Saturday, April 4, 2009


No person is inherently superior to another. It is not birth that determines hierarchy, it is the work that an individual does that pulls them up or pushes them down on the ladder of success.

Granted, that is a vast over simplification of life. There are a plethora of other factors that influence an individual's success—family, socio-economic status, culture, age, etc. However, I think that it is true that "by their works ye shall know them." So then the issue becomes about the end product. Is a conference paper inherently superior to a handmade quilt? Is the CEO of a multi-million dollar company better than being a mother? I would argue, in both cases, no. Just because American society values scholarly intellect and financial success doesn't mean that those are the other things of value, the only goals worth pursuing.

Is being a literary scholar worth all the years and years of study? How does it make the world a better place? In fact, might it even make it a worse place by taking so much energy away from other pursuits. Perhaps I am just justifying my own ignorance by placing my interests in craft above the intellectual pursuits of others. But then again, perhaps I am not.

On a more cheerful note, I met John Edgar Wideman at the banquet tonight. We read his book Damballah in my African-American Lit class and so all the other students were too intimidated to talk to him, but I thought that was lame. I went up to him and we shook hands and chatted about my name (he told me that he liked it and he named a character in one of his books Cassandra... but then changed it to Miranda because his publisher at the time was named Cassandra). He was a really nice guy. Later all the other BYU students/professors took a picture with him. No big deal. I'll post it as soon as Jessica emails it to me.

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