie-music folk swoon, like ironically.  Not a huge fan.  In short, not an album I'd put on, but not one that I'd click over were the old iTunes on shuffle.

I feel so ambivalent about this, that I'm not going to do a favorite/least favorite.

Next up - All Hands on the Bad One - Sleater Kinney (2000) (I know it's out of alphabetical order, but, it's new to the iPod, and I love it, and didn't want to skip it.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Second Post in what will be a Series on Women and Skepticism

This won't be a super-long totally in-depth post today, mostly because I've got a Listening Project post to do too, and I really should finish up the book on the pre-socratics, also, like, submit grades for this semester, finalize my lectures for the upcoming semester, pack and figure out where I'm living in a month and a half.  (Let me tell you how much I'm looking forward to the end of that list. Either a lot, or not at all.  Actually, could you tell me how I feel about that?)

All deep and intense whining (or whinging as the Brits say it) aside, I really just wanted to comment on something that made me incredibly happy.  There are times when The Internet just warms the cockles of my cold, angry heart, generally when The Internet stands up for Not Being A Douchehatted Assclam.  And PZ Myers did that one small thing, and I really just wanted to comment, aloud and alone in cyberspace (does anyone use that phrase anymore? Is it like the Information Super-Highway?) that the intersection between feminism and skepticism isn't just for the ladybraynes.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Listening Project - Apologies to the Queen Mary - Wolf Parade

(I finally got smart enough to just charge the ol' iPod and not sync it. Smarty-pants, this girl!)
Part 12 - Apologies to the Queen Mary - Wolf Parade (2005, Sub Pop)

This is, hands down, one of my favoritest ever albums.  For reals.  It's just fun, and beautiful, and exactly the sort of people-doing-interesting-things-with-music that I like.

I don't have a whole lot else to say about it, mostly because this is one of the albums that I, like, actually know, and so there is not a really fun "discovery" story behind it. Also because I listened to it while taking a run for the first time in longer than I'd like to admit.

I do know that the guitarist has the most kick-ass haircut ever, but that I can never find a picture of it, so I can never have that hair cut.  Which is sad.  As sad as the fact that it took me two months to figure out that I could just charge the ol' iPod and not sync it.  Which is something like tragic.

Favorite Track -" Dear Sons and Daughter of Hungry Ghosts "
Least Favorite - I simply refuse to pick a least favorite.

Next up - Apple O' - Deerhoof (2003)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Hypatia's Girl Angrily Reads the History of Philosophy

Given that I'm starting to prepare to depart for some fancy-pants philosophy learning (hooray for escaping the surly death of retail!) in the south (good-bye midwestern winters!) I sort of figure I should read the recommended reading list, so that I might pass for a philosopher who knows a thing or two.

To make it fun and keep me honest, I'll blog the books I read, then you all can learn the history of philosophy with me.  The plan, as it stands now, is to read straight through, for those of you who want to follow along at home.  This plan, however, is subject to change upon my whims and attention span.  (She says, eying the medieval section with a sigh)

The list - or so they tell me:

I.  Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy

1.  The Presocratics (Curd and McKirahan; Hackett)
2.  Plato, Apology
3.  Plato, Republic
4.  Plato, Theaetetus
5.  Aristotle, De Anima
6.  Aristotle, Metaphysics
7.  Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
8.  Aristotle, Politics
9.  Epicurus, The Epicurus Reader (Inwood & Gerson; Hackett)
10.  Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations
11.  Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Skepticism
12.  Plotinus, The Enneads

II.  Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

1.  Augustine, Confessions
2.  Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will
3.  Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy
4.  Avicenna, The Metaphysics of "The Healing" (Marmura; Brigham Young Univ. Press)
5.  Anselm, Proslogion
6.  Averroes, On the Harmony of Religion and Philosophy
7.  Maimonides, The Guide of the Perplexed (abridged, Guttmann and Rabin; Hackett)
8.  Aquinas, Selected Philosophical Writings (McDermott; Oxford)
9.  Duns Scotus, Philosophical Writings (Wolter; Hackett)
10.  Ockham, Philosophical Writings (Boehner and Brown; Hackett)
11.  Cusanus, Of Learned Ignorance
12.  Pico della Mirandola, On the Dignity of Man

