amor mundi

Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Today's Teaching

We'll be picking up where we left off yesterday, with Bookchin's critique of Deep Ecology (which my students this time around are digging much more than in earlier iterations of the course for whatever reasons) then moving into eco-feminism and queer eco-feminism. There is a lot of righteous provocation but also loose-talking silliness in the early canon of eco-feminism (lots of what Bookchin would deride as "eco-la-la") and the queer eco-feminist work takes us right into current debates. I fear today will be a bit of a slog, despite my love of the material, because last night I woke just after four and couldn't get back to sleep, my head full of thoughts about school readings and the usual endless self-recriminations, a reminder of last winter's long desolating season of insomnia, now fortunately mostly behind me. Sleeplessness dulls my perceptions and shortens my temper, neither of which is conducive to facilitating class discussion, so I'll have to really be on my toes for the few hours of my intensive this afternoon. Feeling tired already. This is a long week, and getting longer.

Today's Random Wilde

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Always Coming Home

I have much less time for personal reading while I am teaching summer intensives -- it took me nine weeks to read Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home. As always, it was a stunning and impressive achievement of a book, but like her other ambivalent utopia (The Dispossessed) this one left me a little cold... The pleasures are intellectual and aesthetic, very real, but I was moved to neither laughter nor tears (as I usually am with her work), tho' the provocations and insights were abundant. I've set out to re-read all her body of work in this year of her departure, but I may not manage the feat after all. I am now beginning the complete Orsinia stories and novel. Introducing my students to Deep Ecology this afternoon, on a comparatively full night's sleep for a change. It's sunny out and I would rather be staring at trees. Last week as I was coming onto campus a student was practicing her violin, and I recognized my favorite melodies from Totoro. Even in the time of Trump, occasionally there is magic.

Today's Random Wilde

More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, July 16, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

Always forgive your enemies -- nothing annoys them so much.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday Walk and Upcoming Teaching

Walked through sunny neighborhoods broiling with trees shaking their leaves and new blooms in purple and yellow craning their necks in the light. Delicious brunch at our diner and then a quiet stroll through Mountain View Cemetery. All my grading is done for the weekend and I am turning now to reading canonical texts in Deep Ecology and Eco-Feminism and Eco-Socialism for the three lectures and discussions upcoming this week in Green Rhetoric. Lots of radical connections get made in this week's texts, coming off of a week of Transcendentalists and racist Conservationists and preparing the way for Environmental Justice, Permaculture, and Green Eats next week, this week always feels something like the intellectual and emotional core of this environmental rhetoric course. This course moves so fast! A couple of weeks ago I was grading finals for Summer Session A, this time next week I'll be ready to scoop up midterm precises for Summer Session D, with just a few weeks left of the whole summer and the return to Fall teaching in the City looming.

Today's Random Wilde

To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Tradeoff

I've gotten into the habit of listening to Sibelius symphonies while I'm grading -- so soothing, yet weirdly ruminative. Anyway, now I think of grading whenever I hear Sibelius and cannot enjoy his music for the queasy aggravated associations it gives me -- and yet I find I can almost enjoy grading so long as Sibelius is rumbling away softly in the background while I am doing it. An odd and unexpected tradeoff...

Still Grading

Still a bit buried under a grading pile and lecture prep for next week's intensives. This is what comes of taking a comparatively relaxed day yesterday, I suppose.

Today's Random Wilde

One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily (Happy Birthday Edition)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Grading Greating Grating

Today is given over to grading, errands, and a haircut. Tonight, we're watching episodes of Red Dwarf and I, Claudius, presumably high as kites. The sun is shining, a breeze is blowing through the curtains, the cat is purring like mad, and things aren't too damned bad -- ongoing climate catastrophe, white supremacy, patriarchy, and the slide into TrumpGOPian know-nothing authoritarianism unbearably notwithstanding.

Today's Random Wilde

Experience is one thing you can't get for nothing.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

My own business always bores me to death. I prefer other people's.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, July 09, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Sunday Walk and Teaching This Week

Swift sunlight and a sweet breeze this Sunday for our walk to brunch at the Piedmont Cafe and Bakery then on to the Morcom Rose Garden, a bit faded from the delirious madness of its spring profusion but still stuffed with thousands upon thousands of blooming bushes. Beautiful tho' the day is we didn't have to wait for a seat for brunch and had the rose garden much to ourselves. It was all simply lovely and relaxing and Eric and I were both in silly moods, cracking each other up the whole way. Penny was waiting for us when we returned, yawning from her nap and dragging a plastic straw in her mouth to interest us in a game of catch. I plan to spend the rest of the day reading Transcendenalists and environmental writers like Mary Austen and Aldo Leopold and promoters of national parks and racist heteronormative fantasies of wilderness for upcoming class discussions. Tuesday we'll be reading Bill McKibben on math and the rhetoric of environmental concern, Naomi Klein on climate debt and reparations, Brentin Mock on racism in environmental organizations and activism, Rob Nixon on slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor and Tim Morton on hyperobjects and the end of the idea of the world (tho' Morton's take is the fashionable one I must say I strongly prefer Nixon's myself). Wednesday we'll be touching on the classics, Emerson's Nature, Thoreau's Walden,and less well known work by Mary Austin, and a couple of pieces by Aldo Leopold. Thursday we'll be talking about Muir and the redwoods, then the promotion of Ken Burns' "America's Greatest Idea" documentary about the national park system and resistance to that promotion, as well as Lisa Campbell on the racism of conservation thinking, and William Cronon on "The Trouble With Wilderness." I find most of this work richly rewarding and so I am hoping my students are inspired to really talk about it with critical energy and creativity. This has been a lovely day and I would like to think it begins a lovely week of good work.

Today's Random Wilde

By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

The salesman knows nothing of what he is selling save that he is charging a great deal too much for it.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, July 06, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

We teach people how to remember, we never teach them how to grow.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Today's Random Wilde

To become the spectator of one's own life is to escape the suffering of life.

Man oh man was Wilde wrong about that one...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily