Michael made the midterm optional so you can either do 3 short papers or 2 papers and the midterm. I am very excited about this.
Having both seen “Shells” (Angel 5.16), Allie and i discussed death and finality over lunch. This topic deserves its own post at some point.
Betsey said our final paper is gonna be tracing a single fairy tale; i am very excited about this.
Got my UMass paper back. Various “good”s and such like, and then
Elizabeth - Isabel is an intriguing subject and she makes perceptive comments. Your accompanying analysis is also insightful and is well-rooted in the context of the assigned readings. I enjoyed reading this.Full marks, woot.
I had just read the “May 18: Final paper due by 5pm” bit on the syllabus for my UMass class, but reading it again i saw in another section: “The final paper will be given in the form of a take-home essay exam.” I already knew i was gonna be doing next to nothing once Smith ended (the last 2 meetings of my UMass class are like make-believe classes) but now it looks like i'll have even more free time, as i don't expect the exam to take me more than a day. Maybe i’ll finally get to see some valley_slash people again. I will also finally have time to do some clothes shopping (though i may get some done over Spring Break).
As part of class, we get shown stuff in the media, about romance, body image, fairy tale imagery in advertising, corporal punishment, and, most recently, the evils of Disney. A good chunk of class on Thursday was a film called “Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti” which was all about how horribly the Disney Corporation treats its workers in Haiti. Sometimes i feel like i’m in a Smith class with the issue tangents the profs do in that class.
Went to the Mommy Myth reading Thursday night. Sat with Heather and co-liaison Jaimie. Jay was the one who introduced Meredith Michaels, and he talked about how she has published really interesting things about identity and such, but you wouldn’t know from her talk that it was co-sponsored by the philosophy department as there was nothing about philosophy in her readings.
The subtitle of her book is “The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women,” and that encapsulates what the entertaining reading from her introduction talked about, but it wasn’t anything i hadn’t already heard before. She also read from part of a chapter about welfare and the stigmatization thereof, but again, nothing new to me. (One interesting thing was how “mom” has become a positive term -- e.g. soccer mom, stay-at-home-mom -- but “mother” has become a negative term -- e.g. welfare mother, unwed mother.)
One of the best bits came when she was introducing her talk. She and co-author Susan Douglas were raising daughters at the same time. Meredith refused to allow Barbies into her house. Susan, in contrast, had a house littered with Barbies because her daughter demanded them and she trusted kid her kid to not be brainwashed by Barbie, being raised in a feminist household. I thought that was a really interesting idea, how much do we trust our kids, or anyone really, to not be brainwashed by society? This of course gets us back to one of my constant gripes, that anyone in politics or activism [and certainly i do it myself] has that condescending “We know The Way, The Light, and The Truth, but you are confused, uneducated, brainwashed, misinformed, evil, whatever, so we don’t trust you to make decisions for yourself and will make them for you.” My personal issue with buying Barbies for kids is that i can’t stomach financially supporting the company.
One of the last questions came from a 10-year-old boy who had this long question involving “paternal unit.” My parents and i joke about parental units, maternal and paternal, but it’s faux-pretension or whatever. I didn’t actually follow the entire question, but clearly it involved something about fathers, and there was definitely nothing about fathers in her answer. The more Q&As i go to, the more cynical i get about people not actually answering questions. Sure you might be throwing out quality information, but if it’s not the information requested, shove it.
dykotomy summed it up well:
what did everyone think about this lecture? i was not so impressed, although the presenter/author was humorous. it seems pretty obvious that motherhood is stressful and difficult and women may feel burdened by not being the perfect mom that we are conditioned to expect them to be. and racism/classism clearly make these pressures of motherhood far more difficult and cause some mothers to be judged in a demeaning/dehumanizing manner.I considered skipping out early to go see Mona Lisa Smile (Rec Council movie) with susiebabylon but didn’t.
i didnt get what the proposed solution might be- more relaxed expectations of mothers? increased responsibilities for other family members in raising children? social supports?
