Friday, February 23, 2007

The Agony of Victory; the Thrill of Defeat

Welllll....I didn't finish the chapter today.
I was quite bummed out last night (actually it counts as this early morning, de la madrugada) that I couldn't finish that Amy suggested I switch to revising the travel-industry textbooks today, and sort of digest the material so I can have a well thought out conclusion. So I've been plugging away at the early chapters of Book 1. I think I can probably sort of make it. . .(book one is due 3/10 and the other a week later). And still finish the 4th chapter this month, I hope.

  • Darling Amy was so kind--she helped me to go to the copy shop in Dou Liu and got all the copies I needed for my reading committee and for my advisor, Rudy. And the in-progress stuff so far so I can see it without my eyes bleeding so much. Thanks, Amy dear!

But you know what? I AM SO BLOODY TIRED! When will the stress let up?
Oh, I know, when all my projects are done. . .hee hee. . .that means not real soon, bub.
One of the items I'm revising is discussing differences in handwriting in Europe and elsewhere, like the crossed-through Z, 7, and 0 (zero), and the 1 numeral that is written like an inverted V in Germany, etc. So I took a W-H-I-L-E to find a freeware font that would cover all these. . .and didn't find any, though I searched thru more than a thousand fonts. BLEAH! But I found several with most of the needed characters, and alternated.
Health, Wealth, and Chocolate Pudding, everyone.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy Two-Two-Two!

Rejoice, for today is my older daughter Coral's birthday! Give five hurrahs; give twelve hip-hips! She is seven years old today. All are glad.
I'm especially glad because I believe that I can finish up Chapter 4, a full draft of it, today. Not bad, eh? I tried to do it last night but just ran outta steam. However, part I is all done, along with the introduction section, and it's time to evaluate the Romani Activists' strategies in view of the Gypsy Image. That won't take too long, I hope, especially if I fill in the quotes and references later. :-0
Then the final section, with my pretty-well-thought-out ideas for using the Image to help the Romanies, and using the media to change the Image, and also to articulate the differences between the Gypsy image and the Romani image which I wish to urge mediantics to promote. I want them to seize the public imagination and give them a new image that is HONEST and TRUE so that people can't go back and blame anyone of lying--thus reinforcing the old, false image: absolutely and virulently counterproductive.
Well, wish us luck. We also want to promote our own English teaching image today. What a time!

"Put down that frying pan."--Elvis Costello, Brutal Youth

Cheers! Night Court! Au Reservoir!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"The culture is based on duping. . ."?? Racism on the Web

Hodie. Making progress on Chapter 4 now, I'm glad to say, working mostly on the part about the American perception of the Romanies these days. I found some outrageous examples that are perfect for the chapter--some from a law enforcement officer (note his definitions of special terms under "form") and more from a Florida crime journalist. (Please see my comments at the bottom of this page, if they haven't zapped them that is!--Note: you may need to click on "show comments" under the article!)

The bit that really went overboard was:

"What makes somebody a Gypsy? Well, the Rom is a race of people, sanctioned as such by the United Nations. The band of vagabonds left India more than four centuries ago and has been pretty much on the move ever since. The culture is based on duping the hell out of gadjes, their name for non-Gypsies, with fortunetelling cons, roofing scams, automobile rip-offs, and other schemes perfected over the years."

I have responded to both of these haters. They give a stereotypical impression of the Romanies and suggest that all Romanies are criminals. Ian Hancock is right: the press could not get away with saying anything like that about another racial group, but Gypsies are not perceived as a race. (see the comment by "A Tax Payer at February 4, 2007 06:16 AM")

I thought the Florida reporter might just misunderstand and not really be racist, till I read more. . .and the clincher was when he called the Chinese "Red bastards." (see the note for August 15, 2006--playing on the stereotypical Chinese--AND the "Commie" (which is no longer even accurate!) image--see the photo of "Shaq.")

*Deep sigh*

However he was very offended at another newspaper's site's commentators' racist comments about Blacks.

Let's get our heads right before we speak or type, huh?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Working Towards the Final Split

Chapter 3 is done!! At least a reasonably full draft of it. Pretty happy with it. Now on to the final chapter, Chapter 4. I'm already at about 208 pages, so I can't make it toooo long. I recently followed my Dad's advice to switch from two spaces after a period to only one, making the dissertation marginally shorter pagewise, I guess, though it won't change the word count. I have to finish this chapter in a rush because I still have the two textbook revisions to do.

Here is my introduction to Chapter 4, which I think is the right way to go.

Like their ancestors in the early 1400s, their descendants in the Renaissance, and their successors in the nineteenth century, the Roma of today continue to be misunderstood and mistreated. They are, perhaps inevitably, mistaken for the tradition- and media-propagated “literary” Gypsy, the characteristics of which are firmly held in most Western minds, for, as Ian Hancock puts it, “[i]t is evident that it is through literature especially that the ubiquitous Gypsy stereotype is sustained” (“Yoors” 12). This firm conceptualization of Gypsies leads to the usurpation of the senses by the imagination: the phenomena that I am referring to as the synecdochal fallacy and the misconfirmed assumption. The result is that Westerners tend to relate to the Romanies, when they are recognized as such, as if they were actually the people portrayed in popular books, movies, television shows, and so on. In my analysis, this is the most formidable and most fundamental obstacle to the fair treatment of the Roma and their culture. It is, and always has been, the root of both the “paraiah syndrome” recognized by Hancock, and the vicious cycle of poverty and crime that are central to the negative side of the Gypsy Image.

This final chapter considers the goals of current-day Romani activists and well-wishers, and their various suggestions for dealing with anti-Romany prejudice. It also considers the recent and current measures that have already been begun, attempting to evaluate and comprehend their efficacy, or the lack of it. I consider all of the findings presented in the previous three chapters, and the current factors related to the multiple ways in which the Roma are perceived today. Solutions are posited which are designed to circumvent the perceptual problems that lead to this prejudice and unfair treatment.

If the supposed participants in such campaigns as I suggest understand the roots of the perceptual problem, and if they put forth a concerted and united effort to achieve these goals, a more complete revolution seems achievable than the botched one that was attempted in the middle and late Victorian era. The opponents of these strategies are likely to include both deeply traditional Romanies, with a strong cultural self-image, and deeply prejudiced, who obsessively focus only on the negative side of the general image. Their motivations and possible tactics are also anticipated. I am hopeful that the achievement of these objectives will bring about a final split. When this happens, all will finally be able to see, understand, and most importantly, perceive the fiction-based Gypsy image as an image, and the Romanies as “human beings [who] have immortal souls.”

Let me know if you have any reactions to this approach. Thanks!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Gypsies in the Western Imagination--Full Rough Draft

Hi, well, I'm finishing up Chapter 3 of my dissertation and hope to finish it and move on to the final chapter (4) tomorrow. I had better hurry up and graduate. . .I got the confirmation from NSYSU that I'm officially re-enrolled as a student again, in SEVENTH grade of doctoral school. Geez!
Kinda stoked about getting to the last chapter though. I hope it will all go smoothly--this semester is relatively light in the working department, but got lots to handle in the projects realm.
Wishing all Romanies well--even if you prefer another name for your people. Hope I can help.