Saturday, March 14, 2009

Good Morning, Starshine

Hello, hello.

I'm extremely bored. Well, really I shouldn't admit that... as I'm supposed to be studying right now. However, I couldn't find the motivation to study at home, and I find I'm lacking the discipline to study at coffee shops, and I am trying to be productive and get this paper done two days before it's due and not pull my usual stunt of staying up the night before to throw something together. Despite the fact that that technique is usually very effective and results in generally good grades, I've decided my sleep is a commodity to be horded and I should not be giving it up for stupid response papers. So, here I sit in a Beaner's --excuse me, Biggby's-- taking advantage of the free WiFi and realizing that even with headphones and good music to block out the other coffee-addicted patrons (Elbow, again!) I still cannot concentrate. It's just too much fun to watch people, to hear what they're saying, etc. Hm... I will have to find a way to make Chilean Socialism more appealing that people-watching....

I actually do like this little shop. Despite the chance that it's a franchise, and has a very cookie-cutter feel, it has a certain charm. It's in probably the ONLY historic building in Holt, Michigan. It used to house the favorite ice cream shop around here (Sweet Mike's) and was converted into a Bean---Biggby's in the past few years. So, with the lure of a little bit of charm, decent coffee, and free WiFi, here I sit.

I have decided of late that I need to take advantage of what my campus has to offer. We are a tiny little campus -at least compared to other state schools, as I understand it. We are just under 8,000 in our student body. It is neither the Hillsdale atmosphere (1,200 when I was there), or LCC (which is supposedly around 30,000 students between there different campuses?). Anyways, so back to what the campus has to offer. Yes, the city has a bad rap, but it really is a neat place. You just need to know where to go and what to do. What I am loving right now are the free events they offer on the campus and through student organizations. This past month, I have been able to attend the debut showing of a great documentary (A Powerful Noise), gone to the Vagina Monologues, and listened to Tariq Ali lecture on the Middle East and Latin America. I have enjoyed all three of these events and the beauty of it is that they are all FREE. Since I work on campus, I am already there four or five days a week so it's not like I am spending more on gas to come back on campus for special events.

Mr. Ali's lecture has probably been the most exciting so far -in my humble opinion. I already gave you all an introduction to him, but really I was very impressed by what he had to say. All the hype on campus portrayed him to be a radical, which I'm sure he is. However, when I think of a radical, political activists there are several images that come to mind:

1) chaining one's self to a government building
2) waving bras in the air for women's lib
3) riots developing from protests

As you can tell, my mind has a bias toward the violent, outrageous acts of political activism. I was pleasantly surprised to find Mr. Ali articulate, and passionate, but at the same time soft-spoken. He is what I have always dreamed of. And please don't take that the wrong way before I can explain what I mean. He is radical and progressive in his thinking, but he is also a confirmed intellectual. Perhaps it is to do with this bias that I have to engrained in my head, but I always thought that to be 'radical' you had to be odd, loud, somewhat irrational, and project a certain image. Probably one of the reasons I have never identified myself with my possible 'radical' side is the fact that I am very much a boring-looking, generally soft-spoken (though some would argue otherwise, but note that I said 'generally'), and possess a slightly antiquated vocabulary.

Hm. I think I'm just rambling at this point, but really I was quite pleased with his lectures. He pointed out the problems in recent US foreign policy without being disrespectful. This is something I have rarely seen. I was so shocked. Usually when you get someone who has questions about the United States' actions, they seem to just spontaneously combust before your very eyes. It was nice to listen to someone like Mr. Ali who could present his reasoning without raising his voice or letting loose a blast of spittle across his audience.
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Currently enjoying:
Music: Elbow, Steeleye Spn
Books: "Art as politics : re-crafting identities, tourism, and power in Tana Toraja, Indonesia" by Kathleen Adams
Food: Coffee (that counts, right?)
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