Below are the 21 most recent journal entries.
can anyone believe that the destruction of ''flyingottoman'' was some 90 weeks ago????
could there possibly have been 90 weeks in the history of the universe? unlikely.
the final word
hasemi gaeshi: so have you given up on flyingottoman?
Merced 99: yeah, i can't do the lj
Merced 99: the only purpose of the ottoman is to provide a nifty little icon for comments
hasemi gaeshi: keep it rizzle on flyingshark
Merced 99: indeed
so the whole end of the quarter scenario is actually as bad as it seems.
i have about 6 chapters of arabic homework to do.
but it's not that bad because the teacher only "looks for completion."
the stage 4 test doesn't seem that hard.
also there was an unexpected avalanche of linguistics homework.
a six page paper must be written tomorrow because i'm going home on tuesday.
it was interesting to see the Michigan marching band march out of the Shoe after I had seen it march into the Big House less than a month previous.
it's weird being able to observe the dynamics of dichotomous (not a word, but you know what I mean) conflict between irreconcible worldviews or persuasions. OSU/Michigan...Democrats/Republicans---i
really, what the fuck were democrats thinking when they nominated that douchbag?
i got a slinky in a package from my parents along with a copy of the Washington Post, a publication not impossible but definitely difficult to procure out here.
go bucks. fuck the boilermakers.
you know who is you know what
I call interior minister!
cspan has been unusually interesting lately
I just started going to the Arabic 101 classes, just to sit in and listen. it's really sad how I'm in chapter 6 and they're in chapter 9. but the only real difference is in the "laisa" and some conjugations and shit like that. vocab is weirdly easy.
isn't it funny how gay marriage and terrorist attacks only happen in blue states? I guess we should thank the red states for saving us from ourselves.
i really wish that my roomate's friends would stop using my computer to play internet poker when I'm not here. speaking of here: here, read this subpar English rough draft:
October 26, 2004
The Radical Mind of Barbara Ehrenreich
In Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich writes about the lives of the poor. To do this, she goes undercover. Casting off her role as mother, wife, and writer, Ehrenreich assumes the guise of a deracinated, rudderless woman looking for a job in the service industry, washing dishes, waiting tables, or cleaning floors. Her details are sometimes graphic and brutal.
Ultimately, however, Ehrenreich undercover reportage wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t have a political angle to it. She is, after all, writing about people whose wants and needs (healthcare and education, for instance) play central roles in this and every election year. Without a political element to her writing, her words would amount to little more than an eccentric’s travelogue.
The nature of that political element is surprising. In her final chapter “Evaluations,” she expresses dissatisfaction for both major parties, faulting them for hypocrisy and failure to alleviate the plight of the poor. Only in the last paragraph does she reveal herself as a socialist. “Someday,” she writes, the working “are bound to tire of getting so little in return and to demand to be paid what they’re worth. There’ll be a lot of anger when that day comes, and strikes and disruption. But the sky will not fall, and we will all be better off for it in the end” (Ehrenreich, 221). Her words echo a confidence in a theory of capitialism’s inevitable self destruction appropriate for the turbulent 19th century, not the globalized 21st. And in “Scrubbing in Maine,” her account of working as a maid, Ehrenreich’s socialist beliefs are revealed in her rhetorical techniques.
The most striking way Ehrenreich reveals her socialist ideas is in her vocabulary. Repeatedly, Ehrenreich uses the word “class” in phrases like “working class” or “owning class.” She also employs somewhat antiquated terms like “proliterian.” Once, she uses the word “caste,” something not generally thought relevant in describing American society. Most tellingly, is the use of the term “world wide working class,” words that recall the heady days of the IWW. By using these words, she undermines the American ideal of meritocracy under a free-market that supposedly rewards hard work and honesty. These terms create a tension between the wealthy and the poor that reflects her socialist leanings.
As for the wealthy, Ehrenreich spares them little sympathy. She describes lavish “McMansions” and the absurdity of well-to-do New Agers prohibiting their cleaning service from dusting their precious plump statue of Buddha. She looks disdainfully at their affectations, like their collections of antique books which were “no doubt purchased in bulk” and never to be read, existing only to be dusted (Ehrenreich, 95). Placing these examples alongside descriptions of the privations faced by her fellow workers, she not only reveals her socialist beliefs but also attempts to rouse pathos in her audience.
Another way her rhetoric reflects her socialist beliefs lies in the way she describes her own condition and character. The entire premise of her book is founded largely upon the idea that author is a part of the upper-class and therefore unaccustomed to the stress and strain of living as a part of the “oppressed working class.” Shamefully, she remarks on how her ability to take hours of physical strain is only due to the advantage of years of expensive gym memberships and a high protein diet (Ehrenreich, p. 90). These things, she notes, her coworkers never had. This aspect of her essay harkens back to an essential assumption of classic Marxian socialism: that an enlightened contingent of the bourgeoisie will ultimately relieve the proletarian of the burden of the unstable and cruel capitalist system. By emphasizing the anachronistic nature of her presence in the cleaning crew, she creates an ethos which subtly conveys a principle of socialist thought.
