Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fantasy Registration League

Once again, Sarah Lawrence somehow goes on without me. Another batch of students are already settled into the New Dorms, and returning students are running across North Lawn to hug old friends and smoke a hookah. Ahh, it brings a cynical tear to my eye.

We all know I'm having trouble letting go. So no one should be surprised that, much like a first year, I was anxiously awaiting the release of this year's course catalogue (anyway I can get them to send me a copy each year?). And once it was available, I searched through it as if I really was looking for the magical three classes I would take this semester. Alas, I will continue toiling in the real world, but I still want to dream of academia. Here are a few of the classes I've chosen as a part of my fantasy registration, the ones I would try to interview for, and possibly put my bid in with the computer registration gods to take. It's a long list, so bear with me, I'm working through nostalgic demons:

  • Global Feminisms with Una Chung (Literature): A chance to use the word 'patriarchy' at least once a week? Count me in! Really, though, this sounds like one of those awesome courses that is a foundation for the way you think the rest of your life.
  • Fantastic Gallery: 20th-Century Latin American Short Fiction with Maria Negroni (Literature): Gothic literature, score! This stuff is fantastic, it has all the guilty pleasure of a soap opera or trashy reality television show, but wrapped up in the legitimacy of good writing. I just might swoon.
  • Hail Wedded Love: Courtship and Marriage from Milton to Austen with James Horowitz (Literature): I would take any class with James, because The 18th Century British Novel in Context was possibly my favorite SLC class ever. But even so, this course looks like a dream. I might have to try and pinch the syllabus for this for reading recommendations...
  • An Introduction to Shakespeare with Danny Kaiser (Literature): Dear God, yes! I wish I had gotten to take a class on Shakespeare, but this is really the only one you can get into without already having written a thesis on Hamlet.
  • Reading Oe Kenzaburo and Murakami Haruki with Sayuri I. Oyama (Literature): After my Tokyo trip, I'm a little bit obsessed with sucking up all possible Japanese culture (I was hypnotized by an episode of No Reservations last night with Anthony Bourdain in Osaka). Also, the whole battle between 'pure' and popular literature resonates with me anyway.
  • The Reading Complex with Bella Brodzki (Literature): I've heard that taking a class with Bella is tough but worth it, and I definitely have the reading complex, so I should probably study it!
  • Studies in the 19th-Century Novel with Ilja Wachs (Literature): Got bumped from this my senior year, so I have to keep it in my fantasy list, even though it gave me James' class.
  • After Eve: Medieval Women with Ann Lauinger (Literature): Medieval is not my favorite era, but this looks interesting, and it says conference work can be broadly related, which I like (because that's important in taking an imaginary course).
  • Japanese Religion and Culture with T. Griffith Foulk (Religion): Based on aforementioned recent obsession with Japan.
  • Investigating Culture with Kathleen Kilroy-Marac (Anthropology): I heart culture and deciphering what it is and means. Especially because it usually involves food. Blast, I just thought of an awesome conference topic.
  • Hunger and Excess: Histories, Politics, and Cultures of Food with Persis Charles and Charles Zerner (Environmental Studies, History): Well, what do you know? I could feel guilty about food in a whole other way with this class!
  • “Not by Fact Alone”: The Making of History with Eileen Ka-May Cheng (History): A little broad, but the concept of how history is actually written is fascinating.
  • Powers of Desire: Urban Narratives of Politics and Sex with Rona Holub (History): Tours of NYC, yay! And, you know, delving into the mysteries of urban planning and consumerism, etc.
  • Public Stories, Private Lives: Methods of Oral History with Mary Dillard (History): A little intimidating, but again with the making of history, and close relation to the telling of stories.
  • The Feeling Brain: The Biology and Psychology of Emotions with Elizabeth Johnston and Leah Olson (Psychology): Tell me why I'm a basketcase of emotions, please! Maybe my brain is to blame for my sobbing every time I watch West Side Story...
  • Children’s Literature: Developmental and Literary Perspectives with Charlotte L. Doyle and Sara Wilford (Psychology): Not until spring, but still. The possibility of writing a children's book for conference is all too tempting.
  • Theories and Methods of Media Analysis with Sarah Wilcox (Sociology): Is staring at a mirror a valid method of analyzing the media?
  • Changing Places: Social/Spatial Dimensions of Urbanization with Shahnaz Rouse (Sociology): Get out of my space, man! Again, potential conference projects abound...
  • Travel and Tourism: Economies of Pleasure, Profit, and Power with Shahnaz Rouse (Sociology): Again, I'm interested in courses that have to do with things I like to do. And I like to travel, but I hate to look like a tourist.
  • Drawing: Translating an Invisible World with John O'Connor (Visual Arts): Wish I had gotten to take an artsy class at SLC. All I got to do was be a monitor in the building. Not as fun.
  • Beginning Painting: Color and Composition with Ursula Schneider (Visual Arts): Ditto, but with paint brushes.
  • Basic Black-and-White Photography with Phillip Pisciotta (Visual Arts): Ditto, but with a camera.
  • Printmaking I, II with Kris Phillipps (Visual Arts): Oh, the posters I could make!
  • Artist Books with Kris Phillipps (Visual Arts): If I can't write a book, maybe I could create one?
  • Words and Pictures with Myra Goldberg (Writing): So technically I already took this class, but it was AWESOME. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
  • Connected Collections with Mary Morris (Writing): It hurts to read a description of a workshop that perfectly describes the very writing project I have been working on since high school.
  • Place in Fiction with Lucy Rosenthal (Writing): Yeah, I already have an idea for this one...
  • Nonfiction Laboratory with Stephen O'Connor (Writing): My only fear would be somehow blowing up the lab with a mixed metaphor.
  • The Source of Stories: Writing From Your Own Experience with Mary Morris (Writing): Navel-gazing is one of the things I do best, so writing about me couldn't be that hard. Reading it to the class on the other hand...
Okay, I give in, this is going to have to take two posts! At least this may guarantee two posts in the same week for the first time in a while.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Superpower Theory

