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The Way of All Flesh


I’m excited that I’ve been given the opportunity to blab about Emerson’s “Experience of Mystical Birth” at this year’s English Graduate Student Association conference, The Way of All Flesh. I’m equally if not more excited to be participating with my friend Christina Katopodis. Check out the schedule here.

Oh, and hi… I haven’t posted in awhile. I promise to be better at updating “you.”

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I seem to have avoided blogging in 2014; I hope I can be forgiven, as I was finishing my M.A. and submitting application materials to “advanced graduate programs.” My new year’s resolution is to update this blog on a weekly basis. Better late than never, of course.

Generally speaking I’ve started documenting most everything that I do, thanks to my shiny new phone. Said phone possesses a feature that will track every step that one takes, record sleep patterns, calories consumed, etc. It’s a part of a larger pro-social media “turn” that I had some time this fall, after taking a course on pragmatism at the CUNY Graduate Center. I began to think about ways in which a conversation can be widened through social media, and how my conversation partners might be expanded through channels already available to be. More on this later, possibly. One thing I found (and still find) abhorrent about social media is the threat of addiction that plagues my generation. I’m of the mind that one needn’t become addicted, it’s not the tools, etc. All things in moderation.

Reading projects for the year include Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and the novels of Henry James. The latter is slow going, as anyone who has slogged through Watch and Ward can attest; the former needs no comment as to its arduousness. I’ll be teaching my “Self-Help” class again this semester and am currently thinking of adding The Prince and subtracting Please Understand Me. It’s all in a very preliminary stage at this point, but I am excited to correct mistakes that I’ve made in the past, including limiting my students’ research projects to the topic at hand. It’s much less harsh than it sounds.

Happy new year to anyone reading. I hope to be speaking to you soon.

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Rock the Cradle of Blood


I really did miss the boat when it came to The Hunger. I suppose it’s too late for a 31 year old to get excited over David Bowie playing a dying vampire, or Catherine Deneuve making out with Susan Sarandon writhing in a pool of blood. In reality, the film is a complete exercise in style over substance. I should have heeded the warning of the opening credits: Bauhaus singing in a dimly lit club while a caged monkey gets slashed to death. The 80’s music video clichés didn’t stop there; they just came a-tumbling, including the aforementioned love scene (“Cradle of Love,” anyone?).

But of course the Gothic is really an aesthete’s game if one reduces its definition to a “mixture of horror and romance,” which The Hunger most certainly is. It reminds me of the kind of thing that used to interest me as an undergraduate (my senior thesis that basically argued that “sex and death are the same thing! Ooohhhh!!!”). I just can’t bring myself to be engaged with something so horribly melodramatic and ultimately silly.

My mind tends to wander during films like this. I thought of the “discovery of blood” by William Harvey in the early 17th century. How then, could vampire lore have existed if everyone thought that the body was ruled by the humors? This memory was based on a careless misreading of something I had encountered earlier in the day. Turns out Harvey discovered blood’s circulation, not its very existence. I then worried that most of what I read is being misremembered. Sounds about right.

As the film finally ended, I noticed Bauhaus were credited as the “Disco Group.” That too sounds about right.

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PEELS tonight!

My band is playing tonight at Cameo. Come on out to hear the new jam, just in time for the beach.

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Obama Comes Out

As everyone knows by now, our president has come out in favor of same-sex marriage. It was a move that none of us saw coming — or at least didn’t think would come before his reelection. But alas, the historical moment has arrived. And not unlike the moment when same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, there’s been a mixed reception from some of the more radical corners of the queer blogosphere. I see many reminders of his warmongering ways. Many reminders of his inaction on this policy. Yes, it is true that we queers still remain in the shadows of second-class citizenship. And yes, Obama’s words demonstrate nothing more than mere rhetorical tricks aimed at raising campaign funds.

But do yourselves a favor and watch the actual video. From my perspective, we see a man — a heterosexual man — experiencing what it’s like to come out of the closet. Listen to the way in which he hesitates. Pay attention to the way that he sets himself up to drop the “bomb” he knows is coming. Then remember what it was like for you to come out. How your nerves were wracked before you told the ones you loved. You hesitated to tell them, didn’t you? For fear of ridicule? For fear of getting kicked out of the house? For fear of being told you were going to hell? For some of us, the experience of coming out didn’t turn out so well. For others of us, it wound up allowing us to breathe a huge sigh of relief. So that’s what strikes me as being extraordinary: Our president knows what it’s like to clear the air so that its conditions might become slightly more breathable.

Watch the video again, and remember…

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