THESISCRAZY 2017 (PART 5): Let’s Talk About Sex

“I don’t know. I’m a mess! I don’t know what I’m doing!”

I spent the last 20 minutes looking up funny euphemisms for sex to make a title to this post. (I was unsuccessful.) If you’re looking for something equally procrastinate-y to do on this fine Sunday night, look no further. Today we bring to you four fine specimens of thesis writers. Remember, Wescam is just around the corner ;) If you want, check out the previous THESISCRAZY 2017 posts here, here, here, and here to start scheming for senior week, or our entire THESISCRAZY archive here.

If you’re looking to be immortalized in THESISCRAZY (and potentially Wescam) fame, email staff(at)wesleying(dot)org with your name, major, workspace/carrel number, and times you can meet before April 19th.

More theses and craziness after the jump!

Anna Bisikalo ‘17 GOV/REES major, thesis in both, carrel #450

Working title: “I don’t have a before the colon in my title, but the after the colon is probably gonna be ‘Women’s Activism in Independent Ukraine.’”

On her topic: “My topic is about activism, specifically about feminist or gender-equality related activism that primarily women do, in Ukraine, and I’m focusing on the period from 1991 to now when it became independent. I’m looking specifically at grassroots and non-government organizations to understand how women are going about effecting social change in their communities and in their country not through the government because not a lot of stuff happens that way, in a lot of countries and especially in Ukraine. Part of the thesis is a history of women’s activism in Ukraine, and sort of theoretical questions about that. And then I also interviewed people over the summer in Ukraine, women who were parts of organizations that do some sort of women’s issue or gender equality-related work. So part of it is about that and their experiences. And then part of it is how all this has been affected in the face of the revolution in 2014 and subsequent annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine… so there’s a lot happening and what’s happening to the people doing this activism.”

On how she thought of her topic: “I am a Ukrainian woman, so that’s always been something I’ve wanted to explore more in an academic context, and I’m interested in activism in the post-Soviet sphere and feminism, because it has a kind of weird history coming out of the Soviet era. But I focused specifically on Ukraine because my advisor said I couldn’t write a dissertation–which they were right about–so I focused just on one country and on one time period. So basically it kind of came out of the broad idea of just wanting to investigate what’s going on with women in the post-Soviet sphere, which is one of the broadest topics ever, to chiselled down as I went along.”

On her progress: “It’s been okay. I would say it has been incremental. I for whatever reason I don’t have the constitution to work for 2-3 hours every day on a project consistently. Almost all of the writing has happened over a series of about ten-hour stretches in the night, which has not been an ideal process, but it’s also the only way that I ever get anything done, so it has been unduly stressful, I would say. I expected a lot more chaos and fire and brimstone at this stage, but I’m feeling alright about it. Yeah, I would say the process has been not surprising, given myself.”

On her current mental state: “Feeling kinda whacky, I would say… probably just from stress. I have a lot of work to do, but I have also done more with less time, so it’ll be okay.”

On her most traumatic thesis experience: “I didn’t have anything traumatic happen the way that other people do, like when things get deleted or some sort of crisis happens and they can’t get into the archives or something. But I would just say, from like the second week of January to the second week of February, I just didn’t work on my thesis, even though I had a deadline in the middle of it. I just felt dread for an entire month about it, after most of winter break had passed, and I just couldn’t bring myself to work on it. That was pretty rough, but then I got out of it.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “Definitely watching TV and Netflix. Reading other things that are related to my major and that I am interested in, but that aren’t my thesis, that feel sort of productive but ultimately are just these esoteric bits of knowledge. And sleeping. Yes.”

On her advice for future thesis writers: “Going off of what I said about my process, is I would just say, if you can work 2-3 hours a day on a thing, that’s amazing and wonderful and probably the way to do it if you have the discipline. If you don’t, just like know that about yourself. I’ve found it helpful to spend less time being mad at myself for what I end up doing to myself in the process of this, and more time being like, ‘Okay, I’m not gonna do anything today, whatever,” and letting that go.”

