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Misrecognition. . . or is it? - De File — LiveJournal
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Misrecognition. . . or is it?
So I was reading through back entries in Jonathan's blog, which I pitched in my previous entry, and I come across a description of the debate about Tom Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America that has been playing out in the comments section of Michael Bérubé's blog.

Since I've interviewed Frank twice -- I even asked him what he thought of Bérubé -- and once spent delightful hours with him in Seatle, you'd think that I would feel some sort of "purchase" on the exchange. But I feel strangely detached from the conversation, even though I chimed in at one point.

Jonathan segües from a discussion of Frank's book to a shout-out:
As a side note, the above debate on Michael’s site led me to another academic who blogs – Catherine Liu. Hers is both interesting and one of the coolest-looking academic blogs I’ve seen. Not like I have time to redesign this thing right now. Extra points for Liu: she’s interested in machines, and she teaches in my old undergrad department: Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, for which I still have fond memories.
I think, cool, and go check out the blog in question.

Her writing is forceful, unapologetic. Down the left sidebar are images of books by people I've drunk beer, smoked, and watched rock concerts with. Really cool, I think, making a note to myself that this is an example of an academic blog that doesn't read as merely "academic."

And then it hits me. I've spent that last fifteen minutes reading this stuff as if it were foreign to my way of life, as if it were a "not me" I wanted to connect with. But if this isn't "me," what am I?

It must mean something that one of my recurrent fantasies is of me being an "ordinary" 9-to-5 worker stumbling across some university press title at Borders and then bringing it home to read for pleasure. I know, I know: if that's my "imaginary relation" to my "real conditions of existence," then there must be something seriously wrong with my self-understanding.

I've been reading about positive visualization techniques. Perhaps the first step for me would be for me to imagine myself living the life I'm actually living. Unfortunately, the way I feel right now, I'm not sure I have the powers of imagination to pull that task off.

Time to cue up "Freak Scene".

Mode: outflanked
Muse: Silo #5 Six - The User - Abandon

2 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2004 12:48 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

no apologies

Hey Charlie,

Sounds like academic survivor guilt to me. Plus, there's always the still-relatively-infantilized conditions of assistant professordom. It's a good life we lead, mostly, if not without its foibles. But it does seem oddly hard to explain and somewhat decadent (as Kim has suggested more than once).


PS -- Thanks for the props in the blog!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: September 28th, 2004 01:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: no apologies

Yes, I suppose that's a good explanation. Things have been heating up on the home front of late, as we revive our old debate about the limits of academic outreach. Maybe I've just lost the will to fight that I once had.

The budget situation and book pressures aren't helping, naturally. The only solution is to plough back in with greater vigor.

Thanks for your props!
2 comments or Leave a comment