martedì, marzo 13, 2012

Barking mad

Things are calming down and getting better here, which gives me more time to think about the university course I'm going, and gosh. I'd forgotten what undergrads are like. Of course it's even more dramatic by correspondence since what the loud ones say is there, written down, forever. The teaching assistant is being so sweetly encouraging, several times more than any ever were in Canada, and basically in a different universe from Paris. And you know what . . . I'd acclimatized to a near-constant of criticism or indifference. This is weird and juvenile now.

Anyhoo. Some of the readings are interesting and I'm going to do a sort of fun report on a terrorist organization that is even more likely than most to not exist. Combine my love of absurdity with constant studenticism.

Continuing down the humanerdities track. Since I got my e-reader I've picked up the unhealthy habit of downloading semi-random journal articles at will and reading one or half a night before conking out, and last night, while I was reading a paper by Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood about deity personalities in the Hellenic world - she had a very punchy style. Very punchy.
"This is evident, this is wrong, this has never been argued, this is indefensible -" and I realized halfway though that she, and just about every classical scholar, and indeed just about any humanities scholar and a fair chunk of them in other disciplines is absolutely barking mad, by modern definitions of madness.

I'm morally certain that there would be an established label, a psychiatrically defined pathology in 2012-era Western civilization for a man who chose to devote several months of his life to studying the foundation myths of one particular Greek colony in southern Italy for a "salary" that hardly kept him in pot noodles, or for a woman like Sourvinou-Inwood, who was almost visibly angry in what she was writing about how wrong so many people were, and how right she was, about how the Pan-Hellenic notion of Persophone was so different from the Epizephyrian Locris local "Persephone". There is certainly something deeply obsessive in all that which, if caught as a tendency in a child, would - I'm certain - result in medication, autism diagnoses, etc.

Don't get me wrong - I've worked with autistic children, autism isn't some tabloid myth, it's a real pain in the ass - but the more I see parents saddled with pathology labels for their children who are just a bit wierd and who might do something perfectly worthwhile but utterly bizarre with their lives, like ancient philosophy or something, the more I think our behaviour and social burdens are almost as, well, burdensome as they ever have been. At least for children.

I don't know. I'm thinking a lot these days about what motherhood is likely to be like, and being home at the moment, and so conscious of my mother and my daugher-love, that I'm a little bit more in touch with the wierd little kid I used to be. I grew up before the deluge of child-psychology-pathologies young ones seem to be swimming through at present but if I hadn't, or if I'd had more frustrated or less experienced parents, who knows what I would have got dosed up with. I haven't lived conventionally and the only reason I haven't been written off as a nutter by most people who know me yet, I think, is that I make a lot more money than most people without selling my pussy.

Not sure where I'm going with all this. Mostly just to say, I think, that I really distrust a world that distrusts madness so much.

domenica, marzo 11, 2012

Flying and falling

I went cross country skiiing today for the first time since the 80s and it was awesome. You know, I really could have liked North Bay a lot more than I did when I was a teenager if I had liked sporty things then. In a way I'm glad I didn't, though, since I'm not too bothered about being untalented at them now, and since then I wouldn't have had any sort of gadfly driving me around the world, which I quite enjoy. And I did a lot of fun things that wouldn't have mixed properly with being sporty, like drugs.

Well, I might have done different drugs, but sports drugs look so unpleasurable. I guess a lot of the high is from watching your performance get enhanced, but considering I'm sufficiently pleased for myself if I run around for an hour without stepping in a dog turd, I think they'd be wasted on me. I don't expect drugs to enhance my performance - that's not what they're for. Drugs are either to stop me from getting diseases or else to make everything look pretty. Probably why I've never enjoyed blow.

But back to cross country skiing. It was ace. Even being very bad at it, it still felt like flying. Like rock climbing, doing it once and only falling down five times left me enamoured, and like rock climbing, I can't do it back in Australia. Actually I CAN do it - there's snow in some mountains in the south and because everybody wants to ski downhill the cross country trails are often free or cheap - but I won't, because the prices being charged for the shittiest accomodation there are incredibly extortionate. Surprise, surprise. 'll do it in New Zealand the next time I visit Romola, I guess. And retarded as it sounds, I'm thinking of buying some gear here, second hand of course, because if I spend three days skiing next winter it'll be cheaper than renting. Hmmmmm. The fucking vagaries of living on the retarded end of the planet . . .