Archives for posts with tag: USC

The Interloper recently published an eloquent and justifiably outraged article by Daniella Lollie on USC’s violent, degrading and dangerous hook-up culture as evidenced by the Facebook page “USC Hook-Ups.” Yet Lollie prefaces her words by saying that she is not criticizing hook-up culture as such, which she considers “morally neutral.” This idea—that there is an aberrant, violent hook-up culture that we can neatly isolate and filter out from hook-up culture in general—is echoed by the Interloper’s editors in a recommendation note at the bottom of the page. Rather than calling on readers to critically examine the hook-up script that has come to dominate much (though by no means all) of American college and university life, the paper actually urges us to participate more enthusiastically in it. We should now flood Facebook with stories of “happy, healthy and CONSENSUAL sexual encounters” in (somehow) “solidarity” with those who have experienced gender-based violence. Clamorous cheerleading for positive hook-ups (“encounters”), we are told, will be “subversive” of negative hook-ups that cross the line between fun and aggression.

But is it really possible, we must ask, to have a hook-up culture that does not produce the detritus of “USC Hook-Ups”? While sexual exploration is a natural and healthy part of human development, can we honestly expect or demand a hook-up culture that will be anything other than coercive, degrading and violent for large numbers of people of both genders but especially for women?

via Unhooked: Reflections on “USC Hook-Ups” and the Counter-Culture of Commitment | The Interloper @ USC.

 

I have mixed feelings about this article, so I thought I would share it and see what other people have to say.

I submitted my USC application. I feel… so much better now that I’ve finally done it. I had kind of a freak out this morning, first getting all weird about doing final edits on my writing sample, then not feeling ready when I finished those edits, then finally uploading the essay and freaking out about whether I should list a second choice major on my application. Even though my application is crafted around Critical Studies in Cinematic Arts, I decided to list Creative Writing as my second choice major– I decided that it can’t hurt, and that I was not going to let my self come up with ways that it could be bad.

I also called my advisor from Hampshire, Will Ryan, to see if he got my email about writing me a letter of recommendation. He agreed to do it, and we had a really nice chat– I miss having meetings with him and talking about my classes and life and all the crazy stuff I worry about. He said to keep him updated on what I’ve got going on, which I plan to do. Aside from a little nostalgic sadness about how I won’t ever TA a class for Will or do things like that, I’ve felt incredibly happy since getting off the phone with him.

My journalism professor from last semester is also writing me a rec letter, so I just need to find one more person to do it. I’m not the only person who feels like three letters is a little much, right? At any rate, I might ask Lipkin- my former English teacher- to write one in place of a professor, because I’m not in contact with any of my Hampshire professors, nor was I close with any of them like I was with Will, and I don’t really trust any of my other UNR professors.

I can feel things coming together, and it’s really nice.

 

Two more days left at home, then Spring semester starts on Monday. I’m ready.

Since I haven’t posted much lately and I don’t have the motivation to write up my cooking-recipe-food post at the moment, I thought I would give you an update on my USC application in the form of my personal statement. I have to give it a once over for grammar, but otherwise this is the final product. 

 

Like most children, though perhaps with a greater fervor, I wove stories from and about everything. From the epic struggle between Barbie’s and Beanie Babies, to a crayon masterpiece about talking cars — the first story I ever wrote— storytelling was a part of my life. As I grew, I developed a relationship with stories crafted by other people. I became that oft-depicted, but rarely sighted, child reading from the dim glow of a book-light until the sun rose.

My love for stories, and the act of sharing them, led me to experimentation in multiple mediums. I found my first love in works of prose, a relationship which would spill over into dalliances with poetry. I realized a deep appreciation for the performance of stories existed in me, and six years in a theatre ensemble allowed me to be both author, participant, and viewer—  often simultaneously. Each medium brought something new into my life, and I loved all of them, but I did not truly find my passion until I began writing screenplays. Though I set out to write works that my friends and I might produce over the summer, my final product was often well beyond our production capacity. For a long time I believe writing and directing to be the ideal path for me, but then began my love affair with television…

While I had always been the first to point out errors in a films continuity, or to offer up a critique of an actor’s performance, television inspired new areas of investigation. Perhaps it was the episodic nature, or my familiarity with characters and settings, but something in television sparked my anthropological and sociological interests in a way other mediums had not. I was no longer just asking what is this story saying? I was asking what does this story say about our culture? What does it say about the author and the audience? I began to ask three questions again and again— why do we tell the stories we tell? How do we tell those stories? And, what do those stories say about us? Even a medium as vast as television could not contain these new questions— every piece of work I had created or engaged with needed to be inspected with new eyes.

