Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Define Documentary... Devil's Advocate with Dr. Janet Walker

One of the best classes I had with Constance Penley is when she invited Dr. Janet Walker in for a guest talk on documentaries, along the lines of "films of the natural and human environment." Constance even rescued me from the computer lab in Kerr Hall to come watch. I am ashamed now that I was 30 minutes late, though I was frantically editing film.... Dr. Walker is so full of life and very articulate. She also provided input with my circumstance of writing Question Reality. How would you define it? Two "fictitious characters" that are "real in my mind" and "partly real" in tangible Reality, that go on a quasi-fictitious road-trip, who discuss very Realistic philosophical and scientific issues that relate to the state of the human-environmental condition today? I had to create this buffer zone in my mind just to write about Deconstructing Reconstructing Reality. How do you "classify that"? Matt and Dr. Walker and even Dave Panitz (a cool Bren School of Environmental Science/Engineering grad student) said not to worry about classification, and just be your own thing, but I said that creates great problems for the rest of society, like those &^%*#@ book publishing companies who are so eager and ready to pigeonhole you, and if they can't pigeonhole you, they don't want to deal with you. Especially if your book is over 200 pages. So, everyone backed off as soon as I qualmed about my rather ill relationship with the book publishing industry. Dxmmit. But Dr. Walker nonetheless liked very much my description of Question Reality to her that within a minute of describing my circumstance, she exclaimed: "Wow, that should be a movie!" So, she sees what I see, right off the bat, and that is a good sign. I am glad Dr. Walker made us think about "definitions" because that is the fundamental starting point of my book, questioning existing definitions and creating new ones. Definition and classification and pigeonholing. It's a necessary thing to do when you are playing with the Reality and perception and organization of your mind. Playing with definitions rather than viewing definitions as locked in stone has been a very important mental tool in my life. Perhaps a crucial stepping stone to my march out of the mental sicknesses associated with anorexia. I think it has liberated my mind infinitely because my mind is so plastic now, I can alter my own Reality and perception at any point in space and time because I can change and invent words and their meanings, the rapid co-evolution of spacetime and language at any moment of the on-going now. Hence my "The Matrix of the Mind: Mapping Language on Landscapes."

What can I say? I rarely click with a professor right off the bat. I was very excited and conversive in Dr. Walker's class, and she was very responsive to my circumstance. The vibe comes off immediately. I don't believe in stereotype and snap judgment, but I guess I learned from Barbizon that you can feel and detect a sense of personality of an individual within a few minutes, though it's best to have long-term observation of the individual because emotions are dynamic and fluctuating, and you may not have an enduring understanding of the person. Your perception of any system changes (whether a human being or a landscape) the vaster and longer in space and time you observe and interact with that system.

Human relationships are like Markov Processes. Butterfly Effect. The development of human relationships are like fractals. Exactly. FRACTALS. The end result of the relationship is highly dependent upon the initial premises of when encountering and meeting the person the very first point of contact, the very first time.

I mean, sometimes relationships start on a wrong foot. For example, in the beginning of Blue Horizons Program, I tried to be very nice with Maria and tried to be her friend (science communications expert from Spain), but a couple of times she brushed me away and didn't talk to me. But now, by the end of the program, we are just buddy-buddy and she let me stay at her place, and we talked about several deep, philosophical things, like the properties of the male species, and that basically the world looks as it is today, largely because it is the shaping and molding of the male mind. Which is essentially a divide-and-conquer-testosterone-infested mess. The room called planet Earth is a MESS made by the accumulation of MEN in history. And not only it's a messed up Environment, all the STORIES, scientific and non-scientific that we have been told and inherited in our education system, have been invented by the MALE SPECIES. There is a level of disconnect in language and mental continuity of space and time across departments and disciplines as a result, because men for several hundred years in the university and the world have been playing games of intellectual territorialism and their own little ingroupies, and thrived off of debate (firing squad wars of the words are more "socially acceptable" than fish-fights and gun shooting, but it's the same mentality). Male intellects beat their chests and fought wars with words rather than guns, but essentially the words just fly by the ears and nothing gets really absorbed. Philosophy of western civilization was built upon debate of the male mind, not conflict resolution and problem-solving and synergism, which are intrinsic behaviors and mentalities of the female mind, not the male. I had some poem that talked about how all the man did was want to chop the land up and physically own and conquer everyone else, when all the female wants to do is keep everything together and in one piece. You see this theme clearly in Grapes of Wrath and I'm sure countless of other classic pieces of literature.

