Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Gots To Get Paid, Son

Man, has it really been nearly a month since I last blogged?

According to the records on this website, yes. Sorry about that.

But I have a damn good excuse, and this time it's not nearly as mopey -- I've been busy putting together job applications. And not just any job applications, but applications to get a real big boy professor job.

And not too surprisingly, before a university hires you to be a professor, they expect a lot of information from you. A lot.

Like upwards of 20 or so pages of essays, commentaries, past work, etc. And then, of course, writing samples and all sorts of other fun stuff on top of that.

So I've been doing little else but working on those things for the past few weeks. But I'm starting to see a scant amount of light at the end of the tunnel, telling me I must be getting close to finished with them. OF course, these are the kinds of things that are never actually finished, so I guess I mean I'm getting close to a place where I fine with other people reading them and judging me based on their contents.

With out getting into the inside baseball of academia, the kicker of this is that I'm fully expecting not to get any job offers from this group of applications. Hell, I'd be pretty surprised if I even got an interview out of it.

So really this is all just getting me some valuable life experience. Or something like that. And if there's one thing I've learned in my short time on this earth, it's that life experience usually involves something being a frustrating pain in the ass...

Friday, September 09, 2011

It Seems To Be a More-Or-Less Weekly Event

It sure does seem to be a regular event these days that some sort of righteously anti-gay politician or preacher is found buying meth and having gay sex in a public restroom, or hiring a gay prostitute to go on vacation with them, or employing some form of wide stance that only coincidentally appears exactly the same as gay code for anonymous sex in an airport bathroom.

But at this point, who can even keep track of these guys anymore? Hell, it's stopped even being that much of a surprise when one of these guys is accidentally out. It seems more like the burden of proof is now on homophobic politicians to prove they're not actually secretly gay.

Well, if you're having as much trouble keeping track of all of the hypocrites as I am, there's a handy new resource: It's a simple compendium of all known hypocritically anti-gay politicians who were either outed or admitted to their sexuality. It also features a nice running tally of the number of days since a prominent homophobe was embroiled in a gay sex scandal. You know, so you can accurately decide who won the Ted Haggard office pool.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

No, They Certainly Don't

Here's the most entertaining tumblr I've found in a long time (occasionally NSFW): Boobs Don't Work That Way.

It's a nice little compendium of pretty much the biggest problem with comic books/anime. The representation of women in comic books is a lot like the problems I have with corporate sports as they exist today.

Because I enjoy both greatly. And like modern corporate sports, there's actually a lot more to comics than skeptics and the disinterested give them credit for. It's been years since Alan Moore and his ilk took comic books to the realm of respectable art, but many people still dismiss them as pulp or useless. So, much like I find myself when discussing sports with the educated elite that populate our nation's higher-learning institutions, I'm often stuck defending comic books to people who think they're at best a waste of time, at worst, some sort of blight on humanity.

But again like it is with major sports, there's some things about comics I just can't defend, the absurdly and aggressively sexist portrayal of pretty much all women in them (when they're even there) being foremost among them. And like most of the shitty things about modern sports, this incredible sexism is completely unnecessary and obnoxiously pointless, not to mention, giving them a bad name and an easy excuse for dismissal by those already inclined to ignore them.

I suppose that's a lesson of life though; there's really nothing you can support that doesn't have some obnoxious shit you have to apologize for...

Monday, September 05, 2011

Family Man or Incompetent Man-Child?

Part 4 in the Bottoming Out and Moving Onwards Series. Find Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

Traveling abroad is great for providing examples of socialization, because being in another culture lays bare how truly so many of our rather fundamental beliefs are essentially arbitrary. This is not to say that many of them aren't quite good ideas or ways of doing things, just that there are plenty of other great ideas and ways to accomplish things, and why you chose one over another is mostly dependent on the society you grew up in.

Take living with you parents, for example.

In the recent years, there's been a bunch of panicky articles about this in the American media; 20/30 somethings who had moved out of the house were moving back in because of the tough economy. The articles especially focused on college graduates who had to move back in with their parents after college because they couldn't find any work. I'm sure there was even some cutesy nickname attached to it, like re-nesters, or something like that. I don't care nearly enough to search for it.

Anyway, the point is that these people moving back in with their parents were not only seen as quite an abnormal development, they were seen as some sort of commentary on our society. Some posited them as a sign of how bad our recession is. Others claimed that kids today just refuse to grow up, what with their cartoons and their music and their invasions they just can't stop fighting and whatnot. But all of them saw this as an inherently negative or backward step for both these young adults and, more-or-less, the country.

Because we have a powerful cultural narrative in American about what it means to be an adult. And for the vast majority of people here, this means leaving the home at 18, probably getting a degree of some kind, buying a house, getting married, having kids, etc. But all of these latter steps are predicated on the idea that you've left your parents house.

Where I was overseas, the situation was the exact opposite. Many people only left their house when they got married, if they even left the house at all. And because of various cultural, religious, and economic restraints, younger sons and daughters may have to wait a long time to get married. Most people I met were prety surprised to learn I was no longer living with my parents at the tender young age of 28, what with the fact I was neither married nor had any children. Who cooked for me? How did I manage a household? Etc.

So really, this is just two versions of ways to do things, specifically where to live. Neither of them is inherently good or bad (they both have their upsides and downsides), but we tend to think the one we do is normal and that doing it another way is odd at the very least, horribly wrong at the worst.

It's also a good example of how understanding how a social process works in no way prevents you from being a part of it, whether you want to or not. So I know, for instance, that living with your parents or not is essentially an arbitrary cultural script, so it's not really anything to worry about it. But I live in this particular cultural context that says it's odd. So anytime it comes up that I lived with my parents for most of the summer, I'm quick to explain how it was a really unique circumstance, it wasn't for a long term, etc.

And that, of course, is if the subject is even brought up in the first place. Because even though I've never felt judged by anyone about this and they always understand (especially when I offer my now well-rehearsed explanation), I can still feel how out of step with the normal cultural script this is and feel pressured to explain why I've deviated.

Though of course now I'm living on my own again like a grown up, so I can just pretend it never happened...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Marvel At My Semi-Competent Adulthood

Part 3 in the Bottoming Out and Moving Onwards Series. Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Blogging has been quite spare lately because the day has finally arrived -- by the end of this very day, I should be fully moved out of my mommy and daddy's house. So this past week has been a blur of packing and all the other mishegas that goes with moving.

While were I live likely has little to do with how successfully I put my life back together, there's definitely some psychological benefit to no longer doing something pretty widely regarding a marking you as a failure in life.

So by the next time you read this humble li'l blog, I'll be out living on my own, like a big boy...