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DeepCover

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 9 months ago

Somewhere in the midst of Carol Flax's presentation tonight (at the University of Colorado), somewhere between thinking her work was second-rate Barbara Kruger (be honest -- am I wrong?) and starting to appreciate the elegance of her ideas about integrating experience and technology (try this), somewhere between suppressing some adolescent feelings of rebellion everytime I think about the self-serving autodidact I work for and figuring grad school beats working, I had a thought -- a recurring one, actually, but one that now seems to be taking shape as creative project rather than just regressive character tic.

 

Said thought has to do with planning and executing some clever and protracted (and, yes, adolescent) payback fantasy AS MY MFA THESIS in response to all the Mickey-Mouse stuff I've already seen happen in my departments since starting grad school. (Think something between the triumphant third act of any given teen hijinx movie and "The Yes Men".) Now, while I have to recognize that, for the most part, I barely have the energy (and, often, the interest) to take care of the obligations I have now -- like, frinstance, THIS BLOG -- which would seem to make the possibility of the sort of furtive, workaholic and obsessive behavior necessary to realize said fantasy rather beyond the range of my ...uh, VECTOR potential, what I never quite had realized before is that the behavior that I occasionally daze about is, essentially, a persona and that, if I were to bring that persona to life, it would require a certain amount of subterfuge on the part of my DAILY persona, that guy J who almost threw a bottle of water at Prof VJ last week.

 

That realization led to a small revere about anti-social behavior and how I could begin to use it to expose issues I have with, well, pedagogy and ethical dilemmas and just what the point of advanced academic study is anyway. (Think of it as "find my inner a-hole" therapy.) All this has also reminded me of a friend (well, let's call him an acquaintance at this point) who now studies for his doctorate in creative writing at Denver University and whose behavior has always been sort of "sketchy" as far as ethics and authority is concerned. In fact, I think I figured out last fall that what he does is sort of like performance art -- he finds and exploits the weaknesses in anyone who inhabits the particular position of authority that can provide him with what he thinks he wants at the time. He does this in "real time" and with only preliminary planning but with a tremendous ability to work with whatever contingencies might arise in the process. When he did free-lance newspaper writing for me (when I was an editor), he was always trying to work some of my fellow editors to get them to print his poetry, even though it had nothing to do with the sections/publications they edited. (He also made up some interviews, seemingly unaware that such fabrication represented an ENORMOUS betrayal of trust on his part, both of his editor and his interviewee.) In school -- and know that he somehow got an MFA in creative writing from CU/Boulder a few years ago while alienating pretty much everyone in the English dept. doing it -- it's about doing as little as possible without completely flaming out of the whatever class he's in. He worked me for years, so I know he can be both charming and talented, but after awhile, he just can't shift into the higher gears necessary for an ongoing collaboration.

 

Now, I don't propose this as a model for anything I might do -- I don't have the charisma or the confidence or, frankly, the sycophantic energy to go down that road. Which then leads me to wonder just what sort of "performance" might accommodate my ever-shifting values and my lack of tolerance for inauthentic behavior. I dunno, but stay on yr toes, kids.

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