Thursday, June 25, 2009


Those who know me well know that I'm a competitive runner. Those people also know that I've been a competitive runner since I was in the sixth grade. No exaggeration. And those who know me the best--namely my wife, family, and close friends--know that I'm currently training for the upcoming Philadelphia marathon in November. And if any of those people know anything at all about me, they know that I take this running stuff seriously--to the max, you might say.

And so it was with a deeply heavy heart that I sat down on the floor of my living room yesterday afternoon to apply ice to what appears to be a sensitive Iliotibial Band and some kind of strained muscle in my groin. If there's anything I hate in this world, it is getting injured. And the only way that I console myself is by remind myself that even the world's best athletes get injured. No, I am not comparing myself to that man. I am merely suggesting that my current athletic state bears a resemblance to his--that it simulates his, we might say. And that makes me feel better. I suppose the ice helps a little, too.

Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yes, the living room floor. Well, like all of you, I'm sure, this week has been a tough one once I learned that my dear friends John and Kate are, apparently, separating. I mean, that whole Iran situation has been pretty dreadful, too, but, seriously, we're talking reality TV here. Priorities need to be set, dontcha' think? (And for the record, I find all the venom that's been splattered all over Kate--even in some of the user comments below that YouTube clip--to be profoundly disturbing, and sexist. But again, we'll probably be getting into some of that gender stuff later on.)

In any case, there I was, depressed, and it was in the midst of that depression, as I rubbed that ice ever so gently on my knee, that I decided to view this prescient episode from my newly purchased 11th Season of The Simpsons. I had seen the episode before, but not since John and Kate stormed their way into my heart, and the only word that I can use to describe the resemblance is: uncanny. Completely and utterly uncanny. This is one of those moments when reading Baudrillard, in a way, becomes itself a mere simulation, because the "reality" of what he says has already been displaced (if we can even put it that way) onto the models--The Simpsons and John and Kate (whose own status as real people should come with heavy qualifications)--rather than remaining in the world of the text that he writes for us, suggesting that his theories are themselves mere models/simulations. That sentence doesn't even make a whole lot of sense, which is sort of the point of all of this, because none of this makes a whole lot of sense. It's unnerving to see--literally, to watch--the reality of a crumbling marriage on a television screen mirror the plot of a ten-year-old cartoon that itself was satirizing/televising the reality, well documented on TV, of other "real" people having lots of kids. It all borders on indescribable. To add another layer, my entire condo is outfitted with Ikea furniture, which bears an eerie resemblance to the Shøp furniture store in the Simpsons episode. And so by the end of yesterday's round of icing, I saw myself as a kind of wounded athletic Homer Simpson, longing for a fine dish of Gravalax.

This morning my head appears to be a bit clearer (but I suppose the readers of this blog are the ones best equipped to make that determination), and my sore muscles seem to be healing up--slowly, of course. However, my younger brother, who works for this enormous media outlet just informed me that he would check the footage from Tuesday night's Red Sox-Nationals game to see if he could see me in the crowd (on tape). I had good seats to the game, about two rows back right around first base. In fact, I was so close to the action that I probably could have played right field better than J.D. Drew, but I'll leave that one alone for now. In any case, on Tuesday night, the excellent Mike Lowell played for the Sox. But if I'm not mistaken, he sat out last night (6/24), I think, to get some rest (I'm only speculating here, so forgive me if I'm wrong). And so there you have it: Mike Lowell's muscles ache just like mine. Can I tell him that I feel his pain?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Performance Anxiety

So today marks my official initial foray into the world of blogging--the blogosphere, as I've been told it's called. As a result, I'm a bit nervous--anxious--to cite Freud. That is my real name over there in the margin, and those are my real credentials. Also, the title description of this blog is absolutely true: I'm no more the captain of this ship than anyone else in this crew. More accurately, I'm kind of a Greenhorn here, and I suppose that this is my diary. For those of you who will be touring the raging seas of Critical Theory with us, which is, as we know, one of the world's most dangerous journeys, I'll do my best to make sure that this vessel doesn't sink. I can't guarantee that, though, which is why this should be so much fun!

So for now, this blog will be sitting idle, because the upcoming fall semester doesn't begin for another two months here at GW. In the meantime, I'll be collecting my thoughts, improving the overall look of the blog, setting up a subscription feed, and just generally figuring out what I'm doing. Though this invitation might be coming a bit early in the game, I do invite any and every one of you out there to post (respectful) comments to my students' writing. I'm speculating here, but I'm sure that for many of them, this blog exercise might also represent their first trip into the blogosphere, so I wouldn't be surprised if they will be sharing some of my performance anxiety. All of which is why it's appropriate that this blog draws its name from a song by shoegaze legends My Bloody Valentine. As has been well documented by now, those shoegaze bands were derided for being poor performers who were allegedly too anxious to look their audiences in the eye. Thus, they simply gazed at their shoes, ridden with performance anxiety (and here's Freud again; we'll cover some of that gender stuff later, I'm sure). That reading is debatable, particularly given that many of those bands, especially MBV, absolutely pummeled their audiences with noise, as the following video clip demonstrates. Thus, I'll leave you with that: a justification and a promise--a promise that we'll be back, ready to rip up the blogosphere.