May 2, 2005
end-of-the-semester stress is at level RED (isn't that the highest one on the ever so useful u.s. terror alert system?)
i can't decide if i have ADD or if i am distracting myself because i am so scared to fully deal with the scope of this project. i sit down to write and then distract myself by inserting footnotes where all the citations are. and then i resort to the thesaurus a lot to pick the right word. but part of that is tied in with the increasing difficulty i am having of verbalizing my thoughts. it only occurred to me a month ago that the reason i am not articulate, especially not on the spot, is because i (and everyone else on the planet) do not think in language. it is uber-frustrating to deal with this. and it takes me sooo long (i feel like) to be able to articulate what it is i'm thinking (usually at least a day). and i hate it. and there's no way to solve it. rah!
on the other hand, i've been spending the past few days working on my transitions and refining my arguments and analyses. i think it's coming along. i don't know if it's coming along fast enough right now though. between this thing due in nine days, and three other projects due the day after that, i might be giving myself a heart attack here. i guess we'll find out in ten days. until then, i'll be the one running to the library and metaphorically stabbing my eyes out.
April 13, 2005
red pen happy
so it's been awhile. i still have yet to officially finish my rough draft, but really, all that means if that i have some stuff left to cover. i've actually gone through and edited everything that i have so far (if i 1.5 space it, it's 21 pages....). the first day of editing was rough, i really think the first half of my paper is ridiculous and i definitely lost some hope while going through it. but the second half was actually surprisingly decent. it made me feel a little better.
now i just have to pin down a thesis statement. right.
i figured out how to include my own thoughts though. i think i'm just going to mess with the font/font color and keep all of them inserted right along with whom/what they correlate to rather than having a completely separate section.
at class today, when we were workshopping the rough draft with our small groups, sarah and carrie and amy were giving me some really good ideas to start thinking about for my own voice: can there be violence without oppression? what is the difference between oppression, coercion, and violence? the closest on these topics that i've come to reading is a ridiculous discussion on the differences between force and violence (of which i garnered that violence is just force with an intent to harm. that's rather vague). sarah also suggested that i start making up my own words for all the types of violence since the only thing they really seem to have in common is causing a loss/destruction. how ridiculous is it that we only have one word which we use to identify a variety of situations that have almost nothing in common? ???? i wish i felt confident enough in my word making abilities. there are some areas i definitely feel like i'm not at all oriented towards being creative in. word-making is one of them.
i think at the end of my paper, i'm going to have to have a long-winded monologue about what i wish i'd found in my research, but haven't. either because i didn't find it, or it doesn't exist. theory-making 101 here i come.
i am also still really distracted by my acute obsession with the death of the pope. part of me wants to write an entire paper on it. and that obsession has definitely turned into a fascination/obsession with death. not with wanting to experience it right now, but just with what it actually is. maybe that can be what i start writing about after i finish this paper.
April 3, 2005
oh god - & i hate that this stuff gets capitalized automatically
so i'm still rough drafting. and it's ridiculously long. i was not overstating how long i thought this would be when i said between 20 and 30 pages. it's 23 so far, and i'm not done yet. i still have all of arendt to cover, and then all of my own thoughts. and i even took one author out because i thought it got too repetitive.
i feel bad for sarah and carrie who have to read this thing multiple times. because i don't think their projects are going to be anywhere near as long as mine. or maybe they will, who knows. everyone else in class sounded freaked out when they started to envision how long their project is going to be. but i dunno, i kinda feel like this is what i really wanted to do, and it is a senior project, so it should be long. or longer. maybe i will win a prize for being the most verbose.
March 29, 2005
is a little bit painful. i think i am giving myself a.d.d. though while writing this. i am still sensing a fear of jumping off this cliff. even though, realistically, i jumped off this cliff a long time ago. well, not this cliff, but another cliff. but i think just by writing that i've stepped off this one too.
as i was writing, i was realizing the immense lack of words available to describe violence. why is there only one word for all this stuff? because clearly, psychological violence differs from violence in activism and resistance. and i hate to keep using the word 'violence' over and over and over and over again, but there really are no other ways to describe it. unless i'm just not thinking of any? i feel like i'm verging on that point where the word starts to lose meaning because i've said/heard it so much.
i also find it useful to note this lack of language because arendt argues that violence can never fully be described in words, and i didn't realize it, but i'm experiencing it (not directly in the way that she's referring to, but in an abstract sort of way).
ok, back to the drafting.
