Thursday, December 29, 2005

Bye-bye bookies

I have many books for which I have no use anymore. Some I never had a use for. Others were part of a passing obsession, yet I am quite certain that I will never read again. But I hate to get rid of anything. On the other hand, I do need new shelf space. I am torn. I wonder how much I can get for them at Half Price Books. hmm. Some have no jackets but some are in very good condition. Many of them were bought at HPB to begin with. I guess it's just the cycle of book life. Hmm. Any advice? Should I keep books for which I have little/no use? Should I HPB them or eBay them? I really need to trim down my book collection for easy moving.

Update: Okay, so, I'm keeping a lot of my stuff from my period of fascination with European royal history. But I'm tossing the trashy modern tell-alls about the Windsors and the biographies of the Queen and her children. I'm keeping the "good" fiction that I'll re-read but I'm selling the dime-novel wannabees/Christian romance novels/and dorky science fiction. I'm also tossing some of my political porn, but only stuff that is particularly dated/stupid. And the conservative stuff I bought back in the day. Sean Hannity has been on my shelf for far too long for comfort. As has Bill Bennet, but that's kind of in the next category: my Christian non-fiction. Loads of apologetics. Some inspirational/devotional books. HPB always has lots of those. (Does that mean that I'll get good money for them or that I won't?)

Update 2: So, I decided to keep a lot of the trashy fiction--the scifi and one-shot afternoon reads. You never know when you just need an okay book. And some of the royal biographies. Even the trashy ones. But not the spectacularly bad ones. And I decided to keep some Sean Hannity. He's now relegated to my section of funny books, though.

Update 3: I really can't bring myself to throw anything out! Most of it's back on my shelves. Some of them I found happy homes for. Especially some of the trashy romance and Christian romance. I even found a home for some of the better/more scholarly Christian apologia. Nobody, however, wanted The Purpose Driven Life.

Some of my conservative stuff went to someone who I'm not entirely sure if he wants it because it's deeply ironic or because he enjoys it. But I can't, simply cannot, give up my Sean Hannity. It was tempting to keep some of the Lady in Waiting/God Writes Your Love Story stuff, but I had to finally take a stand on not talking myself into keeping everything, and that was the line.

I kept the Left Behind series for a few reasons: 1) I've recently read a few books analyzing evangelical Christian culture through the lens of this series and the ensuing phenomena, and I thus intend to re-read them, 2) most (okay, all) were actually purchased by my mother, and thus it would be wrong to sell them, and 3) they have no covers anymore, so even if I did decide to sell them, their value has already gone down considerably.

So, because I clearly suck and am too attached to my books (even the stupid ones and the ones that are no longer relevant to anything... I just want to keep them, just for the memories... remember, this is the person who still has her sixth grade "Socail Studies" notebook in her closet), here is the pitifully small number of books that shall forever leave my life tomorrow:

Bye-bye bookies

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Nobody except Thomas

Apparently Justice Roberts is starting out his term well. At least in terms of getting along with everyone. And he's funny.

In oral argument for a case concerning first amendment protections for public employees, his first question began: “If I get a memo from a law clerk that says, ‘Justice So-and-So's jurisprudence is wacky … and I fire them because I think that's not appropriate to put in a memo …”

Scalia then interrupted with “Nobody's wacko here.”

From dceiver over at Wonkette

Trent Lott Swings on his Front Porch
It's been pointed out to us that statements that Trent Lott has made in his past, such as: "The Democrats seem to think that the answer is a lawsuit. Sue everybody." And: "If their answer to everything is more lawsuits, then yes, that's a problem, because I certainly don't support that." And: "It's sue, sue, sue... That's not the answer."

Do not jibe with the measures he's taking to rebuild his famous front porch: "Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott and his wife sued State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. to force the insurer to pay for damage to their house in Pascagoula on the Gulf of Mexico, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina."

