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For Love or Country

Saturday, July 21, 2012

GEOFFREY Hardin was seated in his comfortable easy chair, drawn close to the crackling logs in the old New England fireplace. He was gazing dreamily at the flames as they leaped about from log to log, now enveloping them in a merry blaze, now lapsing into drowsy inactivity. From his long
quaint pipe, widening circles of pale gray smoke were followed by a thin trailing vapor. This too,
vanished, leaving only its mellow fragrance in the air. His pipe had gone out.
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Masculine writing Uses the economy of the phallus

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

  •  This means that:
    • It aims to present a unified truth (there has to be a bottom line, a point, a take home message, an argument with a conclusion).
    • becomes stationary static and unchangeable (It is a success if it becomes something that we can put down in history texts that will stay the same)
    • It places itself at the center and tries to marginalize everything else in relation to it (Bible (the plants and the animals and the garden and eve, were all created for man) and evangelism (Christianity is a rare kind of religion that entails evangelism, it is necessary to go out and conquer other kinds of ideas))
    • It casts everything else into the role of Other (example, what gets to count as Canon in a discipline, philosophy major)
    • Other things have meaning only in relation to it (an idea and criticisms of that idea – we have never studied a section on Elshtain, but we have looked at her in relation to other sets of ideas)

  • Masculine writing looks at the world in terms of binary opposites.
    • Culture/ nature
    • Active/ passive
    • Speaking/ writing
    • High/ low

  • These dualistic, binary opposites map onto the BIG dualism: Man/woman
    • Woman exists in man’s world, on his terms defined by the fact that she is different from him.
    • If woman refuses to be defined as man’s Other then she is unthinkable, there is no place for her in language or culture, in some sense, doesn’t exist.
      • Think of the omission of women’s perspectives in history for example

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Feminine writing – the ways to escape the world that men have constructed

Monday, December 5, 2011

  • You break the system by putting the unthinkable (women themselves) into words.

  • Feminine writing is flexible and moving and dynamic.

    • Letters -- Most of the women that have made it into the philosophy canon have done so in terms of the letters that they wrote to male philosophers ex. Princess Elizabeth, Queen Christina.
    • Poems: an interpretation a point of view that has no purpose but the beauty off itself or of expressing the experiences of the artist. No claims to universal Truth, just to the truth of my Truth, just to the truth of my own experience of it.
    • Marginalia: little scribbles in the margins of our books, where we talk to ourselves or the authors
    • Journals
    • Cookbooks – you need practical knowledge to make recipes work. They are suggestions not rules.
    • Emails – new grammar and style, playful icons that express more than the words of the message. They are ephemeral, once we let them go they may get deleted or may stay on some computer where the text can degrade.
    • Graffiti – Stop signs becoming “stop rape” signs
    • Novels – ex Handmaids Tale was written as a found journal

  • Feminine writing is a place where we can be subversive and perhaps get away with it.
It is a way to change the world
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Connections between male sexuality and male writing, and female sexuality and female writing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Male sexuality

  • “the big dick”
    • the writing, like the sex, is a whose is bigger contest that is ultimately a boring game to play.
  • “little pocket signifier” = penis/phallus/pen
    • A signifier is a sign or a name or a word or a concept that we use to mark out the boundaries of things or thoughts in our culture.
  • Male writing, like male definitions of sexuality, is rigidly controlled and defined so that it can be used to maintain the social order that already exists

Female sexuality

  • The book has yet to be written about female sexuality.
    • Women haven’t had the words to think it, nonetheless write it. 
    • In masculine writing, women are written as the Other that is defined by the Man
    • When women struggle to write themselves it is halting and creative, because we are building it as we go.  It is a creative desire.
    • Consider it in terms of our sexuality
      • This lets it be free and diverse and exciting.
      • It is multiple and mobile and complex

  • Women write in “white ink”
    • It doesn’t draw boundaries, it opens possibilities
    • She creates language as she goes

  • The desire to write is an embodied desire,
    • a desire to become a self in a body,
    • a desire to give life to experiences and ideas -- ideas that change and grow because they are alive too.
    • A desire to be thought and to think using what ever concepts and language that you need

  • Jouissance.

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15 War Books for Inspiration

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1. Doughboy War: the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, James A. Hallas ed. : This book is a set of excerpts from numerous and moving first-hand accounts. There are some descriptions of combat and its aftermath that leave one wondering how much a human can take and still function. The prevailing mood of the stories is somewhat dark/pitiful but something like this should be done for every war that America participated in as a memorial to that generation's unique brand of sacrifice.

Even though the United States did not enter the war until April 1917 and didn't engage in battle until the fall of that year, war's end saw over 80,000 killed in action. The poignancy of having friends buried in shallow graves on the battle fields, or seeing them mangled or "blown to atoms" by shellfire is recounted. As if the horrors of the warfare were not enough, the influenza epidemic killed thousands in 1918. The doughboy's war is vividly portrayed by these carefully edited anecdotes and should serve as a reminder of all those men who went to France "to make the world safe for democracy."

2. The First World War by John Keegan: This book illuminates the war to end all wars and captures the sweep of the first global conflict. Keegan details the primary causes and the primary instigators of the conflict. You really come to understand how about 15 individuals and a lot of national pride led to the deaths of millions. While not a truly "modern" war, many of the instruments of death were well hoaned (e.g. the rifle, the machine gun and artillery). This book describes the horror of trench warfare, details the attacks and defenses, the general's attempts to break the stalemate, the mathematics of attrition, the political motivations, and most importantly, the effect on nations that established the groundwork for the second world war.

3. Articles of War: A Collection of Poetry about World War II, Leon Stokesbury ed.: Soldiers, local civilians, and victims write about their struggles and fears, as all hope for the future seems lost. War-time experiences shake the poets to the very core of their beings, and the brutal realities of war and battles--both at home and far afield--change the writers forever. "Articles of War" features works by writers who saw the war and those who heard the stories from loved ones. With writers like Auden, Cummings, Jarrell, Hugo, and Shapiro, this book features 120 poems.

4. Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose: Band of Brothers tells us everything about a group of men and how they fought. We get to laugh with them, we get to see the horrors that they have seen. We also get to see the incompetence that sometimes becomes prevalent in wartime. Ambrose doesn't pull any punches, and neither do the men of Easy to whom he spoke. They are very outspoken about the people they didn't like. Not just people, but also nationalities. One thing to keep in mind when reading this book is that the only impression of nationalities that these men had were when they were going through territory, wondering whether or not they would be running into enemy fire at any time.

5. Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose: If you are a student of military history at all, or for that matter just interested in World War II, this book is an outstanding addition to your library. Ambrose is a master of oral history presentation and has a demonstrably keen grasp of the larger issues of WWII and, more importantly, of the ultimately quite human aspects of modern warfare.

To read the stories of men, from all walks of life, all parts of the country was riveting. These men, bring back a time when they were young and brave and scared. Their innermost fears revealed. Anyone who cherishes freedom and liberty should read this book, for the men who fought so long ago, will not be with us much longer to share their stories

6. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailler

7. Poets of World War II, Harvey Shapiro ed.

8. The World War II Memorial, Douglas Brinkley ed.

9. The Coldest War by James Brady

10. No Bugles, No Drums by Rudy Tomedi

11. A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam by James R. Ebert

12. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

13. We Were Soldiers Once…And Young by Harold G. Moore

14. Road to Baghdad by Martin Stanton

15. Jarhead by Anthony Swofford
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