In many ways those questions became the center of my academic pursuits. They led me to a course in Australian and New Zealand Cinema under the instruction of film and cultural studies scholar, Eva Rueschmann. They also led me to courses in history and philosophy, journalism and creative writing— all in the interest of gaining perspective and new avenues of inquiry. Now my questions have led me to Critical Studies, and the School of Cinematic arts. As a Critical Studies major, I will have more resources than ever before to ask, answer, and complicate my questions. I will be surrounded by students who share my interests, but also have questions and insights of their own. Perhaps best of all, I will be working with faculty who are experts in their field, having devoted their life to the same kinds of inquiries that fill so much of my own life. Critical Studies will be key in helping me prepare for future critical and scholarly work, in sharing my questions and theories with the world. More over, it will create an excellent foundation from which to launch my career in writing and producing for television, so that I might come full circle by shaping and sharing stories of my own.

 

I sometimes feel like I am more or less in the same place mentally that I was over the summer. A lot of my time lately has been spent on worrying about the future and trying to figure out what I should do for school and what the Right answer is. Of course I’ve learned by now that there is no Right answer, but that’s irrelevant.

At Hampshire I had this sense of wonderment. I would leave classes and feel like the whole universe had rearranged in the course of two hours. I wanted to call up anyone I could get to talk to me to explain to them whatever amazing thing the class had gotten me thinking about. It didn’t happen after every class, but it happened at least once for all the courses I took. Everything seemed to come together in a way too. Like even different subject matter was really all about the same thing. It was an amazing and satisfying and invigorating feeling.

I haven’t had that here. I know it’s early, and I still haven’t really gotten in to upper level stuff, but I’m not particularly confident that I’m likely to find it at UNR– at least not across the board. The closest thing I’ve had this year was when Amber from the co-op talked in my English class, and after the Master Class with Adam Cates.

To be honest, I’m bored here. And the work that I’m producing isn’t any better for the plethora of time I have– it just means I procrastinate and brood more. Comparing stuff I wrote last year to essays from this year… what I’m writing now isn’t worse, it just has a different quality. At Hampshire everything had revisions and comments and a bigger picture. It was about the work, and the process. Why would I revise something eight times (which I’ve done), when I can do one (or none…) and get an A? I know that the answer to that question is ‘for my own benefit, for the process, for the spirit of learning, etcetera, etcetera’ but I’m just not that evolved yet. My English professor actually wrote ‘thanks’ on one of my reading responses (which I no doubt did right before class), like I was doing her a favor by actually reading the assignment.

I don’t want to make it sound like UNR is this terrible place where no one does anything or learns or whatever. For a lot of people I’m sure this place is perfect for them- exactly what they want, giving them what they need. But it’s not enough for me. I told Alex the other day I felt like people at Hampshire were there to learn (by and large- some of them were just there to party), and the people here are just here to get degrees (which I know is a huge generalization). There’s nothing wrong with just wanting to get your degree and get out– that was like 90% of high school. But that’s not what I want. A college degree might be a great thing, but nothing that I want to do requires that I have one. More than anything I want to learn about stuff. About the world, and me, and writing, and art, and how all those things go together.

Is that too much to ask? I mean that as a legitimate question. Am I expecting too much? Is there a place where I can feel the way I did about my classes at Hampshire, without living waist deep in snow and seasonal depression? Am I overlooking UNR’s own inherent greatness by expecting it to be some other way? Is the problem really me, and not the college I’m at? Could it be different, better, anywhere else?

USC transfer apps are due in one month.

Sometimes I wonder what the point is. It starts to feel like I’m living the same monotonous day on repeat. Sometimes I actually prefer the week to the weekend because at least I have to go to class and leave my room.

It’s like I spend 90% of my time doing homework, but it never feels like I really get anything done and there is always more home work I could/should/will be doing. I try to remind myself that I have to do the work here, so I can get good grades, get into USC, and from there get a job in television. But on days like today, that train of thought pretty much leads me to: “What makes me think that I’ll actually be any happier if I have that job in television? It’ll just be new things to be stressed about and some other kind of monotony.’ Never mind that I love writing and television because non of that seems to matter on days like today.

