Wednesday, January 18, 2006

At Long Last

We're saved.

My scholarship refund came in yesterday. That, combined with 50 bucks the Daily Nebraskan owed me, amounted to a $1,300 windfall. Not a bad day's non-work for somebody previously carrying his only $10 around with him in his 10-year-old wallet.

I'm not kidding about the wallet. I got it in December 1995 from mother and father. It had a No Fear logo on it. You can't read that anymore.

In any case, I'm relieved. As I told people about it, I felt like I ought to be overjoyed; when you suddenly go from literally scraping by on water and store brand mac-and-cheese to a certain level of comfort, you're supposed to go on an out-of-your-gourd spending spree, or so my socialization tells me. But really, it's just a huge relief. Not to trump up some phony excuse to stay home, when really you just can't afford to spend a buck and a half on coffee. Not to devote all your conscious energy to getting by, spilling over into rule of your creative half, so that all your blog posts are about poverty (this is the last one, I promise ;) ).

I still haven't bought a desk; my office supplies are still in shoeboxes. But I have gotten coffee twice in three days. I didn't need to, but

All the same, the hunk of my brain commanding misguided nostalgia will miss the romantic parts of absolute destitution. I've been reading a lot about environmental sociology and global sustainability this week, fun stuff like that, and feeling good about the little things I've been doing. Then, today, money in hand, was the first time since I moved in that I forgot to turn off the heater when I left my apartment. Yet again, comfort breeds indiffrence.

Oh, and Chris, if you're reading, I wanted to know about this Derrida fellow you keep tossing about, so I rented a documentary about him, and watched half of it. It isn't especially good, but I'll finish.


Chris Jones said...

Derrida is the father (so to speak) of contemporary poststructural literary theory, which sounds arcane but isn't. In short, he argues that, based on structural linguistics, the notion that words have necessary links to external objects is an unfounded assumption. More to the point, he argued that meaning in communication is a function of power.

Or, in brief: the people who have power enforce the range of meanings that words can have. This is how they control the discourse. Derrida pioneered a reading strategy that would demonstrate that this is the case--that texts never add up to their accepted meanings because language, in its infinitude, cannot be controlled like that.

Of course the documentary is mediocre. It's a movie about a literary critic.

A.G. Moseman said...

Indeed. The documentarians are trying to be a little too artsy-fartsy, shooting the thing in a "decontrustionist" way, if you will (the narrator going on rambles about his purpose and place as a disembodied voice, them showing Derrida TV clips of him talking that they showed earlier in the movie and then asking him to comment on them, etc.)

It's boring.