Sometimes I have these really wonderful conferences. My professor suggests that I’m intelligent and my ideas are novel—or something like that, I hear what I want to hear. I leave their office, beaming. It’s a patriarchal system of rewards and I’m the smitten little chick.
I’m more confident after these sessions. In mirrors I look more attractive. The idea that I might be an innovative thinker, a scholar, or whatever, one of them one day, fills my heart with moronic pride. But the feeling fades—it has nowhere to go—and I look for a replacement satisfaction.
I have this new urban sensibility, this Drakean philosophy on life that resonates with me on a weird emotional plane. It’s sad but true (at least right now, I change my mind all the time).
It’d be reductive to say I’m misogynistic. More to the point, I think there’s this whole “war of the sexes” culture in cities that uses both gender sexism as an aggressive social currency. It’s a raw and intriguing vernacular that I slip into all the time.
Fucking bitches. Big horse dicks. I don’t know, it seems less a gender thing than the way people in their twenties relate to one another and establish power in relationships. Urban culture manipulates the language of hate and turns it into the language of passion and frustration (the latter the former without a release).
And plus, I feel like most women don’t actually think scholarly intelligence, or the cultivating of knowledge, is particularly attractive. Go ahead and dispute that but really: the guy with the biggest bookshelf isn’t the one taking home the girl at the Jane, and reading the whole catalogue of Roth doesn’t get anybody a Shiksa.
Last year I spent a lot of my time lost in books shaking my head at pop and party culture—but mostly it’s because I felt out of touch with both. I held onto my favorite dead writers with a firm grip, thinking, “Trust them, be like them. Write, write, write.” I sat in classes, thinking, “Study, study, study.”
Now I’m not so sure. I love literature. I believe in it. But I’m troubled that my academic life has been so disconnected from the world I actually spend my time in. It’s so absurd. I can’t carry over my scholarly successes in papers, conferences, and seminars to my experience with most people because most people aren’t interacting in that way. How to reconcile the difference? Which side do I embrace?
For the moment, I choose immersion into the world, however fucked up it is. I want to cleverly and ingeniously develop myself as a brand name that sells. Because maybe it makes more sense to embody the culture as is, really experience it, and then attack it from the inside out, rather than rejecting it, hiding in the pride of yesterday’s scholarship: a bitter old man that walks alone.
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