So, if you're scoring at home: Sending the Solicitor General to advocate on behalf of golddigging whores -- vital to the national interest. Megarich Senator spends taxpayer dollars suing to have his "in harm's way" gulf state home rebuilt -- terrifically important. Valerie Lakey nearly vivisected by a pool pump -- surely she can pull herself up by her bootstraps!

Since I'm lazy, I just figured I'd copy and paste. With proper citation, of course. But, I think this is so typical of politicians (in general, not just Republicans!) that I had to share it. Republicans are all for states' rights. Until a state wants to legalize gay marriage. Then it's time for a constitutional amendment to stop any of that. Democrats... somebody help me... I am in no way claiming they are non-hypocritical, I just can't think of a great example at the moment. Regardless, no one stands on principle, they stand on politics. And, grr.

Late night Wal Mart run

See, oh wonderful blog readers, the exciting things you will be treated to now that I am camera-ful?

A random late night excursion to find Ashley a shirt to wear for her family pictures tomorrow brought us to Wal Mart. Where we proceeded to play in the aisles, try on random hats, and generally mess things up. See for yourself.

Turns out the fitting rooms aren't open at midnight. So Ashley tries on clothes in a secluded area.

Ashley and Michelle have better pictures on their cameras. But they also have extraordinarily unfortunate pictures of me. So they won't be posted.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy Holidays!

So, I got a digital camera for Christmas. This first picture is of my roommate, Ema, who is having her picture taken very much against her will. The second is of my sister, Cynthia, and her cat, Comma. against her will.

EDIT: Apparently, Ema didn't like her picture and insisted it be taken down. (Well, she did ask politely, and the picture did make her look rather like she was missing a front tooth.)

Friday, December 23, 2005

The apps are in!


Well, three of them are! Or, will be after I go to the post office today.

Including...drumroll please...all of my letters of recommendation. (Finally.)

I am finished with applications for UC-Santa Barbara, UW-Madison, and Northwestern.

Now I just have the January 15 deadlines to get ready for: Indiana University, UT-Austin, Arizona, and UMass-Amherst.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Everything I need to know I learned from scary conservatives

I have a confession. Many of you who know me in real life already know this, but here goes: I love conservatives. Scary ones. Yes, I know, in a very condescending, pat-on-the-head-aren't-you-cute kind of way. The KKK? Awful, evil, horrible. But kind of funny. I feel kind of like a bad person, but there it is. Now, people who are racist/sexist without knowing it, they make me sad/mad. "Colorblind" racists, "personal responsibility" racists, etc. (I am not saying that colorblindness or personal responsibility are bad things, in themselves. They have, however, become codewords for a particular brand of conservatism that doesn't amuse me in the slightest. Mostly because I can see people taken in by the rhetoric, people who wouldn't at all consider themselves racists.)

With sexism: I love Phyllis Schlafly and (which, by the way, is wonderful. You should check it out.). I hate Katie Roiphe and Naomi Wolf. You getting the idea? Pat Robertson's argument that feminism causes women to leave their husbands, get abortions, and become lesbians is funny. Roiphe's pseudofeminism that uses a tactic similar to the "colorblind" racists just grates.

So, you can understand why watching videos and listening to clips on would make a good time for me. I have spent the last few hours combing through Media Matters' archive and learning new and exciting things about the world. I will share some of them with you.

First off, I learned that the reason I have time to type this up is that, like most liberals, I clearly have no family or church responsibilities. That's okay, though. I won't cry over it. However, "somewhere Jesus is weeping" over the charges and media discussion about Bill O'Reilly's sex scandal. Speaking of God's concern over media whores, apparently God talks pretty regularly to Pat Robertson. And Pat takes notes. I do often wonder, and I'm entirely serious here, if God gets pissed off when people like Robertson purport to not only say, "I feel God is saying that..." but actually read something that he claims is word for word what God actually told him. First person and everything. What's funny, though, is that it was from the beginning of the year. And God (or Pat?) was kind of wrong.