Interestingly enough is the lack of logos in this essay. While she is able to set up a coherent ethos reflecting socialist ideas and her crafting of a conflict between classes is composed of numerous socialist threads, Ehrenreich does not make a logical argument for how the conditions of the maids could be improved. In many respects, this is because the her underlying socialist assumptions prohibit her from doing so. To make a persuasive argument from a socialist perspective, one must arouse a great deal of pathos. The dullness of defending “the status quo” just doesn’t appeal. Ultimately, in socialist theory, coming up with a coherent recommendation for how the problems faced by the working poor could be ameliorated is not as important as finding motives for bringing on that day “someday” when the “there’ll be a lot of anger…and strikes and disruption,” and confident that, afterwards, “we will all be better off for it in the end.” Ehrenreich’s lack of logos reflects a similar deficit in socialist philosophy that cripples its application in the real world.
i seriously need to shave
Merced 99: dizannay?
WitDeezRightHere: hows it goin man
Merced 99: not all that bad, it's hard to explain
Merced 99: alot of my time is spent tolerating idiotic football shit
WitDeezRightHere: hah really
WitDeezRightHere: man i told u
Merced 99: and then alot of my time is spent learning how to write and read Arabic, which is incredible fun and cool
Merced 99: incredibly*
WitDeezRightHere: what other classes are u taking
Merced 99: linguistics
Merced 99: bs english
WitDeezRightHere: wut do u do in that
Merced 99: like analyze sentences and talk about the meanings of words in context
WitDeezRightHere: hows the size of the place?
Merced 99: actually, even though football is kind of boring, it can be kind of fun...in its own way.
Merced 99: not bad, my classes are all nearby my dorm
Merced 99: it's just that, with some people, conversations don't get more complex than "fuck michigan"----it's kind of like a gigantic, white suburban high school
Merced 99: i'm learning about what like normal americans think about, and it's kind of frightening...
WitDeezRightHere: yeah i can imagine..
WitDeezRightHere: yeah if u think about it our view of america has been pretty restricted
Merced 99: but a good experience, we don't really get a sense of middle america where we live
Merced 99: but whatever (dude, everybody calls things "gay" here...it's so gay)
Merced 99: i have some cool friends who are into indie hipster music. i just went to a death cab for cutie show, which was pretty awesome
WitDeezRightHere: oh nice
Merced 99: here, it's the art and english majors who are coolest, just because they're the most creative
WitDeezRightHere: i used to be into them
Merced 99: 'm learning alot about Big Ten football and trendy music
WitDeezRightHere: do u go to frats?
Merced 99: the first few weeks. They’re gross.
Merced 99: i don't drink that much, just because it's not fun to drink with people you don't know yet really
Merced 99: (but, all in all it's good because my social competence has expanded to a greater variety of groups and situations...and, since Ohio is so important to the election, i got to meet Howard Dean (and get his signature) Edwards (just shook his hand) and Bob Dole. and the Argentine ambassador came through here for the IMF, which was cool.)
WitDeezRightHere: yeah edwards just came here last monday
Merced 99: the football/poker can get on your nerves, but it's worth it
WitDeezRightHere: yeah man partying with strangers sucks
WitDeezRightHere: ive been drunk 3 times since i got here
Merced 99: me too. i went to d.c. las' weekend and drank with field people and it was awesome
WitDeezRightHere: yeah man sorry i didnt call u back, i was just being lazy and not going out
Merced 99: no problem, how was prep?
Merced 99: i wanted to go but I had to go to the fuck holocaust museum
Merced 99: fucking*
WitDeezRightHere: it was cool to watch
Merced 99: how'd we do?
WitDeezRightHere: pretty well, we have like 4 really good guys, the teams not as deep this year
Merced 99: who are the four?
WitDeezRightHere: hakim, darrin, ollie, and will
WitDeezRightHere: hakim is kicking ass
Merced 99: will is a junior, right?
Merced 99: i hope he stays off the ganj...
WitDeezRightHere: man, he ran 18:36 the other day, and hes been smoking
WitDeezRightHere: if he stops smoking and trains over the summer hell be better than me
WitDeezRightHere: hes got talent
Merced 99: let's hope
Merced 99: now man tell me about haverford?
WitDeezRightHere: it's cool
WitDeezRightHere: it felt good to be back in dc
WitDeezRightHere: how did u get home, plane?