One of the big things that has me all bent out of shape is this English paper that I feel like I can’t write. What’s worse is that there’s a paper from my Camelot and Crisis class from last year that I could conceivably turn in instead, and even though I tell myself that I won’t, I really just want to fall back on that and not have to think about it any more.

I also feel silly for feeling like this, because I know in a few days after I’ve gotten through this patch I won’t even think about any of this… But right now it feels like I’ll never get out of this terrible funk.

I judge myself a lot.

Rebecca, the counselor I’ve been seeing, recommended that I do some self acceptance and self compassion stuff. I’m sure it would be good, I just haven’t taken any steps to actually do any of those things.
(After journaling and talking to my mom and joking with Natalie about how I needed to get laid I started to feel better)

 

If I’m gonna submit something for workshopping for the Creative Writing Club I’ supposed to do it by tomorrow. I don’t really have any in progress stuff, except for the screenwriting I’ve been playing with. I was going to wait on submitting that- partly because I don’t have a lot done, and partly because it’s my baby and I wanted to test the waters before I put it out there. But maybe I should just go for it, do some work on it and put it out there.

I’ve also thought some about doing the divorce short story. I wasn’t necessarily planning to continue work with it, but I’d be interested in getting some feedback on it, and it might be a good way to test the waters.

I just sent Ariel a text to tell her about the club and the next meeting. I wonder if I would feel strange workshopping that piece with her there. Really I just don’t want her to say anything to Angel about it, but then why do I even care? The answer to that is that I don’t want her to think it’s something that it’s not. Why that matters to me, I’m not really sure.

After how great the Vampire Diaries has been the last few weeks I want to play around with writing something supernatural more than ever- it just opens up so many themes and emotions that are hard to explore in a strictly real world sense. Maybe I’ll play around with a short story in that vein and workshop that. Maybe it’ll give me some ideas for other stuff.

I like the idea of possession, but rather than it being some outside force it’s like something from inside of you that has been pulled to the surface. The monsters being inside of us is the concept I’m really interested in. Maybe I’ll play with that tonight since I’m not going out.

I just got back from coffee (or more accurately- smoothies) with Kelseigh, it was fun. It was nice to hang out with someone who, more or less, has no connection to my regular life. I asked her some questions about USC, and it was nice to hear about it from someone who goes there- made me feel better about things.

I said something about how some days I feel like USC would be a great fit, and then other days I feel like “What am I thinking? That’s totally ridiculous!” She asked why and I said something about when I was first applying to college and applying to NYU and not thinking I was going to get in, just kind of applying because why not? And then getting it and not really believing it. Which sort of addresses the question, but doesn’t really answer it. So I thought about that on my little drive home. I suppose the answer would me that, as anyone who knows me knows, I romanticize everything, endlessly, and in my head there are ‘USC people’ just like there are ‘NYU people’ and… I don’t know what kind of people I am. It’s hard for me to conceive of myself as a USC or NYU person- not because I think it would be too hard, or because I don’t think I would make friends, not even because I don’t think I would like it there. It’s something about seeing myself as successful, as having what I want. For some reason, that is a very hard thing for me. I would say that’s part of the reason all the Hampshire and transferring stuff has been hard, because when I think about it I just see a big neon example of being unsuccessful and not ending up with that I wanted. Yet even as I feel that I know it’s not true. I know that I did really well at Hampshire, that academically I was a success, that I made friends and while I may not have been a socially butterfly, I was socially successful. In no way did I fail, I just… found that something wasn’t what I anticipated it would be and that what it turned out to be was… not the right fit. Hampshire is a great place. I would recommend it to almost anyone. I had some wonderful times. It’s just that for me, the good was not enough to outweigh the bad that I was experiencing.

I wish it was easier to remember that.

Any way, now I have to hang out/entertain myself for the ten 15 to 20 minutes while I wait for my mom to get back with the car and I head to work. I vow to spend these minutes stress free. Somehow.

Also- I feel I should note that I know there’s really no such thing as ‘USC people’ or ‘NYU people’ (unless you just take that to mean students who go there, in which case there is) but clearly what I know intellectually and theoretically is no always how I live practically.