Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sometimes a burqa seems like a pretty damn good option

Fresh from the insult and injury that is commonly referred to as "clothes shopping," Knitcrit would like to take this opportunity to scream SCREW YOU, RETAIL DEMONESS AND ALL OF YOUR UNHOLY, HEADSET-WEARING, "CAN I START A DRESSING ROOM FOR YOU?" MINIONS.

All Knitcrit wanted was a pair of white, ivory or stone-colored dressy-ish professional looking pants (read: not rumpled chinos).

Bloomingdale's: Desirable, but price point for single article of clothing is approximately equivalent to my monthly rent. Having entered there in the past, I have abandoned hope of finding things remotely within my budget. Plus, how much of that $500 do the Chinese prisoners see? Not much, I bet.

Century 21: These pants are perfect. Except they're size 14. And they have a spot on the hem.

Banana Republic: The home of affordable corporate secretary wear. You can almost hear the heels clacking in and out of the boardroom. Fabric is generally crap, with poor drape, making panty lines almost certainly inevitable, regardless of panty choice. Likely to give students impression that I am their secretary, an attitude actually present in many students today and therefore not one that needs encouraging.

Benetton: Unlined white pants.

Montmartre: Perfect ivory pants! Oh. Wait. $430. Never mind.

Ann Taylor: Lined white pants, nice Italian wool, but at this quintessentially middle American store, they have so radically skewed their sizing to accommodate the quintessentially middle American big ass that a SIZE ZERO is too big on me. And okay, I'm on the slender side, but I come by it naturally, and anyway, this is Manhattan, for Christ's sake - it's not like there aren't hundreds of thousands of rail-thin 21-year-olds skulking around looking longingly in the windows of the ubiquitous New York slice pizza joint. Where do THEY get their pants?

JCrew: I fought my way through mounds of day-glow paper-thin cashmere cardigans and the 16-year-olds who love them only to discover that JCrew does not have white, ivory, or stone pants, though navy is on offer. Unsure what they are thinking - what would go better with day-glo paper-thin cashmere cardigans than white pants?

I guess this is probably a sign that anyone who works with dry erase markers as much as I do probably shouldn't be buying light colored pants anyway.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A little bit of Bollywood makes the election ever so much more bearable

Knitcrit was horrified to see a below-average-even-for-youtube level of discourse in the youtube comments thread for this video; apparently for many viewers the Bollywood dancers superimposed on Obama’s mouth and body were taken to be some kind of meditation on his secret identity as a Muslim. This would be laughable if it weren’t so incredibly and dangerously stupid.

I came upon the below translation of the lyrics to the song while reading through the atrocious youtube comments; interestingly, the translator translates “gori” as “beautiful woman;” hindiwale know, of course, that “gori” literally means “whitey,” and is used to refer to the (desirable) fairness of a woman; more generally, the term and its masculine counterpart are sometimes used in a derogatory manner to refer to Caucasians. I suspect this was the point of the video – mocking Obama and his young white liberal lovers.

From the film Mela

Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aa
Chori Chori Hum Gori Se Pyaar Karengey
In secret I'll love a beautiful woman
Chupke Chupke Dil Ki Baatein Yaar Karengey
Very softly I'll speak my heart
Aane Waali, Kab Aayegi Koi De Bataa
Can't someone tell me when will the one who's coming will arrive?
Dhoond Rahe Hain, Jaane Kabh Se, Hum Uska Pataa
God knows how long I've been searching for news of her
Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja Aa

Mahiyaa, Mahiyaa
Beloved, beloved
Jaldi Se Aa Ja Sun Mahiyaa
Come quickly; listen, my love!
Mahiyaa, Mahiyaa
Beloved, beloved,
Doli Mein Le Ja Sun Mahiyaa...
Take me away in a wedding palanquin; lover, listen!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Despair and Home Improvement

Grumpiness abounds here at Knitcrit mission control; garden variety annoyances were recently transformed into a massive jungle of despair by the news that my academic arch rival got a major grant for which I also applied and which, needless to say, I did not get. The academic arch rival in question, I hasten to add, is probably unaware of her title; it was conferred upon her years ago when my spies heard her badmouthing me at a conference. Her genetic predisposition to seek and destroy competition combined with the fact that she has now effectively kicked my ass in grantwriting 101 has, I think, doomed me to being the lesser, other, and/or unconsulted academic opinion on our shared topic.

