What an amazingly bad class! I understood everything without ningun problema. I said a couple of things ineptly but strangely there was just no room for my whole obsessively prepared "things to say" despite it being a "seminar" which is supposed to mean discussion. Possibly because I could understand better today after a week of desperately trying to think en español, I hated the class with mad passion.
The lecture got worse and worse! There were over 20 "isms" that he put up on the board one by one, like "Ilum1nismo" and "triunfalismo" and the point was that there's all these things, these isms, that G@rcia Marquez (GGM) perfectly exemplifies. And the way you are supposed to read the book is to take the isms, which might be confusing to us because we might not love literature as much as he does, and then try to find places where those isms are being perfecty expressed. Ooooookay. That would suck enough on its own, but it extra sucked because many of his isms were just made up and extra bullshitty, and the other half that I had actually read about were not at all what I have understood them to be and he's completely on crack. For example according to "Kafka1smo", writing is about being mentally ill. Now that we have psychology, we can detect mental illness, but before psychology was invented, we just couldn't. (?!)
Cos1smo is the way that "things" are important. (I had actually prepared an elaborate thing to say about metonymy, utopias, and the house and the way that Ursula is the one who gets all this stuff from Europe, but didn't get to say it. Instead, we got told that "things are specially important" and then moved on to the next ism.
My notes are sprinkled liberally with "?!" and "WTF???!!!"
But the worst was yet to come. We listened to La Zena1da -- a great song! -- and El Profe outlined "tr0picalismo": What do you think of when you think of the tropics? (dead silence, the smell of fear.) "Fruit! Lots of fruit! Everyone eats lots of fruit. That makes their skin healthy because fruit is full of...?..." (dead silence... finally a collective abashed murmur, "agua...?") "AGUA! and las morenas, las negras, they have the most beautiful skin... " (long ode to the beautiful black and coffee colored skin ensues) And they love to eat fruit, and dance - they have natural rhythm, the rhythm of the tropics... and they are poor, but happy, like La Zena1da... street vendors are not weighed down by poverty, they are always happy to see you and to chat, and are dancing with their baskets of fruit on their heads...
We interrupt this bulletin to say once again: WTF WTF WTF!!!!!!!!!
... and they love music! the mangos, the papayas, the music... The birds, there are lots of birds, and the heat - it is a sexual heat, and the women have a sensual beauty, a sexual freedom... it's all about excess... there is of course drink - and I'm not talking about coconut milk - who could think of Puert0 Rico without thinking of... RUM! Or M3xico without tequila? Everything is more intense in the tropics, the colors are more intense, life is more intense, food is spicier, people wear bright colors, and people have a tendency to exaggerate! The exaggeration of reality comes from the heat of the tropics and the natural geography!"
I am NOT MAKING THIS UP. And I was speechless. The class around me was laughing (I'm hoping with mad, freaked out nervousness, not with actual agreement and appreciation.) And no, the guy wasn't joking. Like because he's col0mbian he gets to say this crap and get away with it?
In the car all the way home I composed my speech that I am going to give next class when called upon -- we were told to have something to say about one of the isms. I am going to describe the tropical1smo of the U.S. South and its watermelon-eating beautiful sensual poor but happy people who have natural rhythm, and then I will cross out the word "trop1calismo" and write "racismo" and make everyone in the class repeat the word after me, and then I'll sit down and take the bad grade that will be sure to come my way.
Anyway, now I see two things:
- why everyone I talked to about this class (I gossiped around for a year, remember) said "he was hilarious and he's such a card" or whatever. This is because he's a flaming, uber campy guy who talks about the sexual revolution and drugs all the time. Wow maybe that woudl impress me if I were 13. but no.
- why everyone seemed very worried about what would happen when i took the class. "You can't talk back... he's very old school... He just wants you to say back what he says in the lecture... It's best to keep your head down,..." And their brows would knit and they'd say and in fact are still saying before and after class, "Saying something won't change anything... You just have to endure it..."
Is it true? I feel a tiny twinge of understanding that it might be desirable to not say anything, but I really can't bear it. I was like a cat on a hot griddle today and by next week I will be a tiger. There is NO WAY I can get through this whole semester listening to that sort of thing without saying something and attempting to instigate a small revolution. I'll say something and some people wil think I'm rude or stupid or an asshole but others will perhaps say "I'm so glad you said that." God. I just... why let it pass, anytime? There are enough people in the world who have many, many reasons not to say anything. Why should I... god... it's not like I have some delusion of grandeur that it matters hugely to anyone but it matters to my pride and beliefs not to sit and listen to that sort of thing in silence, ever. I mean maybe if someone had a gun to my head, but not before then and maybe not even then, depending. Because in my imaginary universe it DOES matter not just for my own pride but because of the people who are then glad I said whatever it was, that they might have some future situation where it does matter and they might have the nerve. Etc. I'm sure everyone knows the drill here. But it's why I couldn't major in Sp4nish at U.Taxass because I kept standing up, giving a speech, and walking out. Here I will not walk out, obviously, as I need this specific class to graduate. I have just a twinge of fear, alas. I used to be fearless.
Oh I left out the part where he went suddenly on and on and on about how computers ruin people's brains by making their memories bad, and making them rude and un-chatty and overly businesslike. By the end of his monologue on that subject everyone in the class was looking straight at me and giggling. (as I was the only person with a computer out - I take notes on it since I type 80 wpm or so and my handwriting is shit)
So frankly I realize I'm fucked anyway in that class and I might as well mouth off to my heart's content.