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Constant musing

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Jul. 21st, 2011 | 07:00 am

In my constant musing of late, I was considering some frustrations I have had in my current academic position. While preparing some ideas for an independent study this coming semester, it occurred to me that one of the primary reasons why so many students have so much trouble with the topic of the analysis of twentieth-century music is that it simply cannot be taught bit by bit by rote as theories of 18th-century music generally are taught. Advanced work in 19th-century music is also somewhat challenging conceptually, but it generally relies upon a foundation in 18th-century studies and generally works with a much more restricted harmonic vocabulary than does the study of  20th-century music.

I think another factor that has been a problem is that my colleagues have a superficial understanding of the subject matter that most interests me, and are hardened and manipulative careerists. The combination of conservatism and careerism that they embody is deadly to the growth of ideas. From the beginning I have been marginalized and belittled in every conceivable way, and kept out of the loop of important developments in the department (although just how important is open to question), and have yet been expected to "succeed" under those circumstances, the justification being that this would give me more necessary time to develop my research. When a bit of interest is shown in what I'm doing (or trying to do), it comes across as a temporary and difficult effort on their part, a social "performance." No one in their right mind would find that kind of attention satisfying or trustworthy. No wonder it brings up resentment and confusion in me.

There's a desperation in the air that has nothing to do with me because it predates me. I was "born" into a bad "family." If things I say or do threaten to expose threatening truths about the general situation, I am quickly slapped down for uttering blasphemies and transgressing taboos. Story of my life, and not just my life in the department.

Another six weeks and we're back in the fucking saddle. Fun, fun.

Om Krim Kalyai Namaha,

ak

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