Today is commencement for me and a whole host of other learners. My family and close friends will be there. Dr. Charlotte Hogg will hood me, and I publicly join the ranks of the once male-only elite of the Academy. (Proudly, I graduate from the first Male and Female College opened west of the Mississippi River not long after the bloodiest -- and racist -- war of the United States, late, in 1873). She's the one who introduced me to the rhetorics of women writers, to feminist methodologies, to Nancy Mairs and Jacqueline Jones Royster and Cheryl Glenn and Aspasia and a whole host of others typically silenced, though not silent, because they live in bodies that have been sexed female. She's the one who suggested I might follow through with my own critique of the world of men who have followed Aristotle, I speaking as a man, as a feminist, by a dissertation. As a self-proclaimed "(sometimes) reluctant academic," she agreed to chair my dissertation committee. Coincidentally(?), she's the one who introduced me to blogging, which has introduced me to some of you, my favorite bloggers. She is the professor who's started me on this journey, learning with, from, despite, because of. Commencement always has this personal irony for me. It comes at the end as the beginning begins. This is my last post here at this blog this year (2008). The past posts and the current comments section remain open. Emailing is another way, if you wish, to keep conversations going or to close them, if you must. I will continue reading your blogs, as you inspire, incite, and encourage me in many ways.
I leave you now with the words of one of the best Greek translators and poets the world will ever hear. As if, prose.
Men in the Off Hours
by Anne Carson:
ESSAY ON MY LIFE
AS CATHERINE DENEUVE
Beginnings are hard. Sappho put it simply. Speaking of a young girl Sappho said, You burn me. Deneuve usually begins with herself and a girl together in a hotel room. This is mental. Meanwhile the body persists. Sweater buttoned almost to the neck, she sits at the head of the seminar table expounding aspects of Athenian monetary reform. It was Salon who introduced into Athens a coinage which had a forced currency. Citizens had to accept issues called drachmas, didrachmas, obols, etc. although these did not contain silver of that value. Token coinages. Money that lies about itself. Seminar students are writing everything down carefully, one is asleep, Denueve continues to talk about money and surfaces. Little blues, little whites, little hotel taffetas. This is mental. Bell rings to mark the end of class. He has a foreskin but for fear of wearing it out he uses another man's when he copulates, is what Solon's enemies like to say of him, Deneuve concludes. Fiscal metaphor. She buttons her top button and the seminar is over.
If you asked her Deneuve would say Take these days away and pour them out on the ground in another country.