The dark side of the Force is strong with me!

The dark side of the Force is strong with me!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

What I Do.

First off, I'm actually gobsmacked at how long it has been since I last blogged, and there I was thinking it would be easy to write regularly about the myriad thoughts and opinions whirling around inside my brain.

Note to self: must do better in future!

That is, of course, assuming anyone is reading these posts and gives a shit about my rantings and ravings.

So. Here I am just about to start the 4th week of my Master's degree and all is going swimmingly. I have a raging education and knowledge boner about the topics we're learning, a small and diverse range of fellow coursemates who all seem lovely, great tutors and all is well. It's exciting to be back in education again and I can honestly say it is one of the things which keeps me going during the tough times of my illness.

Learning, knowledge and education really should be at the forefront of more people's lives as it truly isn't appreciated these days.

One of the things which myself and my coursemates have been discussing amongst ourselves is how we explain to people just exactly what it is we do. I mean, when asked by numerous people, ''what are you studying?'' The answer of, ''Cultural and critical theory mate.'' usually falls on deaf ears and tumbleweeds of silence ensue from a whole range of people. I kind of like that though, an air of mystery and all that, like a badass intellectual James Bond only without the dry Martini, shaken, not stirred. I'm more of a Jack Daniel's and Coke guy myself.

So what is cultural and critical theory? I guess the best way I try to explain what it is that I do is that I deconstruct ways of viewing the world, society and culture around us, and then I reconstruct them into new ones.

What is the point of that I hear you ask? Well, for starters you can tell a whole bunch of things about a society by the culture they produce and invest in. Like, for example the fact that everyone who seriously invests in vapid shit like The X-Factor and thinks it is a serious contest to find a genuine musician is being manipulated by the mass media and exploited by people like Simon Cowell.

I must state that is common sense knowledge to those of you with a brain so you won't be surprised in reading that example. Kudos if you are one of those people.

However, what I like about Cowell, who, to his credit may be a smug arrogant cunt but at least he's still honest about the fact he's making his gazillions from exploiting the stupidity exhibited by the vast amount of sheeple out there. I do respect that level of arrogance somewhat.

Kudos to you 'bro. I totally would too. There's money to be made in them there lack of brains after all.

So yeah it's stuff like that, it covers a whole range of sociology, psychology, literary theory, art, sculpture, architecture, politics and pretty much all aspects of society. It's knowing a lot about the systems and mechanisms which make the world turn that most people know zero about and don't realise they are being controlled and exploited by.

It's kind of being on the outside of the knuckle dragging masses looking in, which when I thought about, it draws a similar parallel with Uatu the Watcher, a character from Marvel Comics.

Who? This big, bald-headed fuck right here:

This is Uatu the Watcher on the cover of Fantastic Four #48 (March, 1966 Marvel Comics)
He's a member of the extraterrestrial race known as the Watchers. These big, bald, beautiful bastards stationed themselves across the universe to observe the activities of other species. Uatu is the Watcher assigned to observe Earth and its solar system. Kind of like the ultimate nosey bastard then.
I bet you're all thinking what a fucking comic book geek I am right now, right? Yeah, and what?!
The emphasis I'd like to place on the similarity of cultural and critical theorists to these big, bald-headed fucks is that of observing. Cultural and critical theorists observe and constantly analyse the world around us.
Sometimes that's really hard because there's a lot of fucking stupid people and situations in the world as I'm sure you all know so it can sometimes feel like a curse and burden that we see and analyse things on a much deeper level than most can, or ever do. It's also hard because our opinions and viewpoints can often be brutal and controversial, fortune favours the bold though, right?
It's especially hard to do for me at times, because being born with Cystic Fibrosis gives me an outlook on the world and society which has made studying cultural and critical theory a natural and perfect fit for me. The hard part is that I see the world differently from the norm, but then my view takes on a whole differnt slant and weight when you incorporate my existence as someone who is dying from an incurable illness.
I kind of see myself as a specialist within a specialist field, if you will.
Myself, and fellow CFers literally exist within a completely seperate reality from everyone else, and nobody can ever, or will ever understand that, except those others also born into this existence. It's just how it is and always will be. For example, you can be the most qualified medical specialist in the world at dealing with CF with a list of prestigious qualifications as long as your arm, but you are still an outsider and somewhat of a novice looking in on the world of someone born with it. I know my doctors would shit bricks if I ever said that to them too haha
And that's where I want to focus my work. I want to contribute to society's wider understanding of both disabled people in general, but especially so as to the understanding of the lives and experiences of those of us living, and most importantly of all, surviving and thriving with CF.
I'll leave you with a quote I like by Jack Keroauc, which I think resonates on this particular subject of just what it is that I do:
"Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."
Indeed. Until next time, peace out bitches.

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