Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sex and the City

pasted from an email to a friend:

last night, patty and i went to see the 10:50 showing of "sex and the city," and it was so much fun! i enjoyed the movie at lot. the characters were well-developed and had sympathetic character arcs. it was obviously over-the-top and ridiculous. if i had to review it though, i'd have to say it was so-so. here's why: while it had a well-developed story line, good emotions, and good tension and pay-off, it was even more saturated with the appeal of material culture than the show was. and get this -- the movie entirely lacked the (albeit small) amount of meta-text level criticism that the TV show managed to attain every now and again that would put the consumerist manifesto in perspective. it made a long movie even longer. i will use an analogy. just as in superbowl, the actual game takes quite a while, but with all the advertisements, the whole deal takes even longer -- the sex and the city movie had a plot that did take a while -- and all the fashion placement extended it beyond what it needed to be, and not with much benefit. nevertheless, i really enjoyed it.

there were an INSANE number of women there all dressed up -- and the theatre was SWAMPED! you couldn't move for lack of room. the movie lines were handled like airport security on a busy friday at 5pm. i can't wait to see what the box office numbers are it are like for its opening weekend. it's just crazy how many people where there. we had to buy tickets quite ahead of time, and i'm glad that we did.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Clear Head and More Excitement than I Can Contain

Well, you're not going to believe this, but I think a light went on that has afforded me some focus in my thinking about graduate school and my areas of expertise. Guess what -- I want to go into cultural and linguistic anthropology! This concept makes so much sense to me that it has left me utterly giddy. This all started when I had a freak-out while I was taking a first stab at getting some words on paper for my personal statement in application to Simmons College. I was having a really hard time coming up with anything more than an elevator pitch about teaching literature and cultural studies (and indeed, I have no desire to teach in a public school, so that was a big hold-up as well). I just kept writing and writing while the stream of conscious was flowing out of me and I put a couple of things together about myself -- namely, that I enjoy studying human beings. How exciting! Don't get me wrong -- I love ripping into a piece of literature, but my true excitement has always been found in trying to get a big picture view of a topic, and to find the symbolic systems at work in a given text, whether literature, a magazine, an advertisement, or any kind of social discourse. -- trying to really understand things like "What does culture mean?" "What is culture?" "How is it produced?" "Who identifies with 'culture,' and who manufactures culture with which people identify?" Given the variety of my interests, I had spent a few years looking perhaps a bit too deeply and failed to see the connection between all of them -- anthropology.

I even know of a few projects that I am interested in pursuing -- refugee communities within already poor rural communities and the interrelated racial and economic tensions (looking at Somalian refugees in Lewiston, ME, for example), and also the relationships between class and cultural identity. What happens when someone doesn't identify with their class, or when part of their class shifts? What is someone's real relationship to class? I am also interested in the economic and social influences of what choices people making in identitying with political parties and party views -- or not. I am interested in doing ethnographic case studies and possibly gaining some quantitative research skills.

This big picture explains so many of the different kinds of issues I was trying to wrap my head around while I was at Hampshire: religion, intellectual history, world views during moments captured in literature, identity theory, Marxist theory, philosophy, etc. I also have checked out various university websites just to make sure that the class selections within anthropology departments match with my concept of what it must be, and it sure does. So, yes. I think this is something I will pursue. I feel clearer-headed than I have in ages.

Anyway, I'm really excited. On that note, I still plan on applying to Simmons' Gender and Cultural Studies MA and MAT program (but it would be social sciences, not English, most likely) because it looks like its foci could still suit my needs. But I am also considering looking at Brandeis and Northeastern look really good to me.
How many times do I have to say, "I'm an idiot to live in this country"???

Work Week and Vacation Variances

Monday, May 05, 2008

I love it when the universe sends obvious signs.

I have been considering new glasses frames, as you might know, potentially (*gasp*) bifocals since my eye doctor had warned me that I won't be able to get away with over-the-counter reading glasses forever due to the extremity of the stigmatism in my right eye.

That all, however, would require calling the eye doctor and setting up an eye exam to begin with, which I have been putting off a bit, because new glasses are expensive. Today, I went to put on the reading glasses I keep at work, and they snapped in half.

I now have an eye exam tomorrow at 2:00.