Whoever said that the best revenge is living well has, in recent years, become my personal hero (though I do have a true story about an ex-landlord, a washing machine, and some creative letter-writing that might contend for the title of best revenge, come to think of it. Another time). Unfortunately, working as a hedge fund manager is pretty much the only easy way to live well in Manhattan; for the rest of us, it's a high art.

My most recent triumph in this regard was switching our office and bedroom. Technically, we live in a two bedroom apartment. I say technically because in Manhattan, a room is, legally speaking, any space that has at least one window. Thus, the "room" that we used as a bedroom for nearly the first two years of our lease was a bedroom in the purest sense of the word - it was a room almost completely occupied by our bed, with the remaining floor space filled with two dressers. Going to bed meant opening the door to the room, taking two steps forward, and lying down. I couldn't open the bottom two drawers of my dresser because they were blocked by the bed. Making the bed involved standing in the middle of the bed. And so on.

This living situation was necessary because when we moved into the apartment neither of us had a job in the strictest sense of the word, and we therefore needed to use the larger second bedroom for our shared office. It's a wonder we managed to get married at all after sharing an office, actually.

Knitcrit: Can I interrupt you for a minute?

Todd: What?

Knitcrit: Will you read this for typos? I have to send it out right away.

Todd: (grumbling) Yeah, yeah, sure (reads, approves, returns to desk, puts on headphones and begins listening to work-related music at high volume).

Knitcrit: Todd. Todd? TODD! (throws pencil/paper clip/crumpled piece of paper at him to get his attention because it's just too hard to get up and walk the three feet to his desk because that would entail the effort of trying to roll the desk chair over the necessary traction-producing Red Ringum).

Todd: (pulling off headphones) What?

Knitcrit: Will you turn the music down? I can't concentrate. Sorry.

Todd: (in a tone suggesting otherwise) It's okay.

Knitcrit: (in a tone suggesting lack of actual gratitude) Thanks.

Ah. The office. It was overflowing with books and bitterness.

Note Red Ringum looming in the foreground.

When I got my actual job, I got an actual office, making it possible to move all of my books and files to work. Todd's actual job does not, alas, come with an actual office, and so the solution was to move his office to our old bedroom, repaint, and move the bedroom into the nice room with actual light and something resembling enough space for a bed, two dressers, two end tables, and a little desk for my laptop:

My career may be ruined, but at least I can now make the bed while standing next to it rather than standing on it. What revenge.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Semiotics of Getting Screwed

I'm not an Anthropologist, but I play one in my department. While historically I have been a regular presenter at professional conferences that are more in keeping with my interests and (I use the term loosely) expertise, this year a good friend of mine who is herself an Actual Anthropologist came up with a pretty interesting panel proposal for that great mother of all professional conferences for Anthropologists, the American Anthropological Association. One jillion emails later, we had a panel. I will spare the reader a lengthy description of the backass backwardness of the registration system for the AAA (it will perhaps be enough to note that they have a 24 hour registration HELPLINE) and move right to the point, namely, that for the privilege of submitting a proposal to the 2008 AAA conference, I was charged $361, and that is completely non-refundable in the likely event that the AAA rejects the panel. This more than double what I pay to attend other professional conferences.

In conclusion, I note that the logo of the AAA resembles nothing so much as a stylized anus. And it didn't take a PhD in Anthropology to engage in that bit of semiosis.