March 26, 2005
rough draft #1
so i started writing up the rough draft today. for as easy as the outline was, i feel like i am now pulling teeth. my own teeth. it's weird because i've felt the build-up of information (or the bingeing as lisa so artfully referred to it) and felt like i was ready to write, but now that i'm writing, it's rather difficult. i think part of it is because i haven't really been doing work with it for a few days, so it's just not where my head is. but i don't know, maybe part of it is also anxiety about walking off the edge of the cliff that is the writing process. cause i definitely know that once i start this, i can't not see it through to the end. there's a definite anxiety about the fact that the next six or seven weeks are going to be filled with TONS of writing (vs. the first seven weeks in which i wrote only 2 papers). writing anxiety = no good.
but part of me knows that once i get going, and get the chance to actually sit down and edit, with a nasty, nasty red pen, that i will feel mucho better. if only because editing always makes me feel like i actually do have the ability to write, just not on the first draft.
i still don't know what to do about the conversation thing though. i think i need to clarify what i mean by conversation though. what i have in mind is the tone that i've had in eariler entries here, when i'm thinking about the connections between the texts and whatnot. on a larger scale, it's me trying to deal with how to insert my own voice into the project, rather than just repeating in a shorter space what everyone i've read has said.
on a lighter note, it has been absolutely gorgeous outside as of late, and i have been able to spend lots of time outside distracting myself with how wonderful it is to feel a breeze on the back of my neck that doesn't send shivers down my spine.
okay, back to the writing (3 pages down...which i presume when i edit will be widdled down to 1.5 or 2).
March 20, 2005
ok, so i really can't decide how to organize my project. i've got everything grouped, i just can't decide on the order.
a week ago, it went like this:
*intro/what is violence?
*feminist activism and violence (british and american suffragettes and rote zora!)
*revolution and violence (bakunin, fanon, sartre, goldman)
*feminist theory and violence (bar on, marshall, lorde, mooney)
*contemporary feminist theory, violence, and activism (marcus, scalettar, bar on, beckman)
*political theory, violence, and activism (benjamin, arendt, bar on)
*conclusion/we should consider violent resistance/activism
i did it that way because i thought it would be easier to discuss violence and activism if i had concrete examples to work off of.
but now i am rethinking because i feel like i should put feminism in the middle since that is the area i'm focusing on. and the place i want to put this so it can start a conversation. but i'm not sure. so this is the potential new organization:
*intro/what is violence?
*feminist theory, violence and activism
*contemporary feminist theories, violence, and activism
*political theory, violence, and activism
although, now that i think about it, i could put the sibley (non-violence) in with the political theory.
i am also stressing out about whether this might be too conventional and would i rather just make it a conversation-type written project where i start with an interesting quote/theory, and then use the others to reply/question/challenge it. i think the only thing keeping me from doing it is that it seems like an immensely tedious project to extract individual quotations rather than just grouping them by author. and i feel like this would make my project smaller cause some stuff might not fit - like some good quotations and whatnot wouldn't relate to anything. but the concept seems nifty, i will admit. for now i will continue with the project outline, and sleep on it. maybe talk to someone about it.
March 14, 2005
i'm so excited. i almost peed my pants a few hours ago when i was at the library. or no, it was more like i almost lost control of my muscles so that i would've just collapsed on the floor. in relief.
so while researching the weather underground (well, the handful of books that they have at the library), i flipped through the indexes to see if there was anything on feminism, and i ended up looking at an endnote that mentioned the "rote zora". amazing. after some googling, i discovered they are/were a german underground group of feminists who firebomb and bomb cars and government buildings. they started as an auxiliary to the revolutionary cells (also known as RZ) in germany. and i found some interviews and a communique from 1994. they started in 74, so you know, that's awesome. i'm excited. there aren't any books at the library on them though, which means i'm gonna have lots of websites.
but i am relieved because now i can just look at the rote zora and the suffragettes and be done with it. ahhhhhh. so excited. and they were cool because it's not all about just feminism, they do anti-imperialist/anti-capitalist stuff too. only one of them was ever put on trial though. i was dancing covertly while waiting for the bus when i came home because i was so excited. and a little chilled. but more excited.
in other news, i am debating on this organization that i have up. right now it's organized by theme and then author. but there are so many intersections that i don't know if that's going to work. and i'm afraid of having to spend a ridiculous amount of time organizing it by thought. because, i feel like if i did that, it would take me eight hundred years. but it might make a more interesting project. grrr. help.
