Sunday, April 30, 2006


You know, I've read this, and I've certainly experienced it, but every time I see it happening it amazes me. People really do only see their own disadvantages; privileges are hard to see. Of course this makes sense, you see what keeps you down and we don't like to acknowledge that we have had boosts along the way. But often, when those barriers act in very similar ways, it's fascinating to me how someone can acknowledge one kind of inequality but categorically deny that another exists.

For example, I was talking to someone yesterday; at first, he didn't want to believe that there was any inequality in the world. He, of working class background, was relatively quickly able to see his class disadvantage, but adamantly did not want to see inequality or believe that coming from a non-white background might hurt ones' chances to achieve the "American Dream." We won't even get into gender.

This is fascinating: we were talking about unions, and how raising the minimum wage and increasing unionization might reduce some of the pull factors that bring undocumented immigrants to be exploited by corporations who know that they can hire them cheaply. He agreed and was all for unionization. Then we were watching CNN and a union leader from the NY transit authority started speaking. He had an accent and may be an immigrant; most of the audience for the speech were people of color. Suddenly, they were "trying to make the white man give them more," not fighting for, you know, better wages or working conditions. He literally, because of the ethnicity and race of these people, was not able to see the disadvantages that he had no problem imagining when the disadvantaged people were (in his head) white.

I guess being able to ignore white privilege is a privilege in itself.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I still can't sleep.

But I'm definitely getting a haircut tomorrow.

I can't get to sleep.

Should I get a haircut tomorrow?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Oh for a pseudonymous blog!

Funny, funny stuff.

But I can't tell you.

I could possibly tell you, depending on who you are. But I cannot tell the internets.

I am finished.

But, I still have stuff to do. Grr. I don't feel like I'm finished.

I do, however, have my books packed up. I have far too many books. And I just realized that I need to get into the bottom box for a particular book. Grr again.

Still, I'm finished.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


I am about to turn in a paper without proofreading it. Specifically, a paper I finished at about 4:30 this morning and about which I have no illusions as to its... coherence.

This is all the more reason that I should actually proofread the paper. If I were a responsible person. But I am not. Re-reading it will simply reinforce the utter awful-ness of it, and that's no fun. I would feel the need to re-write bits of it, and as there's no time for that at all, it would just reinforce my shame.

So, yes, here I am, at the last paper of my undergraduate career... and I am too ashamed of it to even proofread it. Lovely.

So, I just turned in the abysmal paper. As I turned it in, the professor said, "Thanks Jennifer! Good luck in graduate school." And I was heartily ashamed. This guy is going to read my paper and wonder how I ever made it into grad school.

Last week before class we were talking, and I happened to mention that I was moving to Arizona for grad school in sociology. He made some random comment about sociology as a "dying discipline," which, sad to say, may be true enough. We laughed and I thought nothing of it. But now, he's gonna read my crappy paper, know that I am going to graduate school in sociology, and assume bad things about either sociology as a whole or Arizona as a department. I would wonder at any discipline/department that would let me in, if my only exposure to me was this paper and my participation in the two classes I've taken with this professor.

He seems genuinely interesting and the classes could potentially be good (they're not--for a number of reasons). But both (non-soc) classes I've had with him have ended up being my back-burner, low time-input classes in their respective semesters. Largely this is because they require very little effort to get As.

I don't know why it bothers me that this guy who I will probably never see again will have a low opinion of me after reading this paper. Or why it somehow bothers me more because he knows my grad school plans.

It just does.

Oh well. One more thing left to do before I am FINISHED FOR GOOD. Or, at least for the semester.

I thought I was being clever.

Turns out, I was just being unoriginal.

When I heard that Tony Snow was being considered for the Press Secretary job, I thought, "haha, he'll literally be doing a Snow job..." and was all amused at my wit.

I realize that even if it were completely original, it wouldn't actually be all that funny. But, still, I thought I'd say it to someone. Who then informed me that that particular pun had been done. Had been done many times.

"But... you seemed so sweet and nice..."

[I will post apologies and excuses for my long absence from the blogosphere later.]

Today, a fellow student in one of my (non-sociology) classes expressed surprise that I was liberal. Apparently, from my "demeanor," one would never "suspect" my politics. I certainly don't try to seem like a conservative. And no one who knows me (or has me in classes where I actually talk) would suspect me of being one.

Evidently, my facebook profile surprised this woman. Not only have I checked "very liberal" for my politics (although I don't feel that this is an accurate description, really), but I am also a member of groups such as "I did not vote for Bush," "I did not vote for Prop. 2," "Gay marriage killed the dinosaurs," and the "Royal Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" group. Not to mention the Amnesty and N.O.W. groups. Or the favorite quotes and books I've chosen--clearly, um, biased.

