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Monday, April 09, 2007

SAA: Rumors

I too enjoyed SAA this year. It was much better than last year, or, more accurately, I was much less miserable this year than last. Rather than being crammed into a too small venue, this year's reception was in a beautiful spot with plenty of room for moving around and with plenty of mojitos. (I should add that this was the only small hiccup in the Philadelphia conference; everything else about it was impeccably organized, i.e., Philadelphia was no Miami.) Rather than fretting about my Buster Bluth-like persona, I forced myself to spend more time socializing and actually met several new people whom I like a lot. And I learned more in my seminar this year (though I did enjoy last year's too). I didn't have James's enviable experience of three new paper ideas, but I did come away with some new ideas and new understandings of various issues that interest me. So, all in all, a good experience.

Even the rumors were different this year. It seemed like last year I kept hearing gossip about someone's book being published, being accepted, being ready to send off to publishers, etc.--all information, if not designed to depress, then with the effect of depressing the hell out of me (as someone who does not have a book published, accepted, or ready to send off). This year, on the other hand, there were:
  • rumors of the "As You Like It" screening being cancelled (it wasn't, and I kind of wish I had gone to see it);
  • rumors about the sexualities of sundry early modernists (I have no idea if these were true, and don't really care either way);
  • rumors about finger pointing and raised voices (again, I wasn't there, so can't vouch for the accuracy of this information);
  • and rumors about the real-life personae of various online academic bloggers (some true, some unverified). I guess it's worth adding that I like pseudonymous blogging. Not only do I prefer to keep my own online persona (marginal as it is) free from my real-life one, but I have no strong desire to suss out the real-life academic identities of most of the people I read. That being said, I did meet another pseudonym and was completely smitten (not in a romantic sense).
Me being me, or I being I, I'm still of course finding myself worrying inordinately about real and perceived slights I may have inadvertently given others. There are three or four that keep racing through my mind: why didn't I thank that person for that thing he did? why didn't I know that person's essay? why didn't I invite that person to dinner? why didn't I talk to that person more? But this is all part of the conference experience: three to four days of intense academic socializing mixed with academic drinking is enough to leave me quite exhausted, a little bit nervous, but also somewhat pleased.

  • At 4/09/2007 11:35:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    You are no Buster Bluth, Simplicius.

    Also, I just saw a new show featuring Buster Bluth--Andy Barker, P.I. Not so good, though.


  • At 4/09/2007 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Pamphilia wrote…

    I totally think pseudonymous blogging is seriously important. It's like in Shakespeare when characters take on pants roles or antic dispositions-- that permits a freer, funnier discourse and social critique.

    I was happy to meet bloggers more pseudonymous than I, and happier even to preserve their anonymity. I also found that learning who some of them were sort of diminished the joy of reading their blogs. So I'm going to try to forget what I know.

    That said, you are definitely not buster bluth.


  • At 4/09/2007 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    I am too, dammit! Trust me on this one: you two have simply learned how to distinguish me from the wallpaper (which is perhaps my favorite scene in all of Arrested Development and which I can't find on youtube).


  • At 4/09/2007 02:40:00 PM, Blogger Pamphilia wrote…

    I have no idea what you're talking about, S.

    But it's true that conferences make us all feel that way to an extent, no matter how extroverted we might be. At the end, a conference (even a good one) always feels a bit like one big happy disfunctional family, to me. If it goes poorly, it feels like high school. Ugh.


  • At 4/12/2007 07:57:00 PM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    It's a little late for some of us to start adopting a persona now :(


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