73) On Academia (part 2)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-djmm7-bf61e2

…Although academia remains for me what death was for the Ophelia of Bob Dylan’s song “Desolation Row”: “quite romantic,” in hindsight, it occurs to me that treating academia as a field of holy and religious “Ivory Towers” first of all, in its dogma and myopia contradicts the truly “academic” spirit…

…When I failed to both receive funding from an MFA program and employment from a nearby university after graduating with my bachelor’s degree… I panicked, raced away from my dream, and grew convinced that academia would inevitably fizzle out from the global economy in the midst of such a rich world of cheaper information exchange across the internet’s digital media platforms…

…one beautiful, early September day, about two weeks ago now I think it was, I was walking in the development where my wife and I live, enjoying the refreshingly cool and breezy air. I thought about how much energy Ashley and I put into figuring out where we wanted to live (about 8 years!) We had a long list of potential places in and out of state and we researched the job and real estate markets in virtually every area of interest to us: places in Texas, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, South Jersey, North Jersey, the Jersey Shore, et cetera…

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70) On anxiety (part 1: hastiness & impatience)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ajsup-bcdfb1

I’m beginning to understand some of my anxiety’s nuances beyond the constantly striking panic attacks, insomnia, night time alcohol abuse, and obsessive-compulsive thoughts of death that used to consume me. The more blatantly obvious symptoms now curbed, courtesy of Effexor, and a wife who devotes herself to conceptualizing and practicing a philosophy of what I believe it means to thrive (like seeing a doctor for a check up, “for starters”), certain other symptoms, previously overshadowed, now capture my attention—for example: impatience and hastiness…

66) Kavanaugh

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-2b594-bcdf5a

The fight for justice…hands stretching, muscles tearing, reaching for the sky- daunting, tempting to surrender, and submit, assuming futility, but people walked on the moon, made a vaccine for malaria, polio, and other diseases.

I contemplate my White Privilege, resenting every remnant of it, and scowl at America’s White Supremacist bigot bullies…oppressing…Native Americans, African Americans, Arabs, Jews, Women, the non-heterosexual, the poor, the vulnerable, the non-Christian, non-Caucasian and it disturbs me, makes me drink my whiskey with a little extra intensity…

I fear that nothing, not a single atrocity, would have moved Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s supporters in the Senate to oppose his confirmation…

65) Dream Catcher

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-hu4dg-bcdf4b

Fear of dying in my sleep…of dying in poverty, no career I climbed up to reflect on… just a plethora of aspirations and thoughts racing like a flock of thousands of birds headed south…while America’s democracy and rule of law corrode…gin and prayers fail to relax me…

But I am like my grandmother.

She used to listen to talk radio late at night as she fell asleep, sometimes not until three a.m.…

I watch the news on my laptop…

62) On how I try way too hard

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-jzqzu-bcb1d8

*In pursuit of economic success, intellectual/artistic recognition, and mentoring, I have tried too hard which has been the cause of mistakes and failed relationships*

Do I want to be rich and famous with that house on the beach?  For most of my life I desired as much. That is perhaps not so unique. Though maybe people would sooner enjoy riches than fame per se. A lot of attention for awhile might seem attractive but long enduring fame? Misleading speculations about you in the media? I think Bob Dylan described it interestingly in his song “Idiot Wind“:…

…I do suppose one of the most embarrassing thoughts I lock inside myself is that I want to be a genius. Not the “know it all” kind. Nor the showy kind. Just as I cannot stand the flaunting of wealth, so I likewise cannot stand the flaunting of knowledge or intelligence. Flaunting in general I consider to be counter-productive, subjective, like very bad music–…

…In the last year I perhaps overdid it with three professors who I wanted to get closer to intellectually, who I wanted to be my mentors, who I wanted to “take me on”– they, my Jean-Luc Picards, and me their William Riker. They, my Schopenhauers. Me, their Nietzsches. They, my Verlaines. Me, their Rimbauds. (Without the sex and romance.) Have you ever seen the movie The Paper Chase? Ever fall in love intellectually, so to speak, with a professor, to a point that he or she is on such a pedestal that his or her approval is the mark of your intellectual success or failure, your brilliance or your incompetence?…

…From an immediate emotional point of view I wanted to call Dr. X a bitch. Just once…

Now with respect to my intellectual vanity of sorts, the fact is, my ego was crushed by these three professors and William Paterson University’s decision not to award me with a graduate assistantship despite my 3.98 gpa and I guess explicitly and blatantly expressed freakish obsession with the brilliance of some of their professors. 

(I am not ashamed of being freakishly obsessed with the brilliant work of brilliant people. These days I think there is not enough of this kind of appreciation going around…)

 

…There is a typo in the email I sent to the editor of the New York Times’ op/ed page, James Bennet. I sent him the email because…well…I envisioned two attractive scenarios: 1) his feedback on my essays (maybe he might even like them and share them with someone and maybe so would begin the tale of my increased readership and enough of my podcasts downloaded that advertisers would start paying me and I could finally convert this second gig into my full-time occupation; 2) Mr. Bennet thinks I could contribute something of value to the New York Times and puts my name forward for a writing job there.

