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30 March 2011 @ 04:15 pm
Grumble grumble grumble grr grr grrr [academicish rant]  
Grumble grumble grumble grr grr grrr

Ok, so I forgot to take my Chinese herb zen pill today, and I don't know if it's that or lack of sleep or whatever but I am finding all kinds of things to grr at today.

First, I went ahead and upgraded to firefox 4.0 on the rec of gray_ghost and lost all of the extensions that I find actually useful on firefox (which, admittedly, is only two, because I don't actually use firefox much anymore) AND it turns out firefox is pretty much imitating chrome but doesn't look as pretty. NOT what I consider an upgrade. I will uninstall and reinstall the older version when I get done snarling.

That also means, though, that I don't get to use the lj update client I actually like to use to update. GRR.

Second (or third, take your pick) is that I actually did bite the head off of co-student today because her repressive silence in class did bug me.

We were reading this fairly complex theoretical book about Dangerous Women in Japanese studies, and it was my turn to lead discussion. What this basically means in a class of two is that I pose questions for discussion the night before, and both of us are * supposed * to come up with responses to them. Today however? She didn't have ANY kind of an answer to ANY of the questions I'd asked. NONE of them.

Now, considering that two of the questions were not at all about the difficult text, but were about a Japanese text where I identified two different passages to look at … the fact that she ALSO had absolutely NOTHING to say about that text meant basically that me and the professor spent the entire time talking to each other.

And yes, I tried to be silent so that she could talk, I specifically asked her if she had any responses to my questions at three separate points * after * I had paused and waited for her to respond after i initially asked them and then, when it was obvious she wasn't going to answer, answered my own questions -- just in case she felt like she was being pushed to talk too much. AND ALSO asked her twice if she had any responses * before * I responded so that she would have the chance to jump in in case she was feeling like I was dominating the discussion too much and….

In a conversation that should have been about psychoanalysis, the phallus, dangerous women, voices of burakumin writers her only significant contribution to the conversation was talking about two conference presentations she'd seen a couple of years ago about the reception of reggae and jazz in japan and the conflict around the appropriation of different kinds of culture and how it intersected with Japanese identity. WHICH, admittedly, was at least a sort of interesting comment except that she didn't tie it back into anything, and she didn't talk about a single other thing in the two hours that we met.

Then we get out of class and she turns to me and says that she didn't like the book and didn't think it was readable and in fact it was confusing in many parts

And when I suggested that I thought class was a forum for that kind of question and that it might have been a good thing if she'd brought that up she started getting defensive because while she thought it was confusing she didn't think she could point to a single place in the text that was confusing, because it was the WHOLE THING that confused her.

And I snapped at her.

Because I am really fucking tired of her perspective that she can critidize things for being inaccurate, or incomplete, or confusing, or whatever her claim is but then when asked to present examples she says "I don't know, there were ones, but I don't have them" either she didn't mark them down or, as in this case, it's the * entire book * that doesn't work.

And frankly, if your'e in grad school, in a fucking phd program, and you can't actually figure out what you're having trouble with and just want to entirely dismiss works because that's easier than figuring out what your own problems with them are? I'm not sure you should be here.

I know it sounds harsh, but what the fuck? It only gets harder from here on out. And if you can't be bothered to mark fucking passages in your reading so you can cite them again, how the hell can you write a paper? If you're not willing to speak up in class and say "I didn't get this" when the class is two people and pretty much custom created to specifically help you take care of any issues you have in understanding, how the hell are you going to do it in a class of 15 or 20 and how the hell are you going to learn anything but what you already know??

And unfortunately, because I'm grouchy, WHY THE HELL ARE YOU TAKING UP SPACE AND WASTING MY TIME? Because quite frankly, I don't want to be in classes with you if I can't learn from you somehow. I also don't want to talk to you about my own struggles if you have no interest in confronting your own – why should I share my insights with you? I'd rather just meet with the professor for a couple of hours a week just the two of us, at a café close to our neighborhood, and pick her brain than have to share her with you.