When it comes to feminism, I learned that it was actually "established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society" (Number 24 on Limbaugh's 35 Undeniable Truths). Also, women still live longer than men do because they have easier lives. Oh, and Harvard's fund set up to bring more women on to the faculty? The point is that they give them 100 pairs of shoes. But why do that? Just hold more dances.

Now we get to race. A black conservative group says that blacks who curse America are actually cursing God. God was good enough to allow them to be sold into slavery so that they could end up in America, the land of opportunity. Now that they're here, though, "they" have the problem of crime. And it's not a result of poverty. Crime results from a "lack of moral character." We can see this by looking at Katrina: "Look what they did to the Dome. In three days they turned the Dome into a ghetto." Pat Robertson reminds us that Dems need to carefully choose who they put up for nomination because "Black folks aren't going to vote" for a Democratic nominee not nicknamed "Bubba."

Why are people poor, anyway? In this country, poverty can only mean irresponsibility and laziness. Or stupidity, mental illness, and/or addiction. Because in America, anyone who wants to can make it. All you have to do is want it and work hard for it. This is not a new lesson, and it's one that to me is more annoying than amusing (considering its, um, convincing untruthfulness), but I thought I'd share it anyway. Also, in the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, we should totally save the rich people first. The poor people are just a drag on society (but we should try to get them, too, if we can).

Finally, I learned a lot about homosexuality and gay marriage. Not only does David Brock have "the lisp," ("I don't like guys who sound like that, they give me the creeps. I don't trust 'em, that's all"), but he also wants to rape your son. As do all gays (lesbians, too??). They are also "self-absorbed narcissists." But, fear not, homosexuals can be cured by exorcism.

Cure or not, though, they have an agenda. They are responsible for no fault divorce and abortions-on-demand (amazing, considering that they can neither marry nor procreate biologically with their chosen partners). Beware, lest they infect you via screen. This is for you, mom: apparently gays and lesbians are all over HGTV. Speaking of infections, some believe that gays should apologize to straights for introducing HIV/AIDS into society. Lesbians, however, are jealous and pissed because "they don't have an AIDS epidemic that they can cash in on."

Finally, there were many warnings (most coming from Bill O'Reilly: he seems obsessed by this) that the legalization for gay marriage would cause all sorts of odd marriages, such as "marriage between daddies and little girls...between a man and his donkey." Also, we hear from Falwell that saying that you don't support gay marriage but you do support civil unions is "like saying 150 years ago, 'I'm opposed to slavery, but if my neighbor wants to own one, that's all right.'" It's funny 'cause 150 years ago he totally would have been all about the slavery. That's why conservatism is fun.

Friday, December 16, 2005

I promise I'm not kidding

Right now, on the Maury Show (I swear I don't watch this regularly), the theme of the day is, literally, "my girl looks/acts like a boy and this bothers me exceedingly." Mothers are bringing their tomboyish daughters onto the show because they are really bothered by their not being feminine and girly enough. The mother on right now is really and truly upset that her child doesn't like to wear makeup or dresses, hasn't had a boyfriend, and won't go into Victoria's Secret. "I'm a girly girl and it really bothers me that I can't share that with her." Seriously. And now, the teaser for the next segment shows a younger girl who has decided to come on to the show and dress like a girl to make her parents happy: "if they're happy, I'm happy." They are currently sad because she wears hoodies, burps, and is often mistaken for a boy. She says she likes the freedom that comes with being a boy and never wants to wear tight clothes. But, she will conform to traditional femininity to make everyone happy. How... traditionally feminine...

I wish I were kidding. This is disgusting and awful.

I am so glad my mother is cooler than this.

UPDATE: Maury to one teen: "Admit it, sometimes you close your door and dress up, put the makeup on, and try it out, don't you?" Um, no.

UPDATE 2: "This is my style, this is me." Maury: "No it's not your style, that's a boy's style." Ugh.

