solaciolum: King of Night Vision, King of Insight (Default)
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solaciolum: King of Night Vision, King of Insight (Default)
Thursday, January 21st, 2010 11:34 am
jaskdf;jlk hnnrgghgh my Arab Politics and Society class is taught by a poli-sci grad student- Indiana U, class of '07, which makes him my age- and that's kind of seriously weird for me, especially because he is every stereotype of a successful MUN student ever. This means he's a fantastic public speaker, though, so I'm going to tentatively file that in the "pro" column.

The main reason for the keyboard smashing, though, is the paper assignment for the class- take any work of Arabic literature in translation, and analyze it through a political and sociological lens. *faps* It was a happy keyboard smash. Once again, I'm going to have a lot of overlap in my classes- Gender and Sexuality is going to be covering a lot of the later material in this class. I am extraordinarily pleased with my classes so far. Just one big ^____^ face all the time, seriously.

And now I have to run to Persian, where it will be readily apparent that I did no studying over the break. *sigh* Oops.
solaciolum: Kefka didn't orchestrate the fall of Doma- Sabin's erection did. (Sabin)
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009 03:00 am
"The struggle to fit the rhyme scheme returns in the next couplet, where “By God, you'll become better than the sun of heaven” becomes “you'll burn so with God even sunshine feels cold.” The latter is a weak superlative, as plenty of things are hotter than sunshine: a freshly poured cup of tea, for instance. This half-hearted image is a stark contrast to the violent and sexual imagery in first line of the couplet (“When love's hottest rays penetrate heart and soul”), particularly in light of the literal translation (“If the light of love of truth [were] to fall into your heart and soul”). In the literal, light falls, illuminates, and uplifts; in Pourafzal and Montgomery's translation, it burns, penetrates, and provides sunblock."

I'm being good. I'm only just tangentially mentioning "Riders, Where Are Thee?" Because if I devote more than a sentence to it, I will devolve into rage filled capslock shouting, and that's really not appropriate for a final paper. (SECOND PERSON. SINGULAR. PRONOUN. SUBJECT VERB. AGREEMENT. RAAAARGH SMASHY RAGE.)

I don't want to go to work tomorrow. six hours. ...shit.
solaciolum: The Hand of God disapproves of these shennanigans. (DEATH)
Monday, November 16th, 2009 10:34 pm
Riders, Where Are Thee?

I see no trust among people; friends, where are thee?
When did companionship end? Lovers, where are thee?

That's actually as far as I got before the urge to throw the book across the room became so great that I had to put it down and go make myself a sandwich to ease my rage. And by sandwich, I mean a pile of chicken slathered in mustard, because we're out of bread. But I can see from skimming the rest of the poem that "where are thee?" is used as a refrain at the end of every couplet, regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural.


I know I've committed some grammatical atrocities in my day- and I still use semi-colons more than any person has a right to. (Sentences that end with prepositions, like split infinitives, are completely acceptable, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to be an ass.) But I've somehow become one of those people who gets pedantic and fundamentalist about grammar- in short, I have become my first year English seminar professor, who assigned us readings from Strunk and White every week and made us buy a copy of the Heath Handbook. I think this may be a pleasing thing. I'm not sure yet.
solaciolum: Kefka didn't orchestrate the fall of Doma- Sabin's erection did. (Sabin)
Thursday, November 12th, 2009 02:52 pm
(Quick, source the title quote! Okay, that's not entirely fair, because I can't actually remember which book it came from, and of the two possibilities, I'm pretty sure I no longer own either. I want to say The Number of the Beast, but it could have been The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Both of which are due for a reread, actually; I haven't picked up any Heinlein in years.)

I...uh, I talk a lot, okay? Translation is apparently a touchy subject with me- who knew? )
solaciolum: Luffy gets it better than most. (strange waters)
Monday, November 2nd, 2009 01:23 am
Holy crap, I'd forgotten how certain songs off of BNL's first album raise the hair on the back of my neck- "The Flag" and "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" in particular.

I need to start putting together a NaNoWriMo soundtrack. I also need to study for a quiz and write two papers and a short story and ahahaha oh god I'm going to die.

meanderings on Sufism and paper topics )
solaciolum: (starry eyed girl)
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 12:09 pm
Hrrm. Long time no post.

The problem I'm having with the current material in my lit class is a purely personal one, but knowing this doesn't make any of it easier to read. I think I am more suited to the Buddhist idea of non-attachment than the Sufi idea of ego destroying devotion; these are my own issues, of course, but it's not difficult to imagine that someone would find the idea of unconditional, slavish love a little discomfitting. And, as I am still working through my atheism, the idea of unconditional, slavish love of God is even more discomfitting for me.

"Discomfitting" is putting it mildly, by the way. It would be more accurate to say that it fills me with skin crawling revulsion; parts of The Conference of the Birds had me in tears, and I don't know how to explain that to my professor. "I'm having difficulties with this material because it hits most of my anxiety and insecurity buttons and upsets me on a visceral level." If the whole thing were written in abstractions, it might be easier; instead, it's explained through parables (because how else can you express the inexpressable?) and reading anecdote after anecdote about slavish devotion and self abbrogation in the name of love makes me anxious and upset. I find that sort of outlook to be fundamentally poisonous, and seeing it portrayed as the ultimate path to connecting with the divine throws me for a loop.

