i used to keep a daily journal online.
i was looking at the swarthmore college bulletin and thinking about all the wonderfully socially active creators and producers who go to school here and in a flash my ego catches up to me - i think to myself, why don't these people write an article about me. why, when they list swat web sites, isn't mine in there? and it gets worse: don't these people know that i've been on tv, that i've been in the new yorker, that i'm in newspapers once a month and i'm extensively profiled in books sold in our bookstore? (as if attention should beget attention, not my writing or travelling or work)
when i think about this, even more, when i articulate this to my friend becky who's typing this for me, i feel almost queezy, but back in that private moment when i'm indulging myself and plotting strategies for recognition and promotion, i think to myself, well, they'll know one day how under-absorbed they were with brillant departed me.
god, i'm still a teenager
so anyways, i was talking to this guy, larry platt today. larry is writing an article about me for details magazine. larry says that the june issue will be about work, young people working. the tagline on my article is to be 'expose your insecurities' or something like that.
reflecting on something as bloated as above it's hard to focus, its hard to stick with it, because when i catch myself and i think about why i think i deserve such energy, when i think about why i need so much recognition, i start getting at or reaching towards some pretty deep stuff. i call it deep i guess because i can't really say too much about it. but this has happened before and i mostly maturedly resolve that i'm happy i don't exist there in whatever forum or spotlight, like today i was thinking it's generally not a good idea to get yourself invited to a party. you want people to want you to attend. besides, if you started going to too may parties or seeing yourself on a par with too many idols, you lose
that's my confession for today - i can be an ego maniac and the attention i get feeds my hunger but i got some idea that quiet plodding builds better mental musculature.
alright, back to homework.
the work i'm doing, some of it is reading in cultural studies with tim burke. right now, in bruce robbins' secular vocations: intellectuals, professionalism, culture. i haven't gotten very far, but he seems to be saying a lot about the intellectual and cultural elite creating a culture for their own participation. more coherently: academics, people saying society is generally flawed and without rudder, if only (our) enlightenment should prevail! he explains"this sense of crisis was provided by ts elliot's vision of history as decay and degeneration and of the present as an urban-wasteland where we todder on an unnamable brink, desperately shoring up history's ruins with the fragments of distant cultural monuments. elliot's success in the academy did not depend only on a formulation of apocolyptic pessimism that happened to strike the right chord in the disillusion post-war generation; it was a useful means of letting society know what it neeeded (culture) and who could provide it (those who could make sense of the footnotes to the wasteland)." (page 17)
(and how great I thought that was in highschool. now I'm happy because my pictures of flashing topless biker chicks and half naked nipple covered amy from spring break shown to roy who cleans trays at the dining hall get us talking about ethics and aesthetics of titty bar chicks, and isn't that just as tasty as when we were children, staying at the archduke's?
or how about yesterday, passing painters in the long stairwell, I said wow, that paint smells, yeah, he sez, watch out for your brain cells. what about yours I asked? yours are more important than mine; you've got the future in your braincells - said he without cynicism or seemingly even resentment. where's your future? right here, he said, pointing at painting stairwells and braincells. how is it? I asked, your future. pretty grim he said.
that was about all I could take. too bad he isn't reading any cultural studies, maybe he needs to find some virtual community.)
reading that kind of shit makes me resent this place, my mom, howard, all the peole who urged me to join the college club. this place creates its own relevance - occassionally heady or insightful but anti-practical or applicable or driven. disgraceful for its distance, and as I sit here working, there are poor people paid to clean up after me and my drunk friends, to paint over our mistakes, to fix our broken chairs, that our future asses might study in comfort and someday provide the workers' children with some guidance from on high?
doctor markison sez, you should always have time to make stuff, like clothing and accessories, for yourself - part of self tending. carew heard that, sez what if you're too busy? what i had asked him. markison pointed out that our busyness percieved is forcing someone else to lead a shit life making goods in sweatshops and cleaning up after us.
(maybe i should go work in a factory manufacturing computers.)
i've got 2 years left and while this semester has been great learning, i'm quite restless to synthesize my own vision without paying homage to the flawed notion that learning only takes place at college. today as i thought about the interview i did with doctor markison over spring break i remembered he said that doctor means teacher in medieval latin, french, and middle english (right on becky for remembering that exactly), and rabbi means the same. rabbi and doctor, two terms of respect. so it seems to me that i aspire to teach, but hell if i want to teach scholars. i'll talk to anybody. I hate this elitism. I find it everywhere.
so now i feel empowered by vision, and wonder whether i have the balls to make a life that is moral to me - disappointing my mother and fathers to be responsible, committed, or whether this guilty greedy life can be an acceptable stepping stone to independent virtue in time. some leave, sone they die, some happy.
it's nice to put a finger on some of this restlessness with college and elite college culture - i didn't earn this. and this lifestyle isn't moral. whew - glad i figured that out. this weekend, back to liquor world, where they have my favourite beer - sammy smith's. me and wil goin' drink this weekend. starting early in the day, like you're spossd to. and then my radio show, with my hundreds of cds, i just rediscovered my forgotten copy of the police boxset. they were a great band. such much energy.
fuck thailand - it's great to be a rich white guy in america. is everyone having this much fun?