UPDATE 3: You know how sometimes you're drawn to a train wreck? Well, I couldn't stop watching this episode. Next came the makeovers. I never saw mothers so excited to see their daughters' cleavage! Crying.. "Now that's my daughter!" She wasn't your daughter before the makeup, skirt, and visible breasts? Interestingly, there was a bit of a racial difference in the makeovers: the white girls got attractive yet conservative outfits: mid-length skirts and shirts with denim jackets over them. The black and Hispanic girls were put into short skirts and there was often visible cleavage.

Oh: and it turns out that the only reason these girls dressed like boys was that they had low self esteem. They didn't think they were pretty: "You didn't think you could look this good, did you?" See... that's the only reason why girls might reject overt femininity... they don't feel good about themselves. Yeah.

One girl said she wanted to change so that she could have new friends at school. Maury: "You think when you go back to school you're gonna have some new friends? I bet you will!" They even followed her back to school, and, sure enough, she had new friends. 'Cause those are the friends you want, right?

So, it's past midnight on the 15th...

...and I'm still missing a letter.

And not the one I got all overdramatic about on Tuesday. Yeah, she pulled through this morning. No, this is the guy who emailed me back and said he was going to it on Wednesday. Yeah--no letters yet.

Well, if I've learned one thing this week, it is that I will make a good professor because I, too, procrastinate like mad.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Just a note: if ever you want to invoke the concept of "choice" to explain why things are the way they are, think about it and define what you mean. Consider how choices are bounded by so many things such as society and identity, etc.

It's really annoying to me recently to hear people say that poor people make poor choices, that they choose to be poor. Is it a poor choice to, say, drop out of school? Sure. But, was that freely chosen, or were there other factors going into that "decision"?

How about claiming that women and men simply choose certain career paths and that alone explains occupational segregation? Sure, women choose to become nurses and men choose to become doctors in disproportionate numbers, but unless you're prepared to argue that there is something inherently "male" or "female" about nursing or doctoring (and, don't get me wrong, I know some people are prepared to argue just that :-) ), it's tough to say it's simply personal choice.

You know?

I'm not saying "choice" is bad or not useful, but for it to be really useful we have to understand the bounds within which those choices were exercised. Okay?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Where oh where?

Oh where, oh where are you my third letter of recommendation writer??

The first got hers out yesterday and responded to my email the same day I sent it. The second I emailed at 8 this morning, just got a response, and he plans to send out my letters tomorrow.

But--number three: where are you? I emailed you last week, no? I do not want to get annoying and email you again. I know someone else who is expecting something from you who has had no response either. I hope everything is okay. And not simply because I need your letter. But that is a large part of it.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I made up this word a while back, during an AIM conversation with a friend. Turns out that the word exists, but I did independently come up with it. Its construction is actually quite logical and therefore it's not surprising that my creation is less than totally original.

Anyway, chronocentrism means believing the prevailing ideologies and ways of viewing the world in your present historical era are more superior and right than all other eras. Actually, it can best be applied to ideas/people who are not aware of historical ways of thinking and take their view on issues to be eternal or timeless. Very rarely is this true. I would venture to say that it never is.

It is this realization, more than anything, that has structured my intellectual transformation since I began college. This realization that the frames and lenses through which we view the world are inherently shaped by our culture and our values (and that culture and values change over time) caused me to question some of the fundamental tenants of my worldview. What seems "natural" no longer seems so. Things that appear to be "inevitable" are actually a result of a particular historical progression.

Not only are our perspectives shaped by our historical and cultural location, they are shaped by our cultural location. This awareness, that all of our knowledge is situated, leads me to the study of race and gender and class. How are our experiences shaped by these variables and how do those experiences alter our perceptions and interactions?

These issues are what I most try to impress on people when getting into discussions about broad social or religious or moral or political issues. "What we know" is not only incomplete and situated but could also be very different. Thinking inside the chronocentric box limits our thinking and our possibilities for change.


What does it mean to say that certain religious ideas are socially constructed? Sacred texts may be the word of God, heck, lets even assume that they are literally the Word of God. Even better, lets assume that English translations are still the word of God. Given those assumptions (bear with me), there's still a problem: interpretation always, always, always occurs in a social context. And the social context can change dramatically.