III.  Modern Philosophy

1.  Machiavelli, The Prince
2.  Hobbes, Leviathan
3.  Descartes, Selected Philosophical Writings (Cottingham, et al; Cambridge)
4.  Spinoza, Ethics
5.  Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics
6.  Locke, Second Treatise of Government
7.  Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature
8.  Vico, The New Science (Bergin and Fisch; Cornell)
9.  Rousseau, The Social Contract
10.  Kant, Critique of Pure Reason
11.  Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
12.  Kant, Critique of Judgment

IV.  19th Century Philosophy

1.  Fichte, Introductions to the Wissenschaftslehre
2.  Schelling, Philosophical Investigations into the Essence of Human Freedom
3.  Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit
4.  Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation (trans. Payne), vol. 1
5.  Comte, Introduction to Positive Philosophy (Hackett)
6.  Emerson, Nature
7.  Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
8.  Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
9.  Mill, Utilitarianism
10.  Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy
11.  Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
12.  Peirce, Philosophical Writings (Buchler; Dover)

V.  20th Century Philosophy

1.  Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk
2.  James, Pragmatism
3.  Dewey, Experience and Nature
4.  Husserl, Cartesian Meditations
5.  Heidegger, Being and Time
6.  Sartre, Being and Nothingness
7.  de Beauvoir, Ethics of Ambiguity
8.  Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception
9.  Arendt, The Human Condition
10.  Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
11.  Martinich and Sosa, eds., Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology***
12.  Horkheimer and Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment
13.  Foucault, The Order of Things
14.  Butler, Gender Trouble
15.  Derrida, The Gift of Death

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In which Hypatia's Girl wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and contemplates whether or not Internet language is appropriate for the Internet.

(Are we still capitalizing "Internet," by the way?  I feel like we used to, but that maybe now we're over the whole ZOMG IT'S THE INTERNET kind of thing.  Someone call Strunk and White!)

I'm kind of unimpressed with this.  Kind of deeply unimpressed.

Look, this blog, she does not get a lot of comments.  A lot of that is that this blog, she is small, rarely updated (working on that) and I'm not totally certain how I want to develop it.  Now, I could post a bunch of meta-bullshit posts about finding my bloggy path and developing my interwebby tone, or I could recognize that I'm writing a fucking insignificant blog out in the hinterlands of blogspot, and, you know, just fuck around until I hit my stride.  This post (which will totes get interesting in just a minute) notwithstanding, allow me to assure you, 15 people on the internet (Internet?) who will read this one day, when in doubt I always go for the latter option.  For fuck's sake, I'm a philosopher, that's totally line one of my job description.

Anyway - comments - I don't get a lot of them . . . So I hadn't really had any hoops to jump through to comment on it.  In the same way as I don't really have a policy in my day-to-day life for what to do in case of shark attack.  And then, this morning, I wake up all cranky-pantsed and it's raining and some TOTES FOR REALZ FUCKING HELPFUL D00D CAN HAZ ANONYMOUS HANDY HINTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF MY LADYBRAYNE BUT CANNOT HAZ BALLS TO USE A NYM.  And now I'm all cranky-pantsed, and it's raining, and I'm deeply unimpressed with Anonymous Intarwebz D00d.  So now EVERYONE has to register to comment.  WAY TO BREAK THE TOY FOR EVERYONE.  Sheesh.

I mean for fuck's sake, the insane, anti-atheist, notorious internet troll Dav* Mab* can fucking have a name when posting crazy, vaguely anti-Semitic, death-threat laden, mass-produced comments.

Commenting under "anonymous" annoys me for two reasons, the first and most important, it removes the anonymous from the community.  I cannot respond to you by name or nym, and so I am addressing a blankness.  It's also fucking cowardly, and bespeaks a lack of imagination.  AID is probably relatively educated, and perhaps AID thinks that passive aggressive offers of helping my tone ARE REALLY FUCKING HELPFUL, but for seriously, why the fuck do you, who is simply a blank cipher, think that I should change one goddamn thing I do, because you think my using internet speak on the fucking internet makes me look bad.  For the fuck of shit, it's like saying "You know, Hypatia's Girl, using all that philosophical language in your philosophy paper makes you look pretentious."

And so, Anonymous Intarwebz D00d, allow me to devote the rest of this post to addressing YOUR ANONYMOUS HANDY HINTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF MY LADYBRAYNE.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In which I dream of a world where justice is both swift and severe.

