Tuesday, February 25, 2003

i need post-its. this shouldn't be so difficult. i feel like everyone in the known universe has post-its except me, and uses them for strategic, appropriate purposes, like sticking them to desktop monitors with helpful reminders about appointments and assignments. i have old fortune cookie fortunes taped to my monitor but it's just not the same: "A cautious person leaves no stones unturned (Lucky Numbers: 3, 12, 15, 17, 35, 37)" is a little vague.

right now i could be working on grant essays, but i had seminar all day today. some people have seminars during the afternoon. this class, the seminar papers don't come in til early morning, so you have to spend the pre-lunch hours going over them. then seminar itself starts at 1:15 and it commonly runs til 5:30. if that's not all day, i don't know what is. we watch the sun set, for god's sake.
this week one of the seminar papers got my blood boiling. i'm trying to be apolitical this semester, i'm trying i'm trying like i tried last semester, i'm trying to be calm, reading with my little pen in hand, and OH MY GOD this guy is making unsubstantiated generalizations about the mainstream jewish community and its intellectual leaders, and christ what is that PARAGRAPH OF ANTI-ZIONISM doing in an american social history paper? i don't read anti-zionism before i've eaten. it's a policy of mine. i also don't take classes in which i have to argue it with people; that's another policy. it's a sensitive, complicated, personal issue to a lot of people and a 5 minute discussion inevitably won't do it justice. i thought a class like this would be safe. i draw hammers in the margin and write SOAPBOX in big red letters, which helps me blow off a little steam, but i still tremble a little when the prof says we're going to start going over his paper.

the social is political is personal, it turns out. as we start, i preface, "i was personally upset and offended by your paper," which might even be under-playing it, but he snaps to attention and nods soberly. i restrain myself to pointing out logical inconsistencies and historical inaccuracies in what i hope is a logical, rational matter (please don't write me off as an emotional woman). other folks join the fray -- the ones who are arguing with me, i notice, are two of the other three jews in the class. the prof has the last word and it's one i agree with. whee!
everyone likes my colorful, junk-food seminar break. i relax. after class, the prof tells me she thinks i handled it well. i shake hands with the paper's author who smiles and says, We should talk sometime.

i am not a rightist. just because i will defend to the death israel's right to exist does not mean that i don't think its current government cannot or should not be criticized, like tikkun. i believe in a two-state solution. i believe in affirmative action and the necessity of white guilt. (i don't believe in Beatles.) drop bush not bombs. equal access to marriage for any committed couple, if they desire it. (the dream is over.) (valentines day is over.) there should be more space on campus for people to articulate opinions that are left of center but right of the barn. be polyamorous if you want but protect yourself and be honest about it. against abortions? don't have one. (he was the walrus. i could be the walrus, i'd still have to bum rides off of people.)

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