/ rant. So yeah, didn't say all that out loud. And I had been more charitable about this stuff in earlier weeks, but I snapped today.

also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
 
 
 
reremouse: Bitch pleasereremouse on March 31st, 2011 05:23 am (UTC)
And frankly, if your'e in grad school, in a fucking phd program, and you can't actually figure out what you're having trouble with and just want to entirely dismiss works because that's easier than figuring out what your own problems with them are? I'm not sure you should be here.

This.

Why is she there?
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on April 1st, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
you know, that's a damn good question. I think deep down it's because she's an anime geek. which would be fine if part of the geekery included theorization about the stuff. but it doesn't seem to yet.
literate and stylish: smart is sexy! Indy!mishloran on March 31st, 2011 09:44 am (UTC)
Frankly, it makes me really angry and sad as well because how can she learn anything if she is not contributing? ANd if you don't get it, SAY you don't get it, and that can be part of the discussion. Also, incidentally, just 'cause you don't understand something doesn't mean you can't talk about it or around it, or about issues/theories/etcetera springing from it.

Also, re: hating something and therefore NOT wanting to talk about it? This is SUPERWEIRD to me because if I don't like something, I'm SERIOUSLY COMPELLED to RANT and RAVE and TALK about it! I really can't stand Cicero, in my field (he was an orator and politician around the time of the fall of the Roman Republic and a lot of his stuff survives - YAWNORAMA CICERO) and because I really can't abide him, I find there's loads of stuff to talk about!!!!

Maybe another way to tackle this is to say to her "look you might not like what I'm studying, but how would you like it if you prepared a seminar/discussion group of 2 hours and expected me to contribute/discuss/etc and then didn't bother at all? How would you feel about the effort and hard work you put in? If you don't want to contribute to my efforts, you might as well not turn up for my seminars/discussions etc."

Your tutor has also definitely noticed her lack of interest. Maybe also it would be helpful to vent some (not all perhaps!) of your frustrations to her on a one-to-one basis (that is, without classmate there, not on a one-to-one basis with classmate silent in the background ;))

It just... well, her behaviour stinks of a lack of respect, to me. And it makes me sad and angry for you, mon cherie.

Mostly. **HUGS**

Also discussing about phalluses (phalli? Surely I should know the answer to that... Best shut up about it then!), psychoanalysis and dangerous women sound like PERFECT discussion topics to me! Grrr!
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on April 1st, 2011 01:03 am (UTC)
ANd if you don't get it, SAY you don't get it, and that can be part of the discussion. Also, incidentally, just 'cause you don't understand something doesn't mean you can't talk about it or around it, or about issues/theories/etcetera springing from it.

THIS. SO THIS.

also, I completely agree with you - one of my favorite things is to take stuff I hated and talk about it because it's so fun to have a conversation of burning seething words!!

and I am very very tempted to try to tackle her in much the same way you suggest, but at the same time hesitant because i am not a prof but another student.... and yeah, the prof has noticed, but this is the same advisor that didn't get tenure so she's got a lot on her mind right now and isn't exactly in the place to confront co-student. OTOH, I have vented with advisor and I think part of the reason why classes have been going better the last couple of weeks is because advisor and i have basically done some ignoring when co-student was being lame and having conversations that were just us too.

and phalluses (ok, you should know, because i don't, about plural) and psychanalysis and dangerous women are ALWYAS fun right?? you might be entertained by the book, check it out: Dangerous Women, Deadly Words by Nina Cornyetz

most of all, thanks for the support lady *squishes you tight*
literate and stylish: smart is sexy! Indy!mishloran on April 1st, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
Okay so I just read 5 pages of the introduction to that book (and then realised, most of the book is on there!!!) and I have at least four things to say.

Also if you ever come across any literature that draws parallels between Japanese and Classical mythology, super interested. I know literally nothing about Japanese mythology (is Godzilla Japanese? See - I am vastly ignorant in this area!) but the fact that Japanese literature corpus 'bad woman/female' has a lot in common with 'bad females' from Classical mythology (I get this from the first page! "descriptions of the archetypes of Western mythic and literary past, such as the Medusa [...] could probably have been borrowed verbatim as descriptions of the women I have encountered in Kyoka's narratives"!)

Interesting stuff!!! And then it goes on to talk about the phallus as lack... HOW is your classmate not interested in this?!

*bookmarks for further perusal!*