On her favorite part of her thesis: “I’ve really liked getting to know my advisors in a more personal way. I had Professor Smolkin first semester, and then Professor Rutland from the gov department second semester, cause it’s in both departments. I’ve really enjoyed, getting to know them and like, having an adult that I respect look at my work over a period of time because that’s not really something you get to do in the course of college. I’ve also really enjoyed finally getting to the point where I feel like I have somewhat of an authority to say something about a small tiny subject.”

On if her thesis was a song/movie/TV show: “It’s not that fun, it doesn’t really lend itself to that, but there’s this Soviet-Ukrainian movie called Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors that’s very sad and unrelated to my thesis topic, except that I have listened to the soundtrack while doing a lot of the writing. There’s nothing better than listening to weird Ukrainian folk music while you try to write.”

On questions she wished we’d asked: “I don’t know, maybe what about the process was the funniest? I think just the process of writing in a frenzy and then revisiting that writing a few weeks or days or months or whatever later, and then being like, ‘Did I… who wrote this?’ Some of the writing that I’ve found that I’ve written sounds so much more dramatic than I expected myself to write, and it’s just like, funny to work on something so long-term and see where your brain’s been at at different parts of it. I’ve laughed at how silly the phrasing has been.”

Most used word/phrase: “I actually, I was really bored one night so I did one of those word cloud generators–I’d written about half my thesis at that point, and I don’t think the biggest words would change that much now. They’re definitely ‘women,’ ‘Ukraine,’ ‘gender,’ ‘nationalism’… ‘neoliberalism’ is up there also.”

On her plans for April 19th: “I will be on the Olin steps, drinking champagne or Andre, whatever I get, and I want to watch like three movies maybe. Just stay in and watch three movies.”

Jacob Seltzer ‘17 CSS major, FILM minor, thesis in CSS, carrel #423

Working title: “It’s really stressing me out and I made like a list of 20 titles yesterday, and I threw them all out, so I’m gonna probably do that again tonight. I really need to figure out a title.”

On his topic: “I’m writing a screenplay about the leader of a pro-Israel organization embarking upon an Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and it’s kind of about him as a person. Basically it’s steeped in a lot of research, I interviewed a lot of people from this organization, it’s called AIPAC, so it’s based on a lot of real people and real incidents that happened in the 90’s. It’s also just a complete figment of my imagination, and it’s been really fun to write.”

On how he thought of his topic: “I think it was, like, it kept getting narrower and narrower, and then by October, I had finally decided on the topic of the story I’m going to tell. But basically through interviewing a lot of people. I did a lot of fieldwork of different past presidents of AIPAC and stuff like that. A lot of them would sit down with me, but a few refused to be… like, it was all anonymous, like, they didn’t want to be attached to some of the things in the interviews.”

On his progress: “I’ve been kind of working full-steam on this for the whole year. It was much harder to write a screenplay than I imagined (this is the first one I’m writing). Also I don’t have the support of the film department, because I’m not doing it through film, so that’s been difficult, cause I’ve kind of had to do it on my own. But the film department actually has been helpful, unofficially.”

On his current mental state: “………….I’m like, pretty out of it. Like, I don’t know, so the screenplay is like, almost done, but because it’s CSS, I have to write a 30-page social science original research paper on top of it. I kept telling myself, ‘It’ll write itself!’ But then I also realized that somebody has to write it, and that person is me. And I still haven’t, and it’s due in a week and a half, and I have no idea what I’m gonna say yet, so that’s my current state.”

On his most traumatic thesis experience: “Oh, I think it was an interview at the beginning of the year. I had planned it out, and it was the leader of this big… he’s one of the main characters of the movie. And he agreed to do an interview with me, and we set it up for a Monday, and I was gonna drive down to DC and do it with him. But then, after I hung up the phone, I realized that that Monday was Rosh Hashanah, so I couldn’t go down there. I was thinking to myself, ‘Why did this guy, who’s like the leader of a huge Jewish American organization, plan an interview on Rosh Hashanah?’ I had to cancel the interview, cause I’m not going to go down to DC on Rosh Hashanah, my mom would kill me! And then we were never able to reschedule, and I was never able to interview this guy who was such a big part of my life for the past 9 months. But maybe it’s for the better.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “Carrel sex.”