I'm sure I've covered this before, but apparently it's a phenomenally difficult idea to grasp, so I'll try to take it in easy steps.

1. I feel safe in asserting, doing no research whatsoever, but rather relying on what I already know about human reproduction, psychology and constitutionally "protected" medical procedures, that the primary reason a woman would have an abortion is because she does not want to be pregnant, or to give birth, or to have a baby.
1.a. Therefore abortions happen because there are unwanted pregnancies.

2. If you are genuine in your concern about abortion and not jut a fucking woman-hating fucking asshole, then if you want to prevent abortions you would do everything in you power to . . . prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Focusing on slut-shaming, restricting access to abortion, contraception and reproductive health measures is not at all in anyway whatsoever no matter how much you try to fucking lie doing a single fucking thing to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
2.a. Therefore unless you work to ensure women have true sexual and reproductive freedom, you actually just hate women.
2.b. Therefore Oklahoma is close to being the worst state ever.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hypatia's Household Goes to the Movies and Hypatia's Girl Swears Off Pop Culture

That's it.  I'm done.
I'm over dude culture so hard.  I'm sure that life is really scary if you're a dude and all with women who do things like leave you and aren't super duper excited that you've impregnated them and want you do things like ZOMG hyphenate YOUR last name with hers JUST BECAUSE YOU GOT MARRIED.  It sounds fucking awful.

So Hypatia's Household was restless and went to see a movie.  We went to see Hot Tub Time Machine.  How could you possibly go wrong with a movie whose premise is there is a hot tub, and it's a time machine.  It has John fucking Cusack, for fuck's sake.  How do you fuck it up?

You make the whole movie an extended joke about homophobia, non-consensual sex, how fucking hard it is to be a dude and then you throw in some racism (just a smidgen).

What I learned from Hot Tub Time Machine:
Dudes are sad when their women leave them.  But sad only in a kind of plot point so that we know that John Cusack is kind of sad, it's hard to be him.  But it's WAY more sad when his high school girlfriend breaks up with him, WHEN HE'S 40 AND SHE'S ACTUALLY STILL A TEENAGER. Also it's not fucking creepy IN THE SLIGHTEST when you find out that you're married to a woman THAT YOU ACTUALLY ONLY KNEW FOR LESS THAN 2 HOURS.

(Black) dudes are sad when their women ask them to give up their dream of being a mediocre singer and are really emasculated when they have to sacrifice their identity, THEIR PERSONAL SENSE OF SELF by CHANGING THEIR FUCKING NAME WHEN THEY GET MARRIED by hyphenating with hers.  THIS, DUDES, IS THE WORST THING EVER, but it's probably ok if she changes her name to yours without hyphenating at all, in fact, it's probably fucking emasculating if not, because, apparently LIFE IS FUCKING SO HARD FOR DUDES.  Also dudes are sad when their women cheat on them.  But not so sad that they talk to the women about the email they broke into to find out about the cheating. And I'm assuming this is harder for Black dudes, because we all know how fucking pushy ALL Black women are.  For reals.

It's totally NOT AT ALL A RAPEY THING TO DO to get a woman drunk to sleep with her.  Nor is it at all to be remarked on that you INTENTIONALLY KNOCK HER UP.  AGAIN, when YOU'RE IN YOUR 40s AND SHE'S A TEENAGER.  Also, it's fucking HIGH MOTHERFUCKING COMEDY to make jokes about nonconsensual sex, so long as it's dudes blowing each other.  And it's NOT RACIST AT ALL to trot out "once you go Black, you won't go back" or that black dudes ALL UNIVERSALLY BECAUSE THEY'RE SO FUCKING SEXUAL LIKE THAT have REALLY HUGE COCKS.

I cannot tell you how fucking OVER I am of the pop culture meme that ZOMG IT'S SO HARD FOR MEN OUT THERE.  Dudes are just trying to be all dudely, and like THOSE FUCKING WOMEN WITH THEIR - well I'd say needs, but hot shit, owing to the movie's utter lack of character development of ANY of the characters, I'm not actually certain what WAS the fucking problem besides those dudes just generally being kind of huge fucking jerks.  And really, if you're a huge fucking jerk, LIFE SHOULD TOTALLY SUCK FOR YOU.

