The Future is Simply More of the Present

December 24, 2008

sistercarriewomens-room1

It is looking more and more likely that I will have to scrap the spacialized framework I had initially conceived for my thesis: exploring the blogging subject through sites of decaying distinction, the interior, the agora and the arcade. Quite simply, I got in over my head ( a habit that will clearly take no less than a lifetime to break). Feeling prematurely burnt out at the end of the semester, I have been stubborn about deeming the last week a sacred space for leisure reading. My friend Radhika once sagely noted (while counseling me on my thesis) that “interiority is the enabling myth of the bourgeois.” And for some reason my leisure reads this week propel me into a mini-pocket of (decidedly feminine) bourgeois interiority.

Separated by three quarters of a century, Sister Carrie and The Women’s Room, I’ve found, make a fun stormy weather double feature, not least of all for the way both treat the individual as labor commodity, and the agonizing banality of bourgeois temporality. The painful preponderance of finances, particularly in Sister Carrie, creates a pornography out of the domestic ledger, revealing the obscene extent to which the interior of the home, and the of the desiring subject, are saturated with labor, capital and commodity. Waiting, working, looking for work, and killing time. The conversion of waiting, working, looking for work and time killing into cans of tomatoes, cuts of meat, cab rides, diapers and rye. The final frontier of critique however, is realizing that Marilyn French’s assertion” The future is simply more of the present” cannot help but ring with but a hint of comfort.

once again. The swaddling of history–the weird wimple always ’round my sides.

(Post Script: Sister Carrie serves as a certain salve against my most hated book of all time: Madame Bovary. It takes on many of the same horrifying themes but on terms just a tad more sympathetic towards women. I am of the belief that Madame Bovary should be stricken from Lit curricula, unless presented as part of a program to engage students with the subtler forms of hate literature.)

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