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

Monday, September 30, 2019

Prep Prep Prep

The week ahead is pretty daunting, with Intermediate Reviews for my MA thesis students in addition to the usual two lectures. It's Benjamin and Adorno in critical theory, a lecture I've done a million times but which covers a lot of ground. Wednesday in "Queer Manifestations" we're a bit behind and so we're all over the map, Audre Lorde and Combahee, but also Valerie Solanas and lots of other stuff. There's no way to prepare, really, it's going to just play out in discussion, we'll see what they respond to and what they don't. Materials for the thesis reviews came in over the weekend so I need to find the time to re-read and comment on them very carefully. As often happens, it really doesn't feel like there are enough hours in the day to prepare for what I need to get done in the days to come. Yesterday Eric and I took a break for brunch and a walk to the Rose Garden, after all these years we've skipped the last few weeks and I've missed it enormously. The place was stuffed with faded blooms, stately red and pink, the yellows are mostly gone now, and there was scarcely anybody else around. It was lovely. Who knows when we'll have the chance again, weekends are getting awfully busy these days. I feel as tired at the beginning of October as I usually do by the end.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Teaching Day

The Freud lecture went well enough yesterday, at least I had a full house more or less. Today's lecture in Queer Manifestations picks up the discussion of camp left over from last week (reading Sontag's "Notes On Camp" and Bruce La Bruce's riff "Notes On Camp/Anti-Camp"), then there are student presentations, short discussion pieces from Derek Jarman, Harmony Hammond, Tee Corinne, a handful of short pieces charting Harry Hay's activist evolution from the first Mattachine meeting to Gay Liberation Front to Radical Faeries. I've also assigned Audre Lorde -- one of the pieces, Uses of the Erotic, is one of my favorite pieces on the whole syllabus -- but I worry we won't get to Lorde, I may have to push that off to next week (for which I've assigned Combahee so the pairing makes a lot of sense). We'll see. So much depends on how talkative they're feeling and whatever mood I'm in by then -- something of an office hour marathon in prospect before lecture today, which may be exhausting since intermediate reviews for my MA thesis students are around the corner...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Also, Too

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Monday, September 23, 2019

Prep Prep Prep Prep

Freud tomorrow. The only way I can tolerate him is to turn him into an anti-anti-social Nietzsche. So that's what I do. Wednesday, I still have stray Sontag/La Bruce remarks left over from last week's lecture (my cold slowed me down somewhat), and then we turn to Harry Hay and Audre Lorde. Re-reading her "Uses of the Erotic" for the first time since I last taught it two years ago, I got such a charge of inspiration from it I honestly think I should probably just re-read it weekly to fend off Trumpmerican-epoch depression and disgust.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Greta Is Right

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you. You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” -- Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Silly Seasonings...

Still too early to lose myself in this nonsense, but I will say I'm pleased to observe Elizabeth Warren's steady and substantial climb, disappointed that Kamala Harris hasn't caught fire on the trail, and really rather nauseous about the inevitable prospect of inevitably ugly attacks inevitably coming for Warren from the two grumpy old men and their poseur posses to come.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, September 20, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, September 19, 2019


The last two days' teaching with a cold were a slog. I was tired and muzzy and my voice hardly held up. I told myself it was smoky and sultry and compelling like Patricia Neal but that fable would convince nobody. Here's to a few days' recuperation and prep for some compensatory wowing next week...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Teaching Day

Marx today for the millionth time. Still a bit muzzy in the aftermath of my bug, hoping the exactions of the crowded snuffling grumbling trains and buses of my commute into the City don't claw me back into dis-ease...

Monday, September 16, 2019

Prep Prep Prep

Marx tomorrow, Sontag and Bruce LaBruce on camp/anti-camp Wednesday. This cold has gotten in the way of my usual prep a bit, I'm still rather muddled and tired. I'm happy because I no longer have a sore throat -- that's the worst cold symptom in my book -- but I have replaced it with a rather impressive echoing cough that is sure to keep the students entertained. Fingers crossed my voice doesn't give out while I'm blathering on hour after hour tomorrow about Marx...