I literally cannot remember enough of the movie to do justice to how annoying it was.

But you heard it here first, kids, Hypatia's Girl is officially throwing down the gauntlet on PEOPLE NOT FUCKING GETTING IT.  I don't think that it should be hard to not be a giant douchecanoe.  This common-sense radical will be there, loudly asking you why you are a douchecanoe.  Oh, you think rape jokes are funny, huh jackass?  Why is that?  Oh, yeah, black guys have big cocks? Why are you such a racist piece of shit?  Could you please detail me the ways in which you are not ACTIVELY MAKING LIFE WORSE FOR EVERY SINGLE FUCKING PERSON EVER by not being an active, informed, committed feminist/anti-racist/queer-ally?  Because, dear world, frankly none of this shit ought to be hard any more.  We should fucking know better.  And I, for one, am 100% out of patience with this shit.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dick Moves and a Sense of Proportion

I was planning on writing a nice nostalgic post about Sean Connery Day IX and the importance of rituals of friendship.  It was going to be all sensitive and bittersweet and ultimately uplifting.

However, three things happened between my intending to leave for Up North and my arriving Up North that kind of soured me on the whole bittersweet-and-ultimately-uplifting theme.  Nothing particularly bad per se, just those moments of mild annoyance that we encounter in our lives.  And I thought that I'd rather complain about 3 dick moves in 60 minutes than write anything, like, productive and shit.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Update on The Listening Project

Meant to post this, like, a week ago.
The Listening Project is on hold for a bit.  My car was broken into and part of what got stolen was my beautiful and totes loved external hard drive.  The hard drive that had all of my music (in addition to all of  my writing and most of my teaching materials).  Gone.  Disappeared like my last willingness to give this Rust Belt city a chance to turn my heart.

I have some music right now, but it sure as shit isn't anything I'm willing to tell the internet I listen to.  At least not without some decent stuff mixed in.

Your sympathies are appreciated.  I'll try to get back to this soon.

Until then, try this:

Hypatia's Girl and Hypatia's Boy go to the movies

It's hard going to the movies when you are the sort of person who can't watch most commercials/television shows/movies/etc. without identifying all the ways in which the message is designed to encourage systems of privilege, particularly when you're dating the sort of person who a. enjoys the philosophy of film and b. does not distinguish between aesthetic judgments and moral failings.  But nonetheless, sometimes I struggle out of my safe, feminist blogosphere and engage in example of pop culture.

Like last night when Hypatia's Boy and I went to see Alice in Wonderland. (Or, Tim Burton imagines what Alice in Wonderland would be like as an action flick).  Spoilers probably follow.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rust Belt Love Letter

This town is empty.  An exoskeleton of despair slowly decaying around an already forgotten corpse.  The sign in the bar, You will do better in Toledo, more mocking than not, or perhaps . . . Perhaps more deluded, the fading grand dame in her mansion, wearing the dress she wore to her last cocktail party, 40 years ago, the glass in her necklace chipped and missing, the fabric of her green satin stained and moth-eaten, tattered around her dry body.

I walk from 14th and Monroe past empty buildings, faded signs and flyers torn but still stubbornly clinging to glass-front shops.  You can look inside and see the remnants, a chair, a shop counter, a piece of bad art.  You can also see the dirt that covers everything, the leaves and animal droppings.  This is an image of a world after a war.  The reclamation of Chernobyl, the monuments to Dresden, the Rust Belt in the 21st Century.  We have lost and the population here, what's left of it, knows that.  Even the graffiti is faded.  Either no one left to claim space of their own, or nothing left to claim.

This is a town of tragedy.  No great, visible tragedy, no sharp divide between what was once and what is now, but rather a town composed of those small quiet tragedies that build the foundation of our impoverished society.  This is a town of can't-pay-my-bills and repossessions.  This is a town of cut-backs and a fading tax base.  A town filled with people so forgotten that they've become invisible. 

I cross the streets of downtown at 9:30 on a workday morning and I cross them in the middle of a block.  I could walk down the center of the street.  Laying heel to toe down the cracked and faded lines with no fear of traffic.  The buildings, surely large and grand in the booming days when they were built, lurk awkwardly around me, windows like the eyes of the dead, half-shuttered, sometimes broken.  They whisper apologies to me as I navigate the cracks and craters of the sidewalk, the parts of the street where the asphalt has been missing so long the bricks beneath are worn and crumbled.  They politely pull out of my way down narrow paths.  Or sit silently, staring over my head, searching for the horizon.  I ignore them.  Am silenced by their obvious decay.

