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"Presumptuous RRZ" Might Be More Fitting

2004-09-24 - 9:25 a.m.

I've talked a lot recently about feeling stupid. Well, yesterday, I managed to top myself in the sort of way that is usually only encountered in sitcoms.

Now, I'd expected to be found stupid yesterday, but not in the manner that came to pass. Yesterday was a meeting of my rhetoric/performance studies class, and we had to submit interview profiles. "What's an interview profil, Notorious RRZ?" you ask. "Beats the fuck out of me!" I reply. Unlike an academic paper, which I at least could have managed at an undergraduate level, there's no set form for an interview profile. So I kinda had to wing it. I chose to do Arundhati Roy because the class is specifically on research methodologies for rhetoric and performance studies post 9-11, and Roy, in case this is your first time at this diary, is a major inspiration to me and a number of other people in the anti-imperialism movement. I wound up researching her work, typing out a brief biography, a few areas of interest that I wanted to cover, and some preliminary questions. I thought I'd rocked the assignment, until I began reading other people's work. They put me to shame. They had sample bibliographies. I had no idea that sample bibliographies had to be involved. DID they have to be involved? I just assumed the worst and figured I'd get sneered at in class by everyone and maybe given a condescending look of sympathy by the teacher (which is not to say that I think the students or the teacher would be that bitchy, I just tend to assume the worst in general).

The one comfort was that someone else had done a different assignment, challenging assumptions about orality and speech and the written word by examining blogs. It was a fascinating piece, and, for obvious reasons, one that I felt I could speak to. You know my remark last entry about "phatic tool." I got that from her. On top of everything, I really liked this woman because she had dressed all punky like and looked like she could be TinaSparkle's near twin, down to the same glasses.

As it turned out, the professor actually said, and I quote: "I'm really glad you did your research." She was referring to the fact that I had quoted Roy's own words about the problematic nature of her celebrity, and I am 98% sure that she wasn't being sarcastic! I nearly gave out a little cry when I heard her say that.

We wound up going into overtime in class, which was already 3 hours long, but I wanted to stay because this woman's paper was the last one we were going to talk about. So I start asking her if she's managed to get some of the big names for her project, and about my own blogging experiences, and I feel great because I'm helping out this person that I think is very cool. I even take a minute to show her my old entry "Caution: People in This Entry Are Closer Than They Appear" and tell her all about The Ladeeleroy Show and that I might even be able to get her a video of the production (Ladeeleroy, if you're reading this, PLEASE let me know if you could ship a copy over here--I'd gladly pay you back for it).

Then class ends, and I start chatting with her.

Oh, this is gonna hurt, but I'm gonna press on.

Turns out she's been blogging since 1997. Turns out she's spoken at SXSW about the blogging phenomenon, as well as a number of other internet phenomena. Turns out she's had near knock-down-drag-outs with the founders of Friendster, who, it turns out, are anti-radical and misogynistic, meaning that I might need to take my ass of Friendster soon. Turns out she's a blogger with readership in the thousands. Turns out I'm a presumptuous asshole, because here I was thinking I could do some great service for none other than Zephoria, whom even I, with my luddite generic template, have heard of, whose Ani DiFranco lyrics page I had bookmarked at the computer in my office.

At that moment, I think I had some conception of what it meant to be pregnant, because my foot was so far down my mouth that I could kick myself in the stomach from inside.

Fortunately, she was tremendously cool, saying that she had so many blogs that she looked at on a day to day basis that she could always use recommendations from people as to what she might be missing. She also didn't know about St Caroline's Georgetown program, designed to study blogs and other new forms of communication, so I should at least be able to hook her up with that. Nevertheless, I felt like I had just been giving creative writing tips to someone only to find out they were, well, Arundhati Roy. In other words, I felt like a schmuck.

So if you ever find yourself giving medical advice to a doctor, or childcare tips to a parent of five, remember The Notorious RRZ, and know you're not the first. In the meantime, although she in no way needs me to be shilling for her, check out the woman who told me what time it was at, and when you think back on me, relish the schadenfreude.

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The End - 2005-02-11
Let's Go on With the Show - 2005-01-30
The Curse, and This Bee's a Keeper - 2005-02-01
Sisters Lolita and Matronic Explain It All for You - 2005-01-31
Cowboys and Medievalists - 2005-01-30

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