On his plans for April 19th: “Start my next project.”

On his advice for future thesis writers: “Be really passionate about it from the beginning because it’s going to be a total oscillation between, ‘What am I doing? This is a total mess!’ and at some points actually feeling like you’re making something great. But if the passions there, it can be a fun process.”

On his favorite part of his thesis: “My favorite part was actually interviewing all of the people. That was really fun, hearing all the stories, what made them tick.”

On if his thesis was a song/movie/TV show: “Can I make it into a book? Because it’s already a movie… The Torah.”

On anything he wished we’d asked: “What do you hope to get out of the this? Why are you doing it–like why are you doing these interviews?”

michelle: “It’s really fun to hear about everyone’s projects, and just get to know what everyone’s doing. Because they spend a year of their life or more on this project that very few people actually get to see. So it’s nice to give them this platform to share it with the wider community without everyone having to sit down and read 60 research papers and see like, 20 movies and plays and stuff.

Jacob: “Yeah it’s really cool. I’m so jealous of the projects that get to showcase to the entire school, but at the same time, that would be terrifying, because I don’t know that I want anyone to read mine. But then I also might want to make it into an actual movie. I don’t know. I’m a mess! I don’t know what I’m doing!”

Nicolas de Soto-Foley ‘17 FILM major, thesis in FILM, no carrel

Working title: “h+”

On his topic: “Whew *laughs manaically* um, it started off as I wanted to do something political, so it was gonna just be a small political drama, but I’m also very interested in sci-fi, particularly transhumanism, which is people altering their bodies with either mechanical or biological technology to better themselves. Some people would go so far as to say the goal is surpassing the biological body to eventually achieve machine immortality. I don’t need to go that far, like, that’s fine, I can see the appeal of it… I don’t necessarily want to live forever. That was always a thing from the start. Eventually the politics just kind of morphed into religion, and it sort of became a story of a young woman who, while accepting herself, is trying to get her mother to accept her and show her that the world is changing whether or not her mother wants it to. And it sort of, it’s got two lines of family drama and personal drama about self-acceptance and personal acceptance and having to do with the Catholic Church.”

On how he thought of his topic: “I play a lot of video games, and I watch a lot of sci-fi, so I was sort of like, ‘Oh!’ Actually, when I was originally writing it, I was playing the Bioshock series, and I was like, ‘Oh! People changing their DNA and shooting lightning! That shit’s awesome! I wanna do that!’ And then I talked to a bunch of my friends who had previously done theses, and they were like, ‘That is a cool idea, but can you actually do it?’ And I was like *unsure whining shrug noise* in exactly that tone, but for like four types as long, it’s kind of annoying… I started Deus X actually, the recent reboot ‘Human Revolution,’ and that used more of a technological angle. It had a lot of philosophy in it that I didn’t think it tackled as well as the original, but it was still a good jumping-off point and still tackled a lot of things that I wanted to talk about, like the idea of voluntary or involuntary action, ideology and whether it’s impressed upon you or if it comes from yourself, whether that’s having mechanical arms or being Catholic. It used the science fiction elements as important both the world and the story and the themes, not just as, ‘Oh, this is a drama that has mechanical people in it.’ I also love the works of Fritz Lang. I took a class on him last semester. He’s probably now best known for the films Metropolis and M. Metropolis was closer to what I was going for. A lot of people call it the grandfather of film science fiction. It was a German expressionist film from the 1920s that was really long. That was what everybody’s noticed about it. But it played with a lot of interesting themes and talked about how the technologization of modern society and like, urban sprawl, played into the way the culture was changing. That was something that was very interesting to me, so I sort of borrowed some stuff from that. I lifted some things directly–like, I set the whole thing in a church, which was kind of prominent in the film, and just the way that he shoots it, I took some inspiration from.”