This is a town of tragedy.  Of scratched-off lottery tickets littering the gas station parking lot.  The billboards are all for the lottery, or cheap lawyers, Planned Parenthood and those "crisis pregnancy centers."  There is one near the crumbling grand apartment in which I live that implores me to "erase the hate."  It stands in an empty field, its edges torn, the red bleeding pink into the white.  Paper and trash, bottles and cups and broken liquor bottles have gathered beneath it.

A woman wearing a knit cap with Obama's hope logo on the front asks me, politely, for a dollar as I cut through the gas station parking lot, picking my way carefully around broken glass and those lottery tickets.  I tell her I don't have one.  I wish I did.

This is a town that makes me feel my privilege.  I am only passing through here.  I am walking back from dropping off a second copy of an application to a Ph.D. program in philosophy at the post office.  I am the transient.  Putting in my two years, joking about the emptiness, the meaning of You will do better in Toledo.  This stretch of street lined with trash and brown grass, the half-hearted flutterings of litter in the still-icy March wind, this is not my home.  I walk up to my apartment and stare out at the tops of buildings, at the sky still gray despite the sun.

Oh, Toledo, I cannot love you.  I would only bruise my heart on your bricks, cut my lips on your broken glass.  My fingernails seem to always have dirt underneath them in this town.  Cigarette smoke and exhaust in my clothes.  Glass from my broken car window in my shoes.  You are a sliver in my heart, Toledo, a symbol more than a city.  You are the Tower card of a Tarot deck.  Loss and despair.  I pile what has been lost here, all of the losses here, in the parts of my heart where you would sit.

I come home and consider starting to pack.  Leaving months from now.  To go somewhere else.  I cannot see the future in Toledo.  I cannot imagine days outside of these.  I've tried.  I don't pack.  Instead I memorize the way the street looks right now.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Common Sense Radicalism, Gay Marriage and the Weirdness of Marriage in General

Gay marriage: How the census will count gay marriages and couples in 2010

Before I talk about the 2010 census count and why it's kind of awesome, but also kind of fraught, a little political defining is necessary.

The more I think about it, the more I am willing to actually code myself in a non-tongue-in-cheek manner as a common sense radical.  The unfortunate thing about this willingness, is that in that serious coding, I should probably come up with some sort of definition.  Because, really, what could make a philosopher happier than creating new definitions, preferably using words people use anyway.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alas, Hypatia's Girl is Busy

It seemed like such a decent idea to start a blog, but then, you know, you get busy.

What's interesting about this busyness (those parts that are not actually panic attacks about graduate school applications and the fact that ZOMG, if I don't get into a Ph.D. program this time I'll probably just be a loser and work retail, quietly dying inside from the fact that I have a dream and can't fulfill it, I mean . . . really) is that it all revolves around teaching and pedagogy and the fact that I, apparently, can't tell the difference between Critical Thinking and Ethics.

I just spent a very entertaining half hour talking about this semi-god-forsaken class that I'm teaching, and in doing so realized that what I want the kids in the CT class to learn is virtually identical to what I want the kids in the Ethics class to learn.

Now, this of course, is likely of little surprise to Hypatia's Boy, with whom I have countless and entertaining arguments about the role and availability of reason in thinking, but the connection between the course objectives in CT vs. ethics for me isn't that weird Kantian belief I have that clear thinking leads you to good ethics because prejudice and being a dick are inherently unreasonable stances (true story, you're not thinking clearly if and when you engage in systems of privilege) but rather that, quite literally, all I want my students to take away from either class is that you cannot think alone.

It's that line from the prologue to The Human Condition, "we must think what we are doing."  One of the most interesting and horrifying positions my students take (aside from the libertarian who really doesn't understand just what a terrible human being they are when they say that people only deserve healthy food if they can afford it) is that quasi-non-judgmental stance where they say things like "true for X."  As in, who are we to say that X's belief in Y is wrong, perhaps truth is relative.  It's more pronounced in the ethics classes, where there is this strange desire to not admit to a universal ethic.  This weird relativism extends into an inability to consider future, interrelated consequences.