I forget what i said, but something prompted “That’s why there need to be more Elizabeth [surname]s in the world.” Also: “When you’re a gov professor, I’m gonna come and ask you about the war in Iraq and gay marriage and you’ll say ‘Bitch, it’s been legal for 20 years‘ and I’ll say, “Yes, but tell me how they relate.’ ” Clearly i need to become a gov professor just so this can happen :)
Hella nice reception, though i couldn’t partake of the wine (4 months and change...). I had tons of fruit and cheese and did a little helping with chairs.
9:30-ish we left and i walked back with her to Chapin and then we chatted in Chapin dining room for quite a while. Quoting from her LJ: "And then it somehow got to be 2:30. Goddammit, if a girl is going to stay until 2:30, why can't it be that kind of girl? Nothing personal."
Went to All’s Well That Ends Well at Umass on Friday. Saw Adam there. Why do Josh and Adam spend more time with Kate than i do? [We all met on the Oxford trip, and Kate and i go to Smith while they both go to UMass.] Didn’t wait the 20 minutes (which turned into 30, making the wait 5 minutes longer than the ride) for the bus with me because he is not a super sweetheart; sigh. He seemed to actually enjoy chatting with me (i hate when i can’t tell if people are just being nice) and i have his phone number now, so hopefully after Spring Break we can get together sometime.
This must be one of Shakespeare’s earlier plays, because it has things i’ve seen done in other plays of his (Measure for Measure in particular) and done better. I felt like there was a lot “telling, not showing” in terms of characterization. Also, Helena should totally have married the king; Bertram was a jerk and got off far too easy, but the king was great and totally appreciated Helena. The production itself was well-done, i just have a lot of issues with the play itself.
Saturday night, Emma and i went to see Cabaret at Hampshire.
Amusingly, Sam (my friend at Hampshire) was gonna be in Northampton that night seeing some friends play at a bar. I had a map and directions from her, not to mention a good 45 minutes to kill, so we figured we’d be fine. Thankfully, neither of us minded all the walking we did that evening trying to find Prescott Tavern. Emma’s friend Lilah goes to Hampshire, so she joked that maybe if she yelled “Lilah!” she would come and take us there. It turned out that we had in fact walked through the complex where the Tavern is, 2 or 3 times, we had just thought it couldn’t be the right place as it looked like it was all residential buildings. But we got there in time to still have our ticket reservations honored, so all was good.
Getting this production of CABARET to become a reality has been a long process. Two years ago I first set out to do this project, but quickly realized that with 7 classes it was impossible to also produce a fill-fledged musical. When the time came to figure out what to do for my Division III project, I knew that CABARET was what I wanted to do. In my Division II work, I explored questions of sexuality, and how these issues -- homosexuality, sex, gender stereotypes, HIV/Aids, prostitution, abortion -- were reflected in musical theater. Several questions I posed to myself through the process were: how can sexuality be portrayed through performance? How does theater use sexuality to entertain? What makes a work “risqué?” When CABARET first opened on Broadway in 1966, the production was considered daring dangerous, and risqué. By today’s standards the 1966 original was tame. The script was revised in 1987, giving each of the characters more depth, allowing each character to embrace his or her own sexuality.Damn, i really should get in touch with the director, ‘cause i’m really fascinated by so much of that.
Damn, the MC had great attitude, and totally looked the part (when he still had his shirt on i wasn’t entirely sure he wasn’t played by a girl) but so didn’t have the voice. I mean, it wasn’t a poor singing voice or anything, it was just an average boy-voice, which i didn’t think lived up to the character of the MC.
I enjoyed that a number of the Kit Kat girls were chunky women. Fraulein Kost? Chunky red-headed leather dom, yes, very much with the hot (well, except for the fact that it turns out she’s anti-Semitic). Also, interesting that the British woman (Sally Bowles) was played by someone of Indian extraction. I’ve never seen CABARET before, so i don’t know if that’s in the script.
Oh, and the Bobby in this production, looked such a young Eddie Izzard. I was happy.
I was pleased by all the easy non-hetero-ness at the beginning, so i was saddened when it seemed like Sally turned Clifford straight. (Also, aww, Mudville. I called “Casey at the Bat” early on ‘cause of 5th grade Mr. Jacobs. That’s only the end of the poem., though.)
