If you missed it over the weekend . . . .

I posted a new excerpt from A Star Shall Fall (beginning of the whole is here).

And while I’m tidying up my browser, I might as well make this a linkdump post and add in two other things:

Cat Valente on the power of the suit — which I note mostly because, as I was saying to a friend recently, I have essentially no fashion registers between “jeans and t-shirt” and “formal wear.” I’ve sort of acquired a degree of business casual, left over from the year when I was teaching my own (non-archaeology-related*) classes, which you can see in action at ICFA and other warm-weather cons, but most of the time I default to a higher degree of slobbiness. But I really enjoy dressing up, i.e. actual fancy wear. It’s just the middle registers I don’t have much use for.

The Pleasures of Imagination — what struck me in this was a bit near the end, where the author said,

I have argued that our emotions are partially insensitive to the contrast between real versus imaginary, but it is not as if we don’t care—real events are typically more moving than their fictional counterparts. This is in part because real events can affect us in the real world, and in part because we tend to ruminate about the implications of real-world acts. When the movie is finished or the show is canceled, the characters are over and done with. It would be odd to worry about how Hamlet’s friends are coping with his death because these friends don’t exist; to think about them would involve creating a novel fiction.

And I immediately thought, “hello, fanfiction.” Because the aftermath of trauma is one of several fertile areas out of which derivative works can sprout.

This has been your not-at-all-regularly-scheduled schizophrenic link post.

*My theory was that when you’re assistant-teaching intro to archaeology, you’ll actually get more cred by showing up in jeans and a flannel shirt than a skirt and heels.

0 Responses to “If you missed it over the weekend . . . .”

  1. la_marquise_de_

    I can’t remember ever teaching in smart dress — jeans or long cotton skirts were more like it. I am hopeless at smart — I look like an alien. The best I can manage is formal bohemian.

    • Marie Brennan

      Depending on what you’re teaching, that works just fine. Me, I could manage casual non-jeans slacks, and a short- or long-sleeved blouse. That was about as far as it went. And you can get away with that nowadays, to (I think) a much higher degree than you could twenty or thirty years ago.

  2. lianemerciel

    The idea of suits being special just makes me go “lol wut.” I spent enough years going to court every day that suits are, at this point, totally uninteresting to me. I know it’s not really all THAT bizarre/funny that someone else sees them differently, but it’s such a drastic perspective shift that it’s kinda giving me vertigo.

    (I’d have said this over on Cat’s LJ, but something about its layout makes my creaky old work computer choke and die, so instead you’re the beneficiary of today’s random drive-by comment. Yay!)

    • Marie Brennan

      Oh, it’s all contextual, without a doubt. I just spent a week in London, specifically in the Square Mile, where the two categories of clothing on display are “suit” and “tourist.” I don’t doubt that the suits don’t mean a lot to the guys wearing them, just as Cat’s husband hated wearing his uniform. But I do think the number of people who see them your way is on the decline — has been for a while — and the number of people who see them as Cat and I do, as semi-special, is on the rise.

  3. Anonymous

    I tried the suit thing the first time I was TAing, to try and mask the fact that I was closer to my students’ ages than to any of my colleagues on staff. Unfortunately, it was such a small department that I’d just keep running into students in the library when I was wearing cargo pants or something like that…

    • Marie Brennan

      I was eternally grateful that (so far as I’m aware) none of my students ever saw me running around the union in costume for a game. 🙂

  4. mrissa

    I recently came across an article where a professor in something very traditionally hierarchical was going on about how you had to dress in a suit to teach classes, because if you did not convey to your students that you had authority, why would they listen to you?

    And I thought, if you have to rely on the formality of your clothes to convey to physics students that you know something they want to learn, you have already lost and may as well go home.

    My father has also noted, as an industrial chemist, that he can get people to stop listening to him by wearing more expensive shoes: they will decide that he is not able to pay sufficient attention to the range of variation in their actual conditions by wanting to keep his shoes nice, and therefore he must not know what they really need. So there are some circumstances in which he has to change into work boots in a work setting to underscore that he will, in fact, go into any circumstances necessary to examine whatever needs looking into in order to get the details right. But this is the same level of attention to detail that puts him in a very nice suit for executive meetings, actually.

    • Marie Brennan

      if you have to rely on the formality of your clothes to convey to physics students that you know something they want to learn, you have already lost and may as well go home.

      True — but there’s also validity in using your clothing as part of your performance, along with body language and the actual know-how and everything else that says “you should listen to me.” (Which I don’t think you would disagree with, but I wanted to get it out there, because “you shouldn’t rely on this” and “you shouldn’t bother doing this” are not the same thing.)

      It’s the same deal as with your father’s shoes, really: you should dress for the occasion, whatever form that dress takes. That’s why I wore jeans to teach archaeology, and nicer slacks to teach fairy tales.

      • mrissa

        I think we humans are really good at learning the wrong lessons from things. “Dress for the occasion” becomes “wear a suit at all times” or “dress formally at all times.” “Don’t try to live on Big Macs” becomes “you must prepare every morsel by hand yourself.” “Dates make better lessons when they come with some context” somehow gets translated into “don’t teach dates and facts in history because it’s meaningless to memorize anything.” Monkeys, monkeys.

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