On his progress: “Almost every step has been a headache. Literally I–it’s out of my hands at this point, I’m just waiting for the final print. But two of the last three people I’ve worked with have given me some sort of headache. One of them it was absolutely perfect, the only problem was that when we exported it to my hard drive, it disappeared, so I had to go back and get the sound back. But my negative cutter was like, ‘You didn’t do this thing that you were supposed to, and I had to shift some shots forward,’ and I was like “AAH!’ And then the lab that I’m working with for final print was like, ‘Oh, we can print it to you by Tuesday, ship it by Wednesday, you’ll have it in no time, no problem.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, cool. I know that it takes one day for ground, so it should be here today, where is it?’ And he was like, ‘I’m starting it tomorrow.’ And I was like, ‘…thanks?’ So I’ve noticed that up until this point, almost all the fuck ups have been my own. I got a team together who knew what they were doing, or at least who were quick learners, and everybody was on their A-game, so for the most part all of the fuck ups have been mine, but all of the recent headaches have been, time is ticking and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

On his current mental state: “If you had asked me this maybe even two hours ago–cause I literally just got off the phone with my negative cutter in the lab–crazed. Something between the Joker and Jim Carrey. But now kind of my normal relaxed nihilism of, ‘There’s nothing really I can do, so I might as well enjoy it while I can.’ I’m just really ready for the champagne uncorking. I’ve been waiting for that since freshman year, but that’s been my light at the end of the tunnel for the last couple weeks.”

On his most traumatic thesis experience: “It wasn’t when the lights burnt out, because that was bad but that was fixable… Um, I kind of want to say syncing up the sound and picture, which we had to do… all of the 16 kids and most of the digital kids came back the last week of winter break, the last 10 days, to work on our films. A good portion of that for the 16 kids was–we couldn’t start editing until all of our sound and picture was synced–was literally just watching every shot repeatedly. Since, I don’t know if you saw, the sound we’re working on for this is magnetic tape, so you don’t see like, a wave form, or any sort of visual indicator, so you just have to go back… like we’d be trying to sync it from the clapper, but there were a lot of shots where the clapper was not visible or just not in it at all. So I had to either guess from the motion of the clap or a sound that happened within the shot, like, one of the characters wears dog tags, or like footsteps or something. And there’s one particular moment, I want to say like a 20-second segment of my film that I had to keep rewatching over and over again–it’s a very violent film toward the end–and just hearing the sounds and watching the footage maybe as many as 15 times in a row, like of multiple takes just so condensed… I would leave the room just drained of everything and just be like, ‘I’m gonna go home and make some pasta, watch some comedy, and pretend that I’m dead. And then I’ll go to sleep and start this again tomorrow.’ So that was, that was a lot.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “Ooh! Favorite form of procrastination! That’s a lot of them! Hmmmmm… Oh, oh, it’s probably in one particular evening, I was gonna go–the way that I sort of did stuff I would like start work around noon or 2 or something, and then work clean through the evening, have a short dinner break, and then come back and work until like, 11 or so, go to bed, start over… One night, I think it might have been around the time I was doing all the traumatic stuff, I came back home, made myself dinner, and watched like, episode 7 of season 2 of The Man in the High Castle, and I was just like, ‘Wow! That was so good! …I’ll watch one more, it’s fine…’ and all of a sudden I’d finished the season. So I just was watching TV for like three or four hours straight, and then just decided, ‘You know what? I’ll just work on this tomorrow. It’s not going anywhere.’”

On his advice for future thesis filmmakers: “I don’t want to say do digital but… *laughs* Whether you do digital or film, if you decide to do a production thesis, you’re gonna do a lot more on your own than you thought you would. And not just because there’s a lot of work involved, but because the advising process is very, I heard it once described as, ‘Dropping you in the middle of the woods with a compass and a vague idea of which direction you’re supposed to go, and just letting you find your way to the lighthouse.’ His words, not mine, but still very accurate. So be prepared for not just having mountains of work, but sometimes having to rely on your peers or what information you’ve been given to figure out what you have to do next. Cause that’s honestly the hardest part.”

