Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Other Side of Silence

Another little confluence: I'm not sure where this video come from, but here's the link. It asks people what book are they ashamed to not have read. (Mine was The Great Gatsby, but I finished that last week so now it's Wuthering Heights which I should finish in the next two weeks, along with Crime and Punishment. Jeez, slacker I am.) One of the people mentions Middlemarch by George Eliot. How interesting, I think, he should becoming up in my lectures but I never heard of Middlemarch. And sure enough on my dinner break, there in my queue is Eliot: Fiction and Moral Reflection. And so I learn that George Eliot is really a psuedonym for Maryann Evans. But we'll call her George Eliot anyway. Her writing is more masculine than other psuedonymous writers like Charlotte Bronte (Currer Bell). (And the lecturer proceeds to use his ultra-masculine voice and his feminine falsetto to demonstrate his point--gag me!) But Eliot/Evans herself (himself?) choose the masculine moniker to dissociate her work from the traditional "romance" of her time.

And that particular spin got me thinking about naming again. On this blog, I choose to go by my initials. I'm pretty sure most people who read this know me, but if it ever stumbles on to wider readership it feels safer. And it feels pretty professional in case this blog ever grows up into the theological blog I intended it to become. It's also a spin on my intent to publish under my first and middle initial and last name. Again it feels professional to me, but it also is distinctly asexual. Academics is still highly gender stratified and the narrower realm of Theology even more so and in my particular brand narrower still. So the ambiguity of initials allows my work to speak on the subject to which is pertains instead of the metanarrative of how women break into male-dominated fields. Or at least that's the idea. I know people get fed up with the neutralizing of pronouns and titles, but to me it's just a way to free ourselves from erroneous assumptions--the mildest of which is the academic wears tweed blazers with leather elbow patches.

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