I know where they get it from.  We don't see a lot of empathetic thinking.  We do see a lot of false balance.  Look, you do not want to live in a world where there is only solipsistic reasoning.  We do not actually live in a world where "true for X person but not Y person" has meaning.  The earth is an oblate spheroid, and we are capable of telling members of the flat-earth society that they are wrong.  The universe is 13.5ish billion years old.  Systems of privilege are wrong, and so is ignoring them.  This is true.

Critical thinking is not all about learning about models of argumentation, it's about learning to think what we are doing, learning to think about what effects our actions have on the world, and whether we are justified in taking that action.  Ethics is not all about reading papers on differing positions and trying to decide what a Utilitarian would do, or how to destroy the oppositions' argument, rather it's about learning to think what we are doing, taking into account our actions on others and whether we are justified in taking that action.

I've been thinking about this long enough that writing the last gave me such an intense feeling of deja vu that I find myself vaguely dizzy.  I should read more novels I suppose.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Listening Project - Antics - Interpol

Part 11 - Antics - Interpol (2004, Matador)

This album acts like a window into a different time for me.  Listening to it, inevitably, invariably, calls to mind the gym at EMU.  I can smell the equipment and sweat, I can feel the pull at arms and legs from working out (that's pure memory I assure you, Hypatia's Girl might be angry, but she's also hella outta shape).  That this music is so evocative of that particular place, that particular time is especially weird, because I could only have heard it on the radio or on those godforsaken MTVU channels at the gym. (Part of the memory is that creepy marionette music video).  Maybe I heard it once or twice while actually at the gym, however it is now inextricable from my memory of the gym.  Memory is endlessly weird.

It's kind of weird to listen to an album with such a particular memory, right now, because I'm currently working on some thoughts regarding cycles and spirals of time.  (I was also listening to Antics while driving up to EMU again . . .)

Given that the memory that this album recalls a relatively good memory, it's difficult for me not to like it.  Yes, each song sounds pretty much like every other song.  But that one song isn't half-bad.  (Although how quickly "Slow Hands" gets stuck in my head might be a mark against the whole album)

It's nice to know that I have music that holds memories that would otherwise be utterly unremarkable.

Favorite Track -"Length of Love" Just totally great.
Least Favorite - "Next Evil" didn't grab my attention at all.

next up - Apologies to the Queen Mary - Wolf Parade (2005)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Video killed the Prop 8 arguments

Apparently we won't know if that's true.

I'm really confused about the rhetoric here.  For some background - California had gay marriage for about 30 seconds, during which the Apocalypse happened, dogs and cats lived together, fire and brimstone rained from the skies and children grew up without having repressive gender identities drilled into them from birth.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Listening Project - And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out - Yo La Tengo

Part 10 - And then nothing turned itself inside-out Yo La Tengo (2000, Matador)

(I know, I know, you're all like, zomg, Hypatia's Girl still has a blog? Weird, totally forgot about that.  Well I was busy, had to go be a mistress of philosophy and drive across PA.  You know, the state that gets in your way when you're trying to get someplace else?)
I'd anticipated not liking this album at all, and so was pleasantly surprised to find that the instinctive dislike for the album was a product in inherited distaste rather than any knowledgeable sort of disagreement.

It's not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not a bad little album.  Owing to my suckiness at keeping up this blog I probably have listened to this album 3 times over the course of a couple of months, it goes better with sunshiny days when one is driving to a potentially awkward lunch than it does with the blah, gray barrenness of driving up US23 to restart a part of your life from a different perspective.

The beginning of the album didn't really catch me, a little too quiet and the vocals seemed a little superfluous.  However it really picks up in the middle rocking out some really great tracks (at least ones that fit my driving-up-US23 mood a little better) like "The Last Days of Disco" and the cover "You Can Have It All."  (I'd watch the video, it's kind of amazing) Of course, "rocking out" might be a sort of strong label for this.

Over all, a nice, mellow album, not necessarily something you play to listen attentively to all the way through, but a nice thing to have and pick up threads over the course of an hour or so.

Favorite Track - "The Last Days of Disco."  Just fun.
Least Favorite - "Everyday." It's the opening track and it just did nothing for me.

next up - Antics - Interpol (2004)