I ended up winning best paper of the year for the 2010 issue of Janus. Good stuff. It will be on the internet on UMD's history website along with a couple other papers. I might get some money.
I was nervous about my presentation but it ended up going really well.
Then I was at home hanging out feeling good about it. I picked up our cat, Binky, was holding him. Then somehow his back claw ended up cutting me in the face/lips/mouth. Lol. Sounds weird. But I was holding him trying to switch hands with him and he kicked his back leg and his claws clicked on my teeth a little bit. Two small cut on my upper lip. Two on the inside of my lower lip and one on my gums. Yikes. Very strange incident.
But the thing that was most striking about it, actually, was not the physical pain or shock. It was the immediacy of physical pain in contrast to the pride/excitement I was feeling from presenting my paper and winning a prize.
Time to get some saltwater and rinse to disinfect my cuts. Not time to celebrate academic victory anymore. Funny stuff. The way the basics need to be met until I can really think about academia or scholarship. Very funny.
Just makes academics or intellectualism feel like a silly whim in the face of physical violence.
Clearly I am extrapolating quite far, going way beyond a mere cat scratch. But, think about all the countries where people are dying. Where pain is the status quo and intellectual thought is a luxury. Seems like in a world of really immediate issues (hunger, pain, work, etc.) it would be so easy to just go and go and go and not think about things.
Think of North Korea and how there are no intellectuals cause of the government has suppressed any ability to talk about anything. Or people are too busy worrying about food. Or god know what is going on in places.
I want intellectuals to be dangerous like they were in Eastern Europe from 1945-1990.
Why aren't there any American intellectuals who are dangerous to the government? Why isn't anybody saying anything that freaks people out or totally threatens our form of government? Maybe our government is real good. Or maybe people just aren't talking about certain things.
I read Noam Chomksy talking about how a lot of post-war intellectuals bought the typical narrative of the Cold War that was presented by the US government. He encouraged more people to challenge official narratives.
This is all babble.
But basically, I experienced physical pain and my intellectual thoughts disintegrated.
So it is difficult/interesting to think about a place in which pain is the rule and intellect the exception.Which is how it has been for the most part, anyways.
That is what I was doing here. What I wanted to do.