Monday, January 18, 2010

blind gossip item for philosophy nerds

I was celebrating the fact that my elderly laptop had finally booted up when a famous queer theorist walked into the coffee shop with her girlfriend and her girlfriend's kids. They sat down next to me, and QT started reading Harry Potter out loud to the kids.

I know you shouldn't write in coffee shops if you want complete silence, but I kind of wished they would relocate to the play area. Since I couldn't concentrate on my short story, I was forced to eavesdrop.

Queer Theorist: Which of Harry's teachers is your favorite?

Stepdaughter: Miss [um, I don't know most of the Harry Potter characters, so let's call her Miss Tumbleweed] Tumbleweed.

QT [who goes by a man's name these days, but I'm not sure what pronoun s/he prefers]: It's Mr. Tumbleweed. Mr. Tumbleweed is a man. Anyhow, I like Ms. McGonagall. She's strict, but she knows her stuff. I think the best teachers are like that, don't you?

[Kids give her a blank look that suggests this is the equivalent of being told nothing is cooler than broccoli.]

QT: It seems like a lot of women teachers are like that, don't you think? Strict, but they know their stuff? Men aren't like that as much.

I have not read QT's book, but I'm pretty sure it's about how women can construct empowering masculine identities if they want to. I wouldn't have figured QT for someone who was all about schooling five-year-olds in gender binaries, but when it's raining and kids are antsy, I guess we all get weak.


Tracy Lynn said...

What's a queer theorist? I am so uncool.

Claire said...

Tumbleweed's a great name for that world. Just watched the dvd of the latest movie. Tried a few books to see if they'd clarify plot gaps in the early films, but discovered the movies make more sense than the books.

As for the QT's opinion of teachers, how bizarre.

Tracy Lynn: I'll take a stab at a definition though Cheryl might explain it better or differently. A queer theorist is someone who studies gender and sexuality stereotypes with an eye to breaking down the stereotypes, or appropriating aspects of them to foster greater equality among people. I'd say that's the gist at least...

Cheryl said...

Yeah, I'd say Claire's pretty much on the money. I'm no queer theorist either, but I think it builds on feminist and postmodern theory. Basically, if you believe that straight couples are just as weird and socially constructed as gay couples, you subscribe to much of what queer theorists have been saying for the past coupla decades.

Tracy Lynn said...

I do believe that. I think basically it's because we are all people.

Didn't know that was an actually profession, however. I would be awesome at that, except for the work part. I am still Queen Of Lazytowne, you know.

Cheryl said...

You'd be amazed what people can get paid for. With the right academic connections, I'm sure you could start a career as a laziness theorist.

Peter Varvel said...

Yeah, the irony is too glaring to escape. But I've always kind of wondered if I would fall into a similar pattern/trap (parent trap?)if I were to ever raise kids.
I've seen the feminist ideals of friends do an about face once their own kids entered the picture.

Cheryl said...

In a pinch, I'm sure it's easy to default to the cultural status quo. And being a parent seems so difficult that it's hard to fault anyone who manages to keep their kids fed and out of oncoming traffic.