1850: The Bible is used to justify human slavery.
1950: The Bible is used to preach liberation for oppressed people.

Very few, even the most racist Christians, would argue that the Bible allows for slavery today. (And, I should know, I ordered the KKK starter pack just to see what all was in it, and wow, but that's a post for another day.)

But that one's easy. And doesn't challenge chronocentrism. I mean, you can still say that those wacky Southern slave holders were wrong, but finally, today, we have the One True Interpretation of scripture. Harder would be to challenge a current belief and show 1) it's constructed nature, and 2) how it could be different.

Let's take, say, homosexuality.

Ok, I am not going to get into the massive, huge, ongoing debate about what scripture actually says about homosexuality. That is beyond the scope of what I'm trying to do. But, just so it's out there, there is by no means consensus among religion scholars that the present-day interpretation of Biblical scriptures as banning homosexuality is "correct." Much of this debate centers on the original language of the works, the social context of the writing, and issues arising from translation. It is fascinating stuff.

But my point is to look at how interpretation of scripture has been altered by social context. What is the context of the scholarly debate going on and how did we get to this point in our reading of what the Bible says about homosexuality?

When I started out this post, I thought I was going to finish it. But I realize now that that would be too much of an undertaking. I need to do some more reading to present a more complete and fair analysis of homosexuality in Christianity (historically). I found some interesting stuff about how homosexuality (mostly male that I could find information on) was not only tolerated but accepted in the early church. But it didn't have sources and felt incomplete. I need to do more reading on this topic. I may start with this?

But, to illustrate my broader point, I'll choose another topic and give it a quick and dirty run-down. Abortion. Many Christians oppose it. And they say that their opposition is rooted in their faith. And I believe them. Because faith is something personal, not something historical. Faith is what you believe here and now, not what Christians have always believed. Faith is a good thing, I have faith. I'm not knocking it at all. But faith often does not come with a view of the constructed nature of its beliefs. It often takes those beliefs to be timeless and eternal. Faith can still hold after a recognition of its situatedness, but it's harder.

Anyway--back to abortion. Hebrew law says that if someone attacks a woman and kills her, the punishment is for murder. However, if someone attacks a pregnant woman, injures her, but kills the fetus, that is treated as a property crime rather than as a murder. This is similar to the Aristotelian idea of "delayed ensoulment," the idea that the soul doesn't actually enter the body of a fetus until it is well along in development.

Some in the early Christian church opposed abortion:

St. Hippolytus (circa 170-236 CE): "Reputed believes began to resort to drugs for producing Sterility and to gird themselves round, so as to expel what was conceived on account of their not wanting to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time." Refutation of all Heresies 9:7

Minicius Felix (Christian lawyer, circa 180 - 225 CE): "Some women take medicines to destroy the germ of future life in their own bodies. They commit infanticide before they have given birth to the infant."

St. Augustine (354-430 CE) reversed ideas about abortion, returning Christian theology to a "delayed ensoulment" kind of philosophy. The consequences of this are that abortion early in a pregnancy is not murder, as the fetus is not seen to have a soul.

Some Christian leaders, however, did not totally buy into Augustine and still punished abortion. However (and this, to me, is a big however), it was generally grouped with sins that prevented conception such as practicing coitus interruptus or through consuming products intended to induce sterility. It was also grouped with sins meant to regulate sexuality, such as oral sex.* However, in comparison with these other sins, abortion was actually considered a less serious offense, with punishment requiring 120 days of penance and the punishment for oral sex lasting from 7 years to a lifetime.

Several Popes (Steven V, Innocent III) then took the view that abortion is not murder until quickening, the point at which movement by the child is first felt. St. Thomas Aquinas did not consider abortion murder until quickening, when the fetus was "animated."