So now, where am I at? I am talking to Maria about this, like at 2:30 or 3 am in the morning. Maria and I being both very self-sufficient, independent-spirited females who don't take very well the bullshxt of male specimens. It has only been within the last few decades that females have established some level of rights and privileges and freedoms. I didn't notice this female rights issue was EVEN AN ISSUE when I was a kid because my father treated me as a human being who had the capacity to do anything. Gender was not even an issue... until... more noticeably, graduate school hit. So now, female are establishing rights and power and any sense of ability to change things in the modern world, look now... the world is so gxdxm fxcked up from the cumulative summation of generations of male minds butchering this planet. And just as females clean up and keep the house in one piece (as males come home to dirty it up), female leaders are looking at this planet and seeing the same thing (as I see it), it's time to get out our brooms and our cleaning supplies, and clean up this one giant, chaotic mess these gxdxm male species did to our planet. The funny thing is I have encountered a small hand-ful of males who have admitted to their own stupidity and dis-evolution. Ha. Now to a point of reading Milton Love's poem: males are useful just as a sac of sperm. But that's about it. No, they're more useful than that. I told Maria that my father is totally useless about training me on how the male species works. He's just a mutation. He's left-handed. Makes him too sensitive and too spatial and too respectul. He represents close to nothing as what I have had to systematically discover myself....

I think the future of male evolution is toning down testosterone and being a little bit more socially sensitive. Obama for example, is left-handed, in which the left-handed males I know have a bit less testosterone revealed in their personalities, and are resultingly more sensitive to other human needs, rather than masseussing their grand, aching egoes of superiority. Sorry for repeating this (I wrote this paragraph a little earlier, and am just dumping it here).

So, though my understanding and relation with Maria was quite rocky and questionable in the beginning, now we are just buddy buddy, theorizing about the state of the planet (oceans in particular), the theoretical curse of the male species, and how we can portray such ideas through film and other media. Ha. A short-term sour relationship can easily blossom to a long-term, solid understanding and bond.

And still, I don't consider myself to be a feminist. I'm sure you're laughing, whoever has managed to read this. No, seriously. I am not a feminist, at least on traditional, radical definitions of feminism. Okay. Maybe I'm a theoretical feminist.

So, I have had superb vibes with Dr. Walker from the start, though I did overwhelm her with my situation in the last meeting. Well, I told her I have some NSF funding, so maybe that will make her and other professors forget about my troubled graduate school past, and look forward to a few years of a successful future... "success" being an arbitrary definition of finishing up a meaningful Ph.D, with my being self-sufficient and low-hassle. I just need a support group of profs to accept me for my eccentricities, and accept me for knowing that whatever I produce will not get me employed after I graduate, because society simply hasn't created the opportunities yet. And that I take responsibility for that circumstance. I am an intellectual risk-taker to some degree. I don't climb El Capitan at Yosemite physically, but I do it mentally. It's a troubling pain in the xss, but Milton Love says in the end it's more fun that way. I think I may have a tiny bit more testosterone than the average female.... Hmmm.... I can blame my parents for that. It's not my fault. I just have to DEAL with it.

What is the definition of a Ph.D? The definition of a Ph.D. from UCSB is very different from a Ph.D from UCLA or UCR. At UCSB, my mind's heart is emotionally invested in the intellectual and social atmosphere at UCSB. A Ph.D. has a personal, individualized meaning. And I'm not just a mass-production shop-product of the university. And thankfully, a Ph.D. with a personal meaning may also reveal itself to have an institutional meaning as well. Definitions of the same thing are very different in different locations.

In the end, it's all a matter of individual perception. In the end, it's all a matter of Relativity.

Dxm the male species. Because of you, the entire university, the entire "universe" needs an intellectual overhaul and re-organization. Dxm, dxm, dxm. Because of you, I had to Question Reality. Dxm dxm dxm!

But remember, this is my stance. "Living the life of the paradox: I like people. I hate humans. I like my guy friends, but from a theoretical standpoint. I hate the male species."

In the end, I was so glad to meet Dr. Walker that I signed up for her class in Films of the Natural and Human Environment for Fall of 2007. I can't wait for class to start, though I need some downtime to organize stuff.

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