Post Academic


Speaking of Homi Bhabha: When academic celebs disappoint you…

Posted in Absurdities,First Person by Arnold Pan on May 14, 2010
Tags: , ,

"The sad clown" by steenslag (Creative Commons license)

No, we really don’t mean for this to be “Mock Homi Bhabha Friday”, but Caroline’s post reminded me of a personal interaction I had with the inimitable postcolonialist back in my first year of grad school, maybe even on this very day in May 1998.  It was one of the first cases for me that I was conscious of a celeb (at least in my geeky world) disappointing me–though maybe it wasn’t as bad as when Yo La Tengo forgot that my friend Mike and I got them an extra guitar strap after one of theirs had broken during a show, only to have them disavow what happened by saying that it would’ve been something they would’ve remembered!

But really, my disappointment in Bhabha has a lot more to say about me than it does about him.  Here’s what happened: Bhabha had been invited to give a theory lecture that wasn’t the Welleks.  The talk itself was somewhat incomprehensible, but I chalked it up to me being a first year grad student–well, that’s probably half the reason.  After the lecture, faculty members I had taken a theory seminar with invited me and some of my friends over to a potluck in honor of our esteemed visitor, which we were excited to go to and probably a bit puffed up to be chosen to attend.  We drove over to the faculty members’ home after getting something for the potluck, eager for the event as only the uninitiated and earnest often are.  Here comes disappointment, below the fold…

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