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Archive for July 9th, 2007


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All right. Aside from drinking so much that you spend the next morning alternately aspirining and vomiting and swearing to the god of Lush that you will never ever do it again, and aside from having regret-worthy sex I suppose (though I wouldn’t really know, long-term married such as I am), what is worse than coming in after an evening jampacked with academogossip. In which you participated, you name-dropped, you hinted, you self-promoted and tipped the hand and gave up the goods and basically whipped it out for mutual measurement and mutual admiration or envy? Not much, right?

I have a terrible headache. It so exposes the cancerous kernel at the heart of the thing, the way that everything it touches turns to cross-dinner-table banality.

Obviously, all this has quite a bit to do with my previous post.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

July 9, 2007 at 9:53 pm

Posted in academia, meta

i too dream of a Marxist therapy

with 8 comments

 Go read the whole thing at k-punk:

The opposite of social confidence and its attendant sense of entitlement, its urbane at- homeness-in-the-world, is a sense of inferiority, a constant worry about whether one should occupy certain spaces, the quietly panicky conviction that ‘surely they can see that I don’t belong here’. A sense of inferiority is so much a part of the background noise of my existence that until really quite recently I had tended to assume that it is a universal feature of human experience. That sense of – inherent, ontological – inferiority wasn’t something that I railed against; rather, it was so naturalized that it was barely noticed, but constantly felt, distorting all my encounters with people and the world. (But of course, under capitalism, there is no social interaction that isn’t distorted by class position, no neutral social field that exists beyond social antagonism). I suppose I had my first conscious tastes of inferiority when, in the school holidays, I went with my mother, who worked as a cleaner, to the houses of the well-to-do. Feeling lesser simply wasn’t an issue; it was experienced as a non-contestable fact. At least now – and this is partly thanks to CBT – I am aware both of the way in which that the sense of ontological inferiority colours my experience – sometimes I can practically sense it as an entity, a grey vampire squatting on my shoulders, heavy and draining; and I have learned to reduce its power, if not to eliminate it. One of the other tensions that constantly came up with my therapist was over the cause of this feeling of inferiority: for me, it was clearly a class issue, and I dream of a Marxist therapy that could address the pyschic wounds of class society.

I’ve not, for a long time, been very sympathetic to the notion or practice of therapy (whether k-punk’s imagined Marxist variety or just plain on talking cure type stuff), nor have I had much time for therapy’s instantiation in the business of literary study. Lately, though, due to the fact that I’ve had some first hand experience of the thing for the first time in my life, I think I’m headed back in the other direction on the issue. Maybe one day I’ll post more about it. We’ll see.

But I will say that class-issues do seem very hard to get at in these situations. One goes in because one is frustrated with one’s work – perhaps because one is in fact the American technocratic version of the Brit “ruling class” that k-punk describes – and the therapist only wants to talk about sex. Sex is really important, don’t get me wrong. But it is possible, or even probable, that it’s my job, the expectations that I was endowed with as a young kid, the fact that I do extremely well by almost any standard but it just seems like worthless shit constantly, forever and ever, and will continue to do so, or so it looks, until the day that I die…

Blogging is a strange symptom of this problem as well, in case that wasn’t readily clear already.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

July 9, 2007 at 11:25 am

hitting bottom

with 5 comments


Is the concept of the “Residence Inn” imaginable in any context other than the American one? If I was ambitious (tee hee) I’d spend the next six days and nights writing a Ballardian novel about the whole thing. HBO is showing Prairie Home Companion right now. I keep it on and muted to keep me company. In order to buy some beer, I had to sprint across an eight lane road. Not a highway. Just an eight lane local road. In the dark. I was (of course) wearing dark clothes. There was probably about a 4 percent chance that I would die each way, there and back. There is no bar here. No, I don’t simply mean in the hotel itself – I mean in reasonable (or even unreasonable) walking distance from the place. Fast food, yes. Tapped beer, no. I am not (technically) permitted to smoke outside of a parkbenched area at the corner of the parking lot (fuck that). I type right now while seated next to something called a kitchenette. They sell Lean Cuisine meals in the lobby, which I guess you are supposed to insert into your microwave. No smoking, no drinking (without risk of death by car-to-forehead injury) but there is a goddamned “play area” for adults (a “multifunction” basketball court). There is a menu stuck to the fridge which tells you what will be served for dinner in the lobby each night. Except they don’t serve dinner on weekends. Instead of leaving the space blank for today (Sunday) they have written “Go to the church of your choice!”

Yay. Sometimes you actually do earn your CV bullets. Does it make me damaged in someway that I was praying that my seminar-mates would suggest, on the bus back to the Residence Inn, that we call a cab and find some place to get some drinks? Instead, they discussed the idea of jogging the four miles into the center where the seminar is tomorrow. Is it awful that I was tempted to tell them that the important people in this business go to get some drinks on a night like this. They don’t bitch about forgetting their sneakers.

Pray for me.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

July 9, 2007 at 12:15 am

Posted in meta