Merced 99: yeah man, i was on a school trip
Merced 99: so we took a bus
Merced 99: and stayed at the Days Inn on Conn by fucking Burger King
Merced 99: it was trippy, we walked by Burke on our way to the Pakistani embassy
Merced 99: and i saw paul from across the street
WitDeezRightHere: wut kinda school trip?
Merced 99: just to like the IMF and the Pakistani embassy and the Holocaust museum so we could learn about injustice against jews and then injustice against the poor and blah blah blah...
WitDeezRightHere: for what class
Merced 99: i've been to the holocaust museum and found it uncompelling...and vaguely condescending
Merced 99: for my International Affairs Scholars Program....
WitDeezRightHere: uncompelling, really?
Merced 99: i don't know, parts of it
Merced 99: basically, the biggest problem is that you can't see anything most times you go there, the place is full of tourists
WitDeezRightHere: ive always wanted to go
WitDeezRightHere: cuz i heard good things about it
Merced 99: my biggest problem is that like, i have ceased to be moved emotionally by that kind of stuff, it's just too much sort of at this point...
Merced 99: no matter how much we learn, none of us can stop history from repeating itself
Merced 99: how are your classes?
WitDeezRightHere: theyre pretty good, im really impressed with my professors
WitDeezRightHere: man, its funny how similar paul is in some ways to my english prof.
WitDeezRightHere: shes not arrogant like he is,
WitDeezRightHere: but it makes me realize that paul basically apires to act like a college professor
Merced 99: haha (dude, the people here are so fucking immature it's hilarious, i really need to start laughing at this situation...)
Merced 99: hahaha, it's so true
WitDeezRightHere: my english prof did the eros/thanatos diagram on the board man
WitDeezRightHere: exactly like paul
Merced 99: we're doing "pathos", "ethos", and "logos"
Merced 99: my english TA has some serious T and A
Merced 99: these people are fucking 15 year olds. it's just funny (i will admit that that sentence is syntactically ambiguous)
Merced 99: but i'm going to be in d.c. this summer, which is cool
WitDeezRightHere: what is arabic like
Merced 99: it's interesting
WitDeezRightHere: as a language
Merced 99: the vocabulary isn't as hard as you'd think because everything's so arbitrary
Merced 99: like "baab"=door
Merced 99: and you just have to know that
WitDeezRightHere: wut about grammer wise
Merced 99: the arbitrariness makes it easier somehow...uh, i haven't really moved into that, the book is really gradual in the way it presents shit...i'm basically teaching myself
WitDeezRightHere: what kind of people are in ur class
Merced 99: army people, somalis who want to learn arabic
Merced 99: it's really weird to see a girl in a headscarf right next to a guy in army fatigues listening to recordings of simple conversations in the computer lab where I practice...
Merced 99: like i can basically read arabic, even though i don't know what it means
and then it veers off...
how to start a day: i wake up and discover that my watch is gone. it has fallen off during the night and now resides on the floor by my bed. this is not to troubling, though a bit surreal.
then, I walk out the room and close the door behind me. it locks. I am in my underwear and the shirt I was sleeping in. Now, this has happened to me before, but I was fully clothed. In order to get a spare key, you have to go down to the front desk and produce some form of identification. I have none. Nor do I have pants. In regards to the pants problem, I request a spare pair from this guy ben who's studying japanese. I get them from him. Now, on the matter of identification (all in my wallet), this turned out not to be a problem because my social security number proved sufficient.
so, here I am. in my room, on my computer, in someone else's pants on a friday morning 1 hour before class.
also, dole looks like an incredibly funny walking corpse who tells jokes about his childhood dreams to "be in a viagra commercial." if he had been our president the last four years of the 1990s/first four of the 2000s would have been hilarious. dean, for his part, is the "tough but fair driving instructor"---whose signature I got.
i need to start going to sleep earlier in the night/morning. I need to get in to better habits in general...fuckit, go sox.
all systems nominal
journalworthy (much less stringent than "blogworthy") things:
a) 3 dollar live radiohead from 1994 featuring the classic "creep" bought and listened to
b) linguistics has moved into phonetics. this means that we get to talk about labias and glottises. it's all quite erotic in its own way. plus, hot blonde chicks stick their fingers in their mouths (to feel their palatal ridge, apparently) without realizing the awkwardness of their predicament. it's priceless. also, my unhot teacher did this and said "it's kind of hard too"---(like the aveolar ridge). so linguistics class=awesome.
c)arabic, for its part, is going well. now i can basically write arabic letters well enough to pretty faithfully transliterate english (or possibly German) words into arabic script. it comes out kind of weird though. for instance, my name "dizard" is actual five non-connecting letters (well, the yaa only by virtue of following a nonconnecting "daal"---but it's questionable whether you really need a long "I" sound...dihzurd---diizArd---actually, that'd be kind of cool----daal, yaa, raa, sukkun, zaay, alif, daal---holy balls.) anyway, it's fun. everyone should try this.
a suggestion from my cousin at Boston College
Merced 99: dude, i can't do it. jocks are just boring.
