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Comments

Iris

No, no - please wait. Couldn't you distance yourself for a little longer if you really need the grades from this class? Perhaps you could do all the arguing and stomping out near the end of the year when you have a pile of decent back work and it would be hard for him to mark you down.Or have an affair with him and re-arrange his brain playfully while he is handcuffed to the bedpost.

Jo

I think iris is right, particularly on the last point. Handcuffs tend to change the context just enough, and if that doesn't work, then the gentle application of thumbscrews might.

Tropica1ismo, my ass! Good lord.

Barak

I'm not sure if my experience was relevant but I will share it with you. I was taking a drama as literature class at MIT from a guy I will call Timopolous Timopolous, because he had the same first and last greek name. He invariably spouted bullshit, which I would call him on to varying degrees, because I didn't need the class and I didn't care less about my grade. He insisted that because 'Godot' is pronounced GOD-oh in French, it's obvious the Godot was a stand in for God. Now, I wouldn't argue that Godot was a stand in for God, but I'm pretty fluent in French and I'm certain the 'Godot' is pronounced guh-DOUGH, just like we do in English. Minor stuff compared to your racist guy, but we fought about facts obliquely related to the plays all semester. The high point was when he called me a 'dick-head'. He gave me a B+.

squid

But...Barak...God in French is Dieu...as in Mon Fucking Dieu, what horrible crappitiness from both of those professors.

It is always such a shock to come up against professors with entrenched, closed minds in what are supposed to be the halls of enlightenment. I know it's rampant but it keeps surprising me.

The people who said that "saying something won't change anything"...what was it that was said? And what were the specific results?

If Iris and Jo's ideas don't work, I'm all for your Racismo approach.

On the bright, shiny side, I'm glad you didn't have any trouble following along.

Prentiss Riddle

Ooh, I love the "ismismo"! Did he arrange them in a taxonomy? Was there a "mosquismo", defined as writing in which characters appear from a distance like flies?

Your racism performance is an excellent idea. I do recommend you rehearse it and get the timing down to where you can finish before he calls security.

To introduce just the teeniest bit of contrarian devil's advocacy: since I'm hanging out with Brazilians these days I'm getting a bit of insight into how silly our gringo attempts to be gender-neutral, colorblind and generally PC (god how I hate that term!) look to them. It doesn't mean that I'm ready to embrace my inner racist and/or sexist, but it does mean that I'm a little less likely to get on my high horse and assume that my version of racial and gender justice is the unvarnished truth. Of course my attempts to be open-minded on this point may just be a sad case of cultural relativism being hoisted by its own petard.

Which doesn't mean I don't like the racismo idea! I think you should also whack the prof over the head with all the McOndo references you can.

Okay, a way to perhaps glean a lesson about literature from this farce: to what extent do you think he is reflecting Colombian attitudes which may actually be present in GGM's writing, even though from an enlightened 21st-c. anti-racist feminist norteamericano perspective they're bullshit? Justify your answer.

Jo

And use examples!

Prentiss, I love that taxonomy. Yay you. And for the good use of the word "petard" you deserve a medal.

Still, even if tropilcalismo guy has the pedigree of being closer to the source through the accident of his birth country, the fact remains that he is teaching a class HERE, in this context, to our Badger, and that his comments have raving lunatic-style racist implications that she must address if she is to keep her integrity as a human being.

badgerbag

I talked a bunch in a previoius class about the racism of GGM and also rtemember giving a presentation long ago with clips from some Un1vision soap opera that had 3 storylines. One storyline was about a super reserved, upper class, very white couple who were always sitting on their mahogany furniture and sipping sherry out of crystal in a genteel manner while looking at each other melodramatically. The middle class couple was a bit indio-looking and was like the ultimate blue-collar stereotype of hardworking, very concerned with making their house neat and appearing respectable and upwardly mobile. Then there was the black couple who even in their own kitchen would have conversations about the smallest thing while laughing and dancing -- it was actually revoltingly Step-n-fetchit-esque, complete with scarf tied around head and carefree carpe-diem attitude. The thing I wrote on GGM I'd have to dig up from somewhere but basically I was blasting the scenes with Nigr0manta the prostitute who has sex like earthworms and other creatures low on the evolutionary scale and who is associated with dirt and a sort of raw animality. I think I was talking about her and the character of M1nty in this one novel I hated, hated, hated by Charl3s Johnson as m1nty also gets to be the black woman who is a whore and she dies by falling apart - by actually disintegrating into a sort of putrescent bag of flesh, so she starts out sexy and earthy and a whore, and becomes completely inhuman by her death. No one else in class agreed with me that these things were problems -- I think they had difficulty hearing my take on it without assuming that I was trying to enforce my politics on literature as a censor and to say that "one couldn't write a black whore character" but that was NOT what I was saying at all. Also, they all _liked_ the characters of N1gromanta and M1nty and thought them beautiful, interesting, and expressive of... of something... of love and sexuality. IMHO this actually shows the ways that the members of the class get to feel comfortable having sexuality exoticized off into part of "blackness" or "tropicalness" or "primitiveness" and points up their own racism. It is dangerous to start saying that other people are unconscious of their own racism, but I said it anyway.

badgerbag

The point being that novelists do metonymy on purpose. I make the same sorts of points (not like they're orginal with me or anything...) about objectification in love poetry especially the anatomic dissection poems where lips, eyes, teeth are separately praised. And then I go off and write love poems. Oops.

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