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Saturday, April 15, 2006

More on SAA Day Two

Truewit's characterization of yesterday's lunchtime speech is exactly right--too many sentences in a row beginning with "In 17xx, blah blah blah. In 17xx, blah blah blah." The takeaway point: Philadelphia has a rich Shakespearean and theatrical history. Right. But it could have been worse; we could have been treated to another paean to joys of working with the Bush Administration in bringing Shakespeare to the soldiers [UPDATE: as Hieronimo points out, it may have been the yokels who were supposed to be the program's beneficiaries]. Whatever happened to that program? Why haven't I see the story covered in the MSM or on Fox?

In other news, despite the small annoyances of having many people make eye contact with my chest, there was one delightful moment when I was walking through a semi-crowded room and saw someone's head whirl around to catch my name. Not thinking anything of it, I kept walking but was almost immediately accosted by a certain chipper young Brit who proceeded to tell me how much he likes my work and then--drumroll--proceeded to quote a key phrase from an article I co-authored about five years ago. I almost swooned. But, then, because it's SAA and I'm becoming increasing autistic ("when someone says X to me, I should say Y, Z, or W in reply"--think Christopher Boone, all you A Curious Incident fans), I immediately began to freak out because, though I know who this person is, I've never read his work. I tried to save face by telling him about an article of his that I'm looking forward to reading, which is true, and that his new book sounds great (people were coming up to him as we were talking telling him how well it's selling). But even then, how did I know about his forthcoming essay? Because of a little auto-Googling earlier this week, I discovered that he had mentioned me a couple of times in it (thank you Amazon for the index), which basically means I'm the delightfully self-absorbed kind of guy who only reads articles in which he's mentioned. And since I'm cited about once a year, you can see what kind of bind this leaves me in. On the other hand, Prof. Chipper Young Brit has reeled in another member for his own fan club.

And do keep in mind, this type of interaction is clearly the exception. What happens more typically is that I'm re-introduced to people I've met two or three times, and they almost invariably have zero recollection of me. I'm sort of like Buster Bluth on Arrested Development, who has the remarkable ability to blend into backgrounds and go unnoticed. This happens several times a day at SAA. In fact, there's one Lecherous Young Brit with whom I've been out drinking a couple of times and who has never once remembered me. On the other hand, he did introduce himself, unbidden, to a friend of mine who's a mere grad student, but who is also young, female, and stunning. I'm not sure which is worse: to be noticed by a lech or immediately forgotten by him.

  • At 4/15/2006 03:00:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    But it could have been worse; we could have been treated to another paean to joys of working with the Bush Administration in bringing Shakespeare to the soldiers.

    Ah, I remember that speech, from past president Gail Paster. What was that all about? We should all stop criticizing the government and other authorities and start being grateful for the paltry handouts we get from them. Inspirational, to be sure.

    As I recall, though, it was less about bringing Shakespeare to the soldiers than about bringing Shakespeare to the "yokels."


  • At 4/15/2006 03:37:00 PM, Blogger La Lecturess wrote…

    In re: lechers and others: let me just point out that, as a woman, I've long since gotten used to having eye contact made with my chest--and there's really an equivalence between the two kinds of evaluations (with name tag, or not).

    Enjoying the SAA updates, though rather relieved I'm not a Shakespearian. Not that the crowd I run with is any more . . . hip. If anything, they're even older, whiter, and more male.


  • At 4/15/2006 05:02:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    Unremitting social anxiety, translated into weirdly esoteric terms. What am I missing? I've seen some people who have figured out their own special way of negotiating these conference encounters: limitless, shameless flattery. The kind of boundless ego-stroking I could never manage to perform convincingly enough. Not I'm claiming any kind of ethical high ground: I just can't do it. But people seem to eat it up. Unless secretly they're thinking, "what an ass."


  • At 4/16/2006 09:09:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    You might be right about the yokels vs. the soldiers, but I kind of thought the soldiers were part of the yokels. Wasn't there some aspect of instilling values? Gah--why can't I remember her speech more clearly?


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