Merced 99: i have to hang out with the wallflowerish types.
Merced 99: i can't pretend to give a shit about football anymore
Merced 99: if i have to feign interest in the browns/steelers dichotomy one more time, i'm going to shoot myself. the nerdy English majors who read kierkegard for fun are where's it's at.
Purrrr171: lord no
Purrrr171: dont cave!
Purrrr171: kierkegard is for fairies! (this is the nihilistically conservative wing of the family, by the way)
Merced 99: but it's so painful!
Purrrr171: football is fun, you just need to get used to it
Purrrr171: i promise
Purrrr171: dont sell yourself down the river
Merced 99: i do like football actually
Merced 99: it's just that any none of those friendships could be meaningful
Merced 99: i hate small talk
Purrrr171: well you dont need more than 4 good frinds ever
Merced 99: that's true
Purrrr171: but you do need to know about 100-300 people for party purposes
Merced 99: and all the random people can just be that==random people
Purrrr171: so those "meaningles friendships" go a long way....
Merced 99: okay, good. i agree. that's a good way of thinking about it.
Merced 99: it was hard to deliniate the difference. thank you, that's sage advice.
Merced 99: fuck homework, agree or disagree?
okay. i'm not going to waste my time trying to exist simultaneously in the social worlds of people who aren't interested in abstract, philosophical concepts and those who are. i'm going to have to find a new balance between the two. i'm not going to marginalize my own personality for the sake of making the most fakefriends possible.
i'm not in college on an anthropological expedition to document the social hierarchies and customs of beerpong and football enthusiasts. i'm here to learn and make meaningful friendships where possible.
anything else would be impractical, a waste of time and resources.
transatlanticism is really good. i don't care what eli says about it being "flavor of the month."
yeah. i have alot of homework i have to do.
okay, listen, here's the thing
(yeah, i realize that people from the shark probably won't be reading this on a regular basis. which is probably a good idea, considering that it's going to be most personal and less postmodern. i'm kind of sick of having to keep the wit new and interesting. that's not to say that I won't be keeping it real/updated.
anyway, yeah. if you want to read my unironic observations (which i'm writing pretty much for myself only) about college life and what i'm doing in classes and whatever, then go here. I can see why this is probably less than interesting for most/all of you. but, yeah.)
things i've noticed: the neglect shown for the sensitive, intellectual class at large, white, public suburban mega-high schools (4000 some of them are) has given them a sense of moral superiority (they refer to themselves and their friends as "intellectuals") and a a certain social callowness. they see themselves as part of a natural elite.
i have to do homework. i will return to this later.
also, to be honest, The Economist is the greatest publication in existence.
in conclusion, my attempt to establish a personality geared only towards making the most friends/acquaintainces and suchlike has not so much backfired as it has...fuck, homework
okay, so my basically entire scholars group thingy dealy (International Affairs, though it's full of Engineering majors and whatever.) was basically walking in front of my high school today on a circuitous route to the Pakistani embassy, where questions were asked by me visavis the dilatory democracy providing of Mr. Musharraf's, the nation's president. on the whole fun times. i wondered if pakistan's attempts to create a more powerful state run education system to counter the radical madrassas could one day be used against the cause of liberalism by an radical regime (irate, perhaps, after the outlawing of their humble madrassas). but, fuck it, whatever, i'm no Francis Funkyama or anything.
it was quite odd to be so close to my high school with all my college friends/acquaintances in tow. i swear to god i saw my English teacher smoking a cigarette from across the block. I'll never understand how he's able to smoke a cigarette when it's so far away from him. must be his polish powers coming into play.
in terms of al-arabi, things are going well. my plan is to sort of auto-immerse myself by looking at things around the room and naming them with their arabic vocab. it's working alrightishly.
by the way, the actual morphology section of the linguistics book is tripped out as a muggerfucker.
i've realized that both diplomacy and linguistics are useless intellectual pursuits.
diplomacy: at worst, you sit in an office in downtown d.c. and all you do is take orders from political appointees. at best, you get paid a pittance to go to some country with a malfunctioning sewer system to be extremely polite to people who don't like you.
linguistics: what's the point of knowing everything about grammar and its subtleties if you can't fucking do anything about it except in fucking English? where's the art in that? funny examples of syntactic ambiguity maybe...But, overall, rather dull. worst of all LINGUISTICS CAN'T MAKE YOU MONEY!!!!
yeah, you heard me. and, yeah, i'm in the humanities. it's just that i have a plan to use them for fun AND profit.
and it works
look, really, it does
Mood: i'm never going to fil this in
indeed, this is a live journal. useful for many things, few of them practical. this entry is just to see if the thing works.