following an interesting back-and-forth i'm having with a schoolmate regarding my naomi klein post, i've decided to clarify my position regarding klein, in the words of a theorist that i DO greatly admire, and who i see as engaging in the same issues as klein, but in the nuanced way that i see as absent in klein's work. i know i spend a lot of time slagging stuff i DON'T like - at least, that seems to be the general impression of me by people i think don't know me very well, or who choose to focus ONLY on the surface negativity without seeing the desire for something better that underlies it. i hate because i love, i really do.
the theorist in question is gayatri chakravorty spivak. she writes in a lot of disciplines but is most known for her work in post-colonial theory. i heard her speak at a conference i attended a few years ago. the line up for the conference was INSANE, and i doubt i'll ever see such an awe-inspiring, stacked lineup again (baudrillard, susan sontag, spivak and paglia <-- yuck). in Toronto, no less, at YORK UNIVERSITY, which shows again that i'm an idiot and really should have finished my m.a. at york. york has really come to the forefront and positioned itself as a theoretically dynamic institution (with a particular emphasis on marxist and modern critical theory), a fact that doesn't get recognized enough by smug, conservative, dare i say theoretically BORING institutions like u of t. u of t is in the dark ages as far as that is concerned. here are the quotes: "We all know that when we engage profoundly with one person, the responses come from both sides: this is responsibility and accountability... The object of ethical action is not an object of benevolence, for here responses flow from both sides."
"OK, sorry, we are just very good white people, therefore we do not speak for the blacks."
the second one in particular is a neat summation of klein's public position as i see it. it's all about the west acting on a mis-directed sublimated guilt, continuing the hegemonic structure by subsuming that guilt under the guise of a benevelonce that still figures the other as an object. to be acted on by the "good white people". my words: "look at how liberal i am! i run a good plantation where the slaves can get married, and are properly clothed! congratulate me!" spivak's work was fundamental to the shaping of my critical consciousness...and she's just a general bad-ass woman that i admire greatly. susan sontag (rip) spoke before her, and spivak just ripped her to shreds (admittedly, sontag's speech was pretty asinine).
i finished reading calvin trillin's "feeding a yen: savoring local specialties from kansas city to cuzco". i LOVE calvin trillin's writing. he makes food so accessible and appealing and chummy. this particular volume details items on his "register of frustration and deprivation" which is a list of regional specialties only available in the place of their origin. i LOVE regional cooking more than anything...and some of the stuff he talks about sounds so good...i wish i had the luxury of packing up and travelling the world searching for the arcane and delicious.
last night for dinner i was very very bad and had an extreme pms-instigated craving for meat that had to be sated. so we ordered dangerous dan's delivery. that place is so intense. they have a burger called the coronary, which is 2 8 oz patties, 4 slices of bacon, 2 slices of cheddar and a fried egg on top. and they won't let you get a diet pop with it. i didn't order that. i had their bronto ribs sandwich, which is the meat from their long-braised then beef ribs, slathered in a sweet-ish bbq sauce, top with sauteed onions, mushrooms and tomato. with a small poutine. their poutine is sooooo decadent...my arteries will need a while to recover. i followed that up with my apple brown butter streusel crostada...which was a delightfully yummy dessert...the streusel was very nice. i also had an idea for french toast...to dip the egg-sheathed french toast in streusel mix on one side, and then fry it...i think it would add a crunchy layer for textural interest. coincidentally, sunday brunch this morning will be french toast with bacon and maple syrup...but i think i'll hold off on the extra streusel layer today (one must show some restraint sometimes). for dinner we're going to have that tempura meal listed yesterday.