On his favorite part of his thesis: “Is it fair to say the wrap party? Because that was pretty awesome! I wanna say–actually, this is kind of a fun, behind-the-scenes tidbit: One of the opening scenes takes place in a confessional, and the way that we were doing that, we wanted to get just certain parts of his face illuminated, and everything else in the frame be darkness. So we had one light, and a sort of a cut out to create the shape of the light. And the light was casting light all over the room and we were trying to cut it down, so my gaffer was just like, ‘We just need some black fabric!’ And I just sort of look around the room and there were like five guys in there, and I was like, ‘Guys, everyone take your shirt off,’ cause everyone was wearing black shirts. And they were like, ‘What?’ And I took my shirt off, threw it on the light, and everyone was like, ‘Oh!’ and started putting shirts all over the place where it was casting light where it shouldn’t. And it looked beautiful, it was perfect. And we realized something we needed was outside the confessional, so my assistant director opened the door to reach out and grab it, and in that moment, one of the PAs sort of looks over, and she notices that, like, almost all of the guys who were on set were in the room shirtless, and almost all of the girls who were on set were just outside the room. And everybody all of a sudden was just like, *mimes ogling* and we were just like, ‘Give us a minute, we’ll explain later,’ and they were like, “mmmmmmm?’ and it sort of became a running joke for the rest of the shoot.”

michelle: “How do I, in writing, describe that face you just made?’

Nicolas: “I wish you luck! *laughs* Ogling is close, but it wasn’t like a leering, it was more like a ‘the fuck is that?’ Like, if someone had opened the door and there was like a, a jello monster, not even being scary, just like, *wiggles around* ‘Mmm?’”

On his plans for April 19th: “In action class we’re watching The Raid, which is gonna be awesome. In melodrama we’re watching Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, which is gonna be a weird double-feature with The Raid. Class is gonna hopefully be shifted forward a little so I can go to the uncorking. Gonna uncork some champagne, gonna get shitfaced, gonna come back to the film department for the meeting about the awards ceremony and the whole process after presentations happen, and then probably rejoin my friends for dinner and continuing shitfacedness. 4/20 will also be glorious.”

Michael Ortiz ‘17 MATH/AMST majors, thesis in AMST, no carrel

Working Title: “The working title of the thesis is ‘Aztlán Revisited: Towards a Reconfiguration of Queer Chicano Literary Discourse.’”

On his topic: “Do I even know more about my topic at this point? Basically, my thesis is about disrupting current literary criticism on queer chicano literature. It’s saying ‘all of you guys are dumb’ and you’re doing it wrong.’ So I’m looking at two texts that have been taken up or ignored for various reasons and I’m focusing on the criticism about them and how criticism focuses on questions of identity and is really identity-politics centered. And I’m pushing towards a more post-structuralist approach by focusing on instances of disembodiment and how that works with Aztlán, which is this space for the chicano national movement that comes up in the 1970s and how that’s a problematizing space and how it’s anti-indigenous and how that figures into queer subjectivities. That doesn’t make sense. Wait. Hold on. My thesis is about disrupting current critical discourse on queer chicano literature by focusing on a post-structuralist approach to the question of subjectivity. That’s it.”

