January 6, 2005

By some stroke of great fortune, I manage to get reaccepted to the writing class I was kicked out of because it was too full. I just know I’m going to love this class; I could tell just by looking at the professor’s name: Kevin DiPirro. Say it in your mind. How could you not love someone with a name like that?

And sure enough, he’s very lovable. He wears the black turtleneck and short hair of Steve Jobs and when he gestures you can see his hands making color-coded words and punctuation marks in the air.

The class itself consists of a small group around a table. There are lots of girls and laptops. We discuss articles I haven’t read (although I vaguely remember reading one, a National Magazine Award winner, many years ago). I love the class anyway.

My knee problems have been slowly going away. In some downtime I investigate them, quietly massaging my knee, when I notice a huge lump has suddenly shifted. I push on it — ow! — this is definitely what’s causing the pain. I quietly freak out before I remember how on an episode of Penn and Teller a lady had a similar thing and thought it was an alien egg implantation and a doctor operated and removed it and videotaped it and Penn and Teller showed the videotape to the doctor and he said it was just a lump of fat that broke off and it happens all the time. Happens all the time. Not an alien. I’m not worried.

I go to San Francisco for a Creative Commons party. The Swedish American Hall insists on putting large Xs on my hands since I’m under 21; I consider telling people that I’m going straightedge. Prof. Lessig introduces me to Willem, his baby boy. While Lessig talks to a variety of important people about important things, I talk to Willem about the colorful things being projected on the screen. Willem, of course, is sitting on Lessig’s head.

Unfortunately, while there are lots of other interesting people there, I feel like I don’t get a chance to talk to them. I am, however, mobbed by economics majors who try to claim some sort of validity for their field of study. I’ll probably take economics next term, but from what I’ve seen so far its even worse than psychology, which is really saying something. Economics seems to be the most blatant form of right-wing propaganda, dressed up as education. Needless to say, the economists don’t like hearing this.

Afterwards I go out to dinner with Seth and Brad Templeton and some others (including a friend of Seth’s who happened to be just wandering down the street when he saw a bunch of Creative Commons people going into a building). I have a very nice plate of pasta. Brad and a person who I guess is his wife (she looks so familiar but I can’t place her…) drives me back to Stanford; I have trouble finding things to talk about with him and end up just feeling embarrassed before his mighty presence.

posted February 13, 2005 11:51 PM (Education) (5 comments) #


Home: Gloom and Loneliness
New York City: Winter Vacation
Stanford: Back to School
Stanford: I Miss Zooko
Stanford: Fuzzier Heads Prevail
Stanford: Artists and Aliens
Stanford: Meeting the Man in Shadow
Stanford: You May Have Already Won
Stanford: Mind Control in Theory and Practice
Malcolm Gladwell on Snap Judgments
Stanford: Stand Up, Sell Out


Now this is just a suggestion, but why just say you are straight edge? Why not do it?

I don’t call myself straight-edge, it’s not what it’s called here, and I don’t beat up smokers (although at cramped bus stops in pouring rain I am sometimes tempted), but essentialy, yes, I don’t drink.

It’s one of those choices that was really easy to make for me, being wired the way I am. If someone wants to deny me something on account of my age, my club memberships, my percieved IQ rating or whatever I think to myself, “What if I don’t want your stupid privilege?”. That’s a gut reaction, but in my case it’s consicous as well. Alcohol is an easy decision to refuse. It’s bad for your health, and there’s something inherently distasteful about dulling one’s sense in order to be socially accepted.

posted by Harald Korneliussen at February 14, 2005 04:45 AM #

What about dulling your own senses to accept the others.. :p

posted by nbj at February 14, 2005 01:24 PM #

“Straight edge” does not simply mean not drinking alcohol or doing drugs - it also means being vegan, pro-animal-rights, rejecting sex, not eating processed foods, among other things.

posted by person at February 15, 2005 12:30 AM #

person, according to most net documentation on the phenomenon, the original definition is not smoking, not drinking alcohol, and not “sleeping around” - and even the third is somewhat optional. There are, however, huge differences between straight edge culture and my culture. Avholdsbevegelsen (the abstention movement) is/was a movement that was connected to the worker’s movement, the women’s right movement, the sanitation/public health movement as well as some religious movements. Straight edge is essentially a punk subculture. It’s comparing bats and butterflies.

posted by Harald K at February 15, 2005 04:35 AM #

The woman with Brad was Kathryn Myronuk, whom you might have seen referred to in my old .signature because she took an active role at the Adobe rally and came up with the lovely line “Reading is a right, not a feature”.

posted by Seth Schoen at February 15, 2005 12:51 PM #

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