Also, The Conference of the Birds has an inadequate translation; Dick Davis put the whole thing in heroic couplets, but his register isn't consistent and the whole thing sounds hideously hokey in places. *sigh*
solaciolum: King of Night Vision, King of Insight (Default)
Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 03:40 pm
Dear Self:

Please loosen your slash goggles and stop contemplating tragic, unrequited Nawfal/Majnun fanfiction. The man is allowed to help Majnun out of the goodness of his heart, without there being any ulterior motive. THIS IS NOT THE TRAGIC TALE OF THE LONELY BEST FRIEND'S INAPPROPRIATE HOMOSOCIAL BONDING WITH THE MAIN CHARACTER. STOP THAT. (Besides, he disappears halfway through the story anyway.) (Nawfal is the Bones to Majnun's Kirk! *lols forever*)

"Nothing was good or precious enough. Majnun had to be at his side all the time and Nawfal became so used to his company that he refused to be parted even for an hour. the few days which Nawfal had mentioned turned into as many months. Their happiness lasted a long time--but now thunderstorms were gathering on the horizon."

*wibble* The problem here is that, of course, I have no sympathy for Majnun's wailing over Layla. But Nawfal, who goes to war just to make his friend happy? Nawfal, who picked Majnun up and put him back on his feet, who showered him with gifts to make him smile, who cured his madness for a few months? Oh yeah.

I hate tragic love stories. Always have, always will, especially ones that are caused by bullheaded stupidity.
solaciolum: King of Night Vision, King of Insight (galileo)
Saturday, September 26th, 2009 11:54 pm
"Philosophy, it may be argued, comes from the realm of rationality, whereas mystical experience is rooted in the personal, the subjective, and the inexpressible. The dominant historical view confirms this dichotomy and tells us that in the East and the West the philosopher and the mystic have always been and continue to be diametrically opposed." (Keshavarz, Reading Mystical Lyric)

Why didn't I major in Asian Studies and religion the first time around? Because, man, something about that statement seriously rubs me the wrong way. I mean, in the East, you've got Zen Buddhism, and I don't know how else you can describe Zen except as a mystical philosophy- but it's been a very, very long time since I studied Zen, so it's entirely possible that I am way off the mark here. (It's possibly just that Keshavarz is using a very specific definition of 'mystical experience' in this book, which would exclude the idea of Buddhist enlightenment.) And over in the West I'm sure I could find some Christian mystics who were also engaged in the production of philosophy.

I think I'm missing too much necessary background information to read this book properly- by which I mean I have wikipedia entries for phenomenology, epistemology and hermeneutics open right now, and I still have to read every paragraph twice to glean some kind of meaning from it.

I still can't tell if I missed this or not. I mean, hey, learning shit! That's awesome! But homework still gives me panic attacks, and libraries intimidate me. orz
solaciolum: (starry eyed girl)
Thursday, September 24th, 2009 02:13 pm
Why, hello there, crippling academic doubts, it's been such a long time!

I know I am capable of analysis, I just tend to be bad at it.

Meanderings on the Shahnahmeh, which is to say, MASSIVE BRAINVOMIT, totally unedited for sense or context )
solaciolum: King of Night Vision, King of Insight (galileo)
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 11:22 pm
Today in class the prof got to talking about the ways in which the Iranian/Persian warrior code resembled the Japanese concept of bushido- honor and loyalty were very strictly defined things, with heavy consequences for the betrayal of either. And there is historical evidence of (or at least strongly implying) interaction between Japan and pre-Islamic Persia or Classical Persia. (At the very least, it was well known that the Persian Empire had dealings with China, and China and Japan engaged pretty heavily in cultural exchange.)

The Shahnameh was written in the 11th century, but Esfandiyar's mother was a Byzantine Christian, and I find the idea of trying to date the heroic/historical sections of the Shahnahmeh dreadfully appealing.

I am, sadly, not very up to date on my Japanese history these days, and I do take the things this professor says about non-Middle Eastern cultures with a grain of salt. But it makes me feel like my desires to draw parallels between Sufi mysticism and Zen Buddhism might actually have ground to stand on. Not that it really matters if there was interaction between Japan and the Persian Empire- I still think the comparison would bear fruit, but I'd feel less guilty about wanting to make it.

...I am not allowed to give into the urge to use Assassin's Creed icons to talk about MES. That would be terrible. (But I may start dissecting the game and its portrayal of Arab characters and especially its use of Arab and Middle Eastern voice actors at some point because there are plenty of things to say there. (While I'm pleased to note that Alta'ir's VA is, actually, Middle Eastern, he still spoke with an American accent. He also kind of sucked in general, so I don't know if my irritation is over the Americanization of the character or the fact that the VA couldn't express any emotion other than "bored".)