On how he came up with his topic: “It morphed from what I originally wanted to do to what it is now. I read those two books in my Latino literature class and I really loved them. One of the authors came to speak at Wesleyan my junior year, so I knew I wanted to talk about these books because I felt like they were doing really cool work. But I originally wanted to talk about ghosts and think about the concept of a haunting or what it means to be haunted or ghostly. So I was trying to do this project that was about constructing a genealogy about ghosts in American literature and talking about how Chicano literature that dealt with ghosts could be incorporated into that. As I was doing the readings and thinking about what ‘ghosts’ I was talking about, the ghosts that kept coming up were these ghosts of identity, the body, and the narrators themselves are ghosts. So I realized that it wasn’t so much about ghosts but it’s about disembodiment and not being physically in a place. So there was that initial shift from ghosts to talking more about issues of identity formation and subjecthood. I was reading a lot of criticism about the two texts and I just found myself disagreeing with it because it was like ‘How does this talk about the Mexican experience or the Chicano experience?’ and I’m just like ‘There’s no way these super marginalized books can talk about Chicanidad in any way. Like no. You’re wrong.’ I just felt like the criticism was really misguided and this [thesis] was my attempt to address those misconceptions that these critics were working with. And so, for me, Aztlán as the mythical framework through which these texts get analyzed, which is what the criticism has been about, that’s the misconception; that’s what my thesis is aiming to do, deconstruct, reformulate, or reconfigure what Aztlán can be.”

On his progress: “I’ve been to hell and back. I’m pretty much done writing the chapters barring any catastrophic ‘fuck, this is shit’ moments. The chapters are pretty solid in my opinion and my adviser thinks the same, so I’m not touching those a bit. I need to write the intro and the conclusion which, surprisingly, are the hardest parts. Actually, probably not surprisingly because I’ve been dealing with so much complicated theory. Now I’m like, ‘And this is what happens!’ And it’s just like, ‘Who gives a shit? Just read the damn thing if you want to know what happens.’ I have to go through and do all of the footnotes and all of the citations. I decided that I didn’t want to do MLA because I didn’t want to do in-line citations because I was like ‘Footnotes are pretty!’. But then I realized you have to do a footnote for every single time you reference a line in the text. So there’s going to be a lot of footnotes. I’m not looking forward to that. And then acknowledgements. Maybe rewriting some sections, but I’m really hoping that the chapters are done. It’s mostly just scramble time at this point. I’m just like, ‘What the fuck needs to get done?’”

On his current mental state: “Pretty unhinged. I woke up two days ago and was 10 minutes late to class but decided that I needed to eat because I had only slept like three hours the night before. I made oatmeal, but I put too much time, so it exploded in the microwave and I started crying. So I didn’t go to class and went back to bed and cried for another half hour before I got up and showered. So I think that’s pretty emblematic of my mental state at this point. I cry at a moment’s notice.”

Most upsetting thesis experience: “I have two. The first: my computer died in the middle of backing up my hard drive. When I was transferring all of my docs to my external hard drive, it just crashed. I was like, ‘Well, this is how it goes down. This is how my life ends.’ I was really worried. I did end up losing my intro at the time, which I was really sad about. But I didn’t lose the chapters. And then I was thinking about the intro and I was like, ‘It was shit anyways, so might as well have lost it.’ I don’t know, I feel like other people have this problem as well, but once I write something, I get stuck, and I’m like, ‘If I edit it, if I change it around, it’ll be better’ as opposed to rewriting completely. So the intro I had was pretty shitty; I thought it was really stupid and it was just like, ‘Umm, this is it kthxbye.’ So it was nice, in some way that I lost it. The second traumatic moment was when I sent my advisor all three of my chapters and she emailed back ‘So what’s your argument?’ And I was like ‘Sis, what do you mean? You have the chapters right there, what are you talking about?’ And I cried for like an hour because I thought I was going to have to write another chapter to finish up everything. But I just had to go back and restructure everything, which took forever. And I cried through all of it, but now it’s done.”

Favorite form of procrastination: “It’s changed. Last semester, my favorite form of procrastination was doing my work. I’d be like, ‘I have to do this problem set’ or ‘I have to do these readings’ and that was my thing for a whole semester. I was like, ‘I can’t do thesis because I have so many other things to do.’ But this semester, as the deadline gets closer, I keep planning out April 19th at 4:30.”

