Tuesday, November 20, 2007

From Freud, on the ‘group mind’, a little something that struck me as funny and apt in this election time (although i don't necessarily agree with him at all):
‘A group is extraordinarily credulous and open to influence, it has no critical faculty, and the improbable does not exist for it. It thinks in images, which call one another up by association (just as they arise with individuals in states of free imagination), and whose agreement with reality is never checked by any reasonable function. The feelings of a group are always very simple and very exaggerated… Inclined as it itself is to all extremes, a group can only be excited by an excessive stimulus. Anyone who wishes to produce an effect upon it needs no logical adjustment in his arguments; he must paint in the most forcible colours, he must exaggerate, and he must repeat the same thing again and again’

Freud, Sigmund 1957, ‘Group psychology and the analysis of the ego’, in ed. John Rickman, A general selection of the works of Sigmund Freud, Doubleday Anchor Books, Garden City, pp. 169-209.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

lime sweater wrongness & Michael Ignatieff is ugly

Well friends, as I turn my fiery steed toward the beaten path to the law school, I have some good news for those of you who love a splash around the shallow end. Law school fashion reviews are coming back to blogland. I've had this one burning a whole in my mental pocket for a couple of weeks now and I hope i can do justice to it. Picture this: A young man who has that inimitable lumpy ugliness about his person that only spells one thing to me- Young Liberal Club. But worse, this young man wore khaki shorts to his knees and jammed on the ends of his stumpy little legs, the Worst Pair of Boat Shoes I Have Ever Seen. Big call i know. But these seemed to be made out of a particularly hideous shade of brown vinyl that was offensive in the way that only vinyl imitating leather really can be. That said, possibly they were in fact leather and wouldn't that just be worse- leather in the guise of vinyl pretending to be leather.

On his (rather long, possibly about to overbalance) top half, the Young Liberal wore a blue and white striped shirt. The kind with white collars and cuffs. And draped about his repulsive person, a lime coloured v-neck sweater. LIME my friends! Oh the guilty pleasure that I have wrung from this fleeting moment of standing beside this unfortunate person at the pedestrian crossing on Grattan st.

In other news, my love of Paul Gilroy, to whom I have only recently been introduced has been cemented by his comprehensive dissing of Michael Ignatieff. Our shared hatred cements my love for him. The irony of this oppositional identification really only exacerbates my determination to glean maximum joy from anyone and anything that hates on Michael Ignatieff. The fact that Ignatieff often looks like his neck is trying to make love to his chin is a bonus...

Friday, November 02, 2007

pain, embodiment, law

Here's something I just encountered, which fits well with the thinking about embodiment that has been a pleasurable tangent I've been pursuing this year. Maybe a good point to be at as I turn my face back toward the shiny law building and maybe time for me to try and work out what Kristeva is on about when she casually refers to the inherent masochism of women...

I might have been destined to live a life of submission to the noble law of reason, had not an unforeseen accident - the result of an inherent defect of my own - brought about its untimely destruction. Great pain, if the imagination meddles with it ever so little, urges action, the body of a woman being the only instrument she understands. The intense pain brought about by this grinding of the molar teeth galvanised me into an infraction of the laws. For shocking power to the body may indeed by transmitted by means of electricity, but not, by such methods, reason to the brain. However, in the writhings of extreme pain I obtained proof of the exciting nature of the exertion of the muscles, multiplying to such a degree the vivid pleasure of terror in the nerves that I felt at last in possession of a body whose capacity for the experience of sensation could now be determined. Pure sensation produces the most simple knowledge. Pain, if sufficiently severe, can never be alienated: these excruciating sensations were mine alone.

Anna Gibbs, The Contract, Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 12, no. 26, 1997, p. 208

Friday, October 19, 2007

loving Judith (again)

I took precarious life on holidays in July and read Butler lying in the hammock on the farm and it was wonderful of course. But as I am trying to learn to be an academic and not just a casual admirer of Butler's, I have been rereading with my most critical face on. whatever. i still love her...

'For if I am confounded by you, then you are already of me, and I am nowhere without you. I cannot muster the 'we' except by finding the way in which I am tied to 'you', by trying to translate but finding that my own language must break up and yield if I am to know you. You are what I gain through this disorientation and loss. This is how the human comes into being, again and again, as that which we have yet to know.'