Sorry, this is going on far far longer than I thought it would. Needless to say, there are many switches, but the quickening doctrine was pretty stable in theology and in law. In America, we begin to see the first abortion laws in the 1820s, which forbid abortion after the fourth month of pregnancy. By 1965, all states had some abortion bans, though they varied widely from state to state. Most of these bans can be attributed to the rise of physicians as a profession, and gynecology as a speciality. You see, midwives were the primary providers of abortion services to women. They were huge competitors with doctors. The AMA was really influential in getting state-wide bans. In 1973, when many of these bans were overturned by the US Supreme Court, we began to see the rise of abortion as a religious issue. I, of course, am opposed to abortion. But I like to think that I am reflexive about why, and I recognize the sociohistorical context in which ideas about "life" are salient as religious ideas.

I guess that my overarching point in this is that people who are socialized to view abortion as a religious issue aren't wrong--but they are acting within a social context that has given them a particular "knowledge" about certain issues and urges them to think about them in a particular way. If they had been born in a different time, they would not see abortion as a religious issue. Is their view of Christianity and abortion "wrong"? That's their call. What I am calling for is a recognition of the history. We need to get away from the chronocentrism and the arrogance that suggests that our philosophy, that our teachings, that our interpretations of scripture are the only ones or the best ones.

Another example: conservative religion + conservative politics. Not natural bedfellows, really. But I know several conservative Christians who would say that conservative politics (tax cuts for wealthy, supply side economics, minimal welfare state, etc) goes hand in hand with their faith. Well, um, no. I mean, it does in our present culture. But it's by no means fundamental. Look at fundamentalist and evangelical populist and socialist movements back in the day. Our present religio-political climate encourages the linking of political and religious "knowledges" and thus what seems "natural" is in fact highly strategic and engineered. There are several books on this subject and histories of how the two came to be linked. I'm not passing judgement on this link, but what I am saying is that it is not natural or inevitable.

Another quick example: Baptism as "outward sign" and "Sinner's prayers" as leading to salvation. While these are not by any means the only Christian views on the subject, they are certainly hegemonic within modern day Christianity (here are examples of people who reject those particular doctrines). But they are new. It has not always been the case that Baptism was an outward reflection of an inward change. The idea of praying your way into salvation is also a relatively new one, theologically speaking. Are these ideas wrong? Again, not for me to decide. But--people who believe these should confront their chronocentrism and realize the historical nature of their beliefs. Those weren't the beliefs of, say, the early church or the medieval church. And that's ok. But, they were constructed.

And the realization that all of what we believe (not just religion) is constructed is important in order to be able to challenge our accepted notions and assumptions about how the world works. Thomas Kuhn argued that the biggest revolutions in physics have come, not from physicists, but, rather, from people outside of that field. Disciplines socialize people into how to think about issues. That's a good thing, because it gives us focus and a theoretical framework. But it also gives us blinders. That why people trained in a different field, such as mathematics, were able to look at a problem confounding physicists in an entirely new and different way. They didn't share the same limiting assumptions.

This ability (or at least the potential ability) to question my assumptions, to always look at the history of ideas, to understand the ways in which ideas have been constructed, has revolutionized how I think about the world and how I relate to it. Central to this has been overcoming chronocentrism.

So, yeah, the point of this post: go forth and use the word "chronocentrism." If I ever read it anywhere, I will assume that I started it, even though a google search reveals otherwise.

*I argue that the current pro-life crowd, at least the leadership, is less concerned with "life" per se and more concerned with the regulation of sexuality, particularly womens' sexuality. I will post about this later if I think about it. NB: I am not the only one (by far) to take this view, but, coming from my background, it was a big step to take and I came to it independently.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


So, I am finished with all of my schoolwork for this semester. If I am feeling particularly...non-apathetic...I may proofread this last paper before I turn it in tomorrow. But, honestly, that's doubtful.

I just wrote the crappiest paper. This is not false modesty. It is so bad. Like, there are no words.

This semester is not going out with a bang, it's leaving with a whimper, slowly dying. My enthusaism left long before the end of classes.