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Wouldn't You Know It --

Felled by an unexpected bug, looks like I'm under the covers this weekend. Felt a little scratch in my throat as we popped Galaxy Quest into the blu-ray, and by the end of the film my head was spinning and every muscle aching. I can transcribe my Marx notes for Tuesday sitting up in bed at my laptop as easily as anywhere else, I suppose.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Getting Through...

After news broke that Matthew McConaughey is teaching a class at the University of Texas this semester, the Onion responded with their usual shenanigans. "McConaughey was reportedly forced to apply for food stamps Thursday after his first month working as an adjunct professor... 'I’m teaching a full course load and won’t have as much time to make a few extra bucks selling my blood plasma.'" It's far from the funniest or most insightful of their japes, but I am encouraged that the jokes don't land unless people already have a pretty good sense of the absurd predicament of adjunct labor, which I take to be a sign that our critique really is finally starting to get through. Presumably, this means the problem will be addressed around when the grandchildren of my current students decide to devote their lives to teaching... (assuming anybody is still alive by then).spoof. The article talks about McConaughey being forced to scrounge food, rely on public assistance and sell his plasma – familiar stories to all of us.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Teaching Day

Teaching Wilde today. For the millionth time, and a personal hero. You'd think by now I wouldn't feel this agony of nerves! So annoying.


Three new national polls all have Trump’s job rating below 40%:
It's always mattered before, it mattered in the mid-terms, let's see if they can lie cheat and steal their way into making it not matter enough in 2020...

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Today's Random Wilde

All authority is quite degrading. It degrades those who exercise it, and degrades those over whom it is exercised.

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Teaching Day

Nietzsche today, refusing philosophical denial and re-enchanting the world via a billion billion local gods (or just "a touch of the poet"): "On Truth and the Lie" and Ecce Homo, book-ends highlighting the striking continuities in his thought. I've taught this material so many times by now -- will this time be one of the triumphs or one of the meh-lectures? I honestly never know till it's over each time, even if I teach it three times a year.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Gerry Anderson Helps Make Amor Mundi More Positive

Anything can happen in the next half-hour!


Spent much of this weekend transcribing Tuesday's big Nietzsche lecture and looking over a stack of Wildean observations for Wednesday's discussion...

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Just in case you're celebrating...

...happy Star Trek Day! (53 years old today, which means, yes, kids, flabbergasting to believe tho' it may be, he's older than Star Trek.)

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Friday, September 06, 2019

Ace Returns!

Seeing Ace again made me gasp with joy. She's my favorite companion, in most of my moods anyway, with Donna my second favorite, probably, Barbara third, if you really want to know, and Sarah Jane much more than a companion or she would be first, a choice surprising nobody I'm sure (not least because she rather reminds me of the real life hero who raised my husband Eric). Anyway, the Collection is finally giving us a season of Doctor Radagast, and I could not be happier!

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Daily

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks for Me Daily

Teaching Day

Off to the City. Today we're taking up Fontenelle on the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns, Kant's Sketch of a History With A Cosmopolitan Purpose, a chapter of W.E.B. DuBois' on double consciousness and even, if there is time, Oscar Wilde on our dispossession by our possessiveness. I never quite know how much of this material I'll manage to get through in a single lecture, my notes are ten pages long and it's hard to believe we'll get through them all... Lots of preliminaries before we really dig in next week.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Barbara Lee Speaks For Me Labor Daily

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Sunday Walk and Brunch

Quite hot today, high summer comes to Oakland in September. We cut our walk a bit short, stifled and panting like pups. Many of the flowers have brown paper edges now from the heat. Working up lecture notes for next week's classes: Fontenelle, Kant, DuBois in critical theory, Plato's Symposium and also a little Cocteau and Genet and Harlem Renaissance in the Queer Manifestations course. Always feels a bit overwhelming, this torrent of material...