Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Yesterday I was on an intellectual high, aided and abetted by a very strong, very large cup of Gimme! coffee (really the consistently best coffee I've ever tasted). I decided it was time to stop dodging Derrida. I haven't made a sustained attempt to read him since I was at Montana ("White Mythology," Spurs, and assorted bits and excerpts from Margins of Philosophy). But reading Spivak's wonderful preface to Of Grammatology has helped me realize how much he is in the deep background of everything else I've been thinking since I started grad school; I ignore him at my peril. Right now I'm struck by the resemblance between Adorno's negative dialectics and Derrida's differance; I suspect that many large volumes on this subject have been written and will continue to be written. Naturally I started trying to fit him into my notion of pastoral—is the Virgilian locus amoenus a site of bricolage from which the dream of "engineering" is deferred? I fear I must sound impossibly naive. But still I'm looking forward to reading the whole book. I also devoted part of yesterday to reading Ronald Johnson and forming some ideas for how he fits into my dissertation; in some ways he represents the telos of modernist pastoral as I'm defining it.

But that was yesterday: today I'm a slug. I was up late commenting on student poems and after I got home from teaching found myself unable to do more than read the article about Lyle Lovett in the new New Yorker and futz around gathering the materials for a certain notorious remixing of rapper X with pop group Y. I usually feel guilty about this sort of thing, but damnit, in this case copyright law is standing in the way of art. Now I'm going to bliss out listening while thumbing through Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory, which somehow seems appropriate enough.

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