Friday, September 28, 2007

loose ends unravel

I have embarked on an analogy that has infiltrated my entire thesis, which predictably enough for something all about discursive threads, by someone with a material collection that incessantly spills out of its allotted drawers, now reads like some kind of patchwork blanket. in this (ahem) fabrication of mine, loose threads are a good thing, but back in my 'real' life, drawing to the close of my intensive thesis writing period and staring down the barrel of my last 18 months of law, i feel all unpicked, unsettled, rumpled up and not sure. I am trying to convince myself that i feel 'untimely' in the Wendy Brown sense, and it's true that i do feel all pulled taut and humming in a way that's not entirely unpleasurable. Maybe I can own this moment, this nervous energy buzzing around under my skin... should i go to Thailand this Summer!? Can i get a new job? Summer of sweat! my tomato seedlings are looking great! The apple tree is flowering and the fig tree has tiny baby figs! Are exclamation marks colonising the part of my brain that punctuates!? Why do i feel so violently happy right now?

Monday, September 10, 2007

done. kind of. badly.

I emailed my first draft. just then. like 5 seconds ago. 16 000 words of bad writing, underdeveloped theoretical content and nebulous conclusions. nice one tal tal.

Monday, August 20, 2007

crunchy crunch time

Will I manage to write a thesis? Did I really spend three weeks eating tropical fruit while I should have written most of my thesis? Is that grounds for an extension? Can I afford to buy new black jeans, the high waist ones at Fat!?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

i was a teen poet

the other night my favourite lover read the poetry i wrote and had published in voiceworks when i was 16 and 17. cringey in the most teenage way and yet there was something not so bad and a tiny bit cute about letting E see a little bit of the gawky, self-obsessed kid that i was and still am a bit.

Thinking about the fact that I used to think i could write (such teen bravado!) also set me thinking about what would have happened if i'd taken up my theatre studies place at QUT.

It nearly did my head in actually, as i sat there trying to transform 6000 words of ramble and blocks of quotes into 3000 words of political analysis... i truly couldn't remember why it was that I wasn't fluffing around at some theatre event quaffing bubbly and calling people darling.

So what would i be like if i'd gone down the theatre studies path... maybe pretentious and a little bit dumb? Perhaps i have been saved from embarrassment even greater than that induced by my my voiceworks poems. But arguably this blog is pretty embarrassing already and despite multiple firm resolutions to delete myself. or at least to edit the low(est) points, here I am again.

Actually i might go now. Time to take this snotty body to bed. apologies for a rambly odd post to those random readers who might find yourselves here. Maybe I just wanted to try and write a blog post while i wasn't feeling particularly angry or depressed.

Monday, March 19, 2007

in which i make three different salsas

hey random friends who read my blog, i just wanted to reassure you that i still have happy moments sometimes! like tonight, when i just ate the best nachos of my life and now i tinker around the edges of my research proposal listening to the housemates and E playing mahjong in the living room.

Three different salsas! One fresh tomato, mint and lime. A peanut, coriander and yellow tomato concoction and the third, a roasted tomatillo, garlic and chilli extravaganza. and maybe best of all, the tomatoes, mint, chillies, garlic and tomatillos all came from my very own garden.

ok, now i'm going to go eat cookies and cream ice cream.

Friday, March 09, 2007

kill kill kill

it's not so far into the year but already, if i could use three words to describe how i feel now and in contemplation of the rest of the year i would say, 'very very tired'. Yes, i would squander one of my words by repeating it, but i figure it's not really squandering because the repetition of the word is productive of something i suppose. a sense of the excruciating boredom of continuing to do work that is meaningless maybe. of feeling at sea with school-world. the grind of meetings....

the gnawing hatred of socialist alternative that erupts into outright hostility and a predilection for violence on Fridays where they have taken to displaying donation buckets at the vigil crd organises. Not only that, but they've also taken to 'marking' each of the CRD people handing out vigil leaflets by some magazine wielding robo-trot teenager. Today one of their stupid little recruits tried to chat up D... 'So how did you get involved in the campaign.' Funny, cause i'd been on the verge of marching over to him and saying, 'So when did you give up the faculty for independent thought?'

Donations, my arse. I want to march over and shove their stupid buckets over their heads, press hard until they are crushed into a soggy mush on the ground, scrape them into the bucket and offer that as a bloody 'donation' to their fucking cult. The delusions of people who refer to their pissy two-bit hierarchy of an organisation as 'the power' would be hilarious if only they weren't such a parasitic pestilence, eating the fucking heart out of the genuine left who actually get involved in campaigns.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

am i not revolutionary enough? (thanks Kasey)

Today i checked the email address that I rarely check and sitting quietly, nestled like a little rotten egg amongst my spam, there was an email from afar. From a name i didn't want to see, addressing me as 'friends, lovers etc'.

