Originally from themisanthropope.tumblr
I took up blogging for several reasons. I love writing and I had gotten out of the habit, so feeling obliged to regularly post articles seemed a good way in which to keep my hand in. Secondly, it’s cathartic and therapeutic. For someone who does stand up comedy, I’m constantly aware and afraid of my own inarticulation – afraid that the clear ideas swimming around in my head will get garbled and distorted by the time they reach my lips. I’m consumed by an overpowering sense of fear and apprehension every time I speak in a public space, even if it’s just asking a question or making a point in one of my seminars. Writing my thoughts down gives me time to breath, to think, to reanalyse and to nuance what I’m trying to say. Thirdly, I would like to think that my standpoint is relatively interesting; I’m a former catholic, who was home-schooled and socially isolated for most of his youth, who stumbled into Cambridge University and has remained their for five years, as undergraduate, sabbatical officer and graduate student. These years have been a constant process of coming to terms; coming to terms with my childhood, lonely and unpleasant as it was; coming to terms with my political awareness, anxiety and alienation, sometimes all three at the same time; coming to terms with my understanding and experience of people, those I cared for and those I haven’t; coming to terms with Cambridge, a University of such incredible contradictions that the mind boggles even as it tries to list, let alone categorise, them. Writing, writing about myself, about my life, about the things I have witnessed, the things I have abhored and the things I loved, helps this process of coming to terms – it helps me organise my mind, my life, to the extent that I can put chapter headings and subsections into what is otherwise a confusing whirligig of existential confusion.
I’m contemplating where to go next – I’ve tried to tackle some fairly big issues (welfare provisions at Cambridge, the marketisation of education, the rights of student parents) though to say I’ve done them justice is so preposterously arrogant that if you ever hear me attempt to claim it, I suggest you slap me with extreme prejudice. I’ve assembled a list of topic for future blog posts, which I’d appreciate readers thoughts on. A small part of me reminds me that I have got a sodding clue who actually reads this, so it’s highly likely I won’t get a single bit of feedback; at least I’ll have gotten something written today, and helps to fit all the things buzzing around my head into a kind or recognisable order.
So here’s the vague outline for future posts:
Men’s Rights vs. Feminism – the Men’s Right movement is an operation in contradiction. Whilst trying to pass itself as a legitimate voice for “male liberation” (whatever that might be) it basically exists to derail feminist discussions and objectives because, let’s face it. There’s all man hating feminazis. “Feminazi” of course being the term used by someone who’s moral compass is SO fucked up that they equate fighting discrimination with annexing to Sudetenland. On the one hand, we could just ignore Men’s Rights, but I’d like to argue that there are real issues which affect men in patriarchal society. Transmen and gay men are subjected to violence and discrimination. Fathers often find themselves with only a fortnight to spend with their new children. And who speaks up for survivors of male rape? I’m going to argue that there is a group doing this – and it isn’t Men’s Rights. It’s Feminism. Just sayin’
The CUSU question – this one comes up every fucking year in Cambridge. It’s not so much a question as a series of accusations. CUSU never does anything, CUSU is run by Communists, CUSU faked the moon landings and shot President Kennedy and probably Princess Diana and blah blah blah. I want to take some of these arguments to task, from the perspective of someone who worked for CUSU, and argue that CUSU is doing the best it can do in the circumstances, though it isn’t without need for reform.
Gendering Stand-Up – the claim that “women aren’t funny” is not just the preserve of internet misogynist trolls. It’s an attitude which you find among even intelligent people, some of them comedians. Why do we think this? I’d like to have a bash at tracking the gender relations of the stand up scene, mostly with reference to Cambridge, but with some comments of the scene nationally.
So, any of those sound worthwhile?
Of, and as a bonus for reading that self indulgent ramble, here’s a link to a PDF of Raymond Williams’ fantastic short essay “My Cambridge.” It’s essentially impossible to find these days, and quite a few people have asked me to upload a PDF, so here it is: http://www.scribd.com/doc/203670739/My-Cambridge-by-Raymond-Williams