Friday, May 31, 2002

Dave, for reasons beyond me, perused the Miss Universe site and discovered an amazing array of so-called "national costumes"... including the not-to-be missed German wax fruit bikini. After looking over the costumes, all I can say is... it is possible to take the most beautiful women in the world and make them look ugly.

Too tired to talk about the other stuff I wanted to talk about... and still not king.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

I'm in the thick of summer school - six credits, five weeks. I'm finally getting English 200 ("Reading and Writing about Literature") out of the way, something I've been trying to do since I was at MCC. For the first time at ASU, I have a professor for a class in my major who's simply awful. I didn't think it was possible to turn a lit class into a lecture class, but that's exactly what she's managed to do.

The class is going to be broken down into four sections - the short story, poetry, the novel, and drama (comedy and tragedy). For the short story and poetry, we're reading Thomas Hardy. Now, I don't have anything in particular against Hardy, but a little variety would be nice! If she'd perhaps wanted us to compare one author's work, we could've read Hardy for short fiction and then someone else for poetry. Her specialty is 19th-century British... someone want to explain to me why she's picking Hardy over, say... Wordsworth? Keats? Shelley? Browning? (Either of them?)

But it isn't her choice of works that bothers me so much as her lecture style. She pulls out her notes and reads them to us. First she describes point of view and setting, then characters, then plot. She quotes without bothering to tell us where in the piece she's quoting from. She never opens her book. She doesn't involve us in the conversation at all. Today, we got the assignment for the first paper. It's actually a decent topic (Hardy's treatment of the pastoral)... but then she proceeds to inform us what her opinion is, and give us several examples. She also handed out an example of the kinds of things she wants in the paper... I haven't been given this much structure since five-paragraph esays in high school. (And, for the record, half of freshman comp is designed to STOP you from writing like that.)

Some interesting things... she's established that most of us are English majors in one form or another. She then proceeded to lecture on how many people skip this class (gee, wonder why) and pick it up later, after having taken actual lit classes. (Yeah, like me.) She didn't bother to find out how many of us have done this; she didn't bother to find out if those of us who had actually did well in the classes (Straight A's in my major classes, thank you very much). She just proceeded to lecture at us like we're a bunch of eighteen-year-olds who've never read anything worthwhile. I'm insulted. I'm sure the fellow with the master's degree who's just in for his teaching certificate is insulted. I'm also BORED OUT OF MY SKULL.

Fortunately, I'm also taking English 353, African American Literature Before the Harlem Renaissance. This guy knows how to teach, and, more importantly, how to lead a discussion. I'm somewhat irritated at the PC levels of my classmates, but it's early yet. Maybe if I demonstrate that it's safe to be critical of someone's writing, regardless of color or topic, they'll join in. In the meantime, I seem to be the only one who grasps the idea that something can be anti-slavery AND full of logical fallacies and holes in the reasoning large enough to drive a truck through. We read an excerpt from David Walker's Appeal, which is a radical anti-slavery treatise calling for slaves to revolt against their masters. Unsurprisingly, white slaveholders put a bounty of $10,000 on the man's head - and I was the only one in class willing to come out with the idea that they considered his ideas dangerous not because it was truth and therefore scary, but because - duh - he was advocating rebellion and saying that whites were the "natural enemies" of African Americans. The guy also suggested that the fall of Rome was a punishment by God for using slaves, and that slaves are the new chosen people because they're suffering. If he'd been born 150 years later, this guy would be a serious politician - I haven't seen someone who can use selective quotes and twist history this effectively in a long time.

Hey, my classmates bought into it.

Yeah, and if that isn't proof that I deserve to be king...

Still not, though.

Monday, May 27, 2002

It's been a week since I updated, and this one's going to be very short because I'm tired.

Spent happy chunks of the weekend at Jane's, working on fic. We're going to be writing a weirdly dark Joe fic as a follower to a fluffy slash piece... it will make sense eventually, I promise.

Wasps are evil and should all die - things should not attack you if you don't threaten them.

And... I'm still not king.