Wow, Moulin Rouge took this as a major source text -- a struggling writer in a foreign city filled with lots of carefree sex falls in love with a woman but tragedy interrupts.
“Tomorrow belongs” “To me.” The MC puppeteer gave me “Smile Time” flashes, of course, but that ending was creepy regardless.
Dancing with a blue-dressed woman who has a gorilla mask and hands, singing about “if only you saw her through my eyes...” you knew where it was going, but still the ending, “She wouldn’t look Jewish to you,” was creepy.
Wow, Cliff gets really violent controlling with Sally.
Cliff singing “Why Should I Wake Up?” when he’s insisting that he has woken up and so should she, was weird. Also, in general, the songs in this show are lame, i’m sorry.
“Where are your troubles now? Forgotten? I told you so. Everyone here is beautiful. Even the orchestra is beautiful.” in solemn voice. Quality ending.
We hung out in the Tavern until they started to close down, as we had ages to wait for our bus. While waiting at the bus stop, someone called “Emma!” ‘Twas Lilah :) She was on her way somewhere, but was cool to bump into her.
Quote of the night Sunday: from Liz Liedel at Tangent: My preferred pronoun is “The student.”
*g* Okay, background: Check-in usually involves stating your preferred pronouns if you want, and last year the SGA (Student Government Association) replaced all “she/her” language in its constitution to variations on “the student,” a move which is currently up for revote, and Liz is the SGA President.
We had a lot of interesting discussion about trans people at Smith and what the purpose of Smith is and suchlike. I forget if Tangent has one of those safe space policies about not attaching people’s names to stuff when repeating ideas brought up at meetings, so i’ll just use initials. And clearly this isn’t the sum total of every argument there is, or even of everything that was brought up tonight.
LC said that he thought of Smith as being a place for people who have/do suffer gender discrimination, and that if he thought it was a women-only space he would leave, which i thought was interesting, and certainly more consistent than some positions i have heard.
Talking about the revote, LF said that people have said stuff like “What if someone identifies as an alien, or a rabbit, or whatever, should we change the language for them?” and her feeling is that the SGA is about representing Smith students, and regardless of however else you identify, if you are a Smith student, you are a student. We agreed that the language isn’t particularly empowering, but it doesn’t disempower anyone either, and not everything at Smith has to be explicitly about empowerment. R jokingly asked if we should coalition-build with SSFFS re: alien-identified students.
S talked about men upsetting the dynamic in classes, whether they are trans- or bio-men, and that of course that already exists as 5-College kids can and do take classes here, but it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration when we think about this issue. Hmm. I don’t like Robby all that much, but i don’t think he “upsets the dynamic” of the class i have with him any more than anyone else who has comments i find annoying does. I have had few males, trans or no in my classes, but there are plenty of overpowering women in classes (isn’t that what Smith is about?) and honestly, if i were a man in a Smith class, esp. anything WST-ish, i would feel intimidated, ‘cause you’re hella outnumbered.
Do i skip Lenten book study for the trans-feminism panel [Mon. Mar. 22, 7:30, Neilson Browsing Room]? I’ll already have missed one for Spring Break, and the following week we aren’t meeting but are going to the Julian of Norwich talk at HHHC.
Senate debates the potential SGA constitution revote the next night. Who are my Senators, anyway? I”ll be attending, but i should talk to my Senators as well.
Rec Council movie this week is Gothika. I’m going to Cloud 9 at Hampshire on Thursday. Am still undecided as to whether i’ll go to the movie on Tuesday.
Oh, and it’s this Monday, not last Monday, that Philadelphia is showing at Wright, 8pm, my mistake.
Oh, and there's a lunchtime talk (CC 103, noon) about queer rights in Israel this Monday (today) because clearly there isn't enough going on in my life this week.
Gillian says we’re gonna have a standing date for me to come over and have tea at her Friedman next year. This makes me happy. I don’t see people often enough..
There will be a post about Spring Break plans later this week.
Now i need to go to bed. Wanna meet with Randy before class because i really don’t understand how i’m supposed to do some of this problem set given what we have learned so far.