Friday, January 25, 2008

Orientalize. Metaculturalize. Repeat with Tea.

It's been a month since my last post, mostly because I've been either a) eating Christmas cookies b) at home seeing people or c) reading every minute of every day (except when I'm dancing). Don't let that fool you though, I am still enjoying things. Mostly. After presenting the problems of Orientalism for Irish Orientalism (in relation to Amitav Ghosh's In An Antique Land) (a class that didn't quite go as the professor had hoped and so invited her obvious disappointment to rain down upon us), I think I have had enough of Said for the time being. Unfortunately, discussions have burgeoned and one finds he is rather inescapable. Last weekend's project (well, one of many) was to get through Frances Mulhern's Culture/Metaculture, which, as my friend Will pointed out, is sweetly posited as a part of the New Critical Idiom series and designed to look like a beginner's guide to the subject. HA! Watch a load of 20th Century English grad students hit their heads against the wall simultaneously. We did manage to have a great discussion about however, stemming largely from the fact that Mulhern's impenetrable prose stayed out of the picture.

Another fun subject...Eugenics!!!! Did you know that Virginia Woolf commented that mentally disabled people should be killed? Or that many Modernist writers were involved with or at least connected to the Eugenics Society? Look it up. It'll be good for you. Learn how American Eugenics inspired the Nazis (not necessarily to fault the American program...Nazi Germany still twisted it around in all the wrong ways).

I will also include a brief rant on the fact that "The Three Little Pigs" has now been banned in some schools because it might prove offensive to Muslim schoolchildren. See the BBC's article at I have also been informed that some schools sing "Baa Baa Green Sheep" because Black Sheep might also harm children's minds (and as English students who are trained to find deeper meaning, especially latent racialisms, in texts, we could find NOTHING). Let's pretend problems don't exist. Then everything will be wonderful. Right.

1 comment:

Alan L. Gallagher said...


Michael Crichton, in his anti-environmental activist novel STATE OF FEAR, has an Appendix, in which he describes a theory which was CONSENSUS, accepted by all, scientists, Presidents, politicians, Supreme Court Judges, etc. in the early 20th was EUGENICS. He uses this to set the stage in his discussion of GLOBAL WARMING, which he suggests is similarly a matter of "consensus" but not science, rather politics. He does not deny, of course, that we are no longer covered by glaciers in Ireland, US, and Europe, but questions both the current "facts" and the current "prescriptions."




If "black" is wrong, why allow "green" ? The author of THE COMMITMENTS wrote a couple of decades back that (then) "The Irishman is the nigger of Europe."