So what you’re saying is…

Discussion based coursework is always a bit touchy-feely, i.e. English majors often relate stories to their personal experiences. However, professional degrees (like, say, librarianship) should not have the same outcome. One can expect people in psychology programs to have anecdotal evidence to add to discussions about their families, their hometown, the fights they have with their grandma– sometimes, but I feel like those sorts of personal bits of information just don’t seem to apply to my class on University Library Services, or Management of Library Services unless, of course, your grandmother fights with you about collection development or funding.

There is one particularly egregious offender in my class this semester. Now, I am one of the youngest people in my program but this girl makes me look downright worldly. She thinks the discussion is one between her and the professor, and the rest of us are just a willing audience. At one point she got up and actually took the chalk and started to try to illustrate the teacher’s point on the board for us. She has a real penchant for reiterating peoples points, “So what you’re saying is this…” and often doing it incorrectly. The other day, she called on someone.

Since the beginning of the semester she has taught us:
-The school where she got her undergraduate degree does not have a disability clause. (this is simply not true)
– She went there and also one other local school so she knows. She took five years to finish. For more information on why she is wrong please go here:
-Everyone in her small town in Virginia is afraid of black people. Mostly just the big manly ones, though. She doesn’t apologize for this. (In fact she actually said “I will not apologize for being afraid of black people)
-Her favorite book is He’s Just Not That Into You, it really helped get her through that “dark time.” And now she’s engaged! She brought this particular book up during a discussion of business texts, specifically, Who Moved My Cheese
-Her mother’s side of the family has conversations by interrupting each other. We also now know her mother’s maiden name and a bit about where she is from.
-The word “bitch” actually means female dog. None of us actually knew that because unlike her, the rest of us didn’t go to elementary school.
-Everyone from New York (besides NYC) is a rural white person.
-She works at a video game store
-She based her “Philosophy of Management” paper on World of Warcraft

Now I seem like I am ranting, and you know, I guess I am ranting, but the older I get the more I learn the value of both the dollar and my education, and as this young (and racist) girl goes on and on about her mom’s side of the family I think about the things I could buy with the 40 or 50 bucks this class is costing me. Like a nice pair of shoes. Or 300 pairs of earplugs.

What I really do not understand is, is she really so bad at reading peoples facial expressions that she doesn’t see that there are 35 restless frustrated and bored people hoping to possibly move the discussion back to some sort of learning? Is she so starved for attention and an outlet that she simply doesn’t care? I had really hoped that by grad school, this genre of student would have been weeded out, that they would be too busy making babies to relay their life stories to, or pan-handling on the street, talking about those good old day back in Virginia to an imaginary audience, but the more time I spend in this program the more I realize that admissions criteria must just not be that stringent, and that this strange strain of storytelling-know-it-alls ALL want to be librarians. Aren’t librarians supposed to be quiet!? If they are the future shhhshers, who will be shhhhshing them!?

I expected a few quirks to be common among library students: we all like to read, we all like our cats, I even predicted the really quiet girl who doesn’t like people to sit near her. But chatty, racist, video-game loving ignoramus?, that stereotype has just thrown me completely off guard. Where did you come from, and why librarianship? This will be a cold unfriendly world for you!

Of course, she’ll probably never notice.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | by jennatalia, oh my | Leave a comment

Mommy, what ripe, full breasts you have

I suppose I shouldn’t be completely surprised by this.

If you’re a Beverly Hills mommy who wants to maintain a youthful appearance well past the age at which it is appropriate, how to you explain to your children why you sometimes go away, come back with bandages on, have to say “please don’t snap my healing girdle”, or “Mommy can’t hold you for a while, her chest is a bit tender?” Well, now there’s a book that can tell you how to handle all of these potentially awkward queries, and give your kids valid information with which to discuss your procedures on the playground. Instead of them telling their friends “she got bigger, but smaller… she doesn’t look like my Mommy!” They can say “Her skin was stretched causing it to pucker and while she was at the doctor, they just shaved off that unsightly bump.”

I’m reminded of the book Beauty Junkies by Alex Kuczynski (which I highly recommend), where the author chronicles (with delightful honesty and humility) her own experiences with plastic surgery. Initially limiting her experiences to assorted injections, the author eventually decides to go under the knife and have liposuction. Post-surgery she is feeling fit, lean, and fabulous in her bikini when a little boy approaches her and says something to the affect of “You had fat sucked out of your legs with a vacuum.” She denies this vehemently, after all, what’s the point of having work done if people, even ten-year-olds, know you have.

“No,” the boy insists, “You have those dimples in the side of your leg just like my mommy, and she says they’re from having fat sucked out with a vacuum.”

So there is one mom out there who didn’t need this manual to get through it. Unlike the mother in the article who says that she and her son have read it half a dozen times. Is the kid requesting this? It doesn’t seem like a particularly compelling read to me, but I’m no 4 to 7-year-old.

Also, the doctor who wrote the book, Michael Salzhaur, got the idea after many mommies came into his office with their children who were often frightened and confused. Really? you can afford plastic surgery, but you can’t afford a babysitter for three hours? “Parents generally tend to go into this denial thing. They just try to ignore the kids’ questions completely.” But, he adds, children “fill in the blanks in their imagination” and then feel worse when they see “mommy with bandages,” he says. “With the tummy tucks, [the mothers] can’t lift anything. They’re in bed. The kids have questions.”

The text doesn’t mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom’s breasts to be fuller and higher. “I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself,” says Salzhauer. “The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can’t fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old.”

The book doesn’t explain exactly why the mother is redoing her nose post-pregnancy. Nonetheless, Mom reassures her little girl that the new nose won’t just look “different, my dear—prettier!”

April 24, 2008 Posted by | by theagirl, oh my | , , , , | 1 Comment