March 13, 2005
maps are useful
so i spent my second full day of spring break at the library. oh yes. and i began organizing my project on notecards - which only proves that i think very well visually when it's sitting in front of me. not when i have to take those stupid SAT test portions where you look at the layout of flat cube and then have to guess how the sides will all fit together. no good. but i digress, the notecards are currently sticky-tacked up to one of my closet doors. empty closet doors come in handy sometimes. and i spent a good half hour or so organizing and reorganizing. i think i have a pretty good format. not that i don't doubt it'll be modified as the weeks go by, but i think it's a reall strong starting point. but before i start going into that, i need to read three more selections, and research a bit on the weather underground.
so here's what i know so far about the weather underground: they were around in the 60's and 70's for a little while, and blew up some government buildings and smashed some police cars, etc. but never killed/hurt a person (they were all about bombing in the middle of the night). there was a tragic accident though where three of the bomb-makers were killed because some stuff got mixed together that wasn't supposed to. or the fuse got lit. at any rate, their members were clearly wanted by the fbi, but managed to evade capture for like ten or fifteen years. there are still some members in jail, or just recently out of jail? one of the other things they did was take a paying job ($25,000!) to break an LSD distributor out of prison. and so they did. i read somewhere they had some all-women cells, but that was only in one place, and i haven't found any other confirmation of that. but if i can, that would be cool.
my fbi / patriot act file just got a little fatter (i'm presuming there was one to begin with....thanks to the multiple times i've been ushered into the "super security check" at airports though that hasn't happened in awhile. watch, it'll start again).
so in doing this whole mapping thing with the notecards, i finally understand the theoretical approaches statement and how i should've organized it in the first place. ta da! so that's what i'm (not) working on now while i write this. okay, next entry, i will lay out the organization. because sneak peeks are dandy.
March 11, 2005
so in my entry yesterday, i was looking at my mathematical proof that violence is a manifestation of power, and as such is productive since power is produtive.
but i ran into a glitch in my simplistic formula.
arendt contends: "power and violence are opposites; (where one rules absolutely, the other is absent. violence appears when power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance)."
hmm...i have to think about this some more. and most likely reread that passage to get a better grasp on it. but later on, she contends that violence is stronger than (political) power. and she also writes that violence can be ethicopolitically justified (read: justified in political usages; she's not talking in terms of domestic/family violence, rape, etc.) and therefore she supports violence used in activism, so long as it falls within certain parameters. this would imply that although she sets up this binary (well, it's more of a continuum i guess?) she's not actually saying one is good while the other is bad. i need to reread and think some more.
and also, i was thinking about our good friend walter benjamin (fyi, he was german, so it's pronounced "ben-ya-meen" - i wish i could contend that my last name had a special pronunciation different from what it looks like) and how he says that the state regulates violence and retains a "monopoly" on it. and feminists, particularly "second-wave" feminists have asserted that violence is the realm of men. and if we agree that violence should not be relegated as belonging to a certain group of people, wouldn't it then make sense that feminists might want to consider the use of violence in resistance?
March 10, 2005
oooh the assimilation
so first, i have to say, i just received an email from HRC asking me if i'd like to sign up for my very own HRC Visa. if there were ever a more glaring example of assimilation, i would like to know. actually, i'm sure there are, but this one is waving it's hands up and down proudly declaring the class politics that are often associated with mainstream glbt politics. the "we're just like you" slogans, etc. but it was a super good laugh. and an oh my god.
second, so i found a speech of emma goldman's that i can use, since she wasn't much of an activist in terms of protest. more so in terms of public speaking and writing. which is good.
third, i had an, as a-k likes to call it, "epistomelogical jolt" in queering theory tonight. i don't know why i haven't had it before though. because, well, it's not like i haven't had all this information. and i'm thinking in terms of a math equation right now, so forgive the lack of cohesiveness in my sentences:
if we know that power, while it may repress, always produces something as well (oh foucault, what would we do without you), and that violence is a manifestation of power, then it makes sense to say that violence is in fact productive.
now i wonder if i need this in my paper. but, it provides a really concise refutation of theories which say that nothing comes out of violence. though perhaps they are arguing that nothing positive comes out of violence - which i still do not buy. because, on top of the valued judgments that 'positive' and 'negative' are, if nothing else, violence calls attention to a problem (even though it may be represented ridiculously poorly in some form of media).
and so it is with this that i embark on spring break 05 and my two papers and annotated project outline that are due. not to mention the reading, etc. but that's getting pushed to the way back burners for now.