Thursday, February 09, 2006

Albuquerque - Day 1

After a restless night in bed, I finally woke up and headed to register and collect conference material. Around 12, and after chatting with this and that, my stomache started to protest, reminding me that I have been neglectig her (or is it him?) for the last 21 hours. Happily, I followed my stomache to a cafe where she ordered me soup and sandwich. We were both happy and decided to take a nap after such a satisfying meal to make up for last night's restlessness.

Alas, the nap lasted longer than expected and by the time I was up I could only catch the last session of the day, one against Spivak's Subaltern*. No harm done. I can still enjoy the rest of the night, maybe catch a movie. When lo and behold, here I am acting the role of the speaking subaltern as soon as I open my mouth with the words: 'Kuwait, I teach at Kuwait University.' Question upon question came tumbling on my head: do you wear burga' at home? do you date? do you have alcohol? do you eat meat? do you breathe? do you sleep? do Kuwaitis have 2 ears, 2 eyes like us Westerners? I submitted to these questions, like I usually do, by telling them 'No, No bother at all, ask away'.
When the subaltern in me satisfied herself by speaking, I decided to shut her up by taking her to a good-old American thriller. I mean heck, we Kuwaitis can watch thriller too, can't we?

I wasn't thrilled, neither was my muted subaltern, nor my grumpy stomache. Other than a beautiful house, the movie** had nothing. Why is it that thrillers always come with a beautiful house? Are we not to fear and pity those who live in projects? Such an Aristotelian mentality***!!

On the way back to the hotel, a mere 5 minute walk I spotted this and the blogger in me said: 'hold on here, let me entertain my blogging community with the first picture of Albuquerque downtown' I indulged, here's the result:

Church at 3rd and Tijeras.

And now me, stomache, subaltern, blogger and all are tucked in bed hoping to catch more sessions tomorrow.

*Spivak's "Can the Subaltern Speak" basically argues that no, she/he cannot speak, since speech utilizes the hegemonic colonial discourse which makes them speechless to begin with. So by speaking the language of the west, we become Westerners and thus our words are not those of the subaltern anymore.

**Movie: When A Stranger Calls.

***Aristotle tells us that the best tragedies are those with noble heros.

Albuquerque, 9 February, 1:19 am