Advice for future thesis writers: “Be up front with yourself about your thesis. There are many many times when I wanted to drop my thesis because it’s really hard. It’s the first time when you’re not repeating someone’s argument. Even final papers you can get away with using a theorist and saying, ‘This is what I’m gonna do.’ And especially for me because I was going against what everyone had already been talking about, it was the first time where I really had to know and be an expert on what I was talking about. If I hadn’t been so passionate about doing it, then I probably would’ve failed and dropped. So being passionate kept me going. I know a lot of people who thought they could do it but weren’t as driven about it and ended up dropping. The writing was tough; the structuring and the editing is tough. But I think the hardest thing is actually keeping yourself committed to one whole thing for a whole year. And if you know that that is not what you want to do, be up front about it because you’ll save yourself the headache in the future.”

Favorite part of his thesis: “I have two different things. In the writing itself, I’m really proud of my third chapter. My adviser said that it reads really cohesively. And that’s where I’m saying, ‘You guys are racist as fuck. Do better.’ For me, it’s a moment where I’m not just doing literary analysis but I’m bringing together cultural theory, cultural analysis, social theory and all of these different disciplines. And I’m doing this to say this is why the way we’re reading these texts propagates and replicates these social structures that are oppressive to other people. It’s like the nexus of my American Studies major. It’s this interdisciplinary approach to understanding horizontal forms of oppression. So it’s about how, in textualizing how queer chicanos form their own subjecthood, asking do we participate and are we complicit in the oppression and subjection of other forms of identities. In the writing, that is my favorite part, because it’s the most me, it’s the most original.”

If his thesis was a song/movie/tv show: “If my thesis was a song, it would fucking be ‘Chained to the Rhythm’ by Katy Perry, which is really sad because she’s just like a white liberal. But my thesis is all about the ways in which we unwittingly do racist shit. That’s the heart of it. The analysis that I’m doing is trying to incorporate new forms of identity and multiplicities into literary analysis. The work that’s been done on these texts is anti-indigenous in a lot of ways, which is really fucked up. So I’m basically just saying, ‘You guys are doing stupid shit. You guys are just playing along with these dominant, American ideas of indigeneity. So like chained to the rhythm: you’re chained, you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re kind of just in the hamster wheel, doing whatever. My thesis is just like ‘Do better. Do so much better.” It’s a bit of a wake up call. Maybe I’m being too flattering to myself. It’s probably not. My thesis is probably The Room by Tommy Wiseau.”

Most used word/phrase: “It’s ‘by which I mean.’ Or ‘which is to say.’ My friend who was editing it called me out. She was like, ‘Why do you keep saying this?’ And I said, ‘I keep saying it because of who I am as a person, I don’t know what to tell you.’”

Questions he wish we’d asked: “It’s a little fucked up to trivialize and humorize mental illness, but asking people how many times they’ve actually fucking lost it is really important. That’s how I define the whole process. I know someone who’s like really really chill about it, never had a breakdown. Meanwhile, I was handgunning chocolates, shotlining coffee like I had an IV in my body.”

Plans for April 19th: “When I was procrastinating, I ordered what I’m gonna wear on the steps at 4 o’clock. So I was shopping for my outfit for the longest. I was planning a trip to Costco to buy cheap bottles of champagne that I’m gonna pop on the steps at 4. And then I was like, ‘I wanna have a party at my house and then I’m gonna do this and then I’m gonna breathe and who am I gonna have sex with that night?’ There are a lot of questions about post-thesis. And I was procrastinating by saying, ‘Let me plan that.’ Just drinking. I’m gonna be shotgunning it. I talk to a whole bunch of my friends about my thesis and they understand how important it was to me to do this and how passionate I was about it. So all of them are like, we’re gonna come to the steps and support you and go hard for you, and I was like, ‘No. Do not come to Olin at 4 if you don’t have bottles in your hand. I’m not dealing with it. You either come ready, or don’t come.’ One of my friends was like, ‘I’m gonna bring a bottle of tequila’ and I was like ‘Let’s go. Let’s do this.’ It’s going to be a big moment of release because I’ve been so tense about it this whole time. I might go to town for dinner. I might see which one of my regular hookups wants to have sex that night. You know, these things. These are important questions.”


Interviews by michelle and wilk.



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