So I have a lot to write about, like a retail promotion and a whirlwind tour of Tokyo, but since I keep procrastinating on getting those posts done, I'm going to go ahead and write about something that just happened.

While heating up a Lean Pocket (I swear, so addictive!), I was listening to what I believe was the latest podcast episode of This American Life. For those who haven't heard it before: one, it's a weekly radio show that features different stories, one theme at a time; two, shame on you, go download it now!

This week superpowers were the subject to be analyzed. It was the first act that caught my attention. John Hodgman mused on the ultimate battle of the superpowers: flight or invisibility, which is better? He asked random people, and explored not only what we would do with a lone power, but what out choice says about us.

Aside from instantly thinking, 'This would make an awesome Sarah Lawrence conference paper!' (because I am who I am and I can't help it), I of course made my own choice of superpower.

I would undoubtedly choose flight. To me, it's a positive power, where invisibility is a negative power. I don't mean that as a judgement, but that it's a power of taking something away. When you fly, you get to go places and see things that others never get the chance to. When you're invisible, you're eliminating yourself. Sure, you still get to see things others never get the chance to, but it's all stuff you probably don't want to see, like what people think of you when you're not around.

And think about it: if you could suddenly fly, you could tell all your friends and they'd probably think it was super-cool. They'd be jealous, sure, but they wouldn't suddenly be paranoid that you were spying on them when they least suspected it. Also, flying is a much less perverted power.

Now, I don't want to alienate the invisibility-choosers out there. I can see the temptation of being able to hear those dirty little secrets and sneak into movies for free. I just can't help it, the idea of touching a cloud is still totally more awesome in my geeky little mind. I would also seriously consider accepting the ability to breathe under water and fulfill my Little Mermaid dreams.

So if anyone finds a two-pack of superpowers and wants to be the creepy invisible dude, give me a call and I'll take that flying power off your hands.