I just attended my British Literature final exam study session, and one of the TAs had me staring at her in horror for 30 seconds when she said:
“Anyone who chooses to bring a queer theme into the essay, you’re definitely going to get brownie points for that!”
This is the same T.A. who theorized that Victor Frankenstein of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has homosexual desires for the monster he creates. Right.
She is, however, a funny, entertaining T.A., but she shamelessly praises a certain agenda.
Our class also read a few slave accounts such as Life of a Slave Girl and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, and one student asked the T.A., “Is it all right if we argue in favor of slavery on the essay?”
“Don’t do it on this test. We don’t want to read about it.”
Neither do I. Slavery, especially in these non-fiction stories, was absolutely atrocious. Most of us can agree on that. Still, the T.A. is not afraid to tell everyone that she has ideological expectations of these papers, and this is what David Horowitz warns college students about.
Are we going to get better grades for incorporating absurd-but-possible queer themes into our essays? Am I going to get an extra point for saying that Anne in Jane Austen’s Persuasion is persuaded by Lady Russell to break up with Mr. Wentworth because she is secretly attracted to Lady Russell? This concept would be ridiculous to further, but anything is possible in literature. That doesn’t mean I’m going to over-analyze, however.
Let’s hope I get a passing grade on the essay, even though I refuse to draw radical conclusions about the sex lives of fictional characters.
Finally, I heard another memorable yet sad one-liner in Coldstone this evening. A mother walked into the store with her little boy, who couldn’t have been older than five.
“Mommy, can I have the Cake Batter ice cream?”
“I don’t think you’d like it, Alex, it’s not very ‘non-fat’ for you.”
I bet he’ll be insecure about his figure for life. You may think I’m kidding. I’m not. One of my close friends was criticized for his weight by his mother when he was only 8 years old. He’s now 19, and he still worries about his weight even though he’s buff and fit, and he has a bad relationship with his mom.
As John Mayer would say, “Mothers, be good to your daughters.” The same applies to sons.