Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cos see when I was younger I would say

In the spirit of introspection and honest self-evaluation (and because I'm finally starting the reapplication process so I can finish my degree...), I present:

(and some inspirational factors)

1. Carny maquilleuse: RuPaul's Drag Race, various Youtube makeup tutorials, Carnivàle, Waits's "Circus"
Shannel (Bryan Watkins), who was totally robbed in Season 1
2. Godbeat journalist: the complete ignorance of huge variations in structure and hierarchy of religious institutions and inability to understand the most basic relationships between religious thought and politics among the educated class,

3. Tabagisme curator: Cigarettes are Sublime, the entire Tobacciana category on eBay, The Cigarette Book, this Lynn Barber column on the symbolic nuance brought to classic cinema by cigarettes, this cigarette dispenser from Mad Men:
It is nigh impossible to find cigarette dispensers like this, anywhere, nowadays.
I shudder to think how many hours of my life I've wasted looking.
4. Bar singer: there's just too much.

5. Early Russian history professor: Paul Bushkovitch.

6. Something with the Office of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations or Pension Board (OCA): any number of posts GetReligion has had to write because the religious institution in question left entirely too much open to misinterpretation by the media.  Also, the Pension Board helps parish treasurers understand the US tax code (among other things), which is a noble endeavor if ever I've heard of one. Perhaps inexplicably various scenes in A Canticle for Leibowitz and In This House of Brede

7. Smoking rights activist and/or PR rep: Nick Naylor,  NYC CLASH (particularly their seeming inability either to design a proper website or understand why such a thing is necessary), Freedom2ChooseTobacco Truth,, Michael Siegel and his courageous battle against the overt abuse and politicization of "science", Simon Clark (of FOREST, among other praiseworthy organizations),  Dick Puddlecote, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: A History of Anti-Smoking, the Owl Shop and Shelley's shared (and endangered) status as the only legal cigarette-friendly bars I've ever been to in the US, despite much searching.

8. Anything at the Hillwood Estate: Who wouldn't want to work at their favorite museum? I would clean its toilets-- hell, I would do worse than that-- if I could wander through those grounds every day. Marjorie Merriweather Post (Close Hutton Davies May), daughter of C.W. Post and founder of both General Foods and Hillwood Museum and Gardens, was not only a millionaire with a sense of philanthropic duty, but an heiress who grew her father's company, kept it in the family, and took seriously her role as an arbiter and patron of culture. She briefly lived in the Soviet Union with her third husband, Ambassador Davies, and while there not only grew to love Russian decorative and liturgical art, but saw it as her responsibility to salvage as much of it as possible from the brutal environs of Stalin's Russia, where all remnants of the old order, aristocratic and religious, were being melted down, ritualistically destroyed, or sold into black markets. Russianists everywhere owe her a great debt-- the Estate is also a center of scholarship and grants access to its various libraries and archives to researchers by appointment, in addition to having an online database. You can take a brief virtual tour of the museum (that in no way does it justice) here. Really, if you're around DC, whether you're a Slavophile or not, make it out to the Estate sometime-- the gardens are magnificent in the warmer months. 

9. Tom Waits roadie: Actually I think if I ever saw him in person I'd spontaneously combust, so this might not be wise.

10. Professor of Orthodox Church-State relations/ government advisor on the same: the "Conflict and Cooperation in Post-Communist Europe" seminar I took last spring. The inability of many political scientists and theorists to wrap their heads around sincere religious belief and the many troubling implications of this failure. Ivo Banac (whose course, "Eastern Europe Since 1914", I was lucky enough to take while he was still lecturing!) and much of his writing. Daniel Larison.

(anytime prior to matriculation, not just immediately prior)

1. Political speech writer: the knowledge that I was a very good writer and a very bad communicator. My mother's obsession with the Clintons.
2. Fiction author and/or Vanity Fair contributor: latent narcissism misdiagnosed as vocation. Issues of Vanity Fair laying on the bathroom floor. Reading at "college level" by 10 or 11. Being treated like an actual prodigy, instead of a slightly advanced student, by several of my teachers, and the resulting assumption that I had interesting things to say.
3. Diplomat: peculiar fondness for airports. Faux intellectual disdain for America. Europhilia. Hans Gruber. Acceptance to the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

4. Physics/math historian: attempt to balance my love and appreciation for the beauty of math and physics with the realization that I was probably not smart enough to pursue either field directly. The University of Pennsylvania's History and Sociology of Science Department, Mark Adams in particular. Copernicus, Brahe.

Contains neither plums nor pudding.
5. History professor: My 11th grade American history textbook. Orlando Figes's Natasha's Dance. Alison Weir's The Six Wives of Henry VIII. The vague notion that I wanted to be an "academic" and an "intellectual" (though I had no real idea what either of those words meant). A very eerie History Channel documentary I saw when I was 8 or 9 about some relatively early English king who had a series of unfortunate and mysterious diseases and whose death both left me profoundly unsettled and forever imbued the study of history with an air of mysticism and danger. The Cloisters.

For a long time after I visited the Cloisters (sometime in elementary school), I assumed the word had something to do with death and the dead because of how dank, tenebrous, and otherworldly it was. 
6. Lawyer: Law & Order's fixed presence on my mother's television. Winning some "debates" in summer camp in fourth grade. The assumption that lawyers are a thing smart people tend to become. My phenomenal bullshitting skills (in 7th grade I convinced my entire home ec class that I had been born and partially raised in the UK, and the teacher that my mother had gone to school with her sister in England).

7. UN translator: The Interpreter. Having a better French accent than my teacher (who I later learned spoke French so poorly that she frequently made up words and grammatical constructions. We did not have AP languages in my district). Being really good at memorizing things.

8. Mathematician: spending hours staring at my calculus textbook, finally understanding a concept, finding that more beautiful and rewarding than memorizing dates of Supreme Court cases.

9. Psychiatrist: Frasier. John Katzenbach's The Analyst. The Dali Museum. Hannibal Lecter. The first Artemis Fowl book. Dostoevsky's White Nights. Ivan Karamazov. "Antisocial" tendencies.

10. Neuroscientist/neurologist: Society for Neuroscience Brain Bee. Fondness for the orderliness of hospitals. Flowers for Algernon.

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