Here are a few passing thoughts that never quite achieved blog entry status:
I’m turning into a political junkie. I really can’t get enough now. The combination of the presidential primaries, early polls, and the immediacy and volume of news and commentary in the blogosphere is turning into a serious addiction. But, anyway, the turnout for the Democratic primary in Utah probably isn’t good news for Bush, as Utah voter Blake Sarlow pointed out (Yahoo link may not work):
Officials printed 5,000 extra ballots in Salt Lake City to accommodate the demand. “Three blocks from Temple Square and there’s a giant line of Democrats,” said Blake Sarlow, waiting to vote. “It’s the craziest thing.”
I watched Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen (IMDB) last night. I was rather impressed by the film’s clear-eyed treatment of teen partying and sexuality, but found the formal technique of gradually washing out the film’s colors until it was virtually monochromatic to be not only distracting but also heavy-handed. Quite honestly, at first I thought something was wrong with my television. Still, the screenplay, co-written by the film’s supporting actress, Nikki Reed, was rather sharp, and performances by Evan Rachel Wood and Holly Hunter were very good. Looks like Steve Shaviro and I disagree about the formal elements, although I’d agree with him that the quick camera movements added to the film. I’d also agree that the film seems too moralistic for my tastes. One other question about the film: Doesn’t it seem strange that the film sets us up to condemn teen sex and that the girls generally have sex with black men? Is the taboo against representing interracial sex in Hollywood being used here as a way to communicate the dangers of having sex as a teenager?
I’ve been reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed for a potential paper on teaching globalization via representations of work, and it’s an intriguing book. Her descriptions of working for Wal-Mart certainly remind me of my experiences working for Home Depot when I was a graduate student at Georgia State. I know the book has been criticized because Ehrenreich is essentially a “tourist,” and to a certain extent, I was, too. I knew that eventually I’d leave the Depot for a PhD program, which allowed me to protect myself emotionally from that life, but the book absolutely opens up some questions about the difficulties of getting by on near-minimum-wage pay. In a sense, I think the work that Ehrenreich discusses is actually beyond description, that low-wage service work cannot really be represented adequately. This goes beyond the simple distinction between an object and its referent to me; it’s something more visceral, physical, emotional, mental, psychological. Even with my distancing techniques, when I stepped into a Home Depot, I became a different person. When I heard an interview conducted at a Home Depot while watching TV at home, I immediately felt myself falling into a bad mood, just from hearing the atmospheric sounds on my TV.