I am pretty sure I've put this quote on here before--probably at the end of last semester--but I do believe that it's applicable now:

"You don't say, 'I've done it!' You come, with a kind of horrible desperation, to realize that this will do." ~Anthony Burgess (author of A Clockwork Orange)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The final stretch

I have one, ONE, paper left to do before my next-to-last semester as an undergraduate is over. And I really can't work up the motivation to work on it.

On the upside, I know what I'm taking next semester, even if I'm not registered for some of them: Historical Inquiry (necessary for my Gender Studies major... my "disciplinary methods" 'cause I can't use social statistics from my sociology major) , Gender and Work (taking solely because the class sounds interesting, I will have friends in there, and I like the professor), Cultural Regions: Latin America (taken because I have to. But it sounds interesting?), Social Stratification (it's a graduate course, and I'm taking it because it's interesting and I like the professor), Politics of the Judicial Process (no reason except it looks interesting. If it turns out not to be--or if it turns out to be more work than an elective is worth [hey! senioritis here!], I may just drop it). I think I've decided not to do a Gender Studies thesis? I can deal with only getting honors on one of my degrees, really.

With the semester drawing to a close, that means that I need to start working on graduate school applications. Oh my gosh. I am so behind.

Incidentally, how does one remind one's letter of recommendation writers that some of the letters are due in two weeks? I don't want to sound nagging or like I don't trust them. But I want to make sure they're in on time, you know?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

From the favorites file

So, I have a problem. I am a constant bookmarker. If I read an interesting article, see a funny website, or just think that sometime in the vague and distant future I may want to see whatever it is I stumbled upon again, I bookmark it. But, the problem comes when the bookmarking gets so excessive and so unwieldy that the original purpose, finding things once thought interesting, is nearly impossible.

I've had Percy, this computer, for over two years, and during that time I haven't deleted a single "favorites" link. Kind of like I can't throw away old papers. And I don't just mean freshman-year-too-embarrassed-to-read-rubbish. No, I have my Socail* Studies notebook from sixth grade and my write-up from an Oregon Trail game** in the eighth grade. So, never deleting any links, my "favorites" list is made up of well over 250 websites.

I decided I was going to clean them out as an end-of-the-semester, getting organized kind of thing. It felt right. But, soon I got lost in memories. Looking through those links is like tracing an intellectual history. I can see where I was obsessed with certain topics. I can see where I was doing research for papers. I can look back to when I got on a grad-school-hunting kick****. I can fondly recall my desperate search for presidential debate drinking games*****. I can tell when I was in arguments with people about gay marriage, abortion, or affirmative action by noticing the trends in links.

In short, I decided that I am not going to clean out my favorites. There's too much history there.

I'm trying to work out a similar justification for not cleaning out my car and closet.

*Yes, it was spelled like that on my folder. This makes me so sad now. In fact, the handling of social studies throughout the school district I grew up in saddens me greatly. The folder had several checks and stickers, one for each six weeks of the school year. Yet the teacher never corrected my spelling.
**No, I don't mean the computer game (but, dude, that computer game rocked!). In my history class in eighth grade, we split up into teams and drew fate/circumstance cards (or something) and had to make it across the U.S. We then had to write up our experiences. I'm considering turning this paper in for my graduate school application writing sample. It's quite good.***
***Well, perhaps not, but I do believe that I can honestly say that it's better than the freshman-year-too-embarrassed-to-read-rubbish. I am ashamed that I ever turned that stuff in. Particularly papers from Intro to Sociology (which I hated, ha) and Race, Gender, and Class (throughout the course of which I was gaining a sociological imagination, but not without considerable resistance). I need to apologize to those teachers.
****Yeah, I was all enthusiastic when it didn't matter. Now that I'm in a time crunch with grad school stuff, I can't work up the motivation.
*****I bookmarked many, but actually did none. They're kind of funny, you know, take two drinks whenever Kerry says "purple heart," or Bush says "9/11." Not being 21 at the time, my intentions were, of course, to use soda or juice.