If you came here looking for an explanation, here it is, as written in a desperate state by my lovely wife, the trooper. I apologize to everyone that reads this before I can tell them in person, I'm doing my best.
It's hard times now, but we'll make it. You can be happy for us, really.December 30, 2002 | Comments (1)
As this was my first Christmas outside of the confines of formal schooling, I found it quite shocking and offensive that I had to work until the day before Christmas and then return to work immediately the day after. What kind of life is this? Have I been reduced to a mere animal, lacking dignity and toiling away under the oppression of the tireless capitalist machine? It seems so.
Either that or I was spoiled by the extravagant amounts of vacation given to students and ill-prepared for the shock of the cruel, "real" world. Hold your nose 'cause here goes the cold water.
It just doesn't seem like Christmas without at least a week's buffer on each side.December 27, 2002 | Comments (2)
A very merry Christmas to everyone that this message reaches, especially those that I will not be able to share a glass of 'nog with in person (and believe me, if any of you were here, I would gladly raise a toast with you). I have compiled a short list of what the season has been accompanied by for me. Feel free to join in:
The Morning News published a piece last Friday in which several of their writers attempted to answer the age-old question, "Does Santa Claus exist?" Paul Ford's answer was too delicious to merely link to or excerpt, so I have provided it in its entirety:
"When we consider the Santa mythos we are presented with several manifestations of pure capitalist wish-fulfillment. First, that production could be performed with the assistance of docile, diminutive workers -- slaves in hats with bells -- the elves, a desexed ethnic underclass reduced to lives of assembly-line development of toys which they themselves are not likely to enjoy. In the tropes of the Santa Mythos these elves remain gleeful in their bondage -- surely a classic fantasy of production which can be traced to the imperialism, colonialism, and slave-holding of those cultures which support the Santa cult as part of their state and corporate-sponsored ideological frameworks."Nothing says Christmas like a little Marxian humor. December 24, 2002
"Thus we have a fantasy of production, and on the other side of what we might call the Santa equation we have a fantasy of consumption: of unlimited goods delivered via the chimneys which, while once essential for domestic comfort, are now referent symbols of wealth and comfort limited to the privileged and seen as a perquisite ('3 bedrooms -- and a fireplace!') rather than necessary mechanisms for survival in cold conditions. Santa exploits without remorse so that we may consume without concern, and he delivers his consumable goods through the leisure-mechanism of the fireplace. Space does not permit us to examine the exploitation of the reindeer."
"This utopian conceptualization is in stark contrast to the actual conditions of world culture, where the worker is resentful of his or her exploitation, where the boss does not give away his wares for free, and where trade is based on money instead of cookies. We can say with certainty, just as we might say with certainty that a certain someone has been very stressed out preparing his graduate school applications, that not only does Santa not exist, but the values of the Santa myth do not truly exist in our culture, that is they do not arise out of collective myth-making apparatus, as, for instance, the narratives relating to a religious, social, or labor movement might arise, but are -- from the original Clement C. Moore poem which defined the Santa Mythos -- created by media companies and advertisers for the specific consumption of a passive, non-critical audience which is not free to examine or change the image of Santa, but must instead seek to reproduce the nature of a fantastical, never-to-be-reached ideal Christmas -- and this at the expense of other, equally valid cultural traditions."
Just in time for the holidays, I have returned. The last two months or so have been packed with about as much change as any single person could handle, but I would never be kept away from The Republic by mere chaos. The reason for my absence is the only one close to excusable: due to some serious webhost issues, it was technically impossible for me to post. Even though this problem was out of my hands, I do apologize. Just as the weblog was starting to get on its feet, it was immediately knocked back down like the Great White Hype that it was.
Here's a brief summary of what you missed. We moved into a new place, bought a car and the dashing fellow pictured below joined the family.
More details and news to follow, I'm sure. It feels good to be back.December 23, 2002 | Comments (2)