Graduate Cruelty

by - Monday, April 11, 2011

I am currently sprawled out on the couch, trying to take comfort from reality television after a 12 hour day at school. My brain feels tired, and my brother suggested that I write about silly funerals, so I figure there is no way this can go well. On the other hand, I have been stinking at blogging since we got back, so it seems about time to get back at it, so here are some random thoughts from today:

- In my Historiography of Cubism class, we talked about the use of "primitive" art in Cubism (the quintessential modernist art, so basically super misogynistic, male-centric, imperialist, myopic, etc, but they were inspired by African masks) and how this use was reinterpretted in the 80's. Looking at this moment as modernism trying to grapple with postmodern multiplicity is kind of strange from our perspective now, when it seems people are so aware of difference, but it still raises the same questions it did before.

To me, the underlying anxiety in all of this is how you speak for and involve cultures and peoples who are not like you. Can I as an art historian responsibly write/ curate a show about a culture that I never lived in and is significantly different from my own? I honestly don't know where the line is, but I worry about it a lot. Reading this stuff from the MoMA exhibition actually makes me realize the anxieties are as old as I am!

-Long screenings are seriously the worst. I mean, it is one thing when they are musicals, but it is a whole other thing when it is three straight hours of silent film. Seriously, just too much.

- On the other hand, lasagna is the best. Sure, I am going to undo all of the weight loss I did this quarter, because I am not taking a gym class, but the lasagna makes it all worth it. I just need to keep up with the running, but I truly believe it is one of the most boring things on this Earth. Almost as bad as silent film.

- I think I am mostly getting the hang of teaching, which is a good thing since it is my third time. This week we have been talking about fluidity and transgression in sex and race in early Hollywood musicals. I also got to show a clip from the Pirates of Penzance, which is my favorite movie musical ever. That movie (and Kevin Kline and Angela Lansbury) is just perfect from start to finish. It even made one of my students really laugh today! I was proud.

- I started watching wedding movies on Netflix, so I can be inspired. So far, Nick has decided Adam Sandler should be our wedding singer.

-Random thoughts are much easier than actual blogging, but it is time for me to go and read. I will try to keep up with blogging from here on out.

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