Wednesday, November 15, 2006

San Francisco and New York!!

Stupidity begins to sink downward from the brain to the fingers. It is almost 1am, and I am still up, still working on my conference paper, which does need to be worked on. I decided at 11pm to do some serious structural revisions... But I also have a "midterm" presentation in my Globalization and Cosmopolitanism class tomorrow on an Mbembe article, and I have not figured how exactly I want to "extend" his argument as our prof wanted us to do. I sit here tinkering with my paper, listening to the Hausa film Zazzabi in the background as I work.

Here's my fabulous schedule for the next two weeks. I will fly to San Francisco early Thursday morning for the African Studies Association Conference, and I will stay in my own room in a very cheap hotel that I found when I couldn't find a roommate. Whereas rooms at the conference hotel were $170 per night (!), I found a room fairly close by for $48 per night. I am very, very proud of myself, although all my friends tell me I'm probably in some crack house... It looks great on the web (probably doctored photos of a grand old hotel from the 1920s), although I will have to go down the hall to shower, and the elevator is broken (thus it is 30% off). Some Europeans left good reviews. My family stayed in a hotel in France once where we had to go down the hall for the bathrooms and it was fine. It will be an adventure. {-; I've long been obsessed with staying in hotels, and having a room to myself will be a real luxury.

I get back late Sunday night, will go to my two classes on Monday, and Tuesday morning I will jaunt off to New York for Thanksgiving with my dearest friend R. Reading about New York on Modal Minority has made me long to be back. I can't wait.

Then, of course, somehow I've got to write a seminar paper and a class paper on the planes and the trains. But it will all get done. It always does.

And in the meantime, I'm covering a whole continent in the space of three days. I recently read something about how plane traffic and our jetsetting lifestyle is a major contributor to global warming, and it made me feel guilty. But what does one do?


Anonymous said...

Do what the Greenies want: walk. Or stop being a hypocrite and don't go.

By the way (to throw some more guilt your way), by flying in the way you are, you'll officially be helping dump more pollutants into the atmosphere in a few days than over a million and a half Africans will in years. Live with that, you polluter, you!

No wonder eco-liberals are in constant mental turmoil leading to schizophrenia or at least cognitive dissonance: the way they live, their ideology and the practical requirements of everyday life are at complete odds. It's enough to drive people to vote Democratic!

Obviously, I don't agree with all that, but I love seeing people like you squirm when their ideology clashes with life, as it always does and as it always will.

Talatu-Carmen said...

Aaahh! Fred go away.

But, no, what you say is true. My ideology does conflict with my life. I imagine yours does too. We are all faced with these contradictory realities.

And, as flippant as I was in my post about flying, it does deeply bother me. I often think that my lifestyle would not be possible if it were not for the poverty of the rest of the world. America does consume far more of the world's resources than almost any other country.

But, I'm not going to be so hypocritical as to say that I'm going to immediately stop flying or using electricity. I DO walk most of the time and utilize public transportation or a bicycle rather than a car. I like to pretend that is because I am environmentally virtuous and that is part of the reason. But it's mostly because I'm a poor graduate student who can't afford car payments, insurance, petrol, and parking, and I also can't drive. How much of a difference does my not having a car make when I fly as much as I do? Probably not a lot. My frequent flying, in fact, probably pollutes more than my driving a car 365 days a year would make.

I would like to see our public transportation infrastructure strengthened--a better rail system, for example. A good rail system like Europes would likely cut out at least some of the flying. And that would be a great place to experiment with battery/solar energy. But, then I'm not, in any way, an engineer so what do I know.

But, I'm going to stop now because I haven't finished my work for today and I have to leave for campus in an hour.

I suppose I am stuck with you as a frequent visitor to my blog now? (sigh)... l-:

Texter said...

Yes, I too have those terrible qualms - how to live a life that conforms to my beliefs. It's kind of interesting too to think about studying something that requires so much foreign travel... and how that contributes to the very things we condemn...

Have you heard about the taxes on airline travel proposed by Chirac in france - he proposed that a tax be placed on purchases of airline tickets, the profit of which would go toward AIDS treatment/prevention = see NYTimes article.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Tall, my ideology--if that's the term you want to use; I'll prefer philosophy since I have, can, and will change if I'm proven wrong--is very much in line with the way I live my life. No contradictions here, nosiree!

Well, if you'd like me to go away, I surely will. I'm not too far gone in my insanity to be ungentlemanly; I still have that, yes ma'man, I still have that.

Anonymous said...

Tall said: I often think that my lifestyle would not be possible if it were not for the poverty of the rest of the world.

By the way, what does that mean, exactly?

Talatu-Carmen said...

Fred, no don't go away. I was semi-joking. A little oppositional commenting is good for the mind--very Socratic--and also for the funny bone. I have a theory that you actually secretly love "liberals" and that is why you enjoy spending so much blog-time in our company. {-; As for what I meant by that statement about my lifestyle being dependent on others' poverty, too tired to get into it right now. It has something to do with the vast consumption of resources in the U.S. and also the works of Thomas Pogge.

Talatu-Carmen said...


Hmmm... interesting tax. It's probably just and fair in many ways, but if he imposed it, I'd probably be complaining like everyone else about how expensive tickets are.

I'd say more on this but I should be in bed because I've got to leave for the airport at 5:30, and haven't finished my handout yet. arghh...

You aren't going to be at ASA by any chance are you?

Anonymous said...

As a back-slidden Christian, I think I'm under some kind of psychic obligation to like everybody.

However, I have a codicil wherein I am also required to kill Islamic fascists, anyone who shoot at me, and Liberals who spout nonsensities that result in loss of life.

Texter said...

Have fun...will look forward to hearing about it.

Talatu-Carmen said...

Note: The comments of commenters do not necessarily reflect the opinions, thoughts, or approval of the owner of this blog. Because I do not believe in censorship, I posted the above comment. I'm fairly certain that Fred is merely practising his abrasive shock-style sense of humour that he strews across the blogsphere. However, it's fairly close to crossing the line into "hate speech," which I reserve the right to ban from my site. I don't think it's funny to joke about shooting people.

In response to Fred: As a "non-backslidden" Christian, I am not under the delusion that we must "like" everyone. But I do believe that we must treat everyone, even those whom we detest, with respect that is due to any human--made as we are in the image of God. We can't always control our likes and dislikes, but we can control our words and our actions.

Pompous as it may be, I must make this clear.

Anonymous said...

Tall, you're such a biscuit. Really, a disclaimer in the comments of your blog?!?!

I don't know how you thought I was joking about shooting people.

Anyone, including Thou High and Mighty, will kill under the proper circumstances, however much you think otherwise. Think I'm kidding? Let's see: say you walked in on someone raping your mom, say, terrible I know. If you had the means, would you kill the perpetrator of the rape or just wait until they're finished, watch them off your mom then walk away? All to the higher glory of God, aye?

Hate Speech? Sheesh... you're definitely a biscuit.

Talatu-Carmen said...

I am so glad to be in NY right now that I don't feel like bothering myself to getting into an argument with you. Yes, I would probably kill someone raping my mother, should such a situation ever arise. But that seems like a rather remote possibility. I don't spend my days obsessed with the question. You have to admit that the phrasing of your comments are often inflammatory.

But like I said, go argue with yourself for a while. I'm on vacation and shan't get drawn into it.


Anonymous said...

Tall: Hm. From everything you've said, you have no argument with me. We agree! So now, let's sing kumbaya...

Have a good (and safe) trip!