I assume that I am 'etc'. In fact, being 'etc' makes me laugh like a crazy person. I wonder who else and if any one else is also 'etc'? With whom could i possibly share this dubious distinction? Anyway, I wanted to share the moment because i had an uncharacteristically musical response to the tune of:

Am I not revo enough
Is my heart too broken
Do I cry too much
Am I too outspoken
Don't I make you laugh
Should I try it harder
Why do you (presume that you can) see right through me

(fade to nasally whine)

Well, I'm not sure what 'it' is that Kasey is going to try harder but personally, i haven't really gotten into the glass and ceramic dildos and since uti-paranoia/actual infection I'm not sure if 'harder' is really what i can take right now.

But of course, Kasey is right. She should be concerned about whether her (so-called, sometime) friend/s think she is revo enough. Being un-revo is just such a bad look; a leftwing faux pas of mammoth proportions. I mean really, you turned down the path but pulled up a couple of miles short. And all your (so-called, sometime) friend/s can tell and are probably going to tell their housemates.

Run for cover, motherfuckers! This left-wing cred is about to blow. Someone pulled the 'radical love' pin and that shit's about to spew self-righteous, self-serving rantabulous cred-eroding crud all around this joint.

ha. anyway, I'm glad Kasey and I found eachother crawling around in the dusty, battered debris of innocent high hopes and naive stomach-wrenching love and loss. I think she's real pretty.

Monday, February 05, 2007

cooking cooking, nothing by halves

Today has been like some kind of self-sufficiency nut/cooking fiend orgy. I spent the early hours being Mistress Tomato. It was hot work so i ended up topless as I sweated over taming those insubordinate tomatoes to the tune of my stakes. I tried to be stern but it's hard when they insist on looking so cute in their array of shapes and colours, round orange, mini deep red, and yellow pear shaped, not the mention the stripy ones. Then I gathered up the windfall apples and picked a big bag of soft ripe figs.

I was a bit unimaginative with the apples and stewed them to put on my muesli in the mornings. But the figs, i made into jam, which is a spiced(gingery) and delicious. Then, even though it's sweltering today and i really should have gone and sat under a tree with Michael Ingatieff (well, his book actually), I decided today would be a good day to bake sweet treats. I cooked a container of the blackberries from out the back into a semolina cake and grated up a couple of the innumerable zucchinis that were starting to fill the vegie drawer into a moist banana cake. I'm looking forward to taking that one for lunch actually, for when Michael and I really do get down to business.

Reading whole books with which i fundamentally disagree is a new thing for me. I used to try to keep it to journal articles and sometimes i still get confused reading Mr Michael's 'The Lesser Evil' where be basically posits that it's ok for a democracy to temporarily suspend civil and maybe human rights (it's a blurry line) in order to protect the majority from the perils of terrorism. I get confused because Mr Michael doesn't even reference the position that I'm trying to build. He identifies two positions- the civil libertarian, the one who won't tolerate extreme policing/torture/etc because it betrays the very spirit of democracy the govt. purports to protect, then there's the majority, for whom temporary suspension of normal liberties is palatable in the face of genuine and urgent threats to 'our way of life.' This juxtaposition of the ethical stickler versus the realist fails entirely to engage with the possibility that there might be alternative ideological theories and/or ethical codes that object to government tyranny, let alone that most people are not in any kind of position to gauge what genuine 'threat' actually exists.

boring Michael, no wonder I chose to swelter in my kitchen today.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

hello mr zucchini head

me and my garden are very happy together at the moment. Last night i went to the extent of claiming that if i was never allowed to leave home again but could garden all day i wouldn't have any regrets. I think the truth of that claim would depend on whether i was allowed to have mail and visitors.

Over the last two days I've been planting my brassicas and root vegetables for the Winter so i'm feeling very organised and on top of things. It's always the way when you have just tucked the little seeds into the dirt. The real struggle begins in a week or so when the darlings pop their delicate little heads up. I'm still amazed at some of the plants in my garden which are so massive and hardy now but I remember how it seemed like i would barely be able to save even one seedling from the ravages of slugs and pecking birds and extreme sun. Our slug issues are much more under control since Dan made it is his daily mission to hunt the little bastards out and provide Vera with her daily feast of slug flesh.

This little sun-filled gardening sojourn feels like some kind of last minute reprieve before honours year swamps me. I'm taking deep breaths and hoping I won't go under.