All over the place

I’m at that point where so many things have buzzed through my mind that I don’t have the time to organize them into coherent posts. So here’s a few of them:
The closing of several language programs and others at SUNY Albany…….. just how do you decide. Money has to be a major element. You have to pay for things and if they are not used as much as other things, it makes sense to stop paying for them. That’s awful blunt and there are many great arguments to make for keeping Russian, Italian, French, Classics, and Theatre (Theatre??), but if everyone is signing up for Spanish, that needs to be looked at. What is going on there? Did any language survive? If so, why?
My wife came home an hour or so ago from a book club meeting. She told me who was there, incl the author of the book. When I went up to the computer to check e-mail, there was a note from the organizer with photos of the meeting. I understand that to some who may read this, a quizzical look has come over their face; the simple fact is that I’m not used to that. In fact, I’m still back in the days when you took your film to the drug store and waited 10 to 12 days for the pictures to come back. My point is that our sense of time and space is being reshaped by this instantaneous communication.
The other day at my grandson’s school, as I mentioned somewhere, it was interesting that of the 6 children at his table, 4 were Asian. One girl was White and Logan looks White but would be considered Black in traditional America, being one quarter Black. The Asian parents spoke to their (grand)children in their native language (Chinese and Hindi). It’s understandable, being Intel country, but notable nonetheless.
Now if we look at the Ted Talk…
where the guy is talking about constant numerical monitoring, read outs on so many different things about us, we hear at the end how he sees this as self-knowledge. While I might be inclined to see it as the obsessive culture of narcissism, I immediately recalled the obsessive notes ascetics make on their progress to Nirvana or Heaven. They watch everything they do, eat, excrete, attempt, accomplish, think, feel, taste, touch, see and hear. It’s always been that way; it’s just that now we can do it with a chip. Instead of counting our steps outloud, we can have a chip do it. Biometrics.
Recall that a lot of audiophiles are going back to vinyl now. I listen to my collection of vinyl every day, though I haven’t bought a disk for several decades. I thought about one the other day; I saw it in a “record” store, something from West Africa that looked real interesting. Well, it turns out there is a similar aesthetic in porn now. I read about a magazine, Jacques, that offers soft porn reminiscent of the fifties, with no touch ups or perfect bodies or outre poses. So I ran out and bought one. Absolutely right. It reminds me of nothing so much as Coronet magazine. Silky lingerie with a lot of decoltee but that’s it. This does show naked breasts and the poses are provocative but not pornographic. I found it took me back to my days when I did things Christie Mcconnell would not approve of.
Now, if we can just get this movement back to individual food gardens and raising our own meat and paying people to spend their days making things like cheese and roasting coffee and picking fruit and preparing nourishing meals for school kids and nursery kids………
Which leads to a review of a book on the effects on fetuses of what their mothers do and what they are exposed to in utero. The notion that stress can cause problems later in the child’s life, if it bears out, could explain a lot of the difficulties African-American children have, above and beyond the factors of prejudice and cultural differences and poverty. The moms are normally under stress. My mom was under stress after she had me b/c she was afraid of German paratroopers. We laugh now – German paratroopers dropped into Ohio???? – but the Germans and Japanese were doing things no one thought likely or even possible. The Rape of Nanking had already occurred. Britain was next. So perhaps some of my allergies and so forth were due to the fact that Pearl Harbor was bombed when I was 3 months old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *