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Adventures in Christieland

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So, it’s Saturday, the end of a long, hard week.  Last night I was so exhausted I kept falling asleep on the love seat long before I was supposed to go to bed, and then I went to bed an hour early. 

Now I’ve got a ton of student papers to correct, and–I’m not going to correct them. 

I’m going to spend the entire day on that love seat, watching David Suchet play Poirot on DVD, eating leftovers–anybody who wants anything cooked today had better know how to cook it himself–and maybe even reading One, Two, Buckle My Shoe. 

I don’t know about that last one.  It depends on how drifty I get.

Okay, I might also work on this book for this new series I’m been working on, because that kind of thing is not really work.

But what is work is the kind of thing that results from the following.

First, I spend a good five minutes outlining the paper I’m assigning to the class, giving the due date, explaining the requirements, setting up protocols, giving pages in the book to look to for examples.  Then I tell them to go home and have a nice week-end.

And this kid at the back–there’s always some kid at the back–raises his hands and asks, “Is there any homework?”

Welcome to my Friday, running on four hours sleep and with a ton of things to do that I couldn’t get out from under.

Today, at least, there’s nothing much.  I have Meyer Schapiro’s book in Medieval painting, picked up for a quarter at one of those used-book sales to benefit the library.  The physical book is in first class shape and a recent printing, but the book itself was written a long time ago and the original printing had only black and white photographs.  So, of course, my printing does too.

Meyer Schapiro is one of those people–the most famous scholar of Medieval art in America in the Thirties, an academic at Columbia at the time when it was most fervently a hotbed of intellectuals joining the Communist Party–and not a Communist.

There are interesting things to be learned from books that aren’t necessarily part of the same message.  That was one of the things I picked up from the Chambers book.

The other was that both Dante’s Inferno and Marx’s Capital end with the same sentence:  And so we emerged again to see the stars.

Chambers seemed to think this was significant, given the two books involved and his tendency to see modern history as the story of the battle of Communism to usurp Christianity.

I haven’t checked to see if the lines are in fact the same.

But all of that seems too serious for the moment.

Last night, I was so tired I couldn’t play spider solitaire because I couldn’t remember things like cards go on other cards in descending order.

Today, I feel pretty good, I don’t have to go anywhere–although a trip down the road for one of those McD’s caramel frappes would be nice, and I’ll think about it–and I can spend my time wishing that we were all allowed to use the kinds of titles for mystery books people managed in the Twenties.

Death Butters a Biscuit.

The Case of the Warbling Wickermaker.

I’m going to go drink tea now.

Written by janeh

September 25th, 2010 at 7:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'Adventures in Christieland'

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  1. LOL on the book titles.

    Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, those of us in class who actually listened to the assignment (or the lecture) would punish the back-of-the-class dude by laughing at him, or jeering or mocking of some sort when he piped up. We certainly didn’t want to listen to the same thing again, no more than the teacher wanted to say it all again.

    Do kids still do that, or do they all just sit there as if they were wondering the same thing and were too far forward to ask anonymously?

    If I were you, I’d start making everyone who wants to ask a procedural question stand up. Quash that anonymity. Then, when you want to encourage participation, temporarily suspend the stand-up rule.


    25 Sep 10 at 1:24 pm

  2. Got myself a bit of a bargain today – 15 Christie stories for $50.


    26 Sep 10 at 12:13 am

  3. I’ll bet your assignment was due some time out, and your student thinks of “homework” as “work due by next class.” From his point of view, it was a reasonable question. Sad thing is, I’ve had responses just as bad or worse in both business and government–paid educated professionals who just didn’t listen or read.

    Book endings–both mine are in storage, but given one was written in Tuscan Italian poetry and one in German prose, the best you’ll get in English is approximations–and it won’t say a thing about Dante, since Marx & Engels would have already known the Dante ending. A deliberate imitation of Dante would be an argument in favor of Communism being seen by its founders as an alternative to Christianity, but there’s a pretty strong case for that already.

    As for book titles–well, hop into a time machine and see what this literary era is known as in 70 or 80 years. The iron age of mystery? The bronze age of SF? I doubt it will be anything flattering, unless in relation to romantic comedy.


    26 Sep 10 at 6:43 am

  4. We mounted up, he first and I the second,
    Till I beheld through a round aperture
    Some of the beauteous things that Heaven doth bear;

    Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.


    However, from this standpoint, physicians and officials, e.g., would also constitute two classes, for they belong to two distinct social groups, the members of each of these groups receiving their revenue from one and the same source. The same would also be true of the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank into which the division of social labour splits labourers as well as capitalists and landlords-the latter, e.g., into owners of vineyards, farm owners, owners of forests, mine owners and owners of fisheries.

    [Here the manuscript breaks off.]

    Capital, Vol.3, Chapter 52


    The additional variable money-capital is, true enough, first invested in additional labour-power, but this buys means of subsistence from the hoarding owners of the additional articles of consumption entering into the consumption of the labourers. From these owners, pro rata to their hoard formation, the money does not return to its point of departure. They hoard it.



    However, we are not concerned here with the conditions of the colonies. The only thing that interests us is the secret discovered in the new world by the Political Economy of the old world, and proclaimed on the housetops: that the capitalist mode of production and accumulation, and therefore capitalist private
    property, have for their fundamental condition the annihilation of self-earned private property; in other words, the expropriation of the laborer.
    Capital Vol. I — Chapter Thirty-three


    26 Sep 10 at 9:02 am

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