Alas, I learned when applying for the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of New Hampshire that espousing one’s attraction to an apparent ethos is not to be confused with ultimately defeating the competition for this or that role within their community and demonstrating how you align as specifically as possible with what they are looking for.] 

how much does someone want to be unraveled by a person who is self marketing to them? Part of me worries that taking the time to try and establish some kind of connection might be viewed as a flamboyant act of bullshit. I imagine the recipient of the email wanting to say “you know and I know you just want something from me. So what do you want and let me see to what degree it seems like it may or may not accord with my values, interests et cetera…”

 

 

 

 

61) Striving to create diplomatic art and media in a dog-eat-dog world

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wixvf-bbcd50

*What am I forgetting to think about, distracted and preoccupied with that damn blockade of financial concerns and anxiety? How many of us ask ourselves this question or… how many others could we ask this question for as they too are bogged down by things which compassionate folks would like to see them not bogged down by

*…And beyond the economic anxiety and poverty there are other things which hijack the mind’s potential or rob a life…  the emotions of serious illness, being damned by some kind of “bad luck”– medical malpractice, just a bad reaction to a medication at the wrong time (such as was the cause of my father’s own untimely death), getting struck by lightning, figuratively or literally…shot by a bigot, victim of a space shuttle explosion or terrorist attack…. Things which haunt me to consider…when I was younger I felt morally obligated to envision tragedies of all kinds befalling me if only to “hold the hands” of the less fortunate in my own way and share the misery with them. 

But to fixate on this dogmatically is masochistic and raises no one up…brings no wisdom or improvement or real hope to anyone.    

So I seek understanding for knowledge’s sake…

*…I find myself more attracted to “the media” industry now than academia but it is strange. Like a divorce.

*…Although the trouble of people feeling they must kiss ass is just a social problem in general, not industry specific. That is one thing believe it or not I refuse to do. I find it degrading. I find ass-kissing and being told what to say or think without any invitation for discussion to be utterly degrading.

*…All of this can be VERY expensive business, I realize. You know…independent media…starting up your own business, living on your own terms, making art, saying what you really think (some people experience hurt feelings very easily. I feel bad about it but it’s also not fair for their hurt feelings to get priority over honesty. I believe the right course of action is thus diplomacy, which I give my all to as a writer and activist though I sometimes fail. I remember when I applied for a political organization and asked questions about their policy positions. I didn’t mean to poke holes in their lifework or disrespect their souls but if they will not be open to discussion then they too are poking holes…to some degree it actually is a “dog eat dog” world.

*….how many people do you know who are or seem or say they are tired or busy? 

I haven’t taken a tally but I have heard people describe themselves as tired and /or busy almost, I think, as often I’ve heard people ask the question “how are you?” which, if not followed by “tired” or “busy” is followed by that word “good” which…maybe you are a little suspicious of or maybe you know full well you are telling a so called “white lie” as to not tell the story of all that’s frustrating you. (In fact, this is all so common place that it is brought up in friendlier conversation often itself!)

*… About these somewhat and “sort of” seemingly chaotic thoughts (to borrow Dylan’s description “sort of”  once more! And perhaps not for the last time!)…the sense of chaos and confusion is not…so far as I can tell…fundamentally epistemological. (Epistemology tends towards the cut and dry for me: if you’re acquainted with me you know my mantra of objectivity, empiricism, non-contradiction, law of identity, pragmatic clarification…) Rather, it’s a struggle to accept a degree of imperfection…

*...What exactly is the definition of media? 

And why (emphasis here on the WHY) can I be confident that this definition, more so than all others, is THE definition? 

Can that which we call “art,” just to give you an example of what happens in my mind as I contemplate definitions, count as part of that broader notion of “media?”

FOR MORE FROM PUBLIC COMMENT, VISIT https://publiccommentpodcast.com/

 

 

On the Mueller testimony

News organizations widely reported that the Mueller testimony failed to capture much of the country. As to why, exactly, I think it is more complex than some may think. Beyond claims of apathy, cynicism, or Mueller’s failure to “perform” as some would have liked, there is the rather important consideration that many of us have to work and experience varying degrees of economic anxiety and other day-to-day pressures that make wrapping our minds around the upsetting drama in Washington something much easier said than done. While I was able to listen on my drive to the tutoring center, I did still have to “work” on things beyond the production of Public Comment, and when I didn’t, I still had my own marketing, branding, and aesthetic contemplations to improve Public Comment in mind. So, while I am concerned that too many people are apathetic, to be fair, I don’t know how much has more to do with juggling life than general apathy. As for the main stream media, I was saddened by those who placed so much emphasis on Mueller seeming not “as sharp” as he used to be as I wondered if in so doing they may have overlooked a number of other possible, contextual factors, such as possible anxiety over the high stakes of his testimony, and/or what he knows, but can’t tell us, but perhaps wishes he could tell us? Whatever you make of Mueller’s testimony, I hope enough Americans come to care so that as a nation we can get our act together and start taking care of our troubled government. 

***PUBLIC COMMENT is a podcast presented in the form of extemporaneous personal essays about a political and philosophical millennial as he tries to wrap his mind around the complexities of the human experience.****

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