Why oh why do people always assume I am a conservative? What is it in my manner of being in the world that gives off that impression? Nothing, of course, is wrong with being a conservative*, and fitting in nicely with the conservative set might not be a bad thing considering my interest in conservative social movements, but I'm kind of weirded out that people (people, mind you, who are not at all aware of my conservative background!) seem to "get" that about me.

Could it be my accent? Do I speak so Texas-y that people figure I must vote like the rest of the state? My clothes? Anything??

*besides being either misinformed or immoral**
**just kidding***

Monday, April 17, 2006

So, my thesis sucks.

And I was okay with that. I mean, it was done, right? That was all that mattered. It never occurred to me that people would actually read it. No, not real people. Just my thesis adviser and my second reader. But still, it's embarrassing. I like to think I could've done better if I'd cared more, if I'd tried more, if I'd put more effort into it. But maybe I couldn't. Maybe I just always procrastinate and then turn in stuff I'm not happy with so I never have to face the fact that I'm not satisfied with my writing. I can always blame the bad stuff on procrastination, not lack of talent. Clever little cognitive protection I've got going there.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Just call me Fred Mertz

How cheap/broke am I?

Exhibit A: Last weekend, when I had to get to Denison but had no money, I sold my books to get gas money. I had been planning on taking them to Half Price Books to see how much I could get for them for a few weeks, so perhaps this story is not quite so pathetic, but it reminds me of Jo in Little Women. Sure, I'm selling books rather than my prized hair. And, sure, it's so I can go home rather than allowing my mother to go visit my father who was wounded in the Civil War. But it still sounds sad.

Exhibit B: While trying to find a parking space in a place that required metered parking, I drove around for about five minutes looking for a meter which someone had recently left, with time still on it. I only had enough change for 15 minutes and my errand was going to take at least 30.

Exhibit C: Just now, in the UTD computer lab--I'm printing off the final draft of my stratification paper to turn in tonight. I also have to print off one page with a critique of one of the readings. I only have $1.14 on my Comet Card. Printouts are .6 per page and my total has come up to $1.20. So I go back to the computer and fiddle with the margins on my paper to make it shorter.

I just realized that Fred Mertz isn't a good example for my title. It's not that I have money that I'm refusing to spend. It's that I simply don't have any money. On my Comet Card or in my pocket.


I actually had planned a different post about plagiarism. Well, more about citation than anything. Helping someone with a paper recently put in perspective to me how important it is to stress to reason why citing your sources is important, what "research" means, and, really, what authorship and ideas mean (if that makes any sense). But, now I'm going to talk about me and my sources.

For my stratification class, we have to submit the final paper in hard copy as well as online, to, a site that checks for the direct use of someone else's words (a very limited definition of plagiarism, obviously, but it would be hard to check for the uncredited use of ideas). The instructor allows us to see our "originality reports" (indicating how much of the text was a direct copy of the words of someone else in their database). I submitted my paper and I got back 18%. I was floored. I clearly didn't quote that much. And I was pretty certain I didn't copy and paste from articles (or--and this is kind of what my previous post that I'll get around to soon was about--websites or wikipedia[!!]).

Turns out that I submitted the paper with my references section left on. I clicked the little "exclude bibliography" tab, and my originality report went down to 5%. Then I looked at what was coming up as unoriginal.

I don't know how many matching words are necessary in a phrase for it to be tagged as copied, but, as I was writing on affirmative action policies, phrases such as "gender-based preferential selection policies" are quite common, both in my paper and in the literature on the topic. So those came up a lot. Also things like: "women were selected on the basis of either sex or merit" were found. These are common phrases and bound to come up a lot.

Anyway, more to come on this (well, not this in particular, but a similar) topic soon.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Railing against the activist judiciary:

The Supreme Court "undertook to exercise their naked judicial power and substituted their personal political and social ideas for the established law of the land."

What case are we talking about? Roe v. Wade? Lawrence v. Texas? "Activist courts" ruling on Terri Schiavo, the pledge of allegience, or teaching science in schools?


Brown v. Board of Education.

This was from the "Declaration of Constitutional Principles," sponsored by Strom Thurmond, which bore the signatures of 101 of the 128 national legislators coming from states formerly a part of the confederacy. They insisted on exposing Brown as a "clear abuse of judicial powers."

Funny how history repeats itself.

(quoted in Piven and Cloward 1977)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What joy is mine!

KERA (PBS) is again showing Father Ted on Sunday nights/Monday mornings. I had missed it so. Over a year ago, I blogged about its role in structuring the endings of my weekends. Is it back for reals?