Monday, November 21, 2005

Iranian-American Literary Studies

Email 7:

Ahh! I had just written a whole bunch of stuff and somehow it got deleted. I guess I'll start with my second paragraph.

The way that African-American women writers used Feminism to get their work noticed is being paralled today in Iranian-Americans studies, which has only existed since 2003. In that year, Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran" was published to wide acclaim. It made Laura Bush's must-read list and was a New York Times Reading Group Pick. Nafisi marketed the book as a women's rights book exposing the injustice of women in Iran, a hot topic in the post-Taliban world. Instead the book is more of a history of revolutionary Iran (honestly, the only one of its kind in its very honest portrayal of what went down) and the role of English literature in shaping the lives of non-English native speakers...with the obligatory discussion of women's rights. Americans loved it and a year later our own Dr. Hopkins, Chair of the SMU History Dept, was proud to tell me that he had added it to the history reading syllabus.

The book cracked open a previously unexplored topic, and suddenly books about Iranian women flooded the shelves. Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis (a graphic novel that is being taught in ENGL 2327 next term) and its 2 sequels, Roya Hakakian's Journey from the Land of No (which describes the Iranian-Jewish experience), and Afschineh Latifi's Even After All this Time all described Iranian women who had lived in Iran during the revolution and had to leave to come to America and were all published within a year after Nafisi's book. The group that was still silent was Iranian-Americans, the children of the aforementioned generation, people like me. We got our turn with 2004's "Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America" by Firoozeh Dumas, which I first heard about on NPR the day it came out. It was the first good news I had heard about Iran on NPR. 2005's Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni was much more serious and is the most accurate reflection of the Iranian-American experience I've ever read, especially since I was in Iran the same year she went: 1997. I think in the coming years we will hear much more from this generation as they gain the courage these women have. And maybe the guys will learn from the girls and speak up. This will only happen once Iranian-American studies jumps out from under the umbrella of Feminism and stands on its own just like African-American studies did.


Email 6:

One thing that bothers me about Marxism is the idea that consciousness comes from modes of production and that production is what distinguishes man from beast. I don't believe this to be true. There are plenty of animals that also build and produce things. Par example, bees make honey in a very systematic division of labor. There are the bees that hunt down the flowers, the ones that grab the nectar, the ones that collect it, etc. The actual honey-making process is still a bit of a mystery, but that just shows how complex their production is. Beavers build dams, sometimes highly convoluted dams. Some primates can make tools and silk worms and spiders spin fibers into fabric. So we're not that unique in our ability to make things.

We are unique in our ability to reflect on the world around us and categorize it. I completely agree with the idea of a false consciousness and seeing life solely through the lens of ideology. I don't believe that all people think this way, but there are plenty who do. The key to overcoming the effects of ideology, however, is through education, not a classless society. I cannot tell you how many misconceptions there are about Islam and the Middle East. When people find out where I'm from, they ask all sorts of questions like, "Is your dad oppressive? Why don't you wear a scarf on your head? Do you believe in the Bible? Do you support terrorism?" These are questions out of ignorance that come from an ideology that doesn't include people like me. It isn't that these people are bad or that they think they're better than me. If we lived in a society where we were the same class (whatever that means), I don't think that these questions would necessarily go away. I think through education and teaching each other in order to understand one another, we can see how great it is that we are all so unique. As a child, I escaped a country that tried to make all women the same in order to come to a country where I was free to be myself. Marxism, paradoxically, has an ideology of its own which excludes individuality. As Americans, we know that this is a very high price to pay in the name of classlessness. If our own immune system knows to recognize non-self antigens, our minds should be free for us to know and express ourselves.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Friday, November 11, 2005

Rash --> Mono?

I broke out in a terrible rash yesterday! From 7 am to 2pm my entire body was covered with itchy red pox-like dots. It was awful. I figured that it was an allergic reaction to the Amoxicillin. So I called my cousin and she told me to come over and check it out. When I did, she looked at my arms and was like, yup that's a drug rash. She called some other doctors to check if she should send me to the emergency room in case of anaphylaxis. Thankfully, they said it wasn't necessary since I've been taking the Amoxicillin for 8 days and the rash only started that day. So she gave me a cortisone shot and a script for Prednisone and told me to take Benadryl and Zantac 75. So I have been medicating and itching.

Today I came to work and told one of the doctors about this. He said that this was a classic sign that I had mono. He pulled mono up on the computer and, sure enough, a symptom of mono is that when the patient takes antibiotics, she breaks out in a rash. This is not an allergic response because later in life the patient is not allergic to the same antibiotic. The mono would explain why I've been so tired, but I thought that I was tired from the drugs I've been taking.

This is so crazy. I have no idea what's wrong with me. Everyday there's a new problem and I'm just so frustrated with all of this. I can barely study with all the pain and discomfort these diseases have been giving me. The doctor today told me to rest and relax, but how can I? I have to work 3 times a week and go to school everyday. There's no way around it. So tired now...must sleep...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Which Degrassi Guy Should You Date?

Yay, I got Craig! He's dreamy...

You Should Date: Craig

Craig is troubled. And high maintenance. And tends to be clueless about other people's feelings. Oh, and he has a little problem with monogamy. But hey: he plays the guitar and looks good in a leather jacket. These are the trade-offs we make in life. Have fun!

Click here to check out Craig's video timeline

20% of the people who tooks this quiz got the same evaluation.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


So from last Wednesday (like in October) I had this sore throat. Two days later I asked one of docs at work to take a look at it cuz I noticed that my throat was white. He said it was mucus and no big deal. So I toughed it out through the weekend. By Monday, it had gotten really bad and I felt like I couldn't eat anything from the pain and my voice was starting to go. I told that same doc that I hadn't gotten better, and he said that I should take a decongestant cuz it sounded like I had a cold. By Wednesday I had dealt with too many sleepless nights and too much pain, so I asked a different doc at work to look at it. She said I had a huge infection with a risk of abscess and that she would talk to our head doc about getting me a sample of antibiotic. When he looked at it, he said that I did need the antibiotic, but that it was his policy to not treat his employees. So I had to go to someone else. Then I remembered that my cousin's office (she's an MD) was in the same hospital, so I called the hospital directory and got her number. She said I could come right over and when I did she said that my infection was pretty nasty and wrote me a script for Amoxicillin. She said that if I didn't feel better w/i 48 hours I should call her. Well, I'm happy to report that it has been over 48 hrs, and I feel a lot better. I have some fatigue from the antibiotic, but other than that I am healing.