All But Dissertation
No dissertation--none of the time!

Thursday, May 01, 2003  

Apologies for not writing more. I've been in a slump in more ways than one. I'm teaching next year and am working hard pulling together two new syllabi; but most devastatingly, I'm maxed out on the dissertation and simply sit in front of the screen with my mouth open or run around the library finding books that sit in piles but I don't read. It's so much fun to get excited about a lead in a book, look through the catalogue to see if the library has the desired source, find it, possess it--and then leave it to languish. Since I've been writing on sex metaphors with the dog, my mind moves to all sorts of naughty analogies here. I'm not that kind of girl, really, though (I hope).

Then there's the Buffy the Vampire Slayer thing. Moving to other unsavory analogies, I may as well open a vein and pump in the episodes. I think I've watched at least 18-20 in the last five days. No kidding. I wish I were. I can't believe I'm into this thing. This is how I fell into it. Last week at Border's, perusing the new paperback table up front, I found a little volume called something like "Buffy and Philosophy." The book was written by honest-to-goodness academic philosophers, and they were actually using Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and all the usual suspects to analyze Buffy. I had heard of Buffy but written it off as a mix of pop teenage junk and horror, two genres that I particularly detest. But the "Buffy and Philosophy" thing really intrigued me, and I looked up the DVDs in the public library. That was the end. It's a really interesting show, probably the wittiest and funniest TV I can ever remember seeing. I'm just barely tolerating the horror, which gets pretty creepy if not bloody (thank heaven for small mercies). Speaking of heaven, I hope I'm not somehow compromising my status as a faithful Catholic by watching this thing.

Yesterday I ran into one of my friends, a guy who is writing his dissertation in my area. His wife is famous for her obsession with Buffy. I told him about Buffy and Philosophy. He said that a good friend of his, who recently got a tenure-track in MI, shares an office with a guy who is writing a book on Buffy and theology. We shook our heads over it a little. Then he said that his wife has everything on Buffy and would be pleased to share it with me. Think I'll give her a call.

A word or two on philosophy overheard on campus: walking out of the library the other day, I passed a couple of philosophy types smoking in the sunshine. I just managed to overhear a snippet: "And then with Hegel we really descend into the abyss..."

I attended the end of the semester banquet this afternoon. Whole department gathered and gave the chair a standing O (which he richly deserves; what a terrific guy). The man I was sitting next to leaned back in his chair (after the standing O) with an honestly thoughtful little smile and ruminated: "Clapping. What an odd thing for humans to do. We just beat our hands together. What does it really mean?"

Sometimes I just run from academic life screaming. This is one of those weeks.

posted by Lady of Shalott | 7:41 PM
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